Better Call Saul has just returned to AMC for season two, but many fans are still catching up on the adventures of Jimmy McGill. Season one of the series has just debuted on Netflix, and it’s easy to miss the smaller details while frantically binge-watching in an effort to get up to speed. But don’t fret! You can continue your Better Call Saul marathon, then head here for all of the Breaking Bad easter eggs, subtle nods, and other pop culture references that you may have missed.
We combed through all ten episodes of Better Call Saul Season 1 to give you the definitive episode guide. Enjoy discovering anything that you missed in the fine print, and let us know if there’s anything we’ve missed in the comments!
Better Call Saul Season 1 Episode 1: Uno
Official synopsis: Jimmy tries an unconventional method for pursuing potential clients after inspiration strikes.
– Episode one of Better Call Saul doesn’t just call back to Breaking Bad, it continues its story, with the former Saul Goodman, now going by Gene, fulfilling the exact prophecy he bestowed upon himself in the Breaking Bad episode “Granite State,” by managing a Cinnabon in Omaha, Nebraska. It’s like a 21st century, lost Bruce Springsteen song.
– The actual depressing music comes from The Ink Spots’ “Address Unknown.” The Ink Spots pop up a lot of places in pop culture, but nowhere more prominently than the Fallout game series, frequently appearing on the in-game radio station.
– A sad man needs a sad drink after work, so “Gene” whips up a Scotch and Drambuie with lemon juice, otherwise known as the “Rusty Nail.”
– They’re selling Renoirs on the shopping channel that “Gene” watches. Creator Vince Gilligan’s mother was an art teacher and he himself had experience selling art.
– “Gene” surfs some channels and we hear about an “African Pancake Tortoise” which may be a nod to Breaking Bad’s Tortuga…or the turtle that carried his severed head in “Negro y Azul.”
– At last, our hero watches a tap of his past glory, his commercials as Saul Goodman, the same commercials that surely brought the man to Walter White and Jesse Pinkman’s attention.
– Composer Dave Porter, who composed the Breaking Bad team, worked with Adam Dornblum and country singer Junior Brown to create the original theme music.
– Judge Irving R. Nance gets a very visible nameplate. Is this name an anagram? Does it hold any meaning? I’m not sure. Does anybody know?
– The address on Jimmy’s check, 160 Juan Tabo, reveals that at one point, Jimmy lived on the same street as Breaking Bad’s Gale Boetticher, whose address is given out by Walt while trying to intimidate Mike in “Full Measure.”
– Can you spy a beige coat and black hat sitting on the coat rack nearby? That can’t just be a coincidence.
– Jimmy, just like his future friend Walt, drives a really emasculating car. A yellow 1998 Suzuki Esteem is a far cry away from Cady’s the future Saul will come accustomed to.
– Real life ABQ diner Loyola’s Family Restaurant serves as Jimmy’s meeting place with the Kettlemans. The restaurant first appeared in the Breaking Bad episode “Cornered” as relaxed Mike and a livewire Jesse wait on Gus. The setting would be visited even more, being a favorite spot of Lydia as well.
– Jimmy’s secretary accent sounds like the sort of shoddy British impersonation that you’d expect from Bob Odenkirk’s buddy David Cross on The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret.
– Of course you recognize Jonathan Banks aka Mike Ehrmantraut, the world’s greatest employee.
– Craig Kettleman’s money issues sound an awful lot like Breaking Bad white-collar criminal Ted Beneke.
– The skateboarding twins, Lars and Cal, are played by actor, comedian, and drummer for Brooklyn band Grooms Steve Levine and his twin brother Daniel.
– Jimmy’s office is in the back of a nail salon, by their laundry room. This is a callback on two levels. First, Saul suggests a nail salon as money laundering scheme to Walt and Skylar way back in “Open House.” Next, Walt conducted his business for Gus underneath a laundry operation, sort of like how Jimmy conducts his work next to a loud washing machine…sort of.
– Jimmy’s quite the reference machine, making his first here referring to Howard Hamlin as Lord Vader, because attorney, Sith Lord, what’s the difference?
– Jimmy gets to deliver Ned Beatty’s infamous Network speech. In the movie, Arthur Jensen directs his rage at Howard Beale, who shares the same first name as Hamlin.
– Saul’s temper tantrum with the trash can echoes the beating that Walt gave the paper towel dispenser in the bathroom after finding out he had cancer in Breaking Bad’s premiere.
-When Jimmy “grounds himself,” he’s shown having the same key fob as Walter White.
– Chuck McGill Suffers From RF Radiation (EHS) Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity. A couple of historians have suggested that Nikola Tesla suffered from EHS, but the most famous case is of Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former Prime Minister of Norway and former Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). Interestingly, the WHO doesn’t recognize EHS as a real disorder.
– Chuck asks, “Wouldn’t you rather build your own identity?” in a playful moment of foreshadowing.
– Cicero, Illinois, the stomping grounds of Slippin’ Jimmy, also the birth place of JoBe Cerny, the voice of the Pillsbury Doughboy.
– Jimmy references St. Sebastian, a Christian Saint and martyr who was killed during the Roman emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians. He is often depicted tied to a tree, shot with arrows.
– Finally, the old woman who commits the hit and run is Tuco Salamanca’s grandma, and Tuco himself (Raymond Cruz) appears.
Better Call Saul Season 1 Episode 2: Mijo
Official synopsis: Jimmy is taken hostage by the ruthless Tuco Salamanca, and desperately plans his escape.
-Tuco is whipping up some grub in the kitchen, just like he does in the isolated shack when he kidnaps Walt and Jesse in Breaking Bad.
– The twins use of “biznatch” surely reminds you of the vocabulary that Jesse Pinkman would use.
– No idea which telenovela Tuco’s Abuelita is watching, but she’s pretty devoted to it.
– No-Doze and Nacho get a shout-out, though Nacho’s name comes up in Breaking Bad (we’ll get to that reference in a later episode) No-Doze actually physically appears in multiple episodes in season 2, as does Gonzo, who also appears here.
– In Breaking Bad, No-Doze also gets in trouble for speaking out of turn.
– This episode is directed by Michelle McLaren, acclaimed TV director and the woman who almost directed DC’s Wonder Woman movie.
– The close-up shot of Jimmy’s face after being thrown down into the desert is direct visual callback to Breaking Bad.
– Jimmy drops some Babylonian law code on you by name dropping the Code of Hammurabi, an ancient Mesopotamian work dating back to 1754 BC.
– Tuco talks about giving Colombian Neckties, a gruesome example of the psychological warfare used in Colombia’s period of political violence known as La Violencia. The method is also brought up by Jesse in Breaking Bad’s “Cats in the Bag.”
– “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Esquivel is playing while Jimmy has drinks with a woman at the bar. It’s from the Mexican composer/bandleader’s 1959 album Exploring New Sounds in Hi-Fi.
– A space blanket, also known as a Mylar blanket, was developed in 1964 by NASA and reflects up to 97% of radiated heat.
– “It’s Showtime, Folks,” is from so many movies, it’s impossible to know which one Jimmy is referring to.
– Jimmy pleads with Nacho that he’s “a lawyer not a criminal.” No, he’s a “criminal lawyer.”
Better Call Saul Season 1 Episode 3: Nacho
Official Synopsis: Jimmy must prove that Nacho is innocent when he is wrongly suspected of kidnapping.
-It’s definitely ironic that Jimmy begs Chuck to use some of his famous “legal loopholes,” considering the same sort of technicalities will later become Saul Goodman’s specialty.
– Bob Odenkirk’s wig in the flashback is giving me serious Mr. Show flashbacks.
-Jimmy mentions he’s being held in the Cook County Jail. Cook County Jail serves as setting for the musical Chicagoand is where blues guitarist B.B King recorded his 1970 album Live In Cook County Jail.
-Jimmy becomes enraged at the prosecutor for mixing up defendants, not being able to tell one case from the other. Mighty hypocritical of Jimmy, because in just a few years, he’ll be mistaken Badger for someone else the very first time we meet him in Breaking Bad’s “Better Call Saul.”
-When Jimmy stops to call Nacho on the pay phone, you can spot a graffiti tag that reads “JPi.” The same tag can be seen in Jesse Pinkman’s house, all but confirming that “JPi” stands for “Jesse Pinkman.”
-Jimmy complains about his bad knees when he’s tossed to the ground by the police, which isn’t the first time we’ve heard of this ailment. Saul complains about bad knees when he’s taken out into the desert to be intimidated by Walt and Jesse in Breaking Bad.
-Mike references a Super Bowl between the Steelers and Cowboys, but the teams played each other three times in the Super Bowl, Super Bowl’s X, XIII, and XXX, played in 1976, 1979, and 1996, respectively. Who knows which Mike was referring to, but surely he was on the beat in Philly for a long time.
-“Find Out What’s Happening” by Bobby Bare plays while Jimmy searches for the Kettlemans. The song was released in 1968. Bare has had a long career in country music and even dabbled in some acting in his younger days.
Better Call Saul Season 1 Episode 4: Hero
Official synopsis: Jimmy conjures up a bold plan to solicit new clients, but has to face the consequences when the scheme strains his relationships with a rival firm.
– “Hero” opens with a shot of two Chicago bars: “Dearborn Cafe” and “The Wheelwright Bar.” As far as Google knows neither of these bars actually exist.
– We get an excellent insight into how Jimmy eventually chooses his nom de plume.
“I never did catch your name.” “Saul…S’all goodman.” Jimmy replies.
So in addition to being an appeal to gangsters who want Jewish lawyers, “Saul Goodman” is indeed a pun.
– Jimmy’s accomplice hums Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” as part of his ruse. It’s clear that this is Marco’s trademark song and in fact will be the final song and moment of season one of Better Call Saul.
– Just a little fact in case you’re curious because I know I was. In Jimmy and Marco’s Rolex watch scam, Jimmy estimates a Rolex watch could cost as much as $3,000. The cheapest I could find was around $6,000 and that was for a PRE-OWNED watch. But factor in that this was a flashback to a time period before 2002, so their price may be pretty accurate.
– Mrs. Kettleman turns Jimmy down because “You’re the kind of lawyer guilty people hire.” Little does she know how right she is. One day, Walter White and Jesse Pinkman will seek Saul Goodman out precisely because he is a “criminal lawyer.”
– “Upon this rock, I will build my church,” Jimmy says about the bribe money he receives. Just in case you’re not the religious type, this is one of Jesus’ greatest hits from Matthew 16:18.
– When Jimmy is looking for a new suit for his billboard photoshoot, he briefly picks up a garish orange shirt before thinking better of it. This very same shirt will eventually become a Saul Goodman wardrobe staple. And if you look closely, you can see the same outfit worn by an infamous BB character.
– The number of Jimmy’s billboard is (505) 842-5662. Call it if you need to leave a message for the law offices of James McGill, Esq.
– Jimmy wears an American Samoa University sweatshirt while relaxing at the nail salon after hours. We’ll eventually find out this is where he “attended” law school.
– “He wants me to change my name!” Jimmy says about Howard’s legal complaint over the billboard. Jimmy will of course soon change his name to Saul Goodman and then presumably again after the events of Breaking Bad.
-The man Jimmy saves on the billboard actually played an anonymous henchman offed by Mike in BB. He also popped up in the episode two montage of Jimmy taking cases.
Better Call Saul Season 1 Episode 5: Alpine Shepherd Boy
Official synopsis: When his efforts to drum up new business are interrupted by alarming news, Jimmy is pressured to make a difficult choice.
– The cops think Chuck is a tweaker because he’s got campfire fuel in his house. Don’t quite remember that factoring into Walt and Jesse’s blend. Must not have been part of the ingredients for the good blue stuff.
– (505) 533-4455 is the number on Jimmy’s bench ad in the opening credits. Sadly this one doesn’t work.
– “Viagra was originally created to treat hypertension,” Jimmy tells his potential toilet pervert client as a way of making lemonade out of lemons. Take it away, Wikipedia!
“Sildenafil (compound UK-92,480) was synthesized by a group of pharmaceutical chemists working at Pfizer’s Sandwich, Kent, research facility in England. It was initially studied for use in hypertension (high blood pressure) and angina pectoris (a symptom of ischaemic heart disease).”
– Chuck references a Supreme Court case where “five justices lost their minds” and ruled that lawyers could advertise their services. That case is real. Bates v. State Bar of Arizona is a decision from 1977 and allows lawyers to “advertise in a manner that is not misleading to members of the general public.”
Jimmy probably won’t uphold the spirit of that law.
– There is an extended shot of Jello cups as Jimmy hosts bingo night at the senior center. This episode’s original title was intended to actually be “Jell-O”, maintaining the season’s episode titles’s ending in “O” formatting, but producers couldn’t secure the copyright from the Jell-O company to use it. Instead they went with “Alpine Shepherd Boy,” which is a porcelain figurine that one of Jimmy’s clients wants to pass down as part of her will.
– Speaking of the nursing home. This is the very same nursing home that Hector Salamanca will one day settle down in. AMC has confirmed this and Imgur user, “bobthemtnbiker” offers these helpful side-by-side screenshots.
– If the diner Mike finishes the episode in looks familiar, it should. It’s Loyola’s again, and it will prove to be a popular destination for all of Mike’s clandestine meetings in Breaking Bad.
Better Call Saul Season 1 Episode 6: Five-O
Official synopsis: Mike’s tragic past comes back to haunt him, and he’s forced to seek help from an unusual source. Jimmy’s moral compass is put to the test.
– This whole episode is essentially an interesting explanation or exploration of one line in Breaking Bad. Mike mentioned that his time as a cop in Philadelphia ended on difficult terms. Oh boy, did it ever.
– “Five-O” features our first introduction of Mike’s granddaughter Kaylee. Kaylee is the most important part of Mike’s life in Breaking Bad and influences all of his decision-making.
– “Five-O” continues the long, illustrious pop culture history of veterinarians as doctors for criminals or other various indigents. Vince Gilligan, an unabashed Tarantino-influencee may have picked up the trope from Inglourious Basterds.
– Mike’s Philadelphia cop friend rightly clocks Jimmy as doing a Matlock impression. Just one episode ago, Jimmy watched old episodes of Matlock just to get the lawyer’s appearance exactly right. It’s all because old people love Matlock; combine Andy Griffith and a kind lawyer looking out for the interests of the elderly and you got product more irresistable than butterscotch hard candy.
– Upon hearing that Mike hails from Philadelphia, Jimmy responds “Philadelphia? Go Eagles.” This appears to be a kind of conversational tic from Jimmy as he does it almost every time the name of a new city or state is mentioned.
– Mike displays superior pick-pocketing skills to get a notebook off a police officer. Jimmy may have been inspired by this skill because in his life as Saul Goodman he likes to employ people with superb pick-pocketing skills. Huell demonstrates this when he pick-pockets Jesse to get the ricin cigarette he has on him.
– Philly cops are drinking Yeungling in Mike’s flashback. Yeungling is purportedly the oldest brewery in America and is a Pennsylvania bar staple.
– “I broke my boy.” This line which became a kind of battle cry for people who want Jonathan Banks to win an Emmy was actually improvised by Banks.
Better Call Saul Season 1 Episode 7: Bingo
Official synopsis: Jimmy meets with potential new clients. When given the opportunity to do the right thing, Jimmy cashes in a favor from an unlikely ally.
– There’s an interesting shot of a caterpillar getting into a cocoon outside of Chuck’s house before Jimmy enters. It’s a little on the nose but Better Call Saul is fundamentally about one character’s transformation and by season’s end, Chuck will play a huge, unfortunate role in said transformation.
– “A deal is what they got O.J.” – Mrs. Kettleman says about not wanting to settle her case out of court.
First of all: here is a free plug to watch American Crime Story: The People Vs. O.J. Simpson on FX because it’s great. Secondly, what is Mrs. Kettleman talking about? O.J. received no deal that I’m aware of. He was found not guilty by a jury of his peers. A good deal for sure but not an actual plea deal.
But wait a minute, there was a second O.J. trial for his armed robbery case. And in fact, Simpson was presented with a deal that he rejected right around the time that this season of Better Call Saul would take place. Circa 2008.
– Jimmy and Kim share another cigarette in the parking garage. At this point in its run, Better Call Saul is beginning to refer back to itself more than it is Breaking Bad.
– Jimmy does the “right thing” by not taking the Kettleman’s money once he’s stolen it. This is certain to be one of the last times he does that.
– “Criminals have no recourse. And you two are criminals,” Jimmy tells the Kettlemans. Jimmy learned this in an earlier episode from Nacho, and one day, Jimmy will say the same thing to Walt and Jesse with the added caveat that they’re actually terrible criminals.
Better Call Saul Season 1 Episode 8: RICO
Official synopsis: Jimmy demonstrates to Chuck that he’s willing to do almost anything to win a case, even if it means getting his hands dirty.
– “University of American Samoa. Go Landcrabs.” Jimmy seriously can’t stop doing the sports team thing when mentioning any location.
– Speaking of locations, there is no such thing as “University of American Samoa” though they do have a nice Facebook page thanking Saul Goodman for his generous recent donation.
– Chuck has a nice Sony VAIO laptop. Sadly, Sony discontinued the VAIO PC laptops on February 6, 2014. It’s a nice little technological detail to show that Better Call Saul takes place in the recent past.
– In “Five-O” Mike’s Philly bartender mentions that Albuquerque has too many tarantulas for him to want to visit. In the opening credits of “RICO” we see one of those many tarantulas.
– The fact that the elderly always pay in cash will mean an easy transition for Jimmy once he adopts all criminal clients.
– When Jimmy is casting around for the name of an opera he could be seeing as a cover, he settles on “The Magic Flute.” Not bad work, Jimmy. This is one of Mozarts’ final works and is set in Egypt in the time of Ramesses I.
– “They’re the Pistons, you’re the Bulls,” – Jimmy tells Chuck to pump him up before a meeting with the Sandpiper Crossing lawyers. An appropriate analogy considering the McGills’ Chicago upbringing and the fact that the Pistons could never get past the dominant Michael Jordan-led Bulls in the ‘90s.
– “Lincoln, Nebraska. Go Cornhuskers.”
Better Call Saul Season 1 Episode 9: Pimento
Official synopsis: Chuck urges Jimmy to accept a harsh truth. A deal threatens to go off the rails when Mike’s ability to complete a job is called into question.
– As Jimmy and Chuck hang out outside, a fly lands on Jimmy’s pant-leg. Breaking Bad had a fairly storied history with flies.
– “We can Erin Brockovich the shit out of this case,” – Jimmy says. Erin Brockovich was a legal clerk who built a case against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company in California for contaminating drinking water. Julia Roberts won an Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG Award, a BAFTA, and an award from the National Board of Review.
– One of the bodyguards who Mike beats up and humiliates is played by Steven Ogg, who depicts the character of Trevor in Grand Theft Auto. The Internet was pretty stoked about it.
– “Pimento is a cheese. They call it the caviar of the South,” – Mike says about his pimento sandwich. A pimento is actually a pepper but it’s commonly incorporated into a cheese along with some mayo, and other ingredients.
Apparently pimento cheese sandwiches are a signature item at the Masters Golf Tournament. Mike’s definitely a big fan though as he will one day offer Jesse a pimento sandwich as they drive around running errands for Gus.
– “I’m gonna tell all those clients what a lying, miserable pig-fucker you are,” Jimmy tells Howard. AMC famously allowed Breaking Bad one un-bleeped “F-word” a season, though there are a couple in the pilot episode. I think we can all agree the best is “I fucked Ted.”
Better Call Saul Season 1 Episode 10: Marco
Official synopsis: In the aftermath of recent events, Jimmy seizes an opportunity to reconnect with an old friend. Chuck adjusts to a new way of life.
– “Sorry I called you a pig-fucker,” Jimmy tells Howard. Ok, maybe Better Call Saul gets two “F-words.”
– We get a shot of a dented trashcan in the parking garage that Jimmy brutalized earlier in the season. It’s a callback to both Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad as Walter White also had a penchant for putting dents in stainless steel.
– Jimmy tells his famous anecdote about a “Chicago Sunroof.” Co-creator Peter Gould told Esquire that this was an invention of the writers. But is presumably a real thing now. Not unlike blue meth.
– Jimmy and Marco run a scam about the Kennedy half-dollar facing the wrong direction and the ones that are left in circulation are priceless. The scam is just that: a scam. Kennedy’s visage on the half-dollar has always faced in the same direction. Though coins produced between 1964 and 1970 have a little extra value due to silver content.
– “Arno’s” German Pub in Chicago is also regrettably fictional. It was really shot at The Edelweiss Am Rio Grande in Albuquerque.
– Old Style Beer is a legitimate Chicago institution, however.
– “Marco” posits that Jimmy may actually be the progenitor of the Nigerian Prince email scam, a near ubiquitous spam email in which a supposed Nigerian Prince has unlimited wealth and is willing to share it as long as you pony up some cash to help get him out of a political prison.
– “You’re not Kevin Costner.” And here it is: the gold standard of all Breaking Bad callbacks. Saul once told Walt that he posed as Kevin Costner to sleep with a woman and we finally get to see it.
– Jimmy receives one of Marco’s rings at Marco’s funeral. Jimmy says he “isn’t much of a ring guy” but there the ring sits on his pinky finger and there it will stay for the entirety of his time as Saul Goodman. It’s like Bruce Wayne donning Batman’s cowl.
– “I know what stopped me and you know what: it’s never stopping me again.” There may not be an “official” moment in which Jimmy McGill becomes Saul Goodman but this one has to be close. Where Jimmy verbally says he’ll never let doing the right thing get in the way of a big pay day again.
– In the final scene of the first season, Jimmy drives off while humming the same “Smoke on the Water” song his friend loved so much.