Writer for ‘Better Call Saul’ Pivot on Gene’s World

This post contains Spoilers for this week’s Better Call Saul, “Nippy,”We have recapped them here. 

Better Call Saul The viewers are forgiven if they think AMC aired a wrong episode this week. “Nippy,” an episode-length trip into the black-and-white world of Gene Takovic from Cinnabon — a.k.a. After the events of, Saul Goodman adopts the fugitive name of Saul Goodman. Breaking Bad — is the sort of story that many BCS It was expected to arrive at the conclusion of the series, but fans may have mistakenly assumed otherwise. Instead, it arrives with three more hours of footage. Saul Go.

Alison Tatlock, a veteran Saul writer who drew the assignment of getting Gene out of the mess he got into with Jeff — the cab driver who recognized him as Saul Goodman — is aware that the timing of “Nippy”This may be unexpected. It may feel unexpected, but she insists that it “just felt pleasing”Thank you to the creative team “and we hoped that even if it was surprising and perhaps maddening, that it would be pleasing to the audience as well.”

Tatlock spoke to Rolling Stone about all things Cinnabon Gene, and offered a few hints about what might be coming over the series’ final three installments.

You didn’t join the show until the fourth season. What did you think about the Gene flash-forwards, which began each season, before that?
They were great. I was a huge fan and looked forward to every season to see what Gene would be up to. It was so exciting to think that we would finally meet the mustachioed man with his black-and white world and learn more about him. It was clear that I wanted to be a viewer and I was then quite surprised that I decided to take that journey as an author.

Saul Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, the creators of Season Four, have been open about their inability to plan for the future. Who knew where the Gene prologue from Season Four would lead Jeff?
It was obvious that Gene would have trouble. We had some vague ideas and we discussed what might happen. We were all discussing the following headline at the time: “We want this to have ripple effects for us down the line for a couple of seasons.” When we were casting the part, we were pretty sure — and you never know, because things change in the [writers] room — that the character would come back and be more important in future seasons, and beyond a guy looking in his rearview mirror in a taxi. We kept this in mind as we were looking at actors.

In this case, you wound up casting Don Harvey, who then wasn’t available to come shoot this episode. Did you ever discuss the possibility of changing the Jeff plotline?
We had many conversations about the best way to approach this. The end result was that our characters were placed in difficult situations they must solve. In this instance, we found ourselves in a difficult situation we had to overcome. And we were so happy with Pat Healy’s performance as Jeff that in the end we did not feel it was a mistake or a tragedy at all.

This is the episode that many of us expected to be the series’ finale. Can you give us any insight as to why Gene got a complete episode?
It’s kind of a paradox. It felt natural to our senses. We really try to allow the story to unfold and follow its lead, rather than planning too far ahead in any concrete way, even if we have vague notions of where it’s going. It felt like the right time for Gene to enter Gene world, even though it was not something we had expected. This is a very wrong moment. It felt like a story telling way to unfold into Gene world. It just felt right.

It felt right to do this now, but why? Did you feel like the audience needed a break after Kim and Jimmy’s fight? Do you feel the audience needs a break?
I like that you’re framing it in terms of us being so compassionate about the audience needing a break! We love our fans, and we’re so appreciative, but we also love to surprise and to defy expectations — if it makes sense, if it feels right. It’s not just for the sake. It was a delight to not go to the next step in the season’s trajectory. This would have been more Saul Goodman world or just one more beat from the end. [last week’s episode]Instead of focusing on the obvious, it was better to simply take a sharp turn in another direction. It felt good to us, and even though it was surprising and maddening, we hoped it would be a pleasant surprise for the audience.

How did this come about?
Each episode is a team effort. We all work together to make it happen. It was an honor to have been the episode’s writer. We knew that Gene needed to find a way to empower himself and channel the Saul Goodman spirit. And how can he do that when he’s undercover in his visor and doing everything that he can to be as small as possible? We realized that he must use all the tools available to him. He’s in a mall, so he uses a mall. How do you pull off a scam in the mall? This is because he has a special talent for being resourceful. He can use what’s in front of him, no matter how pedestrian it might seem, no matter how unglamorous, that he can take and twist to get what he wants.

When Gene has to stall after Jeff slips and falls on the waxed floor, he does the thing we’ve so often seen Jimmy do, and does a tearful monologue inspired by real events from his life. He seems more upset mentioning his brother’s death than he did right after Chuck died. Are his crocodile tears just an act of desperation for the security guard or is there something more? 
In that moment, we feel there’s a lot of truth. He just has this uncanny ability, under duress, at certain moments, to feel his feelings and admit to things that he’s never said out loud before, and also use those confessions and those emotions to get what he wants.

Peter has said that one of the early ideas in the show’s development was for Saul Goodman to be “sort of a Jerry Maguire for criminals”where he prepared and assembled teams for different capers. Is this an episode that was born out of a desire for a similar show?
It is quite interesting. It is something I cannot confirm or deny. I will say that I don’t remember a moment in the room or a discussion where we said, “Oh, this will finally be that version that was discussed early on.” I can’t claim to know whether, subconsciously in the workings of Peter and Vince, that might not have been an itch that was fun to scratch for them.

Gene, who was robbed by Jeff at his store, tries on a shirt-and-tie combination that looks like what he would wear as Saul in the last scene. He then holds them up in front of him, and then he hangs them on a rack. He was unsure if he felt the con had awakened something within him, or was it a last chance to see the man he once was.
It could be taken in either direction. This could be a question that we will have to wait and see. For me, the moment of longing seems almost like a longing for a missing lover. It’s great that he makes it public for all to see. It’s almost like an actor leaving his costume behind, or even the ghost of something. He can’t fully own it.

Finally, I’m not sure what you can say about this. But if last week’s episode felt like the end of the story we’ve been watching for six seasons, and this felt like the epilogue, then what exactly should viewers expect from these remaining three episodes?
That is for sure, you’ll have to wait and see. And I hear what you’re saying. I feel, and I hope, that there are still lingering questions about how it all came to this and what happened to certain key moments or players. These will be addressed in the next episodes.


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