The world of "Breaking Bad" reopens for business in just a few short days, thanks to the premiere of "Better Call Saul." Created by "Bad" men Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, the new AMC show brings one of Heisenberg's henchmen back from the veritable TV junkyard, and this time, he's taking center stage.
While it functions (mostly) as a prequel, "Better Call Saul" is very much sliced from the "Breaking Bad" pie. You might not need to have seen every single hour of Walter White's downward spiral, but (A) it helps, and (B) you'll at least want to remember some of that ride before calling up "Saul."
With that in mind, here's everything you need to remember about "Breaking Bad" if you want to fully appreciate "Better Call Saul."
Remember Saul Goodman.AMC
That's a given. The huckstering strip-mall attorney was one of the most well-connected men in Albuquerque's criminal underworld, and was always looking for an angle to make some cash. Though he goes by Jimmy McGill in "Better Call Saul," it's very much the same man — but he has a long way to go.
Remember Walter White.AMC
Not Heisenberg. Not the kingpin of meth. Remember the man, and where he began. When "Breaking Bad" started, Walter worked two jobs as a high school chemistry teacher and a carwash employee to make ends meet for his pregnant wife and his special-needs son — and that was before he found out he was dying of cancer. He took desperate measures in the face of a desperate situation.
Likewise, the man who will one day become Saul Goodman finds himself at a similar crossroads when "Saul" begins, albeit with less of a true death sentence hanging over his head.
The One Who Knocks does not appear on "Better Call Saul," at least not yet. But his presence hangs heavy in the premiere all the same. The ghost of Walter White, all of the money he earned and lost, all of the bodies he piled up in his wake, all of the lives he destroyed — all of it will surely haunt Saul Goodman throughout his spinoff series in the episodes and seasons to come.
Remember Saul's exit strategy.AMC
When Walter White was forced on the run, so too was Saul. He turned in his carefully-constructed identity as Saul Goodman for a new life and identity in Nebraska. In his final appearance on "Breaking Bad," Saul told Walter, "If I'm lucky, in a month from now, best-case scenario, I'm managing a Cinnabon in Omaha." Let's see how lucky Saul really is.
Remember Mike Ehrmantraut.AMC
Gus Fring's fixer turned Walter White's business partner had another partner once upon a time: Saul Goodman. Jonathan Banks' shifty-eyed Mike is a series regular on "Better Call Saul," despite his ultimate fate at Walter's hands in "Breaking Bad." On "Saul," we'll see how Mike and Saul first met, and how their relationship was adversarial at best from the very beginning.
"Better Call Saul" exists on a flexible timeline, according to the creators. While it's mostly a prequel series set five years before the beginning of "Breaking Bad," there's also potential for scenes that exist concurrently with the events of "Bad," and even well after Heisenberg's final stand.
With that in mind, literally anyone from "Breaking Bad" could pop up at any point throughout "Better Call Saul." Will soon-to-be Saul bail crooked company man Ted Beneke out of a jam? Will Saul witness Hector Salamanca ringing his bell one more time? Will we see the return of giants like Gus Fring and Walter White at some point down the line?
From characters big and small, you can count on seeing familiar faces from "Breaking Bad" resurface on "Better Call Saul" — and sooner than you would think.