It’s been a long time coming, but we finally saw Mike Ehrmantraut’s backstory play out on this week’s episode. Banks himself was getting restless sitting in that toll booth all season long, although he told the Better Call Saul Insider podcast that he was getting footnotes in his scripts that said, “Don’t worry. Mike’s getting out soon.”
He came out in a huge way, and he got a great assist from Kerry Condon (Walking Dead, Luck), who played his daughter-in-law in the episode (no, she’s not the same person who played the role in Breaking Bad; she had to be recast).
You might have been so in awe of Banks’ performance this week that you might have missed these 10 cool details from the episode (and sorry, but there were no actual Breaking Bad callbacks this week, except that now we understand why Mike was so protective of Jesse Pinkman; because he reminded him of Matty).
1. The opening scene, in which Mike arrives in Albuquerque on a train, was an homage to Spencer Tracy’s Bad Day at Black Rock, in which the hero also arrives on a train (via Better Call Saul Insider podcast)
2. The number on the train is 106, which happens to be the episode number, as well (Season 1, Episode 06). That, however, was purely coincidental, but the editors left it in anyway. (via BCS podcast)
3. The Kaylee from Breaking Bad is obviously different from the Kaylee from Better Call Saul (Faith Healy). The actress who played Kaylee in Breaking Bad (Kaija Bales) would be about 15 now. Breaking Bad’s Kaylee is also still waiting for her Pop Pop to come home. (via BCS podcast)
4. It was a heavy rain season in Albuquerque while they were filming the episode, which created a logistical nightmare for the crew (it took a long time to do just the cab scene because they were being held up by a lightning storm; according to union rules, no outside filming is allowed for 30 minutes after a lightning strike). Because of the weather, green screen had to be used in the interior shots in the cab and in the police car later in the episode, and it was seamless.
That struggle was compounded by the fact that Jonathan Banks came down with bronchitis, so during the Philly scenes where he was pretending to be drunk, he was actually so incredibly ill that a doctor came out to bring him to the hospital, but he begged them off until he could finish the scenes. Because Jonathan Banks is a goddamn hero. (via BCS podcast)