'Better Call Saul': Bob Odenkirk on Finale's Saul Tease, Season Two Surprises

The actor says Jimmy McGill's path to the criminal world may be a reaction to his "emotionally destructive desire to please his brother."
Ursula Coyote/AMC

[Warning: This story contains spoilers for Monday's Better Call Saul finale, "Marco."]

Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) is ready to break bad.

In Monday's finale, Jimmy walked away from a cushy job offer at a law firm that would have allowed him to continue working with his elder law clients. Instead, he sped away from the courthouse, but not before stopping to make it clear to Mike (Jonathan Banks) that trying to be the good guy would never stand in his way again. The camera swooped overhead, to show traffic lanes on the pavement making a clear "II" — a nod to a second season that appears poised to introduce a decidedly more criminal version of the character.

For Breaking Bad fans waiting for Jimmy to become Saul Goodman, this was the biggest step of the series so far. In a chat with The Hollywood Reporter, Odenkirk weighs in on that final scene, his hopes for season two, and preparing for the brutal monologue that finally revealed the definition of a Chicago sunroof.

How do you feel about Jimmy's decision in the season's final moments?

He's going to cut loose and I feel great about it. One of the things people do in life is they overcompensate. So he may well be overcompensating by becoming Saul Goodman for his brutal and emotionally destructive desire to please his brother and gain the respect and admiration of a bunch of people who aren't going to give him it — ever. He may be overcompensating now by becoming Saul Goodman and letting all ethics fly out the window. And indulging his natural proclivities for verbosity and ethically carefree behavior. But that will be fun to watch as well. I don't know what's going to happen. That may be what's going to happen.

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That monologue finally answered what a Chicago sunroof was. How did you prepare for that?

That's the great mystery of the season. What is the Chicago sunroof is. I prepared for it by doing it over and over and over and over. There are a lot of scenes where I'm running them, and I'll just run them six times. Just do the scene six times in a row. That was a scene where on my prep days I'd do it 20 times in a row. You want to flow through that thing and I find it to be an involving challenge to attempt to do the work as written, even in a speech that long. Exactly, exactly as written. So in order to do that, you just need to run it like crazy. I just prepped like crazy for that.

Was this a whole day of shooting?

It took all day. It was a massive day. Because [co-creator and director] Peter Gould shot it partially handheld, when I really go off the rails he stays with me.

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What will you take to season two that you've learned?

Don't have any expectations story-wise. I think experiencing this show, playing the character of Jimmy McGill is a lot like life. You don't know what's gong to come up everyday. Every time you pick up a script, you really don't know what new elements could creep into it and where it's going to go and the way the characters' choices are going to be reconsidered and changed and altered.

Fans, and even the writers, were surprised by a lot of how this season went. What are you expecting next?

Every script is very fresh. The story keeps renewing itself and so I'm ready for that. I think they way you do that is you show up with no expectations and you try not to define yourself or your character in a limited way. You allow them to have some latitude and to grow and to be in the moment. And that's probably a good lesson for life too. This character keeps showing me new things. I'm ready for that. I have no expectations. I'm ready to be surprised.

See more 'Better Call Saul': See 'Breaking Bad' Easter Eggs You Missed

We really got to see Slippin Jimmy work this episode. What was that like?

It was so fun.  Scams are real. People do them. There are people scamming as we speak. A lot of scams sort of share a certain chemistry to them, a formula. That coin one is a great example. It's so great when you sucker somebody in by offering up the skeptical character. So the guy overhearing it, he's having his own arguments answered and solved. 

For more from the finale and season two, read THR's Q&A with co-creator Peter Gould.

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