Better Call Saul season 6 brought back two familiar characters from season 1 – and poor Craig Kettleman still never gets to drink his coffee.
Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Better Call Saul season 6, episodes 1 and 2.
Better Call Saul season 6 brought back two familiar characters from the show’s first season, thus turning a simple season 1 scene into a genius running gag. The Breaking Bad spinoff’s final season sees Saul (Bob Odenkirk) and Kim (Rhea Seehorn) attempt to frame Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian) for “something unforgivable” and get a hefty settlement in the process. This brings them to crook couple Betsy (Julie Ann Emery) and Craig Kettleman (Jeremy Shamos), and their tense reunion is filled with references to the first season.
In Better Call Saul season 1, Jimmy met Craig Kettleman, a former Bernalillo County treasurer who was guilty of embezzling $ 1.6 million. His controlling wife, Betsy, was adamant about their innocence, even after she and Jimmy played tug-of-war over their bag of stolen cash. Eventually, Kim manages to get them a plea deal so that Craig spends only 16 months in prison, and Jimmy forces them (through one of his very first complex scams) to take it. In Better Call Saul season 6, as Saul and Kim plan Howard’s demise, they look for someone to convince Clifford Main (Ed Begley Jr.) that Howard is a cocaine addict. But it can’t be someone Cliff takes too seriously – this would risk him taking the case and discovering it’s all Jimmy and Kim’s scam. Enter Craig and Betsy.
When Craig and Betsy (mostly Betsy) discuss their defense with Jimmy in Better Call Saul season 1, they do so over coffee. In season 1, episode 7, the three meet for one last time inside the familiar diner, and Jimmy strongly advises them to take Kim’s plea deal. During their absurd chat (where Besty insists there is no money and there shouldn’t be any jail time), the waitress comes over to their table and offers them coffee. Jimmy and Betsy let her know they’re good, but Craig lifts his mug in hope of receiving a refill. However, the waitress is already walking away. Better Call Saul season 6, episode 2 repeats this scene, as Besty and Craig request Cliff’s counsel inside his office. Craig is about to take a sip of hot coffee when Besty, disappointed with Cliff’s reluctance to help them, leaves and drags Craig away from the coffee mug. Craig’s two failed attempts at drinking coffee in just under a minute are an excellent hats-off to the season 1 scene, demonstrating how skillful Better Call Saul is at creating running gags and paying homage to tiny details from the past seasons.
Kim and Saul’s reunion with Besty and Craig is not just a great excuse for a genius running gag. It’s a barometer for the two lawyers’ transformation: Kim and Jimmy have embraced the dark side, humiliating and manipulating people into doing their (illegal) bidding. When Kim says “enough carrots” and threatens to expose the Kettlemans ‘brand-new scam (a tax service that misreports clients’ money and skims the difference), she proves what she meant by her finger guns gesture at the end of season 5. She is determined to bring Howard down and use the money for a good cause, giving poor people the legal representation only millionaires get.
Better Call Saul season 6 is doing an unsurprisingly good job at continuing Jimmy’s transformation into Saul Goodman – it’s only fitting that Jimmy’s first clients, the Kettlemans, reappear in the show’s final season. Better Call Saul season 6 will also see Walt (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse (Aaron Paul) make an appearance in the show, so the list of familiar cameos is not over. Once again, Better Call Saul reminds its viewers to remember every detail in every scene – one day, it might become a crucial bit of evidence, or at least an excellent running gag.
Next: Better Call Saul Season 6 Repeats A Huge Breaking Bad Ending Risk
Better Call Saul releases new episodes Mondays on AMC.
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