‘Better Call Saul’ season six finale recap: the game is up

**Spoilers for 'Saul Gone' below**

If you had a time machine, would you go back and change the past? This question is asked several times in Better Call Saul‘s final episode, which contains Breaking Bad cameos from Bryan Cranston and others – and is met with a different answer every time. Never, though, does our titular dodgy lawyer hint at remorse for the terrible things he has done. No matter. As the spin-off reaches its conclusion this week, Saul Goodman must face the music anyway.

After years on the run under various aliases, Jimmy/Saul/Gene is finally brought to some kind of justice by a vengeful mother. “Oh please, get him,” cries Carol Burnett’s Marion, one episode on from unmasking his cover and informing the authorities. And get him they do. Cornered by the feds, Gene gives himself up peacefully and with no tales left to tell, he looks like he’s finally ran out of ideas. But then we get Saul in his natural habitat – at the negotiating table.

Better Call Saul
Jimmy McGill at the negotiating table. CREDIT: AMC

With the inadvertent help of returning Breaking Bad character Marie Schrader, who details the heartbreaking fallout from her husband Hank and his partner Steve Gomez’s deaths in the desert, Saul turns several lifetimes in prison to seven and a half years. You see, he was one of original big bad Walter White’s victims too – and everything he did was under threat of being murdered by Cranston’s science teacher turned drug lord. Marie, like her husband, has an excellent bullshit detector and becomes incredulous as the prosecutors dare not risk Saul’s (believable) story being told in front of a jury. Seven and a half years.

Saul and Walt were both egotists – and it was the undoing of them both. Saul has the feds over a barrel but he can’t resist gloating over his greatest con yet. With a sneer, he offers them the cherry on top – details on former associate Howard Hamlin’s murder – without knowing his ex-wife and legal partner Kim Wexler already confessed everything to the DA and Hamlin’s widow.

Which leaves Jimmy at a crossroads once again. He can take the paltry sentence and be out in a hot minute, probably living comfortably in quiet solitude – or he can do the most honest thing he’s ever done but never see daylight again.

Better Call Saul
Jimmy gets his day in court. CREDIT: AMC

Remarkably, he chooses the latter and erases his Saul and Gene personas. He is now simple, honest solicitor Jimmy McGill again. Kim attends Jimmy’s trial. She expects to hear him implicate her in any crimes, but with Marie watching on he attempts to come clean. It’s still some kind of performance though, at least at first. During his confession, he looks at Kim and sees that it’s not enough, that she knows he’s holding his darkest secrets back. Jimmy then owns up to his parts in Howard’s murder and Chuck’s suicide, while Kim sits and listens, knowing the words come from his heart because for once Jimmy speaks quietly. It’s the first time he has been honest in a long time, and for the woman he never stopped loving. To earn her forgiveness he had to be as honest as she was to Hamlin’s widow. It’s a brilliant payoff to years’ worth of meticulous character building.

The once happy couple have a final meeting at Jimmy’s new home in federal prison. They share a cigarette just as they did in Better Call Saul‘s pilot episode. Then, after giving up the bar, Kim allows herself to flirt with the law again by volunteering at a pro bono legal service, hopefully to do some good in the world. Meanwhile, Jimmy becomes a prison celebrity, loved by the inmates for his legal brilliance. They start a chant in his honour: “BETTER! CALL! SAUL!” It’s an appropriate way to cap off one of TV’s best finales.

Kim Wexler
Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) watches on. CREDIT: AMC

Was it worth the wait?

Yes! Whereas Breaking Bad’s decision to let Walt go out on his own terms felt undeserved given all that had come before, Jimmy’s personal reckoning felt apt for a character that was always better than he allowed himself to be.

Closing Statements

  • “The name’s McGill. I’m James McGill” – Saul comes clean, finally.
  • “Where do I see it ending? With me on top, as always” – Jimmy initially fights the prosecution with every trick he has.
  • “With good behaviour, who knows?” – A morbid joke between two people who love each other very much.
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