Better Call Saul season 5 will show more than ever before of Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), but where does it fit into the Breaking Bad timeline? Once again created by Vince Gilligan, the Breaking Bad spin-off has gradually edged nearer and nearer to its parent series, slowly but surely (and tragically) charting the decline of Jimmy McGill as he transforms in the sleazy lawyer fans first met in season 2 of Breaking Bad, Saul Goodman.
After the ending to Better Call Saul season 4, that transformation is almost complete. At the very least, Jimmy is now using the Saul Goodman name for his legal practise, so he’s Saul on paper if not fully in person just yet. That means, though, that the series is getting closer still to Breaking Bad, which makes sense given that season 5 is the penultimate run, with Better Call Saul confirmed to end after season 6. Because of that, more and more characters are being introduced now, with Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) and his DEA partner Steve Gomez (Steven M. Quezada) appearing, as well as Ed Galbraith (the late Robert Forster).
While it may feel like Better Call Saul is ready to catch-up with the events of Breaking Bad, the truth is that the show still has some way to go before closing the gap on its predecessor. The series’ first season was set in 2002, and while four seasons have passed, that isn’t equated in years. Better Call Saul season 4 had a big time jump in “Something Stupid”, skipping forward 9 months in the timeline, which brought the series to early 2004. Better Call Saul season 5 picks up shortly after the events of season 4, which means that it’s still in the first half of 2004. Breaking Bad, however, starts out in 2008, so Better Call Saul season 5 is still a long time before in the timeline.
Many fans have long theorized that Better Call Saul will end – or at least end the Jimmy-Saul part of the story – with Walt and Jesse knocking on the office door of Saul Goodman, as seen in Breaking Bad season 2. That took place in December 2008, so Better Call Saul is over 4.5 years away at the outset of season 5. Still, it isn’t impossible that the series could get there. The show has had time jumps before, and there’s a good chance of more to come. Indeed, depending on how season 5 shapes up, a major time jump between seasons 5 and 6 could be necessary, or it could come towards the very end of the series, after the transformation is complete.
There’s also the question of Better Call Saul‘s future scenes. While once thought to be after the events of Breaking Bad, it’s been suggested that the Gene storyline is before Walter White’s death. This then loosely matches up with El Camino, set after Walt’s death, which teased a sad fate for Saul Goodman. It’s possible that, as Better Call Saul comes to an end, its timelines start to coalesce more with both Breaking Bad and El Camino, but as of season 5 beginning the ‘present day’ scenes of the show are still long before Breaking Bad.