Better Call Saul's Secretary Return Proves How Jimmy Changed Since Season 3

Better Call Saul season 6's latest Breaking Bad cameo proves one truth above all else - Jimmy has fallen a long way since season 3. Though Better Call Saul serves as a spinoff/prequel to Breaking Bad, both shows navigate the transformation of ordinary men (Jimmy McGill/Walter White) into villainous alter egos (Saul Goodman/Heisenberg) while posing the question of which persona is the mask. Better Call Saul's final season slots the few remaining pieces of Jimmy's evolution into place, but catching up with an old friend proves just how violently that journey has accelerated between season 3 and season 6.

Played by Tina Parker, Francesca Liddy debuted in Breaking Bad season 2 as Saul Goodman's long-suffering secretary. Often found shredding documents or bemoaning having to deal with clients like Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, Francesca represented an innocent but essential cog in Saul's grimy wheel. Better Call Saul finally provided some background to Francesca's frowning facade. She first met the future Saul Goodman when applying for the secretary position at Wexler-McGill - Jimmy and Kim's joint practice in Better Call Saul season 3. Though the job didn't last, Jimmy promised he'd rehire Francesca once his legal empire was back up and running.

Related: Why Gus Plants The Gun In Better Call Saul Season 6, Episode 5

Better Call Saul season 6's "Black & Blue" proves the morally-corroding lawyer at least remains a man of his word. Having rented his strip mall office (the same one from Breaking Bad) one episode prior, Francesca receives that long-awaited(?) phone call from Jimmy McGill, offering a second shot at his secretary gig. Having already proved herself loyal, reliable and, most importantly, willing to indulge his scams, Jimmy is desperate to acquire Francesca's services. The secretary, meanwhile, shows the same canny negotiation skills she used after Walter White broke her window in Breaking Bad. The most fascinating aspect of Jimmy and Francesca's reunion, however, comes when Saul's confused new employee asks, "Where's Ms. Wexler? What happened to the old folks? Elder law? And who is this Saul Goodman?" Perhaps more than any other scene thus far in Better Call Saul season 6, Francesca highlights the extremity of Jimmy McGill's transformation.

Asking about Kim's whereabouts, Francesca hides her shock well when Jimmy reveals Wexler-McGill is now a marital partnership rather than a business one. The secretary's references to "old folks" and "elder law" then recall a time from Better Call Saul season 3 when Jimmy McGill would use his easygoing charm to help the aged community write wills, sue retirement homes for malpractice, etc. Prior to his legal suspension, elder law was Jimmy's specialist area of expertise, and the field he intended to move into full-time under the Wexler-McGill partnership. As Francesca recalls Jimmy's former association with old-timers, she makes a concerned gesture toward the long line of less savory folk assembling outside Jimmy's office - as if to point out his clientele couldn't be further removed from the old days. And, of course, Francesca deliberately raises the corny name change from McGill to Goodman.

Watching Better Call Saul episode by episode, it's easy to take for granted how dramatically each character is evolving, but bringing back someone like Francesca, who last saw Jimmy in season 3, provides a perfect punch of perspective. Since they last drank shots and bid farewell, Jimmy has regained his legal license, coined a new moniker, become a friend of the cartel, married Kim, become complicit in Gus Fring's betrayal of the cartel, earned a reputation for representing lowlife criminals, dropped his season 5 "God in human clothing" speech, and lost his coffee mug. The man Francesca knew in Better Call Saul season 3 was Jimmy McGill; the man she's being employed by in season 6 is very much Saul Goodman... and not just because the name above the office door changed.

More: Better Call Saul: What Kim's "Coming Next" Line To Jimmy Means

Better Call Saul continues Monday on AMC.



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