With the end of Better Call Saul growing closer and closer, what will happen to the show’s characters who didn’t appear on Breaking Bad? The penultimate season of Better Call Saul will begin airing Sunday February 23rd with a back-to-back season premiere, reintroducing fans to the world of the newly christened Saul Goodman. After season 4’s finale saw Jimmy officially get reinstated and begin practicing law under the ever-so-famous false moniker, the show has been inching closer and closer to catching up with the timeline of Breaking Bad.
However, Better Call Saul isn’t quite caught up to the Breaking Bad timeline — there are still two whole seasons for power to shift, alliances and loyalties to be formed (or broken), and characters to come in and out of Saul Goodman’s life. As Better Call Saul nears its end, however, fans will be keeping a much closer eye on some central players more than others. As fans of Breaking Bad already know, a few of Better Call Saul‘s major characters are nowhere to be found when the story of Walter White begins, which would seem to point to a sinister end.
Kim Wexler, Nacho Varga, Howard Hamlin, and Lalo Salamanca are all significant characters in Better Call Saul that mysteriously don’t appear in Breaking Bad, which is surprising, considering just how big of a role some of them have in Jimmy/Saul’s life. So, heading into the beginning of the end of Better Call Saul, the question gets bigger and bigger — what happens to those characters? Here are a few predictions about what happens to the key figures of Better Call Saul that don’t appear in Breaking Bad.
One of the most important people on the legal side of Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman’s life is Howard Hamlin, one of the partners at Hamlin Hamlin McGill, the law firm that Jimmy once worked for. Although Howard has stayed above-board and squeaky clean in terms of legality, he has served as an antagonist on several occasions in Jimmy’s life — frequently butting heads with him over a number of clients and cases.
Howard was also very close with Jimmy’s older brother Chuck, who was Hamlin’s law firm partner. Chuck and Jimmy had an incredibly strained relationship, and it was revealed that part of the reason Jimmy struggled to move up in the ranks and was treated so poorly by Howard was because of Chuck. Although Howard and Jimmy have never quite seen eye to eye, Chuck’s death in season 3 death has clearly had a significant impact on Howard, who has been much more compassionate toward Jimmy this season.
Despite his mellowing out, however, in the long run, things don’t look great for Howard. Over the course of season 4, he has appeared significantly stricken about Chuck, often seen crying or with tears in his eyes while on the job. Although he puts on a front for others, he holds clear guilt towards his treatment of Jimmy, and he even admitted that he feels guilty about Chuck’s death — saying that he blames himself. When it comes to how Howard’s story will end, as of right now the outlook isn’t good. His demeanor (and Jimmy’s refusal to accept an apology) suggests that Howard will either take his own life as his partner did or end up falling into disgrace as a lawyer. While it may seem like a harsh end for a character who hasn’t done that much wrong, such a tragic ending would fit with Better Call Saul‘s continuing theme of a fall from grace.
Although he’s only been featured in two episodes of Better Call Saul so far, Lalo Salamanca has already made a big impact on the show — and his legacy extends far beyond that of BCS. Brought in to run the Salamanca family’s wing of the cartel after Hector Salamanca was bedridden, Lalo is a quick-witted, vicious criminal with a self-professed “head for numbers.”
His appearance in season 4 stirs up trouble for Gus Fring and Nacho Varga, both of whom were hoping to use Hector’s incapacitation to their advantage. While Lalo appears good-natured and is often smiling and laughing, the facade fades away quickly when there’s work to be done — he’s just as dangerous (if not more so) than Tuco and Hector. While he doesn’t appear on Breaking Bad, Lalo is mentioned by Saul Goodman on the show. Saul throws out Lalo’s name when he believes that he’s being kidnapped by the cartel, which could hint at his fate on Better Call Saul. Saul seems to believe that Lalo is alive during the events of Breaking Bad season 2, which would point to him surviving seasons 5 and 6 of Better Call Saul. However, in season 4 of Breaking Bad, Gus tells Hector that the Salamanca name will die with him, which would imply that by the events of season 4, Lalo is dead.
This opens the door for a number of possibilities, which include Lalo dying at the end of Better Call Saul. Vince Gilligan and the creative team behind both shows have spoken about how each characters’ fate is tied to their actions on the show, and if there is any justice, Lalo won’t make it out of Better Call Saul unscathed. While it’s entirely possible for Lalo to die offscreen between seasons 2 and 4 of Breaking Bad, that doesn’t seem quite a dramatic (or cruel) enough end for a man as bad as Lalo. On the other hand, there’s a possibility that Saul could be incorrect in his belief that Lalo is alive (Saul has never been 100% in the know regarding the criminal underworld), which would leave the door open for him to die on Better Call Saul. So, with all of that being said, Lalo’s fate is still a big question mark; however, chances are that despite what Saul says in Breaking Bad, Lalo will bite the bullet on Better Call Saul.
Another character whose fate was seemingly hinted at during Breaking Bad is Nacho Varga, a career criminal who is attempting to get out of the cartel and save his father from the wrath of Gus and the Salamancas. As it stands, things admittedly don’t look great for Nacho. He’s stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the cartel, and if he were to move against either side, it would result in the death of his father — the person Nacho cares about above all else.
While Nacho started out as one the lieutenants of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul villain Tuco Salamancas, he has evolved into one of the most well-liked (and morally clean) characters on the show. Although he has killed before and he is entrenched in the cartel business, Nacho clearly doesn’t want a life of crime— he’s just trying to protect his family. As such, this raises a few issues when it comes to how he will fare at the end of Better Call Saul.
Like Lalo, Nacho was mentioned by Saul in Breaking Bad: Saul blamed Nacho for the perceived wrongdoings against Lalo, and told Jesse and Walt that “he’s the one!” Saul refers to Nacho as if he is someone the cartel could potentially go after, which would imply that he too is alive during the events of Breaking Bad season 2. Of course, there’s always the possibility that Nacho dies and Saul is trying to pin crimes on a dead man, but given the show’s sense of justice, that may not be the case.
Nacho’s role on Better Call Saul is similar to Jesse’s role on Breaking Bad — they’re both good people at heart who are in over the heads and are unable to find a way out. So, if Jesse could get a happy ending, why can’t Nacho? In the Breaking Bad universe, there’s only one surefire way to get out of the game for good, and that’s via Ed the vacuum repairman. While Robert Forster (the actor who plays Ed) passed away last year, he has been confirmed to appear in season 5 of Better Call Saul. The Netflix movie El Camino ended with Jesse getting to start over in Alaska under a new name, and while it may be wishful thinking, one can’t help but hope that Nacho’s story will end in a similar fashion. His father may not be as fortunate — he doesn’t seem as willing to go with Nacho — but the best case scenario for Nacho is likely him getting out via Ed “disappearing” him.
The biggest question mark on Better Call Saul is Kim Wexler. Since the very first episode, Kim has been Jimmy’s rock; she’s been beside him through all of his trials, and has supported him through many of his hardest times. They’ve also been in a romantic relationship for a large chunk of Better Call Saul, so she’s an irreplaceable part of Jimmy’s life.
As of right now, it’s pretty difficult to imagine any reason why Jimmy/Saul would cut Kim out of his life. She’s the most important person in his world, which leaves viewers with the daunting question, what happens to Kim? The most unfortunate answer is also the most frequent one: she’ll end up dead by the show’s finale. It’s a terrifying thought that such a genuine, kind character (the most morally upstanding on the show) could be killed as a result of Jimmy’s actions, but it’s certainly possible.
Kim’s fate is also closely tied to Jimmy’s transformation into Saul — if Kim were still around and involved in his life, she never would have let him become the slime-ball of a lawyer that audiences meet in Breaking Bad. That would seem to leave death as the only option, but there’s another (even more tragic) possibility: that Jimmy does something so bad that Kim walks away from him and cuts him out of her life forever. It would have to be something so terribly unforgivable that she leaves him and never comes back, which is the only logical way for her to be alive but not a character in Breaking Bad.
A piece of evidence that would seem to support this theory is that in the flash-forwards of Jimmy (now going by Gene) working at a Cinnabon taking in Omaha, Nebraska. Kim has mentioned multiple times that she herself is from a small town in Nebraska, so it’s possible that Jimmy deliberately chose to start a new life in Omaha to be close to her. While it may be just a coincidence, every little detail in both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul are meticulously planned out for a reason, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility for Gene’s new life to be a hint at where Kim ends up.