5 Details You Missed In The ‘Better Call Saul’ S4 Premiere

Better Call Saul is back – and after the devastating season 3 finale (“Lantern”, in case you were capable of forgetting that last scene), things are looking like they’re getting a WHOLE lot closer to arriving at the point where Jimmy McGill is no more and all that’s left is Saul Goodman (“Well, Howard, I guess that’s your cross to bear” was pretty clear in that regard). But the thing that truly makes this show special is its attention to detail – here are 5 of the most important lil details we noticed in the season 4 premiere:


1. A very appropriate opening number

As with all seasons of Better Call Saul, season 4 opens with an extended black-and-white Gene scene – detailing a panic attack he suffers at work, and the subsequent events it leads to at the hospital and after. And much of the beginning sequence is scored to The Ink Spots’ “We Three (My Echo, My Shadow, and Me)”. Anyone familiar with very old timey music OR the Fallout series should be familiar with The Ink Spots, but this particular song choice has a very relevant meaning to Gene. Here’s a small sample of the song’s lyrics:

We three – we’re all alone
Living in a memory
My echo, my shadow, and me

We three – we’re not a crowd
We’re not even company
My echo, my shadow, and me

What good is the moonlight
The silvery moonlight that shines above?
I walk with my shadow
I talk with my echo
But where is the one I love?

We three – we’ll wait for you
Even till eternity
My echo, my shadow, and me

The “three” should be pretty obvious – the echo is Jimmy McGill (a faint memory at this point, long-forgotten), the shadow is Saul Goodman (the dark figure he sees all around him and still manages to spook him, despite having never been “real”), and ‘me’ is…Gene (or rather, the bare essence that ‘Gene’ is supposed to represent). The three figures who encompass Jimmy/Saul/Gene are technically one being, but each is SO far removed from the others, they cannot be said to act as a group. They are inextricably linked, but still barely connected.

And all the while, they long for the one they all still love… (aka Kim)


2. Ted Beneke: Origins – and more!

As Jimmy is going through his happy-go-lucky morning routine, he takes some time to look through the newspaper’s Classified ads – and it’s filled with lil references towards Breaking Bad.

Ted Beneke is something of an infamous figure in Breaking Bad mythos – Skyler’s onetime employer and/or lover, he was the “T” in “I.F.T” and the ridiculous, unreasonable doofus who REFUSED to pay back his taxes in order to clear Skyler of culpability in his fradulent dealings. Which, uh, led to one of the more unfortunate tragedies in Breaking Bad, involving Ted, a few Saul Goodman-approved henchmen, and a slippery rug that all resulted in Ted Beneke losing function in MOST of his body.

But back here in ‘Better Call Saul’ days, Beneke Fabricators is little more than another listing in the Classifieds section. Little did Jimmy McGill realize that the name “Beneke” would one day bring with it some very dark consequences. Speaking of unexpectedly dark futures – there was also a hint towards one of Saul Goodman’s most reliable money laundering locales:

Yep, Hinkle Laser Base, a lasertag space Saul would use to clean dirty money – and briefly hide Jesse Pinkman from certain doom:

But then, I wouldn’t want to ignore the MOST important ad:

This isn’t referencing anything (as far as I’m aware), but it makes me hopeful Nacho will get tied up in a wacky cheetah shipping scheme later this season.


3. The ABQ Isotopes

The Albuquerque Isotopes serve as a SURPRISINGLY important plot point in the opening of season 4 – namely in the (unbelievably tense) opening sequence which saw “Gene” (aka Future Jimmy McGill as a Cinnabon manager) suffer a panic attack and get hospitalized, and then try to take a cab back to work. Just getting out of the hospital without being found out was honestly suspenseful enough, but Gene noticed something terrifying in the cab ride – an Albuquerque Isotopes logo dangling from the rearview mirror. Only someone FROM Albuquerque would have that – the symbol of a local minor league baseball team. And someone FROM Albuquerque might remember the city’s most wanted and most corrupt lawyer: Saul Goodman (who also had his face plastered all over town, mind you).

Gene manages to get out of the cab before anything is overtly said – but it’s heavily indicated the cabbie recognized him as Saul and may have gone to the authorities after the cab ride’s abrupt ending.

Later in the episode, we’re reminded again of the Isotopes – as Mike watches a game on TV, while pondering his first paycheck from Madrigal. In both cases, the Isotopes are a background detail – but both motivate characters to get up, get out, and do what needs to be done.


4. The song playing at Chuck’s funeral held special meaning for him

Early in season 2, we catch a brief glimpse of Chuck playing the piano by himself (before being interrupted by Howard) – the song was Gabriel Fauré’s Sicilienne, a work famously written as a duet for both the cello and piano. When initially performed by Chuck, the interruption is due to Howard delivering some groceries and informing Chuck about his brother Jimmy’s new position at law firm Davis & Main. The subtle implication is that Chuck has isolated himself – by constantly undermining his brother. He’s playing a piece intended as a duet as a solo – because Chuck’s pride and his past resentments towards Jimmy prevent him from being a willing partner to Jimmy today. Much of his adult life has been spent blocking Jimmy’s professional progress – and then, when hearing of Jimmy’s ascension to a legitimate, well-regarded law firm, Chuck can only stew in his anger. There exists an alternate timeline where Chuck and Jimmy worked together to accomplish great things – where their strengths complemented one another and they maintained a healthy relationship as brothers. But Chuck’s anger would not allow for that – and in turn, Jimmy’s thirst for payback.

It’s only fitting then that the song makes its return at Chuck’s funeral – being played as the traditional duet between piano and cello. This is the song as it was meant to be played, but now one brother is dead and the other may be eternally lost. The song is a reminder of what could have been – two individuals working together to form something greater, but instead driven apart by petty resentments that culminated in Chuck’s death and Jimmy’s further slide towards Saul Goodman.


5. A whole lotta little callbacks…

Better Call Saul is – at its core – a show about DETAILS. The two main characters – Jimmy McGill and Mike Ehrmentraut – are individuals to whom details can mean a great deal. Mike is relentless about the details (he actually DOES HIS JOB AS A MADRIGAL SECURITY CONSULTANT to justify his paycheck, in one of the premiere’s most unexpected and delightful twists) – while Jimmy tends to catch on to the small details others have missed, which allows him to be (often) a more effective lawyer than many of his better educated counterparts. And Better Call Saul (the show) relies on this approach, dropping small details throughout every episode.

Case in point: the quick shot of David Nivens’ biography, The Moon’s a Balloon at the start of the episode – a clear callback to season 3’s premiere, which saw Gene reading the book on his lunch break:

If you’ll recall, the season 3 Gene sequence ended with him collapsing – meaning season 4’s Gene scene is a direct continuation of his season 3 appearance.

Later in the episode, while mourning the death of his brother Chuck, Jimmy sits glumly as Kim brings him a fancy bottle of tequila for the two to take shots from (presumably to dull the pain, just a bit).

This specific bottle of tequila should look familiar – as its the same bottle that Jimmy presented Kim with in season 3, to celebrate the Sandpiper case’s settlement.

And of course, even THEN it was a big deal (beyond the even earlier callback to Jimmy and Kim ordering shots of the liquor while conning a businessman in season 2), as it was the extremely rare and expensive tequila that Gustavo Fring presented to Don Eladio in season 4 of Breaking Bad….the one that was poisoned, and wound up killing Don Eladio and the vast majority of his entourage (and nearly killed Gus):

In short – we’re lucky to have this show back in our lives.

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