‘Better Call Saul’: The Significance of Gene’s Mustache

by Sean Griffin

Like most things in the Breaking Bad universe, Gene Takavic’s mustache has a much deeper meaning. While in hiding, Saul Goodman changes his identity to Gene Takavic in Better Call Saul. He wears a mustache when he changes into this character. The mustache serves as a mask, a bridge to his new identity from his old one.

In season 6 of the acclaimed series, Gene must abandon his former life as Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman. However, he can’t escape his real self. Gene continues his scamming ways of his previous life.

In the season 6, episode 11 episode entitled “Breaking Bad,” which nods to its predecessor series, the audience sees Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul reprise their roles from the previous series. Their season with Saul takes place in Breaking Bad‘s second season.

While the separate timelines help to connect the events of Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad, they’ also highlight the similarities between the two main characters.

Gene’s mustache in Better Call Saul connects Gene to Walter White. The characters look eerily similar. Before the goatee of Heisenberg, White sports a mustache in the early seasons of Breaking Bad. With Gene living a normal life in Omaha, Nebraska, as he works as a manager at a Cinnabon, his position resembles Walter White when he was just a high school chemistry teacher.

Both men feel as though they’re better than their positions. In their previous lives, they possessed more potential and completed important work. Their frustrations with the world and its inability to recognize their talents results in their turn to crime.

The Deeper Meaning of Gene’s Mustache in ‘Better Call Saul’

In season 2, Mike strongly advises Saul not to work with Walter because he’s an “amateur.”

Saul ignores this advice, but he does admit that Mike is true. He says “Guy with that mustache probably doesn’t make a lot of good life choices.” 

This line provides a solid connection between Walter White then and the Gene from now. Another obvious link between the characters in Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad occurs near the end of the latter series, when Saul says, “If I’m lucky, a month from now, best-case scenario, I’m managing a Cinnabon in Omaha.” The mustache follows both men, and they wear it as a sign of their discontentment.

In both shows, Walter and Gene can’t resist “breaking bad” against their best judgements. Time and time again, both are offered chances to leave their criminal ways behind. However, they always choose to remain in the game. In Saul’s case, he acts against his better instincts as Gene. Despite trying to remain on a low-profile, his mall scam with Jeff and the distraught phone call with Kim turns him back toward crime. Both Walter and Gene choose crime because it excites them and because it provides them with the solace that being good at something brings.