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Jimmy's Howard Fight Makes One Breaking Bad Jesse & Saul Scene Better
Jimmy's fight with Howard in Better Call Saul season 6 both mirrors and enhances a previous altercation with Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad.

Jimmy's Howard Fight Makes One Breaking Bad Jesse & Saul Scene Better

WARNING! Spoilers ahead for Better Call Saul season 6, episode 5.

Howard (Patrick Fabian) finally confronts Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) in Better Call Saul season 6, episode 5, and their fight makes Saul’s fight scene with Jesse (Aaron Paul) in Breaking Bad even better. Better Call Saul’s final season sees Jimmy descend ever more quickly into his Saul Goodman persona as he and Kim (Rhea Seehorn) attempt to frame Howard for “something unforgivable.” But in “Black and Blue,” Howard discovers the mastermind behind his troubles and challenges him to a boxing match. This moment, while striking in its own right, inadvertently enhances the earlier Breaking Bad moment.

The “Black and Blue” scene is not the first time viewers see Saul getting a beating – in Breaking Bad season 5, Jimmy is confronted by a raging Jesse. Saul had just arranged for Jesse to get a new identity and move to Alaska. But as Jesse realizes Saul stole his ricin vial via Huell (Lavell Crawford) and enabled Walt (Bryan Cranston) to poison Brock, he rushes into Saul’s office and gives him a good beating. Saul tries to reach for his gun, but Jesse is one step quicker and grabs it, threatening both Huel and Francesca (Tina Parker) with it. Jesse leaves Jimmy on the floor as he takes his car and goes to set Walt’s house on fire. But this won’t have been the first time for Jimmy.

Howard confronting and beating Jimmy in Better Call Saul season 6, episode 5 adds great depth to his Breaking Bad scene. Breaking Bad Jimmy will be remembering his beating in Better Call Saul – as he falls to the floor under Jesse’s angry punches, Jimmy will also be thinking about the time Howard outpowered him. This is unpleasant on several levels: no matter the outcome of Jimmy and Kim’s Howard scam plan, Howard has always been a sort of archenemy to Jimmy. Getting beat by him must trigger some very unpleasant memories (in “Black and Blue,” Jimmy already regrets getting “sucked into his game”). Furthermore, it’s likely the Howard scam is what causes Kim’s long-feared disappearance from the show and from Jimmy’s life. Viewers can therefore rewatch Breaking Bad‘s Jesse and Saul scene with different eyes, knowing what Saul is going through during those moments.

In Better Call Saul season 6, episode 5, Howard outmaneuvers Jimmy in several ways. First, he has Francesca direct him to a fake meeting with a client called Mr. Ward (“H.O. Ward,” as Jimmy realizes when he sees him). Then, he convinces Jimmy to settle their issues by “punching it out” (and as Jimmy points out to Kim, he falls for it, knowing that Howard would have trained and had the upper hand). Finally, Howard has hired a man to follow Jimmy day and night – of course, neither of the two believes their problems were resolved by the fight. If anything, it will only make the two go guns out on the other, escalating the situation to new heights.

Viewers have been fearing a tragic fate for Kim since the beginning of Better Call Saul – given the open fight between Howard and Jimmy (and Lalo’s growing threat), it seems like their worries are well-founded. When Jesse confronts Saul years later in his office, memories of Howard and Kim (and the arguably tragic end of it all) will flood Jimmy’s mind, making the moments of him taking a beating even darker. Once again, Better Call Saul makes excellent references to Breaking Bad, giving the original show an extra layer of color (not that it needed any).

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