Warning: SPOILERS for Better Call Saul season 6, episode 12, “Waterworks.”The return of the Breaking Bad character Emilio (John Koyama) in Better Call Saul season 6, episode 12, “Waterworks,” sets a new record for the show. Emilio is the latest in a long line of Breaking Bad characters who have appeared across its prequel’s six seasons. His criminal colleague Krazy-8 (Maximino Arciniega) has appeared in several episodes of Better Call Saul, sharing scenes with Nacho Varga and Lalo Salamanca. Emilio’s appearance in Better Call Saul season 6, episode 12 further strengthens the connections between Breaking Bad and its prequel show.
Emilio was the former business partner and school friend of Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul). Their partnership was abruptly ended when Walter White (Bryan Cranston) entered the meth business. Prior to his appearance in “Waterworks” — the latest Breaking Bad character Better Call Saul cameo — Emilio was last seen in Breaking Bad season 1, episode 2, “Cat’s in the Bag…” That episode aired in January 2008, and now his August 2022 Better Call Saul appearance sets a new Breaking Bad record.
It’s been over 14 years since John Koyama last played Emilio, marking the longest gap between appearances of a Breaking Bad character. While it was a less obvious cameo than the returns of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, Emilio’s Better Call Saul cameo was inevitable. In Breaking Bad season 2, episode 8, “Better Call Saul,” Jesse remembers that “Saul Goodman” got Emilio acquitted not once but twice, despite overwhelming evidence against him. Emilio’s cameo in Better Call Saul season 6, episode 12 shows his first meeting with Jimmy/Saul, and the scene plays an integral part in the story of Breaking Bad.
Emilio’s cameo facilitates a surprising meeting between Jesse (in Aaron Paul’s final Better Call Saul appearance), and Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) outside the Saul Goodman storefront. Doubtful about the effectiveness of a flashy lawyer who advertises on TV, Jesse asks Kim if Saul Goodman’s actually any good. Recognizing her as his friend Combo’s former defense attorney, Jesse clearly puts his faith in Kim’s endorsement. She sadly responds that he was good when she knew him, a statement that defines her relationship with Jimmy McGill, and presumably plants the seed in Jesse’s head for the future.
After Emilio’s first meeting with Saul Goodman, the criminal lawyer successfully gets Emilio acquitted twice. Continuing to work with Jesse Pinkman and Crazy-8, Emilio is arrested during the raid on Jesse’s meth lab. Believing that he’s been betrayed by Jesse and his new business partner Walter White, Emilio plans to kill both men. Walt then takes Crazy-8 and Emilio to the RV (which also just made a cameo in Better Call Saul‘s Walt and Jesse scenes) and triggers a chemical explosion. This fills the RV with poison gas, which kills Emilio, earning the character the dubious honor of being the first person murdered by Walter White. Emilio’s body was then infamously disposed of in the bathtub in one of Breaking Bad‘s most memorably grisly scenes.
Removing the obstacles of Emilio and Crazy-8, Walt and Jesse continue to amp up production and distribution of their signature blue meth and soon require a lawyer. They hire Saul Goodman to help their imprisoned dealer Badger, and the lawyer becomes a key part of Walt’s criminal empire. In Breaking Bad season 2, episode 8, “Better Call Saul,” Jesse suggests Saul Goodman based on how he twice aided Emilio, and perhaps he also remembers the words of Better Call Saul‘s Kim Wexler.