The Better Call Saul slip road is primed and ready to flow seamlessly into the Breaking Bad motorway following developments in season five.
A number of key events had to happen before the merging moments between shows, and most have already come to pass.
Warning: Contains spoilers for Better Call Saul season 5 (up to the end of episode 7)
Most strikingly, Jimmy McGill is now Saul Goodman and he is operating as a lone wolf lawyer, a maverick thinker, keen to bend every rule and jump through every loophole in the book to appease his less-than squeaky clean clients.
Saul feels ‘ready’ for the Breaking Bad timeline and is now playing a waiting game, so to speak, but other questions have been raised and need answering before the two shows collide.
What happens to Kim Wexler?
Perhaps one of the greatest achievements of Better Call Saul is creating nuanced characters with the same attention to detail as in Breaking Bad – characters with complexities, flaws and strengths.
Kim Wexler may not be the titular character in BCS, but she is the character we are unanimously rooting for.
Jimmy/Saul is the main man, but as his actions become increasingly erratic, we are placed in Kim’s shoes for much of the show. She has a line, she has boundaries, and they’re being increasingly tested by her boyfriend.
Naturally, her absence in Breaking Bad must be addressed in the coming episodes of BCS and the signs are ominous. The basic options on the table include a death or total alienation and escape from Jimmy’s world.
These are the two most obvious explanations for Kim’s apparent disappearance, but they are certainly not the only options on the table.
We have watched the entirety of Better Call Saul expecting her to detach from Jimmy in some shape or form, but there’s the wildcard option that she actually survives the show and is alive and well throughout the Breaking Bad timeline.
That does not necessarily guarantee a happy ending for her or Jimmy, but the more we see into the world of Gene Takovic – Jimmy’s post-BB identity – the more it’s looking like we could see Kim survive it all. Whether she remains for or against Jimmy is a completely fresh rabbit warren to run down.
How will Lalo Salamanca exit the show?
Lalo Salamanca has grown into a terrific antagonist in Better Call Saul, but unlike Kim, surely he could not evade the entire Breaking Bad timeline if he were still alive?
However, there is a strong chance Lalo makes it out of Better Call Saul with his life.
Saul’s first appearance in Breaking Bad comes in season two, in an episode appropriately titled Better Call Saul.
The lawyer is kidnapped by Walt and Jesse, is relieved to find the answer to his question “Lalo didn’t send you” is a resounding ‘No’.
This suggests the currently jailed Lalo makes it through BCS, albeit potentially still behind bars after being ripped off by some vintage Goodman trickery.
What happens to Nacho?
This scene also shines a light on the status of Nacho. Before Saul realises Walt and Jesse are not Lalo’s henchmen, he says: “It wasn’t me, it was Ignacio, he’s the one.”
Of course, right now in the Better Call Saul timeline, Nacho is operating as a spy for both Gus Fring and Lalo/the Salamanca family.
Assuming Saul is using Ignacio as Nacho’s full name, this actually raises hopes that the double-crossing foot soldier survives BCS.
He appears to be in the most peril of the three characters mentioned so far: Kim, Lalo and Nacho. However, Saul’s line in Breaking Bad could suggest he managed to wriggle free from danger at the expense of Lalo.
When will Saul move into his Breaking Bad office?
One of the major logistical moves that must take place before Breaking Bad is Saul’s office move at the back of the nail bar to the strip mall where he resides in Breaking Bad.
In the grand scheme of the shows merging, this would be one of the least significant moves for Saul himself – after all, we’ve already seen him in multiple offices throughout BCS, but quite simply, we can’t proceed to the Breaking Bad timeline without Saul rooted in his corner of the mall, inflatable Statue of Liberty and all.
When will lab construction continue?
Arguably the most important location across both shows is the hidden crystal in Gus’ armoury of tools against the Salamanca’s, his buried laboratory.
Construction ceased on the site following the rogue antics of chief engineer Werner Ziegler. He was shot by Mike Erhmantraut after beginning to spill secrets inadvertently to Lalo in season four.
Gus’ expansion plans simply can’t proceed without the superlab, and nor can Breaking Bad with the lab of course to be occupied by Walt and Jesse, following in the footsteps of Gale Boetticher who is ready to cook pending completion of the superlab in BCS.
As the Fring-Salamanca war continues to escalate, Gus clearly has enough on his plate already without addressing the need for a new team of engineers and the return to construction. However, something has to give soon, with time running out for the lab to be completed with the events of Breaking Bad on the horizon…
Better Call Saul is streaming now on Netflix, with new episodes every Tuesday – check out what else is on with our TV Guide