3 'Breaking Bad' fan favorites make appearances in 'Better Call Saul'

PHOTO: Actor Giancarlo Esposito, who plays Gustavo Gus Fring in the television series Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul poses for a portrait in Sydney, Australia, April 13, 2017. PlayEPA
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It only took three seasons, but "Better Call Saul" is finally catching up to the timeline of its predecessor "Breaking Bad."

Monday's episode of the prequel featured three characters familiar to "Breaking Bad" fans.

"Saul" follows the story of lawyer Jimmy McGill six years before his first appearance as Saul Goodman on "Breaking Bad."

After much hype, viewers finally got their first look at drug lord and Los Pollos Hermanos owner Gustavo "Gus" Fring, played by Giancarlo Esposito. Last we saw Gus, his face was blown to bits on the season 4 finale of "Breaking Bad."

In Monday's episode, Jimmy and Gus cross paths for the first time when Jimmy is sent by another "Breaking Bad" alum, Mike (Jonathan Banks), to spy on Gus at Los Pollos Hermanos. Gus is clearly on to him and squashes whatever hand-off was about to take place.

Speaking about the episode, "Saul" and "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan told Entertainment Weekly, "It was like old home week. It was wonderful seeing Giancarlo back."

As for the scene between Jimmy and Gus, Gilligan said, "Jimmy is no match for this guy, and Jimmy walks out of that building none the wiser, having no idea he just met with the capo de tutti capi -- the boss of all bosses. I think that’s what’s so delicious for the fans, in watching that scene, that they saw these two worlds collide that we’ve never seen together before 'Breaking Bad' days. That’s why it was so much fun to shoot that scene."

Gus’ henchman Victor, played by Jeremiah Bitsui, also made a brief cameo in Monday's episode. This is, of course, the same Victor who Gus ruthlessly murders with a box cutter in season four of "Breaking Bad." But in "Saul," he's seen driving away from Los Pollos Hermanos in a black SUV.

Also resurfacing on Monday was fan favorite Francesca, who played Saul Goodman's ruthless receptionist in "Breaking Bad." On "Saul," we see her on the day she's hired by Jimmy -- when she's still sweet and innocent.

"I felt the hot breath of fans breathing down our necks for two solid years now wondering, hoping, 'When is Francesca going to show up? When is the wonderful Tina Parker going to be back?'" Gilligan told EW. "I think fans are going to be very pleased, very excited to see Francesca back. But I think they’re going to be just as quickly shocked by how different Francesca’s character seems to be in this early stage of the story, six years before the events of 'Breaking Bad.'"

He explained, "She seems like this wonderful, hopeful young woman who has her whole life ahead of her. She’s this dewy-eyed naif who seems happy to be there and seems like a wonderful assistant. Obviously, Saul Goodman is going to crush the life out of her for years to come."