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Top 20 Hidden References to Breaking Bad in Better Call Saul

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu
"Better Call Saul" is an incredible show and part of its charm is seeing how well it connects to "Breaking Bad." For this list, we'll be looking at the best Easter Eggs and callbacks to “Breaking Bad” in the prequel spinoff “Better Call Saul.” We'll be talking about some major plot developments on both shows, so consider this your spoiler warning. Our countdown includes the Kettlemans' hiding place, Ice Station Zebra Associates, Name-Dropping Nacho, why Tuco was in prison, and more!
Transcript
"Better Call Saul" is an incredible show and part of its charm is seeing how well it connects to "Breaking Bad." For this list, we’ll be looking at the best Easter Eggs and callbacks to “Breaking Bad” in the prequel spinoff “Better Call Saul.” We’ll be talking about some major plot developments on both shows, so consider this your spoiler warning. Our countdown includes the Kettlemans' hiding place, Ice Station Zebra Associates, Name-Dropping Nacho, why Tuco was in prison, and more! Have you caught any “Breaking Bad” references in “Better Call Saul”? Let us know in the comments!

#20: Jesse’s Graffiti Tag


While we didn’t get to actually see a young Jesse Pinkman in this season 3 episode of “Better Call Saul”, observant viewers knew he wasn’t too far away. In the episode “Nacho”, Jimmy McGill uses a payphone with a graffiti tag reading “JP.” While there may be other vandals in Albuquerque with those initials, an episode of “Breaking Bad” shows a very similar-looking tag on the wall at Jesse’s house. Given that Jesse was known for delinquency in his youth, this seems like exactly like something he would do. And if he ever got in any trouble for it, well, he could always “call Saul.”

#19: Why Tuco Was in Prison


On “Breaking Bad,” unpredictable crime boss Tuco Salamanca was mentioned as being a former cellmate to Jesse’s friend, Skinny Pete. We weren’t told exactly why Tuco was incarcerated. But given his explosive temper and tendency for violence, we figured it was something bad. As it turns out, he assaulted one of our favorite characters. Working with Nacho to get Tuco out of the picture, at least temporarily, Mike hatches a scheme. He triggers Tuco’s volatile nature and takes a few hits so that he’ll be arrested. Though Mike might be the one with the bloodied face, there’s no question that he emerges the winner of this confrontation.

#18: Huell’s Pickpocketing Abilities


Bodyguard Huell Babineaux is Saul Goodman’s right-hand man. And he’s arguably his left-hand man too. Among Huell’s top skills is his ability to pick pockets inconspicuously, which had devastating consequences on “Breaking Bad.” To help win an argument against his brother, Chuck, about a supposed medical condition, Jimmy has Huell plant a battery in Chuck’s pocket. The revelation of this during a hearing causes Chuck to unleash a tirade for the ages. But Huell is as nonchalant as ever during his appearance. Do you think he would’ve kept working for Jimmy if he knew what it would all lead to?

#17: Max’s Fountain


A “Breaking Bad” flashback gave Gus Fring some major character development. We found out that crime boss Hector Salamanca was responsible for the death of Gus’ business partner, Max Arciniega. This led to a permanent vendetta by Gus against Hector. But he also kept the memory of his friend alive. In “Better Call Saul,” we see a fountain with the words “Dedicado a Max” - meaning “Dedicated to Max.” While Gus has a reputation for being cold and unemotional, his bond with Max showed that he could experience feelings as strongly as anyone else. And this dedication showed just how much Max meant to him.

#16: The Kettlemans’ Hiding Place


At the beginning of “Better Call Saul,” Jimmy tries to get county treasurer Craig Kettleman to hire Jimmy to represent him in his embezzlement case. The Kettlemans instead go into hiding, and Jimmy stumbles upon their safe house: a tent in the woods. Did you think those woods looked familiar when you first saw them? This area played a major part in “Breaking Bad,” as it’s where Mike lost his life at the hands of an infuriated Walter. We think we’re going to avoid taking any hikes in these woods if we’ve ever in Albuquerque.

#15: Tampico Furniture


Krazy-8’s time on “Breaking Bad” was short-lived, but he still made a lasting impression on viewers. “Better Call Saul” gave us more insight into the character, including how he got his nickname and how he became a DEA informant. There’s also this bit of continuity. We see him driving a van and wearing a uniform for Tampico Furniture. While chained in Jesse’s basement, Krazy-8 tells Walter about his dad owning that store and how he used to work there. It might not have any significant bearings on the plot, but it’s still nice to get more context into who this character was.

#14: Juan Tabo Boulevard


When it comes to accurately portraying Albuquerque, the series creators have done their homework. In “Breaking Bad,” we learn that chemist Gale Boetticher lived on Juan Tabo Boulevard. And on “Better Call Saul,” a check written to Jimmy lists his business address as “160 Juan Tabo.” Does that seem like a bit too large of a coincidence? Well, Juan Tabo Boulevard is a major road in Albuquerque. And Gale lived on the 6000 block. So, it’s not like he and Jimmy were neighbors. Also, Jimmy’s address in real life is a nail salon, just like he worked out of as a struggling lawyer. Like we said, these writers are detail-oriented.

#13: Getting Revenge on Ken


If you’re a more casual fan of “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul,” the name “Ken,” might have you drawing a blank. However, he made two memorable appearances in both shows. In “Breaking Bad,” he steals Walter’s parking spot, which Walt later gets some very satisfying revenge for. And in “Better Call Saul,” his obnoxious demeanor leads Jimmy and Kim to pull a scam on him. We don’t know much about Ken other than that he’s a stock broker and that he tends to get on people’s bad side. But he’s still been part of two of the best scenes in either show. Is “Better Call Ken” ever happening?

#12: Saul Goodman’s Car


At the start of “Better Call Saul,” Jimmy McGill is struggling. This is perfectly illustrated by his car: a 1998 Suzuki Esteem in bad condition. How bad? It’s not even a uniform color due to the right rear door needing to be replaced. But we get a hint of Jimmy’s eventual rise to power and increased status. In the first episode, he parks his beater next to a 1997 Cadillac DeVille, the same model as his car on “Breaking Bad.” It might be a year older, but there’s no question that this is the superior car. Of course, it’s the “LWYRUP” vanity license plate that truly makes it a Saul Goodman car. The man is many things; subtle is not one of them.

#11: A Cinnabon in Omaha


When the proverbial you-know-what hits the fan towards the end of season five of “Breaking Bad”, Saul Goodman is considering his options - which mainly consist of keeping a low profile and, well, keeping his life, if he’s lucky. In a throwaway comment when talking to Walter White, Saul mentions that he’ll be lucky if he’s managing a Cinnabon in Omaha. And yep, you guessed it, in a selection of flash-forward scenes from “Better Call Saul”, we see Jimmy, aka Saul, aka Gene, working at a Cinnabon in Omaha, in tense and memorable black and white sequences.

#10: Casa Tranquila


In his elderly client days, Jimmy would head to a certain Casa Tranquila retirement home in order to generate new business - and he did pretty well for himself in the process. If Casa Tranquila looks familiar though, it’s because it just so happens to be the same retirement home that the wheelchair-bound Hector Salamanca spends his time in during “Breaking Bad”. It’s also the place where Hector and Gus have their final, explosive showdown. And let’s not forget, “Better Call Saul” also shows us how Hector ended up in a wheelchair in the first place - and how he learned to communicate using that dreaded bell.

#9: Name-Dropping Nacho


In a scene from an early “Breaking Bad” episode, Walt and Jessie have a run in with Saul - and in an attempt to scare him, they take him out to a hole in the desert. This scene alone has so much content based on Saul’s past, including his dollar in the pocket attorney-client technique, mention of his bad knees, and most significantly, his attempt to point the blame at someone called Ignacio. At the time, we just thought this was a made-up name. But the prequel series has introduced Ignacio, aka Nacho, as a key character. So, it turns out it wasn’t all just BS after all. He also mentions Lalo, who we’d come to know as one of “Better Call Saul’s” most fearsome antagonists.

#8: Watch Out for Tarantulas


Mike quickly becomes a key focus in “Better Call Saul”, and we see him leaving Philadelphia and heading to Albuquerque. But there’s a moment, just before Mike leaves, where a bartender tells him to keep an eye out for tarantulas. A meaningless comment on the surface, but it’s actually a reference to the train heist in season five of “Breaking Bad”, which has Todd shooting a kid on a motorbike. That episode starts with said kid collecting a tarantula in a jar in the desert, and later on, it falls to the ground after he is shot. So, the mention of tarantulas earlier on acts as a grim foreboding.

#7: Ice Station Zebra Associates


This is a clever one. Throughout “Better Call Saul” we learn of the close relationship between Jimmy and Kim. And one of their favorite pastimes is watching movies together, specifically “Ice Station Zebra”, which Kim has fond memories of because of her father. Why is this significant? Well, the fake company, Ice Station Zebra Associates, is referenced during one of Jimmy and Kim’s scams. And more significantly, Saul uses Ice Station Zebra Associates as the name of a holding company to help Walt launder his money in “Breaking Bad”.

#6: Belize


Hardcore “Breaking Bad” fans will remember the time when Saul suggests to Walt that they should send Hank to the same place Mike went, you know, Belize. Walt did not take that suggestion lightly. Of course, Saul was using Belize as a euphemism for murder in that instance. In a callback to that moment, Saul, as Jimmy, drops Belize into his routine during his bingo-calling gig at a retirement home in “Better Call Saul”. To the uninitiated, it’s purely a random holiday destination. But to fans of the series, it’s a cool easter egg that carries a lot of weight.

#5: The Pink Pig


Mike’s certainly got a tough outer shell, both physically and emotionally. And throughout his tenure in the “Breaking Bad” universe, we never see his guard go down. Well, except for when he’s with his granddaughter Kaylee. In “Better Call Saul”, we see Mike spending lots of time with her, and giving her gifts, including a cute pink pig teddy bear. Eagle-eyed viewers will have noticed that Mike later uses the same teddy bear to distract a hitman, who's waiting on the other side of a door for him, in “Breaking Bad”. Clever.

#4: Zafiro Añejo Tequila


As fictional brands go, this one is pretty significant. A tainted bottle of the stuff helped Gus take out an entire cartel mob, remember? But that wasn’t its first appearance in the series. Zafiro Añejo tequila features a few times in “Better Call Saul” - notably in a scene where Jimmy and Kim scam a guy called Ken in a bar - convincing him to buy them $50 shots of the stuff. Jimmy also buys a congratulatory bottle for him and Kim to drink in season three of the show.

#3: A Dollar in the Pocket


Saul Goodman’s role as Walter and Jesse’s legal counsel starts when he asks them to each put a dollar in his pocket to ensure attorney-client privilege. As we learn in “Better Call Saul,” he didn’t come up with this on his own. When Kim learns of Jimmy falsifying evidence, she has him give her cash in order to keep things confidential. This trick clearly stuck with Jimmy, and he was even able to use it in a very stressful situation. While lawyers typically charge more than a dollar for their services, Kim’s method is still an effective way for establishing a client relationship on short notice. Of course, it’s not as helpful if you never carry cash.

#2: Loyola’s Diner


A lot goes down in Albuquerque diners - especially at the famed Loyola’s Diner. The seemingly normal eatery is a favorite meet up spot for Mike and Lydia in “Breaking Bad”. And Mike can also be seen taking Jesse for a meal here in season four of the series. If its setting looks familiar, that’s because it also features numerous times in “Better Call Saul”, with Jimmy meeting the Kettlemans, Mike meeting Hector Salamanca and Mike also occasionally dining there alone. Not only that, but it’s actually a very real restaurant that you can go and visit in Albuquerque.

#1: Kevin Costner


You’re never quite sure whether what is coming out of Saul’s mouth is fact or fiction. And when he claims that he managed to convince a woman he was Kevin Costner in “Breaking Bad,” most of us likely assumed it was just an elaborate lie in order to prove a point to Walt. But, it turns out, he was telling the truth. In an episode of “Better Call Saul”, you see a hazy-eyed Jimmy waking up to the sight of a confused and angry woman, who is quickly realizing that he’s not who he said he was - the night before. That’s Jimmy.
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