‘Better Call Saul’ Season 5: Bob Odenkirk Reacts to That Gene Scene

Better Call Saul opened its fifth season with the longest scene of Gene Takovic yet. Gene is Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk)’s alter ego. After the events of Breaking Bad, Gene is working at a Cinnabon in a Nebraska mall in hiding. People keep recognizing him from his Saul Goodman ads in Albuquerque though. 

Better Call Saul: Bob Odenkirk as Gene
L-R: Don Harvey and Bob Odenkirk | Warrick Page/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Normally the Gene scene is just the teaser for the beginning of the season, but the Season 5 premiere spent a good portion of the episode with Gene in black and white. Odenkirk himself reacted to that scene when he spoke with reporters on Jan. 16. Better Call Saul airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m. on AMC.

‘Better Call Saul’ might be coming to the end of Gene’s story

When a cab driver recognized Gene as Saul Goodman, at least that was in private between the two of them in the car. This time, an Albuquerque native confronts Gene in public in the mall. Gene calls Ed (the late Robert Forster) to pull him out of hiding, but then reconsiders.

Better Call Saul: Gene
Bob Odenkirk | Warrick Page/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

“Gene’s cracking up,” Odenkirk said. “I don’t think he can take it. He can’t do it. He can’t keep his mouth shut. He can’t be silent. He can’t be this other person. He can’t do that.”

Bob Odenkirk thinks Gene ‘Better Call Saul’

It’s always dangerous when someone recognizes Gene. Saul had ties to Walter White, so both the law and the cartels could be looking for him. Odenkirk thinks it’s inevitable that Saul will come forward.

Bob Odenkirk | Warrick Page/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

“Oh, I don’t think he can stay in that character,” Odenkirk said. “I think he’s got to say, ‘I’m Saul Goodman’ to somebody who knew him or to the world. I just wonder, I’m not as great with the specifics of the rules of the universe as Peter and Vince so what would happen if he did come out from hiding?”

It could be that enough time has passed since Breaking Bad that nobody’s trying to call Saul anymore.

Better Call Saul: Bob Odenkirk
Bob Odenkirk | Warrick Page/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

“Would he get arrested? I don’t know. I mean, he was Walter White’s lawyer. He had a lot of bad guys after him. Maybe there’s a sense that those bad guys stopped looking for him. I don’t know. Do they think he still has money from Walter White? So I don’t know what the rules are there.”

Gene reminds Bob Odenkirk of a famous man in hiding

Saul’s Gene identity reminded Odenkirk of political activist Abbie Hoffman. Saul is only in hiding to protect himself, but go with him on this.

“He presumed an identity because the FBI was after him and he moved to upstate New York and he led protests regarding the dumping in the rivers. He just did what he did. I think he had a nose job and he grew a beard and stuff, had a different name but he basically started being in the world who he was before he tried to hide. He actually did that for a couple years. He was in the newspaper. They didn’t find him, and then they did or he turned himself in, I don’t know. If you look him up, you’ll see his story. I imagine one of the hardest things to do is to become someone else and have a different name and try to keep anyone from knowing who you were.”

Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul roundtable, 1/16/2020