Welcome back to our weekly breakdown of the minutia of Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould’s Better Call Saul. While Alan Sepinwall provides his always excellent coverage of the series (here’s his write-up of the most recent episode), here we will look at some of the details viewers may have missed, callbacks to Breaking Bad, references to other shows or movies, and theories on the direction the series is heading. We scour Reddit threads, Twitter, listen each week to Kelley Dixon’s Better Call Saul Insider Podcast, and attempt to curate the best intel about each episode.
This week’s episode, “Sabrosito,” took us all the way back to 1999.
Breaking Bad fans will obviously recognize the pool setting in Mexico with Don Eladio. It’s the same pool where Gus poisoned members of Eladio’s cartel in Breaking Bad. According to the Insider podcast, the Better Call Saul flashback is set in 1999, while the Breaking Bad scene is set around 2008. The only thing that has changed is the color of the deck.
According to the episode’s director, Thomas Schnauz, it was a lot colder for the Better Call Saul flashback, which meant that poor Steven Bauer had to hang out all day — from sun-up to sun-down — in a speedo in very cold temperatures. Schnauz said that his teeth were chattering some of the time, and there were a few shots in the scene where it was apparent he was cold, but Schnauz is clearly being hard on myself, because I couldn’t find any.
Another fun note about that scene is this: Javier Grajeda — the actor who plays Juan Bolso, a Mexican cartel boss who is killed by Gus in Breaking Bad — is an old roommate of Bryan Cranston’s. The casting department didn’t know that until Grajeda showed up on the Breaking Bad set and reunited with Cranston. Bolso, recall, was also the man who ordered the death of Tortuga in Breaking Bad and has his head placed on a turtle.