What Happened To The Ehrmantraut Family After Better Call Saul Explored

    Breaking Bad is both a family drama that sees the White Family crumble in probably the most horrific way imaginable and an epic Western about drugs, money, and turning Mr. Chips into Scarface.

    Since Kaylee & Stacey had such a significant role in Mike’s decision to become a career criminal, we want to suggest that the Ehrmantrauts played a larger role in the White family than the Whites did in Better Call Saul. Just take a look at Chuck vs. Jimmy, for example.

    Even though Stacey only made one appearance, Better Call Saul offered us enough context for how significant Mike’s daughter-in-law and granddaughter were to him and how they influenced his life. But when all was said and done, what happened to the Ehrmantraut family? Stay tuned at the end of the video because we will be discussing just that idea.

    They’re the reason Mike does what he does

    They’re the reason Mike does what he does

    In Breaking Bad, Mike is repeatedly depicted taking care of his granddaughter and daughter-in-law without a clear explanation of why. At first, we presume that this is the case because Mike is meant to be a foil for the meek and feeble Walter White— a character who is also involved in the game and has a family he must support but who never holds back when acting on his gut. He mentions that he formerly worked as a beat cop in Philadelphia during his now-famous “No more half-measures” speech to Walt, and that is the only further information we are given about his past.

    It is incredibly sad when we see him being forced to abandon his granddaughter in a playground because the feds had made him, but we didn’t really get a lot to really invest in the Ehrmantraut Family until Better Call Saul came around. Mike serves as the show’s unofficial deuteragonist, at least up until Season 6 Part 2, and we discover that everything he does, he does for his family, much like Walter White in Breaking Bad before him.

    Though an uncredited actress played Stacey in Breaking Bad, the sensational Kerry Condon was cast in her role for Better Call Saul. Fans of theatre and dramas will know that she is the youngest person to ever play Ophelia in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Hamlet and also portrayed Octavia of Julii in the 2005 BBC production Rome; for our more-mainstream viewers, she also voiced Tony Stark’s replacement AI F.R.I.D.A.Y in multiple Avengers movies.

    So there was never any doubt as to whether she could pull off the intensity demanded of a Vince Gilligan project, but what did surprise us was just how integral Condon’s performance made Stacey to Mike’s decision-making process. Her mixture of vulnerability, raw emotion and yet a firm sense of stable determination is what makes the Ehrmantraut family such an appealing aspect of Better Call Saul, and we’re going to get back to how the family itself figures into the series now as we’ve raved about Kerry enough.

    So, the first time we get a hint that Mike is in Albuquerque on “family business” is when he and Stacey cross paths in their cars; neither of them speaks a word to the other, but the look they share is enough to indicate the relationship they have with each other. In flashbacks, we see that Mike arrived in Albuquerque shortly after Stacey did; and Stacey relocated because of the death of her husband and Mike’s son Matt. When Mike got picked up by some cops out of Philadelphia for the alleged murder of two cops who were involved with his son, he gets Jimmy to help him get out of the situation and then figures out that it was Stacey who called them down here.

    Though his friend privately assures him from the Philly PD that he has nothing to worry about, it’s clear that Mike is yet to address exactly what happened to Matt with his widow, and that’s why their initial bond starts off so rocky. Stacey clearly doesn’t trust Mike implicitly and we find out why; she found a tonne of money in one of Matt’s old suitcases and was worried that he had gotten mixed up with the wrong crowd.

    She also heard him quarrelling with his father a few days before he was murdered. Stacey posited that Matt was a dirty cop, and this caused Mike to have an outburst at her, maintaining that his son wasn’t dirty. He comes clean to Stacey about what he did in Philly; he tells her about his crooked status, and how he encouraged his own son to take bribes hoping that it would keep him alive. But in the end, he died anyway, so Mike’s advice only served to get his son an early grave.

    When Stacey addresses the elephant in the room and asks him what happened to the cops who tried to cut Matty into the business, he simply replies by saying she knows what happened; the only question was in she could live with it. Stacey accepts Mike’s explanation and they resolve to do everything they can to ensure Kaylee gets the best future possible for her. When Mike was introduced to us in Better Call Saul, he was a struggling parking lot attendant. But that all changed when he came into contact with Gus.

    Breaking down and healing up – The Ehrmantraut Family recovers from Matty’s death

    Breaking down and healing up – The Ehrmantraut Family recovers from Matty’s death

    While Mike very much loves Stacey and Kaylee, he is having a hard time dealing with his son’s death. Though he handled his son’s killers back in Philly and told his daughter- and himself- that he was over all of it, the outburst he had at Stacey in group therapy clearly implies that he wasn’t. Mike went to those sessions to lend a helping hand to his daughter-in-law and found himself healing as well, but when Stacey said that she had recently stopped thinking about Matt while making his favourite breakfast meal, Mike felt emotionally betrayed.

    He caused a scene at the therapy spot and left, creating a rift that took more than a few visits to heal. While Mike was working on repairing the same, he messed up again by treating Kaylee harshly due to the stresses of his “new job”. It was only after Stacey assured him that she would never actually forget Matty and that moving on from the incident would be the best thing for Mike that he actually takes her advice and truly gets to work on securing his family’s future.

    Mike takes up Gus’ offer to start working for him as a “security consultant”, getting himself a job at Madrigal which allowed him to launder enough of the money he stole from Hector Salamanca earlier- it was a whole thing- to support himself and his family members. After Stacey heard Mike’s story about Matty, she started feeling unsafe in the neighborhood she was living at and asked him to help her move out. Despite figuring out that her worries stemmed from pure paranoia, Mike helps Stacey move out and find a neighborhood she trusts enough to live in worry-free.

    He gives her money to help keep them both afloat and also serves as Kaylee’s babysitter-of-choice. It’s clear that Mike is great at keeping his professional and personal lives separate, because it is implied that Stacey never found out what he was really up to. Even when Lalo Salamanca went on the offensive against Gus, Mike kept an eye out on Stacey and Kaylee by staking them out whilst helping his granddaughter stargaze.

    The Ehrmantrauts have a real moment of breakthrough when Mike starts discussing Matty with his daughter in law unprompted and we see, in real-time, that he has healed himself. If his speech to Jimmy about bad choices putting you on a road you cannot get off of and that the only way to truly get over something is to give it time didn’t tell you that already, then his demeanour in Season 5 episode JMM should have. By the time Better Call Saul has reached its proverbial closing point, the Ehrmantraut family retreats into the background, not to become relevant again until the events of Breaking Bad roll around.

    What happens to the Ehrmantraut family at the end of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul?

    What happens to the Ehrmantraut family at the end of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul

    In Breaking Bad, we see that Mike has been working with Gus Fring for about 4 years by the time the series begins, and in those 4 years, not only has he kept his silence about what he does, but he has also been able to acquire a large sum of money to leave behind for his family. Working as Gus’ chief security operative/personal hitman, he acquired about $2 million in total, which he had deposited in a Cayman Islands account in Kaylee’s name.

    Whatever PI work he did for Saul, he charged him in cash, which explains his day-to-day expenditure; not that Gus didn’t provide well enough for his men, of course. The Ehrmantraut Family was set to be taken care of for life ostensibly; until Walter White happened to Gus Fring and everything went to crap. Mike was recovering at Dr. Barry Goodman’s Mexican retreat at this time so he couldn’t do anything about it, and that kind of explains the rest of what ended up happening to the Ehrmantraut family as well.

    After Hank’s relentless pursuit of Gus yielded the results he was looking for, the DEA was able to establish a connection between Mike and Gus thanks to that same Cayman Islands account we mentioned a moment ago. Hank and Gomey rode him pretty hard during their interrogation but even though Mike didn’t give up anything, he knew that that money was now in the pocket of Uncle Sam and he was going to have to look for money elsewhere now. He reluctantly agreed to become a part of Walt’s new operation and that would mark the end for him and his family.

    Mike despised Walter from the beginning; we find out in Better Call Saul that he advised Saul against pursuing Heisenberg based on his initial analysis of the man because he was “a total amateur”. So when the crap hit the fan, and Walt ended up facilitating the murder of a young boy called Drew Sharpe, Mike decided he wanted out and sold his share of the methylamine from the heist to a rival meth-runner Declan, who ended up taking over his role in Walt’s operation.

    What Mike didn’t count on was the fact that the lawyer he used to keep his guys silent would end up snitching on him, which is exactly what caused him to abandon his family ultimately. Now, Jonathon Banks himself has stated that he doesn’t think abandoning Kaylee is something Mike would’ve done, but he respected the writers’ decision to send Mike out the way they did. He ended up becoming a loose end that Walt personally tied up after his ego was pricked by Mike’s defiant attitude even when he was clearly the one who needed Walt’s help.

    After Mike’s passing, his role in Gus’ operation is made public, so it is hard to imagine that Stacey and Kaylee did not get questioned in the aftermath. In fact, there is a good chance that they ended up facing legal troubles of their own, thanks to the fact that Mike gave them drug money to help with their finances and the fact that he pretty much confessed to killing two cops to Stacey in-person.

    This gives her enough information to become a person of interest for the investigators, and it is very likely that she was rigorously questioned as well, but given that Mike never really told her anything, she still had plausible deniability which is the one thing that could’ve kept her safe. As for Kaylee, well, the fact that her sweet pop-pop was a criminal could’ve broken her entire perception of the world.

    From Mike’s perspective, he ended up failing at the one thing he had set out to do- to provide for his family in the wake of his son’s death. It was the sole motivation that kept him going at his age. But to Kaylee, her grandpa was as good as her dad. She most likely spent more time with him than Matty, and from the interactions we’ve seen her have with him, it is clear she loves him dearly.

    But the fact that her grandpa was one of the “bad guys” that her mom was telling her about in an earlier season of Better Call Saul could have an immense psychological impact on her from which she may never recover. If her sweet, Hungry Hippos-playing pop-pop was capable of taking out four cartel guys with surgical precision at over the age of 60, what exactly was real about her childhood then?

    This is pure speculation of course, and we doubt that this storyline will ever be truly concluded for us, but it is possible that after everything that Walt’s hubris ends up doing to everyone else in the series, that Stacey and Kaylee are living life much like Skyler and Francesca; broke, being tailed by cops every other day, and in constant fear of who might be out there to get them. And that is a fate more tragic than what happened to either of the women we have just mentioned, in our opinion.

    Marvelous Verdict

    Marvelous Verdict

    When we started this video, we called the Ehrmantraut Family the White Family of Better Call Saul, and we hope that we have been able to make our case successfully so far. What makes both of them so different is the distance that each criminal member of the family puts between themselves and their family members. Walter White wanted to live like an old-school mobster, basically- be with his family and run his empire at the same time.

    Mike chose the path of the smarter criminal in that aspect, keeping family and business entirely separate. Of course, in the end both of their families got tied up with the spectacular fall of Heisenberg, but the Ehrmantraut Family’s fate somehow feels more tragic than the other one solely because of our relationship with Mike. You might not agree with us on this, but we think Mike’s family are the ones who truly deserved something resembling a happy ending given all the horrors they had survived up until this point, but this wouldn’t be a Vince Gilligan production if that were the case now would it?

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