Season six of Better Call Saul has been fast-paced and exciting, with several major plotlines resolved over the course of a few episodes.
Over episodes 7-9 the character arcs of Lalo, Howard, and Kim were quickly completed, but one loose thread remained - GeneTakovic.
Gene is Jimmy McGill’s alais in the black and white flashforward scenes which take place after the events of Breaking Bad.
These scenes featured at the start of seasons 1-5, showing Gene living a depressingly quiet life working at a Cinnabon in an Omaha shopping mall, but were absent in episode one of season six.
With episode 10, Nippy, fans were finally treated to a full Gene Takovic episode - but one of the main characters was recast, in a jarring surprise to fans.
What happened in Better Call Saul season 6 episode 10?
The episode saw Gene schmooze his way into an old lady’s home in order to meet her son, Jeff.
Jeff is the taxi driver who recognised Gene as Saul Goodman in the black and white scenes in season four and five as the character previously lived in Albuquerque.
In Nippy, Gene sets up an elaborate heist for Jeff, distracting the security guard at the Cottonwood Mall, allowing Jeff to make off with thousands of dollars worth of goods.
Having set up the scam so that Jeff stole a high value of items and engaged in a federal crime, Gene blackmails Jeff into silence.
Why was the character of Jeff recast?
Don Harvey played Jeff in season four and five of Better Call Saul but was replaced in Nippy by Pat Healy.
Harvey wasn’t fired from the show, in fact he had been scheduled to shoot the episode, but the dates for filming were changed when Bob Odenkirk suffered a heart attack on set.
Odenkirk, who plays Saul/Jimmy/Gene had a heart attack while filming a scene for episode nine in July 2021.
This put Odenkirk out of action for more than a month, requiring major rescheduling for the shoot.
Harvey was not able to make the new filming dates because they clashed with the HBO crime drama We Own This City, which he stars in.
Harvey plays John Sieracki, a police officer assigned to investigate the Gun Trace Task Force.
Because Harvey couldn’t make the shoot, producers had to rush to find another actor with a similar likeness, and they landed on Pat Healy.
Healy is 11 years younger than Harvey, and production didn’t have time to fix his curly hair, and the show didn’t quite get away with the switcheroo, which ironically mirrored an earlier season six scene in which Saul hired an actor to impersonate judge Casimiro.
What did fans say about the casting?
Some fans criticised the change personality that Healy brought to the role. One fan tweeted: “The recasting of Jeff the Cab Driver in Better Call Saul already feels weird. The other actor (Don Harvey) had a weird creepy vibe to him that isn’t there with this dude but nonetheless let’s see how it progresses.”
Another said that Harvey’s Jess was “intimidating” while Healy’s “felt like a pushover”.
Another added: “I did miss Don Harvey in the role of Jeff. I like the actor they recast the part with, but Don brought such a creepy vibe to the character I wanted to see him again.”