Better Call Saul recap: What you need to remember as season 5 arrives on Netflix

‘It’s all good, man’

Jacob Stolworthy
Friday 21 February 2020 13:54
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Better Call Saul: Season 4's closing scene

Better Call Saul is back, as the lead character’s journey from upstanding citizen Jimmy McGill to crooked lawyer Saul Goodman hurtles ever closer to its end.

This transformation reached a peak in the closing moments of season four. After being disbarred for confessing to tampering evidence and assaulting his late brother Chuck (Michael McKean), Jimmy spent the season building up an overflowing list of criminal clients under the pseudonym we knew him as in Breaking Bad ("It’s all good, man”).

The season’s final scenes saw Jimmy get his licence back after delivering an extremely heartfelt speech about Chuck – a moment that seemed to restore the faith of his girlfriend, Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn). However, when they left the room, Kim was in for a surprise: "Did you see those suckers?” he asked, laughing. "That one a**hole was crying. He had actual tears! I had energy going through me, it was like improv or jazz, and then boom – I sunk the hook in.”

After a largely plain-sailing season for Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), things are about to get far tougher following the arrival of Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton). We know exactly how intense Gus’ war with the cartel clan will get thanks to Breaking Bad, but season five will undoubtedly show that rivalry intensifying as his cronies complete work on the meth superlab Walt and Jesse will eventually go on to cook in.

Lalo was brought in after his uncle, Don Hector (Mark Margolis), became incapacitated in scenes that saw him become the wheelchair-bound, bell-ringing character we knew him as in Breaking Bad. That wasn’t the plan, of course – Gus wanted his spy Nacho Varga (Michael Mando) to kill him. Season five will see Nacho dangerously working for both sides.

Another character who has found himself in deep water is Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks). The past few seasons have slowly shown us how Mike came to be involved in Gus’ dealings – a decision that caused him to be tailed by Lalo in the final few episodes of season four. Recent episodes saw Mike truly tested for the first time after he was forced to kill Werner Ziegler (Rainer Bock), the German engineer whom he’d befriended during the lab construction. His willingness to do so firmly established Mike as Gus’ go-to henchman, a role that puts him on a crash course to meeting Walt and Jesse in Breaking Bad.

Then there’s Howard (Patrick Fabian), the partner of Hamlin Hamlin McGill. He had a rather tumultuous fourth season due to the death of Chuck – and even reached out to Jimmy in the hope they could make amends in the wake of their shared grief. What he didn’t expect, though, was to find Jimmy flourishing and rather happy to be free of his brother’s shackles. Howard sees his professional life deteriorating as he slips into a depressed state. It’s likely that Kim will side with him now, having seen a different facet to Jimmy’s personality. That will additionally go a long way to explaining why the pair aren’t in Breaking Bad.

Better Call Saul will be available to stream on Netflix on Mondays following its US premiere the night before on AMC

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