Better Call Saul‘s Sobchak first appeared during the spinoff’s very first season, although fans might not recognize him right away. In Better Call Saul season 5’s “Dedicado a Max,” Jimmy and Kim ramp up their plan to help old man Acker keep his house out of Mesa Verde’s greedy clutches. Kim had already put Jimmy’s maverick legal wrangling to good use, with Saul Goodman pulling every dirty trick in the book to outwit “the big guy.” Kim had hoped these tactics would convince Kevin to move his call center to a new plot, but her stubborn boss was not to be moved, forcing Kim and Jimmy to take an even less conventional approach.
After Jimmy suggests that their only option is to get personal, Kim surprisingly agrees to continue their efforts and the duo begin looking for leverage over Kevin. Although Jimmy wants Mike Ehrmantraut to handle the job, his usual man is otherwise occupied on the other side of the border in Gus Fring’s village. This forces Jimmy to make another call, and Sobchak, played by Steven Ogg, is the man tasked with the job. Although Kim and Jimmy doubt his credentials, it turns out Sobchak managed to infiltrate Kevin’s house and find out everything there was to find on the Mesa Verde head honcho, but came up empty-handed none the less.
Sobchak is certainly an engagingly odd figure in Better Call Saul, but this isn’t the character’s first appearance. Steven Ogg first popped up in Better Call Saul‘s debut season, with a short cameo alongside Mike in “Pimento.” As Mike begins to take odd jobs in criminality, he signs up to act as a bodyguard in a prescription drug deal between Pryce and Nacho, who he’d eventually come to befriend. Before the job begins, Mike is waiting alongside a selection of other tough guys, one of which is Ogg’s Sobchak. After Sobchak mocks Mike for being an unarmed old-timer, Ehrmantraut effortlessly dispatches his rival and is swiftly chosen for the bodyguard gig.
Many viewers might not immediately recall Ogg’s first Better Call Saul appearance while watching the show’s latest installment. Not only do his episodes come 5 years apart, but Sobchak looked markedly different during his debut, with a mustache and a fuller head of hair, rather than the full beard and thinner hair seen in “Dedicado a Max.” Sobchak’s scenes also take place in very different contexts, with his first coming as part of Mike’s story, and his second in Kim’s – two worlds that don’t usually mix in Better Call Saul.
However, there is an interesting continuity within Sobchak’s Better Call Saul career. Operating as “Mr. X,” Sobchak’s humiliating brush with Mike clearly hasn’t put him off being a fix-it man in a world of illegitimacy, and given his sterling job investigating Kevin, it looks like Sobchak might’ve even bucked up his ideas after being put on his backside by an unarmed man. Interestingly, Sobchak’s return does also serve to cement Mike’s status as the best in his field. Saul only ended up working with Ogg’s character because Mike wasn’t available, and Better Call Saul already proved in season 1 how vastly inferior Mr. X is to Mr. Ehrmantraut. This helps clarify why Mike is so highly sought after and why, despite his unassuming physical appearance, Gus Fring desperately wants him on his team.
More: Better Call Saul Season 5: What Gus Needs Mike For
Better Call Saul season 5 continues with “Wexler v. Goodman” March 23rd on Netflix.