'Better Call Saul' Writer Teases More Flashbacks, "Very Bad" Nacho Threat

Thomas Schnauz says "there's a lot of gaps to be filled in" on Jimmy's journey to Saul Goodman.
 Ursula Coyote/AMC

[Warning: This story contains spoilers for Monday's episode of Better Call Saul, "Nacho."]

Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) found himself face-to-face with his biggest criminal opportunity yet  in Monday's Better Call Saul.

After hunting down the Kettlemans (Julie Ann Emery and Jeremy Shamos), Jimmy also discovered the $1.5 million Albuquerque's most lovable embezzlers had fled with. The question of what he'll will do next is open for debate. While Saul Goodman would quickly slice off a piece of the money for himself, Jimmy's response is a mystery.

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

Earlier in the episode, viewers also saw Jimmy acting very un-Saul like, warning the Kettlemans someone was after money. Nacho (Michael Mando) wound up being arrested in connection to their disappearance, because he was caught staking out the place. Nacho, who in the previous episode offered to bring Jimmy in on his plot to rip off the Kettlemans, believed Jimmy was responsible for his arrest, and threatened to kill him if he were not released.

The episode opened years before the events of Saul, with Jimmy's brother Chuck (Michael McKean) bailing him out of jail. The scene revealed Jimmy likely began a legal career after vowing to clean up his act in exchange for his brother's help.

In a chat with The Hollywood Reporter, writer Thomas Schnauz reveals what the Better Call Saul team has in store for Nacho, and weighs in on Jimmy's next move, and speculates about more flashbacks and flash forwards.

What was the key to getting the Nacho jail scene right?

The fun of that is Jimmy goes into the room with one set of ideas and discovering what he thinks is true is not at all true. And here's Nacho thinking this lawyer has conned him. It's two guys with a very specific set of ideas, and neither one of them being right.

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And Nacho, who saved Jimmy in the last episode, turns out to be quite scary here.

When Jimmy walks into the room in that scene, Nacho is kind of watching him. "What is this bullshit he's peddling? He's trying to f—k me over." Michael Mando does this great thing that wasn't scripted. He bangs the table at a certain point and every time I watch it, I jump. When they mixed it, they took it to the borderline of being too hot, to the point of almost breaking with how loud the sound is. It's great.

What plans do you and the other writers have for Nacho?

He's definitely no Tuco (Raymond Cruz). He has a little more clear thinking. But there are several things you have to worry about with him. He works with Tuco and because of him trying to do this Kettlemans scam outside of Tuco's knowledge, the police are probing into his business. Tuco being Tuco, that could affect Nacho's life in a very bad way. Tuco can't find out about this Kettlemans scheme and Nacho wants the police off his back and he wants Jimmy to help him out.

Read more 'Better Call Saul' Bosses on Shocking Cameo, Going Beyond 'Breaking Bad' Timeline

Jimmy running from the police was a lot of fun.

Getting Bob on the run was a lot of fun, and hopefully we do it a lot more.

Saul mentioned he has bad knees in Breaking Bad, and Jimmy does too. How'd you decide to throw that Bad shout out in?

It actually kind of worked when we started developing his backstory as Slippin' Jimmy. We thought he must have taken a lot of bad hits on the ice of Chicago and he probably messed up his knees falling down all the time. When we did it in Breaking Bad, we didn't have a reason that he had bad knees, but it's nice when we can tie those threads together.

We also learn more about Kim (Rhea Seehorn) in this episode. Where are you going with that relationship?

This was really our first look into her and what her relationship is with Jimmy. Definitely we see a lot more of it. We'll see some stuff in the past and what they mean to each other. There's a lot of gaps to be filled in. We don't want to spell everything out, but they are definitely close and they've spent a lot of time together.

Read more 'Better Call Saul': Bob Odenkirk Explains "Sad as Hell" Opening Scene

Where did the "sex robot voice" come from when Jimmy was warning the Kettlemans?

We were just trying to come up with a fun way to describe his voice and how he could do it homemade. When I was young, there was something about putting a piece of waxpaper over comb. Vince [Gilligan] said, "oh you put it over the end of the tube." Some of those lines in there, the friendly stranger, we just let Bob talk and he came up with some very funny things.

How did you decide Jimmy would come face to face with the money in the final scene?

It's our our way of always doing a sort of cliffhanger or spinning into the next episode the way we did with Breaking Bad. We wanted to end this episode and every episode with Jimmy having a choice. Now he's face to face with this money, and a lot of it. Where does he go from here? Hopefully people enjoy that. It's the evolution of Jimmy McGill to Saul Goodman, and what are the choices along the way that turns him into the character that we know from Breaking Bad.

We definitely know what Saul would do in this situation, but we don't know what Jimmy would do.

Oh God, yes. That's the challenge as writers. We absolutely know what Saul would do in this instance, but he's not that guy. Who was his six years ago? And why does Jimmy McGill make one choice and Saul Goodman make another? It's a challenge for us right now, but it's a fun challenge. We are figuring it out as we go along. We don't have all the pieces set in place, but we know what tools we are dealing with so we are working with htem.

How do you decide when to throw in flashbacks or even post

We are playing with the format. The whole show is a flashback, so we have this free reign to sort of jump further back in time, go way back or flash ahead or jump into the scene that is during the time of Breaking Bad or go to Omaha. We like to play around with that as long as it makes sense and we're not just doing it to be artsy fartsy. Whatever the most interesting way to tell the story is, that's what we're going to try to do. 

For more from the episode, read THR's Q&A with Nacho actor Michael Mando.

Better Call Saul airs at 10 p.m. Mondays on AMC.

Email: Aaron.Couch@THR.com
Twitter: @AaronCouch 

 
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