Well folks, we’ve finally made it: the moment “Better Call Saul” fans have been waiting for over 7 years now: our story of Jimmy McGill-turned Saul Goodman-turned Gene Takavic finally comes to an end.
The last we saw of our hero, he was making a run for it after Marion, his latest con victim portrayed by the inimitable Carol Burnett, discovered the truth behind his lies. Now, he’s on the run as the police begin a manhunt for him, similar to Walter White’s final days in the “Breaking Bad” finale.
Kim, meanwhile, has seen her guilt catch up with her, and broke down on the bus home after submitting a manifesto to the local DA, as well as Howard’s widow, revealing the truth. Her contact with Jimmy, however, is next to none.
Without further ado, let’s finally get into the series finale, written and directed by none other than series co-creator and showrunner Peter Gould himself, appropriately titled “Saul Gone.”
Season 6, Episode 13: ‘Saul Gone’
We start our final episode of “Better Call Saul” with yet another blast to the past…but not so far back. No, just back to season 5, when Jimmy and Mike were wandering their way out of the desert. While on a water break, Jimmy suggests to Mike that they take the money – $7 million – and run, but Mike isn’t down. “Where would you go first?” Jimmy asks Mike regarding their hypothetical $6 million time machine. “December 8, 2001,” Mike eventually says. “No, no,” he corrects himself. “March 17, 1984. The day I took my first bribe.” Then, Mike says, he moves forward on a different path. For Jimmy, it’s easy. “May 10, 1965.” The day Warren Buffet took over Berkshire Hathaway, apparently. He’d invest the remaining $1 million. Upon returning to the present, he’d be a billionaire. “Is there such thing as a trillionaire?”
“That’s it?” Mike asks. “Money?” Jimmy only responds, “What else?”
In the present, Jimmy, now “Gene,” escapes Marion’s house in his car. After reaching his house, he retrieves a disposable cell phone, but is caught off guard by the coterie of police cars out front, forcing him to flee out the back. Jimmy has very little with him – only the flip phone, as well as a shoebox containing stacks of money.
Jimmy tries to make his way around the city, but is forced to take refuge in a dumpster when it becomes clear the city is swarmed with police searching for him. In the dumpster, he opens his shoebox, which also contains the contact information for his disappearer – Ed Galbraith – and tries to retrieve his phone, presumably to call him. However, the police catch him before he has a chance.
“Hands up!” they yell from the outside. Jimmy is forced to surrender, slowly rising from the dumpster with his hands in the air.
Jimmy is now in prison, where he overhears a herd of officers watching one of his old Saul Goodman videos. They can’t help but look over at him reproachfully – or perhaps pitifully.
For his one phone call, Jimmy decides to call…the Cinnabon, where he simply arranges the logistics for the following few days’ schedule. “You’re gonna need a new manager,” he tells his employee.
In his cell, Jimmy realizes his mistake, and then (somehow) convinces the police to give him another call. He calls Bill Oakley – Jimmy’s old lawyer associate from Albuquerque – and tries to convince him to take him on as a client. Bill starts by rebuffing his offer, but is clearly drawn in, at least a little. Nonetheless, he is skeptical about how this could play out. “Where do you see this ending?” Bill asks him, incredulous. With little hesitation, Jimmy replies, “With me on top…like always.”
As expected, Bill Oakley has made it to Omaha, and is officially representing Jimmy, who has numerous charges stacked against him, culminating in a sentence that could total life plus 190 years. Oh, and while on the way to the plea negotiation, he passes by Marie.
Mid-negotiation, Jimmy asks about bringing Marie in, and while they consider it, she marches right into the room on her own volition.
“They tell me they found you in a garbage dumpster,” she begins after sitting down. “That makes sense.” She then goes on a rant expressing her anger at Jimmy for collaborating with her brother-in-law, Walter White (who she refuses to name) for years, eventually leading to the death of her husband and his partner, Steve Gomez.
Jimmy responds with a long and drawn-out sob story of his own, expressing his profound sorrow for Marie, and recounts in vivid detail the first night he met Walter White, in which he was abducted and held at gunpoint above an open grave. “From that moment on,” Jimmy says, “there hasn’t been a minute that I wasn’t afraid.” He was a victim just as Marie was, Jimmy goes on, recalling the day in which Walter orchestrated the deaths of 9 prison inmates, plus a lawyer, whom Jimmy seems to sympathize the most with. As he finishes, the DA can only respond by asking if he really thinks jurors are going to buy that. Jimmy…or perhaps Saul…responds, “One. All I need is one.”
Marie, rightfully, refuses to let them negotiate with him, and storms out of the room.
We’re still at the negotiating table, and Jimmy has successfully negotiated his deal down from 30 years to 7. He then goes on to prove he has the world’s biggest balls by requesting – or demanding – that he get a particular cell in a particular prison. “FCI Butler-Lowe, North Carolina, wing D,” Jimmy says. “It’s the only federal institution with a golf program.” Reluctantly, the feds agree.
Just as they are about to exit, Jimmy demands “one more thing:” he wants to use his knowledge of Howard Hamlin’s death to negotiate yet an even better deal. But the feds aren’t buying it. Little does he know that his ex-wife already walked into the Albuquerque DA’s office the other day and spilled her guts out in an affidavit. For the first time, Jimmy is left speechless.
We’re back in the past, where Walter and Saul are stuck underneath Ed Galbraith’s basement, prepared to depart for their next lives – as seen in “Breaking Bad’s” penultimate episode. Saul then asks Walter what he asked Mike many years ago: what would he do if he had a time machine? Walter responds in classic Walter White form: loudly and angrily, arguing that time travel is a “scientific impossibility.” “If you want to ask about regrets, just ask about regrets!” he screams. So Saul does. Giving it some thought, Walter answers exactly how any “Bad” fan would expect: his biggest regret is stepping away from Gretchen and Elliot’s Gray Matter Technologies, which he co-founded with them back in their college days, and which later became hugely successful. When Saul says he should have told him about this in order to file some kind of lawsuit, Walter only responds, “You’re the last lawyer I would have gone to.”
When Walter asks him about his own regrets, Jimmy calls back to a “slip and fall” scam that he did when he was younger. Walter responds, “So you were always like this.”
While on a plane ride with a U.S. federal marshal, Jimmy intercepts Oakley on his way to the bathroom, and asks him about Kim. Oakley tells him that, given the lack of physical evidence or witnesses, she is likely to get off scot-free, at least legally. Civilly, she is liable to be sued to high heaven by Howard’s widow. A few minutes later, as Oakley returns from the bathroom, Jimmy tells him he has some more information that involves Kim that the feds don’t yet know about – information that will make their “toes curl.” He’s prepared to do some more negotiating.
In Florida, meanwhile, Kim has resumed her monotonous rote of daily life, but leaves early while at work one day to stop at “Central Florida Legal Aid,” a pro bono law firm for underprivileged clients, where she spontaneously asks to volunteer. While there, Kim receives a call from Suzanne Ericsen, the Albuquerque DA, who tells her – completely off-the-record – that Jimmy was arrested and has implicated her in new testimony. When she asks what he said, we can only see her from afar as she begins to hyperventilate.
In the Albuquerque courtroom, for the first time in about six years, Jimmy locks eyes with Kim, who sits tapping her foot nervously in the back. Upon sitting down, Jimmy whispers to himself, “It’s showtime.”
The judge declares that the case is called United States v. Saul Goodman, as that is the name Jimmy prefers to go by. While introducing themselves, Oakley then declares that “Saul” intends to represent himself. The judge calls upon the prosecutor, essentially reaming him in legalese for going so soft on Jimmy.
The judge grants Jimmy some time to speak, prompting him to begin with the same sob story he gave Marie. He then, however, declares that he became nothing short of a key element in “building Walter White’s drug empire.” The judge stops him, ordering him to go under oath if he intends to continue.
Jimmy does so, then continues by revealing that his bombshell testimony about Kim was a lie: he gave false testimony regarding her involvement in Howard’s death to the feds, simply to draw her to the courtroom so she would be here today. He then goes on to express his importance in Walter White’s meth empire. “If he hadn’t walked in my office that day,” he says, “Walter White would’ve be dead or behind bars within a month.” He then goes on to talk about his late brother, Chuck, revealing that he “could’ve tried harder” when it came to protecting him. Instead, he “saw a chance to hurt him” and “took it.” He then takes his seat, telling Oakley that despite what the lawbooks might say, what he did to his brother was a crime. He then corrects the record with the judge: his name is Jimmy McGill, not Saul Goodman.
We’re in another flashback, this time one involving Chuck. Due to his famous (largely psychological) electromagnetic hypersensitivity, Jimmy is running a bunch of chores for his brother, whom he seems to genuinely care for. They even (almost) discuss Jimmy’s low-brow clients. “I’m gonna take a pass on the heart-to-heart, Chuck,” Jimmy says, before leaving. When Chuck tells him that there’s no shame in changing his path, Jimmy responds by telling him the same thing. “We always have the same conversation, don’t we?” Chuck says, before picking up a copy of H. G. Wells’s “The Time Machine.”
In the present, Jimmy is now being transported to prison – and not the one he requested while making that plea deal. While Jimmy seems to reflectively ponder out the window, the other prisoners can’t help but recognize him, soon prompting chants of “Better Call Saul!” throughout the bus. Jimmy can’t help but suppress a smile.
In the prison, Jimmy is in the kitchen making bread, akin to his old job at the Cinnabon. When he is informed his lawyer is here, Jimmy goes to the cell block and sees Kim. “Hi Jimmy,” she says, before offering him a cigarette. The two of them go to smoke near the back wall.
“You had ’em down to 7 years,” Kim says.
“Yeah, I did.”
Now? “86 years,” says Kim. But, with good behavior, Jimmy says, “who knows?”
On her way out, Kim sees Jimmy once again in the courtyard, behind a chained-link fence. He gives her two finger guns, but, unlike before, she does not reciprocate.