Better Call Saul's Jeff Twist Was So Much Better Than The Theories

Better Call Saul takes a route no one expected with Jeff, but the end result actually works better than the popular theories. Better Call Saul season 4's "Smoke" saw a hospitalized Gene Takavic get the all-clear from doctors, but his ride home proved every bit as traumatic as the ambulance journey there. Gene's cab driver eyed his passenger suspiciously throughout their trip, then hung around a little too long after a spooked Gene exited the vehicle. An Albuquerque Isotopes air freshener also confirmed the driver had some connection to the city Gene had just run away from. The creepy cabbie returned in Better Call Saul season 5, introducing himself as Jeff and forcing Gene to admit he was secretly Saul Goodman while a silent friend watched from afar...

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Jeff's strange behavior and Saul Goodman obsession prompted numerous theories attempting to explain who the taxi driver really was. Undercover cop ranked among the most popular - especially with an enigmatic partner lurking around - but others believed Jeff was a criminal henchman one of Heisenberg's rivals sent to discover where Walter White kept his massive fortune. More outlandish theories even tried connecting Jeff to Kim Wexler, either as a blood relative, or an employee assigned to keep tabs on her ex-husband.

Related: What The Ring Gene Puts On Really Means

In fact, Better Call Saul's Jeff is none of those things. He's a cab driver who once lived in Albuquerque, exactly as claimed. Jeff lives with his delightful mother, Marion, and his intimidatingly quiet friend really is just some quiet guy he hangs around with. Jeff recognized Saul Goodman during their cab ride in Better Call Saul season 4, but only by pure, dumb coincidence, not because he was sent by the FBI, the mob or Kim. Although Better Call Saul's Jeff reality is much more straightforward (and, admittedly, less thrilling) than the theories swirling around him, the truth is actually even better than those wild predictions.

Why Better Call Saul's Jeff Reveal Beats The Theories

Pat Healy as Jeff in Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul season 6, episode 10 transforms Jeff from an enigmatic, anonymous threat into a likable buffoon caught in Saul Goodman's spell - a little reminiscent of Huell and Kuby from Breaking Bad. As Jeff jogs through a department store muttering about patagonias and funny-looking Uggs before falling onto his backside Looney Tunes-style, it's impossible not to root for the guy. Outing Jeff as an antagonist would've been intriguing, but making him Gene's relatable, wide-eyed student resonates far more strongly with Better Call Saul's audience. Not to mention we get the brilliant Carol Burnett as his mom.

Better Call Saul season 6's Jeff reveal is perfect because it allows Gene to reignite his Slippin' Jimmy persona without descending into the moral pit Saul Goodman occupies. Robbing the mall takes Jimmy back to his roots - clever chicanery, daring dramatics, and skillful scamming - but nobody gets hurt or ruined, nor is anyone forced to act against their will. The whole experience gives Gene a sense of closure, and resisting the temptation to buy a Saul-style outfit proves how far Bob Odenkirk's character has evolved since his Breaking Bad days. If Jeff were an undercover cop - or, even worse, a violent criminal - that story immediately becomes much darker, pushing Gene toward darker measures. A villainous Jeff forcing Gene to go "full Saul Goodman" would represent an unsatisfying backwards step as Better Call Saul enters its final stretch.

Lastly, making Jeff a sympathetic character highlights just how paranoid and isolated Gene has become in Better Call Saul's sequel timeline. Gene feared the worst when a taxi driver recognized him, and whereas being followed by an undercover cop or a hardened criminal would've justified those fears, Jeff turns out not nearly as bad as Gene imagined. And yet even when their scam is successful, Gene aggressively forces Jeff to promise "we're done," despite the well-meaning accomplice believing this was the start of their beautiful friendship. It's a sad demonstration of how alone Gene has become.

2022-07-27T18:45:44.000Z

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