Better Call Saul S06E13 "Saul Gone": His Name's McGill… James McGill
Okay, so this is normally where I kick off our live recap/review of Vince Gilligan & Peter Gould's Bob Odenkirk & Rhea Seehorn-starring Better Call Saul with a quick overview & one or two takes before jumping into things. But tonight's different because, after six seasons, the story of Jimmy (Odenkirk) and Kim (Seehorn) is coming to an end… one way or another. But more than that, it brings "The Breaking Bad Story" to an end after a total of eleven seasons and a film (El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie) and possibly cemented its claim as television's GOAT. So with that in mind, here's a quick, before-it-airs prediction. Jimmy ends up going to jail, only to apply his legal skills to help the inmates incarcerated with him. Kim re-enters Jimmy's life and becomes a part of it again, but I'm not feeling that it's romantic. Okay, now we get to see how wrong I am and how Gould & Gilligan have such big, beautiful brains. But first, I'm throwing on the "MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!" sign and throwing down the key art for the Gould-written & directed S06E13 "Saul Gone" as our spoiler image buffer. See you on the flip side…
Better Call Saul S06E13 "Saul Gone" Random Thoughts, Opinions & Takeaways
Damn them for introducing the finale with that teaser with the dangling, empty coat hanger. Well-played!
We begin with a flashback to Jimmy and Mike (Jonathan Banks) from S05E08 "Bagman," as Jimmy makes Mike an offer to split Lalo's money and take off. Jimmy starts a conversation about what Mike would do with a time machine. "December 8, 2001. No. No. March 17, 1984" – the day Mike took his first bribe, and then Mike would check on some folks 5-10 years in the future. For Jimmy, it was "May 10, 1965" for purely selfish reasons. But then Mike asks him if he would only use it for money or to change anything. Jimmy looks annoyed and says he's rested so they can get going.
Was Jimmy annoyed because he was feeling judged by Mike, or did Mike hit beneath Jimmy's "Saul" exterior to start getting at a truth? Hmmm… an interesting place to start, and it vibes foreshadowing.
GENE TIMELINE: Marion (Carol Burnett) got Gene's description and license plate to the police. Damn. Marion's not playing around. Now, it's Gene grabbing the easiest valuable and hoofing it since his car is no longer safe.
Gene hiding out in that dumpster could not get more metaphorical if you tried.
Oh shit! Gene's being… arrested?!?!?
The look on Odenkirk's face as Gene watches the police watch his old "Saul Goodman" commercials is why he wins so many awards. And yet, he uses a call to check in with Cinnabon: "You're going to need a new manager."
"This is how they get you."- Jimmy to himself over and over again (yeah, you're no puncher, Jimmy)
Jimmy's laugh was unlike any I had heard from him before… disturbing in an almost Joker-kinda way. That's because Bill Oakley (Peter Diseth) is about to be Jimmy's co-counsel. "Where do you see this ending?" – Bill to Jimmy / "With me on top. Like always."- Jimmy to Bill (yeah, I had a feeling that laugh meant Jimmy was shifting into "Super Saul" mode).
We've got a Marie (Betsy Brandt) sighting!!!!
So Jimmy's facing Life+190 years, but he's being offered a 30-year deal, take it or leave it… but Jimmy wants to talk to Marie first.
Heartbreaking to see Marie still crushed and mourning the loss of Hank (Dean Norris), and Brandt hasn't missed a beat. She knows this character and this universe, and it shows.
Ummm… Jimmy's playing the sympathy role. Wow… this is a bold move…
Oh shit! Jimmy is throwing Walter White (Bryan Cranston) under the bus, saying he was a "victim," too.
"Walter White might be dead. Jesse Pinkman and the other might be out there."- Jimmy to the room… only to have him slip back into "Saul" one more time. Holy… crap…! He just showed an entire room filled with people who hate him how he's going to beat the wrap.
Jimmy has negotiated his way down to 7-1/2 years in a prison of his choice. But when he tries to push too hard (ice cream… really?!) and offer the truth behind Howard's (Patrick Fabian) death, he gets hit with ten tons of truth in return. Kim beat him to it, so it looks like the DA ended up acting on her confession from last week after all.
The key difference between Jimmy & Kim: they both want to tell the truth, but one always wants something in return for doing it.
We're back to a moment between Saul and Walter…? And now, Saul is asking Walter the "time machine" question. Of course, Walter dismisses it in exactly the manner you would expect Walter would do it. So now it's gone from "time travel" to "regrets."
Walter tells the story of how he got screwed out of Gray Matter Technologies but that it was his mistake to walk away from it. Jimmy asks Walt why he didn't come to him to handle it legally, only for Walt to pull a "chuck" on him.
After Jimmy reveals that his regret was slipping and getting injured when he was younger and how that led to where things are now. Walter to Jimmy: "So you were always like this?"
On a flight (where Jimmy even finds a way to play the U.S. Marshal with him), Bill gives him the backstory on what happened with Kim in that she probably doesn't have legal issues but a ton of civil issues. Jimmy's willing to offer more on Howard even if it jams up Kim more… but there's definitely something else in play right now.
We now cut back to Kim back in her new life, but (understandably) she's distracted by not knowing what's coming next. So instead, she does a very "Kim" thing by taking charge and volunteering for the Central Florida Legal Aid office. And, of course, things are going fine… until Jimmy messes it up with the news that he's giving testimony that's going to hit her hard.
How is Jimmy's suit glowing colorfully in black-and-white?!? Damn, that is seriously a "Saul" suit. And now he's in court, with both Kim, Marie & Blanca Gomez (Steven Michael Quezada's Steven Gomez's widow) present. "It's showtime," Jimmy whispers. Uh-oh…
And here it is… Jimmy's chance to "travel back in time" and fix a regret. By "showtime," Jimmy meant it was time to show Kim that maybe he wasn't completely lost.
Jimmy is taking responsibility for Walter White becoming Heisenberg… for what happened with Howard… for what happened to Chuck.
"The name's McGill. It's James McGill." – Jimmy to the judge, taking ownership of himself back whatever the end result might be.
And speaking of acting without saying a word, Seehorn's body language as she's listening to Jimmy speaks volumes. What stuck out the most for me was the combination of pride in him doing the right thing and the heartbreak that it had to come so late (and at such a high cost).
Back from the commercial, we cut back to the time period between Jimmy and Chuck (Michael McKean). Chuck wonders why Jimmy keeps coming over every day to help him, and he says it's because he's his brother. Chuck asks Jimmy to tell him about his cases, but Jimmy sees it as a chance for Chuck to belittle him. "We always end up having the same conversation, don't we?" Chuck to Jimmy (as Chuck picks up a copy of H.G. Wells's The Time Machine).
Jimmy's on a bus, in chains, and on his way to a very hard prison term, we're guessing. Wow. It was almost like a prison-themed version of what happened during Dead Poet's Society, and it makes perfect sense. What did Jesse say before? That Saul was a "criminal lawyer," right? Of course, he would have a following.
Kim visits Jimmy in prison, and my heart is crushed seeing them together. Kim still has connections, and they're back together. Standing by the wall. Smoking. And the chemistry between them is as thick as ever. He gives her the finger guns as she leaves, and she looks back as he fades from sight. End credits roll before we see what was going to be on that final hanger: a jumpsuit with DCDC on it.
And with that, we've come to the end of AMC's Better Call Saul, with a series finale that remained true to the series, to Breaking Bad, and to the fans. In the universe that Gould and Gilligan created, this was as close to a "happy ending" as I could've wanted while still being the show that I needed it to be. This won't be the last time I discuss the episode this week, but for now? GOAT status has been achieved…