When asked for a hint on how Better call Saul Closing out during the Tribeca Festival panel in June, Bob Odenkirk offered two words: “Second Life.” That clue turned out to be far worse and far more accurate than anyone could have guessed. And it is was A perfect ending of sorts—and a new beginning for Jimmy McGill.
Jimmy leads to Saul, who briefly leads to Jean Dagovich, who returns to Saul, who claims he’s redeeming himself as Jimmy. An 86-year-old man was sentenced to seven years in prison to prove he wasn’t too much of a slippin’, no matter what the likes of Mike Ehrmantraut, Walter White and his brother Chuck told him. Jimmy trick at the end.
The broken jean was made by intrepid Ask-Jeeves-seeking girl Marian, who used her LifeAlert to inform the police of Saul Goodman’s whereabouts, complete with car details and license plate number. After retrieving his bandage tin full of diamonds he tried to walk away, but Slippin’ Jimmy’s jewelry slipped from his hands while he was hiding in a dumpster, and Omaha police officers took him to Husco. Showrunner and episode writer and director Peter Gould’s storyline sends Saul to prison early in the finale, building our excitement for what’s to come.
One of the episode’s biggest surprise appearances was Saul’s lawyer, or “counselor,” Bill Oakley, a former Albuquerque district attorney who took Saul’s place on a bus bench as he advertised his new position as defense attorney. Not in awe of Jimmy’s success after learning of Jimmy’s connection to the Salamancas, Bill nevertheless accepts Saul’s invitation and agrees to represent him after Saul promises to do wonders for his legal street cred. From the modest automobile he drives, we’re guessing he could use a high-end job. Not that Saul is doing Bill any favors. Bill has a small local street loan of his own, someone without a boatload of pending criminal charges, who gives Saul a very generous seven-year sentence in a cushy Club Fed-type prison (in Butner, North Carolina, where Bernie Madoff died), golf perks and weekly pints of mint chocolate. Chip ice cream. And that last offer proves that even in Saul’s situation, he can gain the upper hand and defeat the lawyer who is said to have never lost a case. Even when he is in prison for decades, he can completely own his opponent.
But then, a twist: As Saul tries to play one more card by telling him new, juicy information about Howard Hamlin’s death, he learns that Kim put the dirt in as part of a collection of confessions he’s already given. Albuquerque DA and Howard’s widow, Cheryl. She tells him all about her role in the circumstances surrounding Howard’s murder, shocking him with what Kim asked him to do during their recent tense phone call.
At first, we think Saul is angry that Kim took advantage of him and limited what he could get out of the government. He really likes that weekly Blue Bell ice cream, he tells Bill in front of a marshal who shepherds him into an Albuquerque courtroom, and he’s sure Kim doesn’t share. could be used against her, perhaps causing a devastating civil action against her by Cheryl Hamlin. Saul seems eager to do this, and when Kim is informed by Albuquerque Assistant District Attorney Suzanne Erickson that she plans to introduce new evidence involving him, Kim watches her latest shenanigans in the courtroom.
But there’s another twist, which explains Bob Odenkirk’s reference to the finale and the finale’s title, “Saul Khan.” Saul flashed a spectacular scene of the courtroom exit sign over his head to emphasize to the judge that Walter White’s criminal enterprise had earned him millions of dollars and that Walt would have ended up without legal maneuvering on Walt’s behalf. Jail for one month. Saul becomes emotional as he tries to talk to Howard about what happened, but when he sees Kim in the back of the room and sees that she’s actually listening to him, he finally reveals to Chuck what he did and ruined his coaching ability. Law, to injure him on purpose, after which Chuck kills himself. “I’ll live with that,” says Saul. And, officially, to make sure everyone knows what it felt like when Kim turned around and locked eyes with her, Mr. Saul asked Judge. He corrects Goodman when he asks him to sit down. “The name is McGill. I’m James McGill,” he said, pointing to himself and taking off the jacket of his very shiny Saul suit.
Poor Bill tries to salvage some semblance of a case, because when Saul gets his Jimmy McGill and redeems himself with Kim, he costs himself that sweet government contract. In fact, leaving Saul and Jimmy on the bus to prison…not Madoff, but Montrose, who he previously described as “Rocky’s Alcatraz.” And he’s slated to stay there for the next eight-and-a-half decades, meaning a life sentence with time off for good behavior.
All is not lost, however: during that bus ride, his fellow inmates recognize him not as Jimmy, but as “Better Call Saul,” and they stomp their feet and shout his catchphrase in praise of their hero. Inside Montrose, it’s clear that he’s ready to get his Saul back to live out that sentence as comfortably as possible. His cohorts refer to him as Saul, and a scene of him operating a dough machine fools us into thinking we might be back in Chinnapan until we see Saul baking bread in the prison kitchen.
Then he gets a visit from his lawyer, but it’s not Bill. Kim uses her old New Mexico bar card to see her ex-husband. In another beautifully shot scene, Kim and Jimmy (as she calls him) stand across from each other in the visiting room, sharing a cigarette she’s stashed for him. One minute, the chemistry was oozing with those two in the first episode of “Uno,” when they were in the HHM parking garage, passing cigarettes back and forth.
It’s a very emotional, brief, reunion, and as Jimmy stands in the yard, watching Kim leave, he fires his finger guns and throws them at her as she leaves. They stand on opposite sides of fences, freedom, but Kim may return. She says she came to see Jimmy with that New Mexico bar card that had no expiration date. Kim, like Jimmy, likes to bend the rules a little more himself.
- Who wants a surprise flashback cameo more: Peter DeSeth’s Bill Oakley, Jonathan Banks’ Mike, Michael McKean’s Chuck, Bryan Cranston’s Walter, or Betsy Brand’s Mary Schrader trying to make sure Saul is punished. Justice for her Hank? Fitting naturally into Saul’s inevitable journey to prison, it was a welcome reunion of favourites.
- Jimmy’s big break started with dumpster diving to help Sandpiper residents sue the company. His life in prison begins in another dumpster, where he drops all those diamonds and destroys Ed’s chance at another life.
- Undoubtedly, the funniest line about a craft store where Jimmy tells Chuck how his legal practice is going: “One of my clients got caught waving a weenie outside a hobby lobby.”
- During flashbacks to Mike (during their infamous trek through the desert in “Pacman”) and Walt (from their time together in Ed’s basement, waiting to be transported to their new life), Jimmy is curious about what they will do. Different with access to time travel. Walt, in his most arrogant and dismissive ways, points out that time travel isn’t possible, and then says that what Saul really wants is for them to discuss what’s upsetting them. Later, in a flashback to the visit with Chuck, Chuck has a paperback book on the kitchen counter: HG Wells’ Time Machine.