Better Call Saul: How Nebraska Football Clarifies the Gene Timeline (2023)

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After years of questions about when Gene Takovic's timeline is set in Better Call Saul, the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team settles the issue.

Better Call Saul: How Nebraska Football Clarifies the Gene Timeline (2)

This article contains spoilers for Better Call Saul season 6 episode 10.

One of the most helpful traits that Better Call Saul shares with its title character is an attention to detail.

When trying to capture the attention and trust of someone – whether that be an audience member watching an AMC show or a Cinnabon-loving mall security guard – it helps to meet them on their level. You’ve got to talk about what they want to talk about. And you have to be knowledgable when doing so. You need to pay attention to detail. In Better Call Saul season 6 episode 10 “Nippy” both the artist formerly known as Saul Goodman (now Gene Takovic) and the show pay the requisite attention to detail to pull off a scheme and in the process reveal something major about the show’s timeline.

As we’ve established previously, much of the Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul timelines are satisfyingly clear. Show creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould have not been shy about dropping particular dates to make sure that fans have a full vision of when events are taking place.


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One area of the Saul timeline that has needed some filling in, however, is the black and white flash forwards that we could call the “Gene Takovic Era.” Thanks to the events of the final season of Breaking Bad, we know that Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) enters into hiding as Omaha, Nebraska Cinnabon manager Gene Takovic in late March or early April of 2010. Then, through six seasons of Better Call Saul, we see glimpses of Saul’s life undercover as Gene. We just haven’t known precisely when these events have been taking place … until now.

To undertake an ingenious department store robbery, Gene Takovic has to get in with the the mall’s head security officer, Frank (Jim O’Heir). The delicious taste of Cinnabon goes a long way in gaining Frank’s trust but to better engage with his new mark, Gene has to participate in another sophisticated Omaha ritual: talking about college football.

Though it’s a big city of nearly half a million people, Omaha, Nebraska does not have any major league sports teams to speak of. Truth be told, however, it doesn’t really need any. As evidenced by Gene’s Kansas City Royals lunchbox, Kansas City (hometown of Kim Wexler) is just a brisk three-hour drive south (which is basically “going to the grocery store” distance in spacious Middle America). And more importantly: Nebraska is a college football-loving state. The University of Nebraska and its beloved Cornhuskers football program resides in Lincoln, just an hour away from Omaha.

Naturally, Frank the security guard loves to talk about his Cornhuskers. And it’s through Frank and Gene’s dialogue that we are able to get a precise date for the events of “Nippy.”

The biggest clues that Frank offers up for the Gene timeline are the names of Nebraska’s current head coach and quarterback. According to Frank, the controversial Bo Pelini (“You know me. I go at him when things are bad, but when he does something good, I’m all about it.”) is Nebraska’s head coach currently, which puts the possible time frame from 2007 through 2014 … though we know it has to be after 2010 due to the events of Breaking Bad. Even more helpful is that Frank mentions a “Martinez” as Nebraska’s QB.

Funnily enough, Nebraska has had two completely unrelated QBs in the past two decades named Martinez. Adrian Martinez played for the Huskers from 2018 to 2021, so he’s obviously not who we’re looking for. The real Martinez in question is Taylor, who started all four of his eligible years at Nebraska from 2010 through 2013. While that doesn’t narrow the timeframe down that much, Gene specifically mentions that Martinez just broke a freshman yardage record for the team. We’re a little confused as to what Gene could be referring to because, while Martinez did break a single game freshman yardage record at Nebraska, he generated 435 total yards and not 484. It’s possible that Gene is referring to the whole team’s yardage output. Whether the details are wrong or not, we do now know that the events of “Nippy” take place during Martinez’s freshman season.


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The 2010 Nebraska Cornhuskers season took place from September 4 through December 30. Thanks to Frank, however, we can narrow the dates down even more specifically than that. In his first conversation with Gene, Frank complains about Nebraska’s effort over the weekend in a loss against Texas. In 2010, Nebraska lost to the Texas Longhorns 20-13 on October 16. A little later on, Frank celebrates a win against Oklahoma State. That game occurred on October 23.

It is therefore reasonable to assume that the first scene with Frank takes place on October 17 or 18. We also know that Gene’s scheme lasts through at least October 24. That means that all of Gene’s scenes throughout the entirety of Better Call Saul have taken place over no longer than a six month span from April 2010 through October 2010.

We don’t know precisely when “Nippy” leaves us off in the Gene Takovic timeline but we do know that we’re very close to an important upcoming event. In Better Call Saul season 4 episode 5 “Quite a Ride”, the show opens with the rare midseason flash forward. In it, Francesca helps Saul clean out their office and shred documents as everything figuratively comes crashing down. Before he leaves to become Gene Takovic, Saul asks Francesca to be at a nearby telephone booth at 3 p.m. on November 12, 2010.

Thanks to Frank’s steadfast college football fandom, it’s clear that we are less than a month…or perhaps even only days from an important Better Call Saul event.


New episodes ofBetter Call Saulpremiere Monday nights at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.



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Better Call Saul: How Nebraska Football Clarifies the Gene Timeline (3)

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Alec Bojalad|@alecbojalad

TV Editor at Den of Geek and Television Critics Association member. Based in Cleveland, Ohio. Very upset about various sporting events.

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What is the timeline of Gene in Better Call Saul? ›

Gene's timeline is approximately equal two months; Breaking Bad timeline takes exactly two years to complete.

What is the Gene Takovic timeline? ›

As Better Call Saul eventually converged the stories of Jimmy McGill, Gene Takavic, and Saul Goodman, Better Call Saul season 6, episode 10, "Nippy," finally revealed that Gene's Better Call Saul timeline was happening in 2010 – just months after the Breaking Bad finale. This naturally caught audiences by surprise.

How old is Saul in the gene timeline? ›

The flash-forwards to Gene that mark the beginning of each Better Call Saul season take place in 2010, so he was still 49 years old at that point – his comeuppance happened quicker than audiences anticipated.

Why does Jimmy become gene? ›

In 2010, after his association with Walter White's drug empire was revealed to the public, Saul was forced to retire from his law career, going into hiding in Omaha for several months, living as a fugitive under the alias of "Gene Takavic", a manager of a Cinnabon in Omaha.

Why is Gene Better Call Saul in black and white? ›

Director Peter Gould's use of black and white to draw the viewer's eye and aid in the framing of his shots is spectacular. He reminds the viewer of classic black and white films while also underscoring and symbolizing Saul Goodman's journey out of darkness and toward the light.

Is Walt alive in the Gene Timeline? ›

Walter White died before Jimmy became Gene. That's why he becomes Gene to begin with.

Is Gene Takovic Jimmy McGill? ›

Gene Takovic is Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman's alias throughout his life after Breaking Bad. At the end of Breaking Bad, when Walter White was unmasked as Heisenberg, and Jimmy's involvement with the drug lord became known, he went on the run.

Is Gene Takovic pre or post Breaking Bad? ›

Better Call Saul's story is split between two timelines: pre-Breaking Bad and post-Breaking Bad. The latter timeline is Saul's life after he is relocated from Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the end of Breaking Bad. In that future timeline, he's a Cinnabon employee named Gene Takovic living in Omaha, Nebraska.

Was El Camino a flop? ›

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie drew 6.5 million viewers in the US on its opening weekend, making it one of Netflix's most successful original films of the year.

Is Lalo mentioned in Breaking Bad? ›

Lalo, who was created by Peter Gould and screenwriter Gordon Smith, and is portrayed by Tony Dalton, is introduced in the show's fourth season. Lalo is mentioned in dialogue that introduces Saul Goodman in the Breaking Bad episode "Better Call Saul", though Lalo does not appear in the series.

Is El Camino connected to Breaking Bad? ›

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (or simply El Camino) is a 2019 American crime thriller film. Part of the Breaking Bad franchise, it serves as a sequel and epilogue to the television series Breaking Bad.

Who gets 86 years in Better Call Saul? ›

Kim attends the sentencing in Albuquerque, where Jimmy admits he lied so she would be present in person. He confesses to enabling Walt and admits his role in Chuck's suicide. He is sentenced to 86 years in prison, where he is revered by fellow inmates who recognize him as Saul.

Why did Saul Goodman become Gene Takovic? ›

He goes from young lawyer Jimmy McGill to the corrupt Saul Goodman and then finally to Gene Takovic, the persona he adopts to avoid the law after the events of Breaking Bad. Jimmy McGill's character defies categories, capturing the complexity of personal development shaped by circumstances and personal choices.

Did Saul get 7 years? ›

As the scene is set, the judge comments that Saul's negotiated seven-year sentence is an extravagantly generous sentence she's seen throughout her career.

Why did Jimmy not take the 7 years? ›

Because Jimmy McGill decided to turn his court hearing into a therapy session, the deal he cooked up becomes obsolete. Rather than seven years playing golf, Jimmy gets 86 years at Montrose, which is the very prison he said he didn't want during the initial negotiation with the prosecution.

Is Walter White A sociopath? ›

The sides of his personality — sociopath and family man, scientist and killer, rational being and creature of impulse, entrepreneur and loser — are not necessarily as contradictory as we might have supposed. Or rather, if we insist on supposing that they are, it may be for our own sentimental reasons.

What mental illness does Jimmy McGill have? ›

Antisocial personality disorder

Sometimes he even exceeds normative morality to the point of altruism (like when he saves the twins' lives from Tuco's revenge in Season 1, how he takes exceptionally good care of his brother Chuck during his illness and how he risks his career to save his assistant Huell from jail).

How does gene get caught? ›

The episode's present-day story is simple enough: Gene finally gets caught (inside a dumpster, fittingly enough, as Marie Schrader points out). Then Saul cuts himself a ridiculously favorable plea deal by previewing his line of jury-deadlocking BS for a hotshot prosecutor with a perfect case record.

How long was Gene in Omaha? ›

The most significant impact of the time frame revealed in Better Call Saul season 6, episode 10, is that Gene was compelled to return to his old ways after just a few months of mundane life in Omaha.

Why did Better Call Saul end so abruptly? ›

Odenkirk's filming the final season was unexpectedly halted in July 2021 when he collapsed on the series' New Mexico set after suffering a heart attack.

When did Walt become truly evil? ›

Season 2—Episode 6.

Why did the twins go after Walt? ›

Breaking Bad. In their first appearance, the Cousins plan on assassinating renowned meth cook Walter White - also known as Heisenberg - as retribution for betraying Tuco and causing his death.

When did Walt become irredeemable? ›

The moment Walt truly became irredeemable was when he poisoned young Brock Cantillo (Ian Posada) toward the end of season 4 since it was completely intentional. The character wasn't against making a power move, even if it meant hurting an innocent party in the process.

How did Marion find out Gene was Saul? ›

In drafting Marion (Carol Burnett) to bail out Jeff, Gene tripped the wrong curiosity wires in that sharp, not-to-be-underestimated Marion. With the help of Ask Jeeves, she realized that he was actually Albuquerque conman Saul Goodman.

Is there a Cinnabon in Omaha? ›

Cinnabon, 2782 S 129th Ave, Omaha, NE, Bakeries - MapQuest.

Who recognizes Gene Takovic? ›

After fainting in the Cinnabon at the mall he was working at, Gene Takavic soon leaves the hospital he was transferred to, taking a taxi back to the mall. However, he was recognized by Jeff, the cab driver, who stares at Gene intently.

Is Kim Wexler is Breaking Bad? ›

Kimberly "Kim " Wexler is a fictional character from the television series Better Call Saul, a spin-off of Breaking Bad. Kim is primarily portrayed by Rhea Seehorn, and was created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould.

Does Saul mention Nacho in Breaking Bad? ›

Dialogue that introduces Saul Goodman in the Breaking Bad episode "Better Call Saul" mentions Nacho and Lalo Salamanca, though neither appears in Breaking Bad. Nacho is a quiet and intelligent member of the Salamanca drug organization. He cares deeply for the well-being of his honest, hard-working father, Manuel.

What happened to Kim Wexler? ›

The ultracompetent attorney who married Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), the man most likely to bring out the shadier side of her character, never appears in Breaking Bad, which led some viewers to assume she would die before Saul finished its run. But as Monday's series finale confirmed, Kim Wexler lives on.

Why Todd was fat in El Camino? ›

Why is Todd fat in the Breaking Bad movie sequel “El Camino”? El camino was made 5 years after Breaking Bad so the actor put on weight in the meantime. When he reprised the role they didn't think it was that big a deal so they didn't acknowledge it.

How evil is Todd Breaking Bad? ›

Todd Alquist (Jesse Plemons) is an evil character because he lacks conscience or empathy. If he weren't living a life of crime, he would probably be a mass murderer or a serial killer just for fun or to have something to do when he was bored.

Why is everything purple on Breaking Bad? ›

Purple. In Breaking Bad, Purple is primarily worn by Marie and it is used to symbolize protection, self-deception, and complete lack of involvement in the meth trade. Marie often wears the color purple to show her self-deception.

Was Gus afraid of Lalo? ›

Because of the rivalry between Gus and Hector, Lalo becomes dedicated to disrupting Gus' legitimate restaurant business Los Pollos Hermanos and Lavandería Brillante, as well as his reputation with the cartel. Unlike his other rivals such as Walter White, Gus was highly fearful of Lalo due to his cunning and resilience.

Why did Gus cut Victor's throat? ›

The real reason why Gus killed Victor in such a brutal fashion is that it sends a crystal clear message to the two men: if they put the operation at risk, then Gus wouldn't hesitate to kill either one of them as well.

Is Lalo Tuco's Brother? ›

He was the grandson of Abuelita and the nephew of Hector Salamanca. Lalo also had four cousins who were involved in criminal activities: Tuco, Marco, Leonel, and Joaquin. He was the third Salamanca family member to run their drug operation, following his uncle Hector and cousin Tuco.

Does Walter White appear in Better Call Saul? ›

The final season of Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould's Better Call Saul brought about the highly anticipated return of Breaking Bad's iconic, beloved duo, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul).

Is Skyler and Walt Jr in El Camino? ›

served as key characters throughout Breaking Bad, but despite a plethora of original series cameos, they were both notably absent from 2019's El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.

Is Saul Goodman in El Camino? ›

1. Saul Goodman. The most notable absence in El Camino is unquestionably Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), the third wheel of Walt and Jesse's business partnership.

Did Jimmy get 7 or 86 years? ›

Even though Jimmy tries to be optimistic in his talk with Kim, the reality is that he received an 86-year sentence for his crimes in Breaking Bad. This was designed to give Jimmy no way out since he fully confessed to everything in Better Call Saul's finale, which means any future deals are off the table.

Why did Jimmy confess at the end? ›

After spending years denying he had any love left for the man, the finale's biggest reveal was that Jimmy genuinely loved his brother and regretted how things ended up, and his moment of truth was towards himself in order to save his soul rather than someone else's.

Why does Chuck hate Jimmy? ›

Although in the first season it seemed that he was initially supportive of Jimmy, Chuck harbored resentful feelings toward him because of his conman past and charisma, in addition to Jimmy's approach to his career. From the second season onward, Chuck transforms into Jimmy's nemesis.

How much time passes in Better Call Saul? ›

Better Call Saul, which premiered in 2015, is set about six years before the events of Breaking Bad kick off. Over five seasons, the show has tracked how a small-time Chicago con man named Jimmy McGill lost his soul and became a friend of the cartel known as Saul Goodman.

How old is Kim Wexler? ›

She's 34 when we first meet her in 'Better Call Saul' in early 2002.

Who is the Cinnabon man in Better Call Saul? ›

Jimmy McGill adopted many tacky roles in Better Call Saul, but his time as Cinnabon Gene was about more than just tacking icing onto cinnamon buns.

Does Jimmy get his Sandpiper money? ›

Jimmy pulls a series of psychological and social manipulation tricks to turn Irene's friends against her so that she believes refusing the Sandpiper settlement is against the interests of her fellow clients. She decides to accept, meaning Jimmy will receive his much-needed share.

How many years did Saul have? ›

According to the Hebrew text of the Bible, Saul reigned for two years, but Biblical commentators generally agree that the text is faulty and that a reign of 20 or 22 years is more probable.. In the New Testament book of Acts 13:21, the Apostle Paul indicates that Saul's reign was forty years.

How old is Saul at the end? ›

By the time he's packing his bags to leave for Omaha at the end of Breaking Bad, Saul is 49 years old, with those events happening in mid-to-late 2010.

Is El Camino after Gene? ›

Better Call Saul has finally confirmed that its Gene timeline is directly connected to Jesse Pinkman's in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.

Where is Gene at in Better Call Saul? ›

As a manager at a shopping mall in Omaha, Nebraska, Gene Takavic maintains a low profile. In private, Gene reminisces about his earlier life as the powerful and flamboyant attorney, Saul Goodman. Gene's life on the lam is centered on one goal: preventing the discovery of his true identity.

How does Marion know Gene is Saul? ›

In drafting Marion (Carol Burnett) to bail out Jeff, Gene tripped the wrong curiosity wires in that sharp, not-to-be-underestimated Marion. With the help of Ask Jeeves, she realized that he was actually Albuquerque conman Saul Goodman.

What year is Better Call Saul set in? ›

The season takes place in 2002, six years prior to the events in Breaking Bad, and features Bob Odenkirk reprising his role as James Morgan "Jimmy" McGill, known in Breaking Bad as Saul Goodman. Jimmy is a struggling lawyer looking after his successful brother Chuck, a former attorney.

Why is Saul not in El Camino? ›

Saul Goodman

It makes sense that Saul didn't appear in any scenes that took place after Jesse's escape as, by this point, he's already been 'disappeared' by Ed and is living his life as Cinnabon manager Gene Taković in Omaha, Nebraska. There's just no way that Jesse could have contacted him even if he wanted to.

What was the point of nippy episode? ›

“Nippy” is about the pleasure he derives from working those atrophied Saul Goodman muscles back into shape. First, he establishes a relationship with the two night security guys by offering free cinnamon rolls as a thank-you for the time one of them helped him in an emergency.

Are Gene and Jimmy the same person? ›

Gene Takovic is Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman's alias throughout his life after Breaking Bad. At the end of Breaking Bad, when Walter White was unmasked as Heisenberg, and Jimmy's involvement with the drug lord became known, he went on the run.

Why did Saul become Gene Takovic? ›

He goes from young lawyer Jimmy McGill to the corrupt Saul Goodman and then finally to Gene Takovic, the persona he adopts to avoid the law after the events of Breaking Bad. Jimmy McGill's character defies categories, capturing the complexity of personal development shaped by circumstances and personal choices.

Was Nippy a bottle episode? ›

Vanity Fair's Mike Hogan labeled it a bottle episode that he believed would set the stage for the rest of the season. David Segal of The New York Times did not like the episode. He experienced some confusion over the recasting of Jeff and said it "felt low-stakes and a bit broad".

How long was Saul on the run as Gene? ›

And once Gene was apprehended after 16 months on the run — or of staying put at a Cinnabon in Omaha — he channeled Saul Goodman to negotiate his way down to a shockingly small sentence of seven years for all the crimes he committed for Walt (Bryan Cranston) and his meth empire.

Is Breaking Bad set in the 90s? ›

Set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, between 2008 and 2010, Breaking Bad follows Walter White, a modest high school chemistry teacher who transforms into a ruthless kingpin in the local methamphetamine drug trade, driven to financially provide for his family after being diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.

How long was Walter White in hiding? ›

“Stay a little longer?” Walt asks the disappearer after two months of dying alone in his cabin, begging for two hours, but settling for one. After five years, that's all any of us have left with Walt and Jesse. And it feels like time.


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