AMC’s Better Call Saul
Directed & Written
by Vince Gilligan
* For a recap & review of 6×11, click here.
* For a recap & review of the series finale, click here.
Saul’s bouncing his ball around in the office, not taking clients yet despite a waiting room full of people. He bounces the ball so hard he knocks one of the pillars of justice behind his desk down; a fitting image for his life. Then he sits at his desk and looks at petition to dissolve his marriage with Kim. He decides to distract himself with a client instead.
We go to one of the future sequences, but this time it’s Kim in black-and-white, preparing food for a get together with friends at her place. She has a new guy in her life. It’s all a far fling from Kim’s previous life as a lawyer and with Saul. Though, surely, it’s a hell of a late more safe, too. Hopefully, anyway. Has she disappeared well enough? Well, she’s still Kim Wexler, so she hasn’t exactly disappeared, just left her old life.
We see Kim drive to Palm Coast Sprinkler where she works; the place we heard of previously when Gene was trying to make contact with Kim. She lives a normal life with a working class job. She doesn’t have to worry about the law, the cartel, or Saul’s messy life, just signing birthday cards for people at work and doing the job required of her. At lunch, Kim’s colleagues talk about drugs, and whether people even smoke crack anymore. Such a perfect moment as Kim sits silently, not mentioning anything she knows about the drug world.
One day, out of nowhere, Kim gets the call from Gene/Saul. She isn’t thrilled, and he’s trying to make silly small talk. He brags about being out there, free, escaping the reach of the feds. Kim says he should turn himself in and wonders what sort of life he’s living on the run. This makes ol’ Gene angry and he yells at her. All Kim says before hanging up is: “I‘m glad you‘re alive.” Then she sings happy birthday to a coworker with everybody else at the office.
In Albuquerque, Kim takes a bus to the courts, passing the booth where once there was Mike, and other guards, but now is only automated machinery. Kim passes by all the familiar places she knew from her former life as a lawyer, entering the building like any other civilian. She heads for the elevators, noticing a lawyer taking care of a client before heading into the courthouse. Later, Kim goes to Cheryl Hamlin’s home with documents. She’s prepared to reveal the truth now about what really happened to Howard, including how she and Saul conspired to make Howard look crazy and addicted to cocaine.
A shocking thing for Cheryl to read after all this time, albeit probably a weight off her shoulders to at least know what happened to her husband. Yet she still wonders why. Kim simply says Howard was “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” The truth doesn’t help Cheryl, or the tarnished memory of Howard, and Kim likely won’t face any charges unless Cheryl sues her in civil court. But Kim insists she wants to change the perception of Howard she helped create, if only by telling the truth of how he was murdered.
What ramifications will Kim’s admission have on Gene?
Not that he doesn’t deserve them. But it’ll be interesting to see the fate of Gene, what he might do now with his back against the wall all over again. And then there’s Kim, who’s falling apart in public on the bus, weeping openly and loudly for the sins she’s committed. An older woman reaches out to comfort Kim, but nothing can fix what Kim and Saul did to Howard, or the other people whose lives they touched.
Ol’ Gene is breaking into the house of the mark with cancer. He’s getting more photos of financial documents and gathering all the important info he can from around the rich man’s home. He finds the passwords taped under a lamp on the guy’s office desk. Soon he sees Jeff outside in the cab waiting to pick him up. Gene’s about to leave, then he turns back to go upstairs again, and that’s when his mark starts to wake up. He takes a look around at the expensive liquor and cigars and watches on display. Outside, a cop car pulls in behind Jeff’s cab. Not a good thing, coupled with the fact the mark is up on his feet around the house. Gene takes a dog’s urn and is about to crank the mark over the head when the guy passes out again on the staircase, giving him a chance to slip out. He pauses when he sees the cop car behind Jeff. The cops are busy eating and complaining about tacos when suddenly Jeff drives off wildly and smashes into the back of a nearby parked vehicle across the street. Not great for Jeff, but it does give Gene time to get out of the house. Downright hilarious.
Back to the present timeline of Better Call Saul with Kim and Saul meeting to sign the paperwork to dissolve their marriage. An awkward scene. Saul treats it all nonchalantly but is clearly wounded. Kim just wants to get away from him and Albuquerque. She takes offence to his flippant attitude about it, and she leaves without another word after he tells her to “have a nice life.” It’s interesting to see Kim in the midst of Saul’s three-ring circus, probably just solidifying her decision to get free from it all. She has a cigarette outside where she runs into Jesse Pinkman, who bums one off of her. Jesse complains about the rain while they smoke. He mentions recognising Kim because she once represented Combo. He asks her if Saul’s “the real deal” because his friend is facing serious time. Kim tells Jesse that Saul was good when she knew him.
At home with a nice drink and some new watches, Gene relaxes. His criminality now is entirely focused on getting back even a sliver of his old Saul Goodman lifestyle. It isn’t about anything other than greed, not that it ever wasn’t, but it’s just so clear and distilled now that Gene’s out there on the run from the law and he cannot help himself, constantly attempting to get back to the luxury he had once as Saul. On top of it all, Jeff calls from jail and says the cops are accusing him of robbing the guy’s house. Gene tells Jeff to “sit tight” and he’ll get things settled. So Gene has to call Marion about the situation. He offers to take her to the jail and get the bail paid, though it seems like Marion’s getting suspicious. She hangs up the phone and sits down at her laptop. A little later, Gene arrives to pick Marion up and she’s still at her laptop. She’s discovered Gene’s previous identity, Saul Goodman. He tries to gaslight her, but Marion is far too smart for that. Marion wants to call the cops and Gene’s not going to have that. He wraps the telephone cord around his hands as he approaches her, and she grabs her Life Alert necklace, clicking the button and reporting Saul’s location, which prompts ol’ Gene to make a run for it. Wow. Forever running.