“Better Call Saul” goes down a route that no one expected from Jeff, but the end result actually works better than popular theories. In the 4th season of “Better Call Saul” “Smoke”, the hospitalized Gene Takavich received full clarity from the doctors, but his journey home turned out to be as traumatic as the trip there by ambulance. Jin’s taxi driver looked suspiciously at his passenger throughout their trip, and then stayed around for too long after a terrified Jin got out of the car. The Albuquerque Isotopes air freshener also confirmed that the driver had something to do with the city that Jin had just escaped from. The creepy taxi driver returned in season 5 of the TV series “Better Call Saul”, posing as Jeff and forcing Gene to admit that he was secretly Saul Goodman, while a silent friend watched from afar…
Jeff’s strange behavior and obsession with Saul Goodman have given rise to many theories trying to explain who the taxi driver really was. An undercover cop was considered one of the most popular, especially with a mysterious partner lurking around, but others believed that Jeff was a criminal henchman, one of Heisenberg’s rivals, who was sent to find out where Walter White kept his huge fortune. More outlandish theories have even tried to link Jeff to Kim Wexler either as a blood relative or as an employee tasked with keeping an eye on her ex-husband.
In fact, Jeff from “Better Call Saul” is neither one nor the other. He’s a taxi driver who once lived in Albuquerque, as claimed. Jeff lives with his adorable mother Marion, and his frighteningly quiet friend is really just a quiet guy he hangs out with. Jeff recognized Saul Goodman during their taxi ride in season 4 of the TV series “Better Call Saul”, but only by pure chance, and not because he was sent by the FBI, mafia or Kim. While Jeff’s reality from Better Call Saul is much simpler (and admittedly less exciting) than the theories swirling around him, the truth is actually even better than these wild predictions.
Why is it better to call Saul? Jeff Rivil surpasses theories
The 10th episode of season 6, “Better Call Saul,” turns Jeff from a mysterious anonymous threat into a cute buffoon who fell under the spell of Saul Goodman, which is a bit like Huell and Kuby from Breaking Bad. When Jeff runs around the department store muttering about Patagonia and funny ugg boots before falling on his ass in the style of Looney Tunes, it’s impossible not to root for this guy. It would be intriguing to single out Jeff as an antagonist, but the fact that he has become a likable student of Gene with his eyes wide open resonates much more strongly with the “Better Call Saul” audience. Not to mention we get the brilliant Carol Burnett as his mom.
Jeff’s reveal in season 6’s “Better Call Saul” is perfect because it allows Gene to revive his Sliding Jimmy persona without sinking into the moral pit that Saul Goodman occupies. The mall robbery takes Jimmy back to his roots — clever machinations, audacious dramaturgy and skillful fraud — but no one will get hurt or go broke, and no one will be forced to act against their will. The whole experience gives Gene a sense of completion, and resisting the temptation to buy Saul-style clothes 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—this story immediately becomes much darker, pushing Gene to darker measures. The villainous Jeff forcing Gene to become “the complete Saul Goodman” represents an unsatisfactory step backwards as “Better Call Saul” approaches its final stretch.
Finally, Jeff’s transformation into a likeable character underscores how paranoid and isolated Gene has become in the chronology of the sequel “Better Call Saul.” Gene feared the worst when the taxi driver recognized him, and although pursuing an undercover cop or a hardened criminal would have justified these fears, Jeff turned out to be not as bad as Gene imagined. And yet, even when their scam is successful, Gene insists Jeff promise that “we’re done,” despite the fact that the well-meaning accomplice believes that this was the beginning of their beautiful friendship. It’s a sad demonstration of how lonely Gene has become.