Better Call Saul in black and white: who is Gene Takovic and season 1-6 flash forward scenes explained
Several episodes in season six of Better Call Saul have been full or mostly black and white instalments focusing on the character of Gene Takovic
and live on Freeview channel 276
Season one of Better Call Saul was set in 2002, and over seasons two to six it slowly caught up to where Breaking Bad begins.
However, the first five seasons all started with mysterious black and white scenes which were set after Breaking Bad, making the show both a prequel and a sequel.
Season six did not begin with a black and white flash forward, and it was not until episode ten that the post Breaking Bad world was revisited, but now there have been several episodes which are almost entirely black and white.
Who is Gene Takovic, where in the timeline do the black and white scenes take place, and what happens in these episodes? Here is everything you need to know:
Who is Gene Takovic?
Gene Takovic is Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman’s alias throughout his life after Breaking Bad.
At the end of Breaking Bad, when Walter White was unmasked as Heisenberg, and Jimmy’s involvement with the drug lord became known, he went on the run.
Jimmy enlisted the help of Ed Galbraith, ‘The Disappearer’ - a vacuum salesman who secretly works setting up people with new identities in far flung parts of the country, for a hefty fee.
Jimmy took on the name of Gene Takovic and moved to Omaha, Nebraska where he began working at a Cinnabon in a shopping mall.
To help prevent detection, Jimmy grew out a moustache, started wearing glasses, allowed his hair to thin out, and swapped the bright gaudy suits for plain sweatshirts.
When are the black and white scenes set?
It is difficult to pin down an exact year for when the black and white scenes take place, but they clearly occur over the span of several months at some point after Breaking Bad ended.
Jimmy has set up a new life for himself, albeit it a painfully boring one, but is still unable to fully escape his past, always looking over his shoulder for fear of being recognised.
At first, it seemed that the black and white scenes were set several years after Breaking Bad, as Gene seems much older and wearier than he did when he was living as Saul.
However, clues in recent episodes, such as a shot of a newspaper, suggest that these scenes were set in late 2010, just a few months after Walter White’s death.
What happens in the black and white Better Call Saul episodes?
The first black and white scene in season one introduces us to Gene and we learn that he is now working as a Cinnabon manager.
He then returns home to an empty apartment and watches some old tapes of his Saul Goodman TV adverts and is clearly nostalgic for his past life.
In season two, Gene becomes trapped in the rubbish disposal room and realises that if he leaves through the emergency exit the police will be called.
Instead, he waits for several hours until a custodian opens the door and lets him out - while waiting he had scrawled “S.G. was here” on the wall.
Season three sees Gene as a bystander to a theft - after pointing out the criminal to police, Gene has a sudden urge to give him some advice, shouting get a lawyer to the man. When he returns to the Cinnabon he faints.
In season four, Gene is being carried away in an ambulance after his collapse. When a nurse tells him that his driver’s licence has been rejected he gets ready to run.
It turns out to be a false alarm, as the nurse has typed in the wrong number - but it was another reminder of how Gene is always one mistake away from being found out.
The fifth season reveals that Gene has a stash of diamonds hidden away for a rainy day. Feeling nervous after his near miss in the ambulance, he takes a few days off work.
When he returns, he is recognised by a cabbie called Jeff who forces him to say his catchphrase, ‘better call Saul’. Gene calls The Disappearer but has second thoughts and decides that he will ‘fix it’ himself.
There was no black and white scene at the start of season six, but then we were treated to whole Gene episodes.
Episode ten saw Gene work with Jeff and his pal to orchestrate a robbery, allowing the cab driver to live out his criminal fantasy. After the robbery, Gene told Jeff to avoid him in future or else he would implicate him in the theft of interstate commerce.
However, in the very next episode, Gene enrolled Jeff into another scheme - getting marks drunk in order to steal copies of their identity cards to sell on. At the end of the episode, after Gene’s friend baulks at robbing a sick man, Gene takes over and breaks into the man’s home.
In episode 12, Gene, unable to help himself, steals watches from the man’s home and narrowly escapes thanks to help from Jeff who distracts the police and gets himself arrested in the process.
Gene then asks Jeff’s mother to bail him out, which raises her suspicions - she does a little research on Ask Jeeves and learns that Gene is Saul Goodman. When she confronts him Gene threatens her, but in the end he decides to cut his losses and run.
Season six also sees the first black and white scenes focused on Kim’s life after her time with Jimmy.
Kim seems to have a similar crushingly dull 9-5 as Jimmy, working for a sprinkler company in Florida - she also has a new man in her life and spends her days agonising over mundane decisions, like should she use Miracle Whip instead of her normal mayonaise of choice.
While the Miracle Whip conundrum is a microcosm of how dull her life has become - some eagle-eyed fans pointed out that the brand’s logo bears a likeness to the Wexler McGill logo from when Kim and Jimmy were partners in law.
The season finale, which lands on Netflix in the UK at 8am on Tuesday 16 August will revisit Gene, and probably Kim, and finally reveal their ultimate fate.