Better Call Saul had a tough act to follow, spawning from one of the most critically acclaimed TV shows of all time, Breaking Bad. However, now in its third season, the prequel spin-off focusing on the origin of motormouth lawyer Saul Goodman has proven, in its own right, that it is a worthy addendum to its predecessor.
Thanks to the meticulous storytelling of Vince Gilligan and commendable performances from Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn and the rest of the cast, Better Call Saul has become one of the best shows currently airing on television — irregardless of callbacks and references to its older sibling.
That being said, the Breaking Bad references, Easter Eggs and characters add a nostalgic richness to #BetterCallSaul Season 3, and will only increase as the two narratives edge closer and closer. So, what better than collecting them all in one place, from the obvious to the obscure? Meth. But we don't have meth, so we'll give you this instead.
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Episode 2: 'Witness'
Los Pollos Hermanos: If there's one thing Better Call Saul does to perfection, it's taking its time, never rushing, showing events to viewers and letting them piece things together. Ever. So. Slowly. The highly-anticipated, finger-licking reveal of one of the most infamous fictional fast-food chains in history was no different.
As Mike uses his tracking devices to get a tail on the person who left him a cryptic message in the desert, he stakes out in a "dead end" (hat-tip to Gilligan for the symbolism) opposite a restaurant. After scanning the building through his binoculars, Mike drives away, and the camera pans (ever so slowly) to reveal the sign.
The Introduction Of Gustavo Fring: Of course, with the introduction of Los Pollos, comes the introduction of its criminal mastermind owner, Gus Fring. In trademark style, Gus is hiding in plain sight while Jimmy scans Los Pollos looking for clues on behalf of Mike. Gus's faux pleasant interaction with Jimmy is indicative of his ability to hide his sinister, ruthless nature behind a seemingly innocent smile.
Widely regarded as one of the best TV villains of all time, Gus oversees a powerful drug empire. In #BreakingBad, when Walt is looking for a new buyer for his meth, Saul Goodman tells him he can connect him through "a guy who knows a guy who knows another guy." Gus ends up buying 38 pounds of meth for $1.2 million, and later, Walt spends three months cooking for him, in exchange for $3 million.
The Introduction Of Victor: As a black SUV leaves Los Pollos later in the episode, a familiar face is revealed as the mirror roles down. Victor is a loyal henchman to Gus; he oversees the cooking process of Walt and Jesse, but, despite his loyalty, meets a grisly demise at the hands of his boss.
The Introduction Of Francesca: In one of the more surprising origin stories, Francesca — a loyal assistant to Saul Goodman through Breaking Bad — is shown applying for her job. She is, by all accounts, a completely different person at this stage, suggesting Jimmy will have a transformative effect on her. Not in a good way (throwback — she bribes Walt for $25,000 in Season 4).
Give Me A Dollar: One more subtle callback this episode of Better Call Saul comes after Kim discovers that Jimmy had falsified evidence to ruin Chuck's court case with Mesa Verde. Before confronting Jimmy, Kim asks him to give her a dollar, so that the pair are bound by client confidentiality. If that seemed familiar, it's because Saul uses the same line when first introduced to Walt and Jesse.
This scene also illustrates how Jimmy is inspired by those close to him. In a symbolic moment earlier in the episode, Jimmy is seen rolling the tape away from the freshly-painted sign with his thumbs, in the manner Chuck had suggested in the previous episode. When he loses his cool for Chuck taping his confession, he then tears the tape, making the "M" even more crooked, alluding to the defining moment his transition to Saul becomes inevitable.
Episode 3: 'Sunk Costs'
A Familiar Doctor: The doctor who Mike visits, Dr. Goodman, occasionally appeared on Breaking Bad; he also helps Gus and Mike after poisoning the cartel. The same scene also possibly foreshadowed Hector seeing the doctor following his stroke with a shot of a wheelchair followed by the bell of the door opening.
A Breaking Bad Cold Opening: Unlike the monochrome shots of Gene working in Cinnabon, this week's episode opened with a flash-forward (possibly in the Breaking Bad era) of a more discreet nature, showing a Los Pollos van pass the pair of sneakers Mike shoots later on.
The Introduction of Tyrus: Another of Gus's henchmen, who appeared in Breaking Bad, appears in this episode.
Smoking Aces: The cigarettes Jimmy uses are the same brand Jesse smokes in Breaking Bad.
Episode 4: 'Sabrosito'
A Familiar Toy: The bobble head toy that Hector hands to Don Eladio (who was also making his first Better Call Saul appearance) as part of his tribute appears in Breaking Bad, Season 2, Episode 9, when Mike robs the cartel's ice cream van. Kudos to Redditor TLPiccaboo for the impressive find.
Episode 5: 'Chicanery'
A Light Touch: Wait, is that? Yes, yes it is! Saul Goodman's Breaking Bad bodyguard, Huell Babineaux, shows up in this episode with a pivotal reverse pick-pocket on Chuck, which leads to his damning courtroom rant. Huell used the same special skill to lift the ricin cigarette from Jesse. His inclusions suggests we're getting fairly close to Jimmy's transformation to Saul.
Lung Cancer: Jimmy asks Chuck if he'd tell his wife if he had lung cancer in a subtle reference to Walter White.
Episode 6: 'Off Brand'
Saul Goodman: Yes! YES! Finally, after a mere 26 episodes, the metamorphosis of Jimmy McGill into lovable slime-ball Saul Goodman is complete, in the most apt, understated and utterly brilliant way — in a commercial for commercials. It's just a name.
The Introduction Of The Laundromat: Who would've thought that a simple industrial complex could induce so many feels? Gus Fring is shown looking around the empty complex, which in years to come will transform into Walt's meth lab.
Lydia Returns: As if that wasn't good enough, as Gus returns to the car, we're re-introduced to Lydia Rodarte-Quayle, the significant antagonist of Walt in Breaking Bad Season 5. Prior to his downfall, she supplied Gus with meth, before aligning with Walt.
Tuco's Jail Time: Having been put in prison for six months, we hear via phonecall that Tuco stabs an inmate, thus extending his time behind bars. Although discreetly done, this incident is referenced by Hank in Breaking Bad S02E02.
Tyrus Kitt: A member of the Los Pollos security unit, Tyrus was killed in the same explosion as Gus. Here, we see him passing on drugs to Nacho, and phoning Gus for a go-ahead to give him six packets instead of five.
Krazy-8: Introduced before the opening credits, Krazy-8 is beaten by Nacho for not paying up on time. One of the main antagonists of the first season of Breaking Bad, Krazy-8, Walt eventually kills him.
This article will be updated after every episode with all the new Easter Eggs, references and characters from Better Call Saul Season 3. So, check back here each week, bookmark it, set it as your homepage or get the URL permanently tattooed to the inside of your eyelids.
Have you spotted any other Breaking Bad Easter Eggs not mentioned above?