Welcome back to our weekly breakdown of the minutia of Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould’s Better Call Saul. While Brian Grubb 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 the phenomenal Better Call Saul Insider Podcast, and attempt to curate the best intel about each episode.
In this week’s episode, Jimmy boosts a hummel, and Nacho has a very bad day.
1. Dr. Caldera
Here’s some interesting inside baseball about the Writer’s Guild. Dr. Caldera, the veterinarian played by Joe DeRosa, has appeared in six episodes of Better Call Saul. Four of those episodes were written by Gordon Smith. According to Writer’s Guild rules, a writer who creates a character receives a payment every time that character appears in an episode. Gordon Smith created Dr. Caldera.
Is it a coincidence that Caldera frequently appears in Gordon Smith episodes? I think not!
2. The Saul Casting Process
Almost everyone in both the Breaking Bad and the Saul world auditioned for their roles (Odenkirk was an exception). However, when the writers come up with a character, they try an remain flexible about who they cast. On the Insider podcast this week, they offered Giancarlo Esposito as the prime example. They hated to ask him to audition — because he was a fairly accomplished actor already — and he wasn’t even the archetype for that character. They had more in mind a “drug kingpin” archetype or a “one of the actors who are now in Narcos.” Esposito came in, however, and he was completely different than everyone else, and “It was just right. This is the guy.”
That casting process also explains why The Breaking Bad universe so often hires comedians to play dark characters.