All The Incredibly Cool Details You Might Have Missed From This Week’s ‘Better Call Saul’

1. The episode’s writer, Gordon Smith (who was a Vince Gilligan’s assistant on Breaking Bad and promoted to staff writer on Saul; Gilligan joked that he slept his way up) has both a mother and a sister who are lawyers, and they consulted on the episode, specifically around the RICO statute. In fact, Smith’s sister has been consulting all series long on some of the legal matters in Saul.

Gordon Smith, by the way, also wrote the Malcolm in the Middle alternative ending of Breaking Bad with Jane Kaczmarek. (via BCS Podcast)

2. Patrick Fabian, talking on the Better Call Saul Insider podcast, spoke about his experience auditioning for Saul, saying that it was one of the most challenging auditions of his life. “I got three pages of sides,” he said, “they were blind, and there was no script attached to them. They were dummy sides.” In other words, he got three pages that “existed in space.” There was no backstory on his character (in fact, the character had no name at the time). “I get these sides, and I come down to my wife, and I go on this tear of, like, ‘How do you expect me to audition for this? I don’t know anything about this world?'” Fabian freaked out. “It was like putting me on a merry go round with a dart and a target 50 feet away.”

His wife’s response: “Well, isn’t that nice. What a nice change of pace. You get to go ahead and make it up and use your 20 years of talent to do whatever you want,” to which Fabian responded, “Oh, that’s not helpful.” (via BCS Podcast)

3. If you’re curious about what’s coming up in the final two episodes of Better Call Saul this season, Vince Gilligan noted (carefully) that we will learn more about Howard Hamlin. “There is more to learn… let me just put it this way. We don’t look at this guy like he’s just a douchebag… he’s as a fully formed, complex human being as we can allow for.” (via BCS Podcast)

How will that play into the “heartbreak” we expect to see in next week’s episode?

4. They talked at length on the podcast about the dumpster scene from the episode, and how badly it smelled. What’s notable, however, is that Bob Odenkirk was really adamant about throwing himself into the dumpster without any concern to getting messy. “I don’t want to be the kind of guy that wants to stay clean, so I have less time in the make-up chair,” he said. “You see all these guys, and they’re acting, and they kind of want to phone it in and not commit.”

That was obviously great from an acting standpoint, but on the other hand, every time he got out of the dumpster, they’d have to hose him off and fully re-apply his makeup and change his clothes.

When he’s getting out, and what ended up on film, is a scene where he actually fell (not on purpose) and physically hurt his hand.

5. Related: Gilligan related a story where Aaron Paul had to go to the hospital with a concussion on Breaking Bad when Tuco threw him through a screen door, and it was that take that was used.

Aaron Paul actually spoke to that on a Reddit AMA back in 2013:

“Raymond Cruz who played Tuco gave me a concussion during the episode Grilled where Tuco takes Walt and Jesse to his shack in the middle of nowhere where we meet the famous Uncle Tio. Tuco takes Jesse and he throws him through the screen door outside, and if you watch it back you’ll notice that my head gets caught inside the wooden screen door and it flips me around and lands me on my stomach and the door splinters into a million pieces. Raymond just thought I was acting so he continued and kicked me in the side and picked me up over his shoulder and threw me against the house, but in reality I was pretty much unconscious the other time. I kept pleading to him saying “stop”. The next thing I know I guess I blacked out and I woke up to a flashlight in our eyes and it was our medic. And then I hopped up acting like nothing wrong, but it appeared like I was drunk, and I kept saying “let’s finish the scene” but then my eye started swelling shut so they took me to the hospital. Just another fun day on the set of Breaking Bad!”

6. On the documents used in the episode, Gilligan offered:

“Back in the day, you’d fill fake documents literally with Latin because you couldn’t read them. And now you can read every goddamn thing. It makes life very hard.”

Basically, all the documents that were shredded were actually generated to look like real documents. They’d design them, make them look good, and then shred them. If it was a 20 page document, they’d design legit-looking docs for every page because they didn’t know which page would end up on film.

The demand letter written on the toilet paper also had to go to Gordon Smith’s sister to make sure it was the right length and right language. They also had to test toilet paper to see which kind could be written on the best. That’s the kind of painstaking detail that goes into every scene on this show. (via BCS Podcast)

7. The song used on the montage scene involving the shredded documents is Galt MacDermot’s “Coffee Cold,” a song originally used in the famous chess scene in The Thomas Crown Affair. (via BCS Podcast)

8. Here’s writer Gordon Smith on how they get Chuck’s house to “look right.”

9. Here’s a fun tease for next week’s episode, written and directed by Thomas Schnauz:

10. Interesting catch here from Season 3 of Breaking Bad (via Reddit user caekles): Jimmy’s undergrad degree in 1984 reads Saul Goodman, which either means that he changed his name to Saul and back to Jimmy and then back to Saul again, or this is a screw up.

Here’s how he got that degree: