A Forgotten Better Call Saul Special Sheds New Light On A Key Breaking Bad Moment

Ahead of the 2015 premiere of "Better Call Saul," AMC released a special one-off digital comic to bridge the gap between "Breaking Bad" and its Bob Odenkirk-starring follow-up, and it proves that things could have played out very differently for both shows. "Better Call Saul: Client Development" takes place during "Breaking Bad" Season 2, Episode 8, and follows the episode's events from the perspective of Saul Goodman and his longtime fixer Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks). After arranging for professional fall guy Jimmy "In-N-Out" Kilkelly to go to jail for Walter White (Bryan Cranston), as seen in the episode, the comic picks up with Saul concerned about getting involved with Walter and his drug empire. He tasks Mike with looking into this "Heisenberg" to determine if he can be trusted in the future.

As meticulous and calculating as ever, Mike finds his man, tracking Walter down to the high school where he teaches. Like the episode, the book ends with Saul surprising Walt in his classroom, ready to do business. However, a scene in the comic taking place immediately before this unannounced visit shows a crucial moment not seen in the shows. Before meeting Walt, Saul ponders to Mike whether he should accept him as a client, or if the best way to handle him would be with "the other thing," inferring he may have considered having Walt killed before their partnership ever even began. Saul thinks it over alone in his office before we see him shocking Walt at school.

The book was written Jenn Carroll and Gordon Smith. Steve Ellis provided the art, alongside Jon Haeffner on colors. Kevin Colden served as letterer.

'Client development? Or the other thing?'

The comic is set during one of the most critical moments in the timeline of "Breaking Bad." This budding partnership will only accelerate Walter White's ascension to drug kingpin. It will also ultimately contribute to the downfall of just about everyone even tangentially involved. To see this alternate take on the events that lead up to it all offers a glimpse into Saul Goodman's thought process when approaching his criminal dealings, as well as more of Mike's ingenuity that's been on display in both shows. It also proves that, from the very start, Saul could have been more dangerous than he sometimes gets credit for. 

A few moments from the comic would be revisited years later in "Better Call Saul" Season 6, Episode 11, but much of the events exist only in the book. Still, that doesn't necessarily mean series creator Vince Gilligan is done exploring his crazed take on Albuquerque. Beyond continuing the saga of Saul Goodman (or whatever name he's going by) in "Better Call Saul," Gilligan also offered fans some much-needed closure for Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) in 2019's "El Camino." Giancarlo Esposito, who played Gus Fring on both shows, has even expressed interest in a Fring spinoff, "The Rise of Gus." Esposito told Esquire in 2020 that, "I have this whole storyline in the back of my head that he came from political royalty."

So, though the credits have now rolled on both "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul," it's possible we haven't seen the last of the series' sordid denizens.