Whether Jimmy McGill, Saul Goodman, or Gene Takovic, all roads lead back to the past on Better Call Saul’s season 5 opener.
This article contains spoilers for Better Call Saul Season 5 Episode 1 (“Magic Man”).
Better Call Saul’s Season 5 premiere opened with a black and white flashback of ‘Gene Takovic’ being “made” by Jeff of Omaha United Cabs. A henchman’s icy stare put the pressure on Jimmy to reluctantly utter his famous catchphrase under a tormented whisper. Finger-point and all. Jeff’s request, presumably signing ‘Gene’s’ death warrant.
The juxtaposition of this scene next to Jimmy’s elation at legally changing his name to Saul Goodman later in “Magic Man” was melancholy personified. A chilling reminder that the actions of the past can never be buried six-feet under. History always has a way of rising back up out of the dirt, one arm sticking out from the grave. No matter where you hide or what identity you go by, it’s lurking, shadowing your every step. Ready to pounce back into your life at the most inopportune of times.
Author Dale Carnegie once wrote that “a person’s name is the sweetest and most important sound in any language” in book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People‘. Gene’s facial expression when confronted with his Albuquerque persona Saul compared to Jimmy smiling from ear-to-ear shows the relativity of a name’s expression.
It’s not just an identity or family lineage. Our names are brands that can thrive or default on their parental-based loan. In the social media era, every name is a small business. Reputations built by number of followers and subscribers (potential customers).
The name ‘Saul Goodman’ as a brand
By the look of Jimmy’s face as Gene Takovic, the Saul Goodman IP (Intellectual Property) was diminished way past Chapter 11. In fact, the Saul Goodman name brand is clearly beyond the Bankruptcy stage and been directed into Witness Protection. Yet, in Jimmy’s past, Saul Goodman is his salivation, a year thought to have gone to waste resurrected into good business sense. The end of his brother’s headlock over the McGill name. Blue skies, sugar cakes, and prior recognition (as the phone guy) all in one.
“Using a person’s name is crucial, especially when meeting those we don’t see very often. Respect and acceptance stem from simple acts such as remembering a person’s name and using it whenever appropriate.”
– Dale Carnegie in ‘How to Make Friends and Influence People’
As the old ad-age goes, ‘Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.’ The recognition factor that once steered Jimmy McGill to become Saul Goodman made ‘Gene’ shudder inside at hearing the two words in reference to him.
Jimmy McGill, Saul Goodman, and Gene Takovic represent the Exposition, Rising Action, and Dénouement acts of Better Call Saul’s five-act Macbeth. A modern day Shakespearean tragedy.
Be sure to read Ray Donovan’s Molly Sullivan should look familiar to Better Call Saul fans (Stacey Ehrmantraut) and Better Call Saul’s Patrick Fabian made a cameo on Barry in ‘Future Space’ (Howard Hamlin).