Throughout its tenure on AMC, Better Call Saul has evolved from merely a Breaking Bad prequel into its own layered exploration of morality on par with the story of Walter White. At the center of the tale is Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), the real guy who takes on the seedy criminal lawyer persona of Saul Goodman. Audiences were first introduced to Goodman in Breaking Bad Season 2 when he stepped in to help Walter White (Bryan Cranston) launder drug money and become his legal liaison.
Each year, as new episodes arrive, fans continually speculate on which Breaking Bad faces, if any, will resurface. Let's remember, death is not the end here. The Better Call Saul story begins nearly six years prior to the rise of Heisenberg, giving room to further explore the lives of Breaking Bad legends like Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis), and Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks).
The stakes have been exponentially raised going into Season 5. The death of Jimmy's brother Chuck (Michael McKean) seems to have given him the license to delve further into the criminal underworld he's been dipping his toes in over the past four seasons. As Jimmy further embraces his Saul alter-ego once the series returns to AMC on February 23, one has to wonder what other Breaking Bad faces may appear.
During the show's official panel at the 2020 Television Critics Association, show-creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould teased three more familiar faces that'll be introduced in the story. Obligatory warning: if you want to keep these details a surprise, turn back now. There be spoilers afoot.
Another season, another familiar question: Will Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) or Walter White finally appear in the series? Well, no. The appearance of the blue meth duo here, especially given the point in the timeline where the show is, currently, wouldn't make sense. Although, it was brought up during the panel that it may be an eventuality for Jesse to show up since he's the one who originally brought Walt to Saul Goodman's office in Breaking Bad.
Peter Gould did reveal that another partnership from the original series will be showing up in Better Call Saul. In the story that plays out in the third and fourth episodes of the new season, DEA Agent Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) and Steven Gomez (Steven Michael Quezada) will reunite. And given the complicated relationship that formed in Season 4 between drug kingpin-in-the-making, Gus Fring, and Nacho Varga (Michael Mando), one can only deduce there'll be some meth-y stuff for Hank and Gomie to investigate.
“Working with Dean and Michael again was a highlight of the season,” Gould said during the panel attended by Inverse. “Hopefully you will love those two episodes as much as we do.” Given the fact that both men met their untimely end at the hand of the white supremacists who took Jesse prisoner, in order to continue making Heisenberg's blue meth, it feels that even a tiny cameo could bring some sense of redemption to both lawmen.
As with previous seasons of Better Call Saul, each episode begins with a flashforward, giving us a peek into Jimmy's new persona: mild-mannered Cinnabon manager Gene Takovic. The black-and-white tone of these scenes offers a starkly depressing contrast to the boisterous, colorful, brash aesthetic that simply is Saul Goodman.
In the Season 5 premiere, Gene makes a panicked phone call to another familiar face who appeared in both Breaking Bad and the recent Netflix movie, El Camino. On the other end of the line is Robert Forster's Ed, the vacuum repairman/disappearer who helped to relocate Walt and Saul in Breaking Bad. And, eventually, Jesse in the sequel film.
Forster died of brain cancer on October 11, 2019, making this his final TV appearance. “Robert Forster, boy, I would have loved to have seen more with him,” Gould admitted.
Gilligan chimed in: “He is sorely missed. I mean, he’s a wonderful actor, of course. We all knew that. But I feel sorry for anyone who never got to meet him because he was just an absolute gentleman. I personally would have loved to have seen more with him, and I would have loved to have worked with him again in some other show, or some other movie, because he was the real deal.”
Better Call Saul Season 5 will have a special two-night premiere on Sunday, February 23, with the second episode airing on Monday, February 24, in its regular timeslot at 9 p.m. on AMC.