It’s always nice when sequel or prequel shows give a little nod to the original. It helps connect the two disparate parts of a franchise and makes fans feel good when they spot references that help knit the shows together. One such example is in the Breaking Bad spin-off, Better Call Saul. The show charts the transformation of Jimmy into Saul Goodman – the lawyer who would eventually join forces with Walter White and Jesse Pinkman – but also includes glimpses into his future.
That future, of course, came after he assumed yet another identity – Gene Takavic. And when we first see Gene, he’s working in Cinnabon in Omaha. Fans of Breaking Bad may have recognised this clever reference to the original show when they saw the first Gene scene. Back in the penultimate episode of Breaking Bad, both Walt and Saul were in Ed’s basement where they were getting the identities that were intended to see them assume an alias and move on with their lives. Saul was very keen to do just that and made it clear to Walt that he was moving to Nebraska and leaving what they had built behind him.
“I’m just a civilian,” he told Walt, adding “I’m not your lawyer anymore. I’m nobody’s lawyer anymore.” He was adamant the “fun’s over” and described himself as “Mr Low Profile” before stating his “best case scenario” was that he’d be “managing a Cinnabon in Omaha” in a month’s time. And sure enough, when Gene Takavic first appeared on the screen, he was living the dream. These flashes of the future were shot in black and white – and all the clues were there as soon as the scene opened.
It was immediately clear we were in some sort of eatery when we saw gloved hands working with ingredients and rolling them out. When the scene cut to two women working, there was the merest flash of “Cinnabon” on their t-shirts. Then came the revelation we were in Omaha, Nebraska. For many fans, this would have been the moment the penny dropped. A couple more flashes of at least a part of the “Cinnabon” name were thrown our way as we got confirmation that this was a takeout venue.
A few more food preparation shots, and it was time for the biggest clue yet. Cut to a view of the inside which included a pretty big sign we could read almost all of. “Cinnabo…, Omaha, Nebraska”. It said. Then 44 seconds in, we got our first look at ‘Gene’ who was confirmed as the manager of the store via a badge on his apron. And we saw the full word “Cinnabon”. The camera panned up, and we got a full look at his face. It was a genius bit of production that dovetailed superbly with the iconic line from Breaking Bad.