'Better Call Saul' recap: Men going their own way (2023)


'Better Call Saul' recap: Men going their own way (1)

Better Call Saul

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There's a recurring motif in this episode, three separate and very beautiful shots of men standing alone in dark places. In the first one, Mike Ehrmentraut (Jonathan Banks) stands beside a desert bonfire, a funeral pyre where the bloodstained truth about Howard Hamlin's (Patrick Fabian) death is being slowly burned away. In the second, Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) looms against the night sky above Don Eladio's (Steven Bauer) in-ground pool, a harbinger of the day when he'll stand on this spot as Eladio's corpse floats facedown below him. And then finally, there's Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk): After Howard's memorial service, Kim (Rhea Seehorn) kisses him goodbye and drives away, leaving him alone in the parking garage where they used to share cigarettes.

In the first two shots, the men are illuminated against the darkness — Mike by the blazing fire, Gus by the glow of the pool. But Jimmy stands outside the circle of light cast by the cold fluorescents of the parking garage, and so we cannot see his face. He is just a shadow, a silhouette. He could be anyone, or no one at all.

Mike's bonfire in the desert is the culmination of a long day spent erasing all evidence of Howard's death from Jimmy's condo. While Kim and Jimmy each go about their version of a normal day (Kim wins a tearful victory for her client at court, while Jimmy fits his with the perfect neck brace to sell a personal-injury suit), Mike and his team clean the rug, patch the drywall, install the new fridge, and leave no trace. By the time Kim and Jimmy get home, it's like it never happened, and Jimmy tries to smooth it over with the same speech Mike once gave him — the one about waking up, brushing your teeth, and realizing that you haven't thought about it. Realizing you can forget. But when Mike said this, it was to someone who desperately wanted to hear it.

Kim, lying on her side with her back to her husband, doesn't even look at him.

And yet, life goes on, for everyone. Gus has one last hurdle to clear, a meeting at Don Eladio's compound where Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis) publicly (and, it must be said, accurately) accuses him of conspiring against the cartel. But he's covered his tracks so well, and Lalo (Tony Dalton) did such an impeccable job of faking his own death, that Eladio dismisses the whole thing with a shrug. It really is as Gus said in that final showdown with Lalo: Eladio is an impulsive idiot, unable to even conceive of the long game, let alone notice the one playing out under his nose. He's no match for Gus, who is driven and meticulous and terrifyingly patient, whose entire life is organized around the single purpose of revenge. There's one fleeting moment in this episode, as he laughs over a glass of wine with the maitre d' at his favorite bar, where we see the man Gus Fring could have been, if he'd only let himself — but he won't. He recoils from the sensation of happiness, from the possibility of human connection. These things are distractions.

Better Call Saul

'Better Call Saul' recap: Men going their own way (2)

Giancarlo Esposito as Gus Fring on 'Better Call Saul'

| Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Mike, meanwhile, has unfinished business: not something he wants to do, but something that must be done. It's not hard to understand why he would feel compelled to visit Manuel Varga (Juan Carlos Cantu) — when he says that Nacho was a good man whose worst mistake was falling in with bad people, he could just as easily be talking about his own son — but despite the affinity Mike feels for Manuel, they are not the same. Their brief, difficult conversation takes place with a chain-link fence between them, a physical barrier to match the invisible one that leaves each man alone with his own grief, his own regrets. Mike tries to comfort Manuel by telling him that justice will be done. Manuel scoffs: He's not talking about justice, but revenge. He calls Mike a gangster. "You're all the same," he says, and turns away.

Again, a theme emerges. Do you see it? Men going their own way. Men walking away from carnage, tragedy, trauma. Men left alone to live with themselves, for better or for worse.

Jimmy, of course, is not alone. He has Kim, and she's right beside him at the memorial service, where Howard Hamlin's beaming face is plastered everywhere, inescapable. (Side note: If you're looking for a moment of levity in this very tense, sad scene, just imagine Patrick Fabian doing the scuba photo shoot that resulted in these pictures.) Rich Schweikart (Dennis Boutsikaris) tells Jimmy that HHM will be closing up shop and changing its name, and then calls him "Saul" when they say goodbye; you can see why, in the Breaking Bad timeline, Jimmy's former identity and family name have been all but forgotten. And there's one terrible moment with Howard's widow, who knows that her husband wasn't an addict and that Jimmy was up to something in the weeks before his death — but Kim steps in with a bold, expert lie about having once seen Howard snorting cocaine in his office, and that's that.

This is when Kim kisses Jimmy goodbye. She drives away, and then he's alone.

In my notes from this episode, I marked this moment with a hastily-typed observation — this feels not good — which is technically correct while also being the understatement of the year. In the very next scene, Kim is back in court with a client, visibly nervous. There's a problem: She's filed a last-minute motion to excuse herself from the case. The judge asks why, and at first she stonewalls, but finally she says it.

"Because I'm no longer an attorney."

Cut to Jimmy coming back to the condo, busting through the door: "You did what?" he shrieks. "Why, whyyyyyy?!" But the freakout only lasts a moment before he goes into full damage control mode. He's making a plan. They'll get a new place. She'll tell the bar she made a mistake — they'll go to a hotel, she'll write letters, or no, wait, he'll write them for her — and what's done will swiftly be undone. He just needs to grab a few things, then they'll go… and that's when he opens the door of the bedroom.

Kim's side of the closet is empty. Her belongings are half packed into boxes and suitcases, the rest still strewn across the bed. And the mystery that's been hanging over this series for years, the one about why there's no trace of Kim Wexler in the world of Breaking Bad, the one whose resolution we've been dreading because whatever it was, it was going to break our hearts, is finally over.

Kim's last words to Jimmy aren't just a breakup speech. They're a magnum opus. He begs her to stay, and says he loves her.

"I love you too," she says, and then her voice breaks. "But so what?!"

So what, indeed. Kim finally understands: The fact that she loves Jimmy and that he makes her happy is irrelevant. If anything, it's all the more a sign that they shouldn't be together, because when Kim is happy other people end up getting hurt. She tells Jimmy that she knew Lalo was alive, and she kept this from him — not because she wanted to protect him, but because she knew he would want to protect her, and that this would mean pulling the plug on the Howard scam. She could have made different choices, and she didn't. Why?The disgust in her voice is so thick she's practically choking on it: "Because I was having too much fun."

And whatever else happens between Kim and Jimmy — more tears, more arguing, the ugly and inevitable divorce — this is how it ends. The next scene takes place at some indeterminate future point, but Kim isn't in it and neither is Jimmy, really. The man waking up next to a hooker, combing his hair just so over an advancing bald spot, yammering away on his Bluetooth earpiece like some new breed of shark that will die if it ever stops speaking: That's Saul Goodman.

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Episode Recaps


'Better Call Saul' recap: Men going their own way (26)

Better Call Saul

Saul Goodman, first introduced in Breaking Bad, gets his own prequel.

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What did the boys do in Better Call Saul first episode? ›

While Jimmy is driving back to his office, he suddenly hits a skateboarder, Cal Lindholm. Cal's twin brother Lars, who videotaped the incident, rushes up to confront Jimmy. The brothers demand an instant settlement of $500. Jimmy, however, quickly realizes that the two brothers are trying to pull a scam on him.

Who ambushed Jimmy in the desert? ›

The unseen shooter was Mike Ehrmantraut, who was tracking Jimmy for Gus Fring. Mike finds his truck was also disabled in the shootout, so he places a still-shaken Jimmy and the money in Jimmy's car and begins driving back to Albuquerque. Jimmy's car soon breaks down.

What happened in episode 9 season 6 of Better Call Saul? ›

Gus has been summoned to the south-of-the-border home of Don Eladio, where Don Hector accuses him of killing Lalo and plotting to usurp the cartel. Unruffled, Gus answers this potentially fatal allegation by declaring it too preposterous to dignify with words.

What is going on with Better Call Saul? ›

The series also showed us just what happened to Saul/Jimmy after his association with Walter White (Bryan Cranston): He fled to Omaha under a new identity (Gene) and worked as a baker at a shopping-mall Cinnabon. This final episode brings all three of his personae together as Jimmy, Gene and Saul's worlds collide.

What were the three boys doing in Better Call Saul? ›

Act I. In May 2002, Jimmy McGill is a down-on-his-luck Albuquerque public defender representing three teenagers charged with breaking into a funeral home and performing a sex act on a severed human head.

What did the three 19 year olds do in Better Call Saul? ›

The real story of Better Call Saul begins in 2002, which means that our hero's glory days lasted less than a decade. When we meet Jimmy McGill, he's in court defending three 19-year-old boys on trial for breaking into a funeral home, severing the head of a corpse, and then, ugh, having sex with it.

Does Jimmy catch the kids who mugged him? ›

Mike tells them to keep an eye on Kai. That night, at the laundromat, Jimmy finds the three youths who previously mugged him. He offers to cut them in on his phone business if they agree to not hassle him.

Whose body did Mike find in the desert? ›

Mike Ehrmantraut drives to the site where he committed the ice-cream truck robbery. Using information Nacho Varga provided, he finds the body of the Good Samaritan who was killed after freeing Ximenez Lecerda. He then makes an anonymous call and reports the location to the police. At home, Chuck McGill shares with Dr.

Who ordered the hit on Jimmy? ›

Click to start this article in. It isn't a stretch to say Lalo ordered the hit on Jimmy. There wasn't anything random about the attack; in the moment, it felt like a coordinated assault, with Jimmy's aggressors knowing exactly where he'd be on the road with the money.

What is Gus Fring's secret? ›

Originally collaborating with the Mexican drug cartel to distribute cartel cocaine, Gus eliminated his dependence on the cartel and began distributing methamphetamine himself, and eventually became the kingpin of his solo drug empire, which was the most successful drug operation in United States history until his ...

Did Kim see Howard snort? ›

Cheryl is suspicious of the circumstances surrounding Howard's death, but Kim falsely claims she previously saw him snorting cocaine at work and suggests Cheryl was so inattentive she missed the signs of his supposed drug addiction, causing Cheryl to break down in tears.

Why did Kim quit Better Call Saul? ›

She left a cushy job to do it, throwing herself into the unknown in order to better the lives of others who would otherwise be steamrolled without her. Kim now leaving the law while Jimmy stays in it is a testament to the show's prevailing pessimism, a grim reminder that any hope for justice is slowly slipping away.

Why did Saul get 86 years? ›

Kim attends the sentencing in Albuquerque, where Jimmy admits he lied so she would be present in person. He confesses to enabling Walt and admits his role in Chuck's suicide. He is sentenced to 86 years in prison, where he is revered by fellow inmates who recognize him as Saul.

How did Saul save Kim? ›

In order to protect Kim from being prosecuted by Howard's widow, Saul confessed to everything at his hearing. As Kim watched on, Saul reversed his earlier statement about being threatened by Walt and Jesse and admitted that Walt would have died or gone to prison had it not been for him.

What happens to Saul Goodman at the end of Breaking Bad? ›

Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) died in mid-speech in a courtroom, taking back his host body and original name of Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk, but nicer), maybe for good, or maybe just until he feels the full weight of his punishment.

Who is the old guy in the beginning of Better Call Saul? ›

Michael Ehrmantraut (/ˈɜːrməntraʊt/) is a fictional character in the television series Breaking Bad and its spinoff prequel Better Call Saul, portrayed by Jonathan Banks.

Why did Jimmy become Saul? ›

After Chuck's death in the Season 3 finale, Jimmy leans into his criminal nature by selling burner phones and performing various scams. Then, when his law license is reinstated, he requests to practice law officially under the “Saul Goodman” name.

Should I let my 13 year old watch Better Call Saul? ›

Not only are those present throughout the series but there are also references to drugs as well. Some characters are even seen doing cocaine in Season 5 episode 2 and 3 and there are references to methamphetamine as well. So, Better Call Saul I'd say is best for ages 13 and up.

Why did Jimmy confess at the end? ›

After spending years denying he had any love left for the man, the finale's biggest reveal was that Jimmy genuinely loved his brother and regretted how things ended up, and his moment of truth was towards himself in order to save his soul rather than someone else's.

Why did Hector knock over the cup? ›

Bruckner dismisses Hector knocking over a water glass as involuntary, but Gus sees that Hector did it purposely so he could ogle the nurse who cleaned it up. Gus tells Bruckner to end treatment, in effect trapping Hector's healed mind inside his unhealed body.

Why did Mike reject the French guy? ›

The reason why the Frenchman wasn't hired isn't clearly stated but two conclusions can be made from his interaction with Mike. His prior border tunnel project means he must have worked for a rival Mexican drug cartel. This meant he couldn't be trusted.

Did the two cops killed Mike's son? ›

His worry was justified because fellow cops ambushed Matty. They believed he could become a whistleblower, so they killed him.

Why did Jimmy slip on a drumstick? ›

When they refuse to pay him, Jimmy instructs Joey to keep his camera rolling and pointed at him. Jimmy drops a drumstick to the ground and, after confirming the owners refuse to pay, "slips" on the drumstick, falling flat on his back.

Does anyone find out about Mike's death? ›

In the next episode Jesse tells Walt that he things Mike is dead and mentions that “walt would have to look over his shoulder if Mike was alive…” this dialogue is referring back to the shot over Walt's shoulder. that's how Jesse knows.

How much money did Jimmy get from the settlement? ›

Irene has refused because the lawyers have advised her they believe they can get Sandpiper to offer more. Jimmy stands to receive $1.16 million, and tries to persuade Howard Hamlin to accept, but Howard refuses.

Did Jimmy orchestrate the Billboard guy falling? ›

During filming, however, the worker who is removing the advertisement slips and falls, held on only by his harness. Jimmy hurries to the man's rescue and pulls him to safety while his film crew and the public watch. It is revealed that the accident was staged by Jimmy and the worker as a publicity stunt.

Did Jimmy mean what he said in winner? ›

However, Kim's joy turns to confusion and horror as Jimmy reveals that his entire speech was a calculated performance meant to sway the "suckers" on the committee; he never meant one word of his comments about Chuck.

Who was Gus Fring's lover? ›

Sexuality. Much of Gus' motives are driven by revenge for the death of his partner Maximino "Max" Arciniega by the Mexican cartel. Gus and Max's relationship was long implied to be more than business before their confirmation as lovers by showrunner Peter Gould in 2022.

Why is Gus afraid of Lalo? ›

Because of the rivalry between Gus and Hector, Lalo becomes dedicated to disrupting Gus' legitimate restaurant business Los Pollos Hermanos and Lavandería Brillante, as well as his reputation with the cartel. Unlike his other rivals such as Walter White, Gus was highly fearful of Lalo due to his cunning and resilience.

What made Gus evil? ›

After Max was killed in front of his eyes, the loss of such an emotional and possible romantic factor of his life snapped Gustavo into a ruthless crime lord.

Did they find Howard and Lalo's body? ›

Better Call Saul's eighth episode ended with Mike (Jonathan Banks) burying both Lalo and Howard's bodies in a shared grave in Gus' bunker meth lab. Looking back at a specific moment in Breaking Bad, fans believe it was Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) and his team who discovered their grave.

Why does Kim Wexler hate Howard? ›

There's jealousy, and plenty of annoyance. Howard was a rich blowhard whose daddy handed him a high paying job and automatic partnership in a successful law firm. And a whole lot of “he's rich, this won't hurt him very much, he'll be back on his feet in no time” excuses.

Why does Kim want to destroy Howard? ›

While Jimmy and Kim didn't mean to kill Howard, they did intend to destroy his reputation, and as a result of his death, that damage can never be undone.

Do Jimmy and Kim get divorced? ›

Despite Kim and Jimmy's unconditional love for each other, Kim left him and Albuquerque after one of their schemes went horribly wrong, causing her to believe that they were bad for everyone around them. She subsequently retired permanently from her law career, and divorced Jimmy later that year.

Why does Kim Wexler love Jimmy? ›

Kim sees that Jimmy has the potential to be a proper, successful lawyer who can leave the ways of Slippin Jimmy behind (his earlier con-man alter ego). Kim thus makes a point of sticking up for Jimmy because she feels he is being unfairly characterized by everybody around him.

What happens to Kim Wexler in the end? ›

The ultracompetent attorney who married Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), the man most likely to bring out the shadier side of her character, never appears in Breaking Bad, which led some viewers to assume she would die before Saul finished its run. But as Monday's series finale confirmed, Kim Wexler lives on.

Did Saul take the 7 years? ›

Saul had a sweet deal to go to prison for seven years. When his day in court came, he decided to be honest and got 86 years to life instead.

Is Chicago sunroof a real thing? ›

A Chicago Sunroof is not a real thing.

Did Saul get 7 years? ›

As the scene is set, the judge comments that Saul's negotiated seven-year sentence is an extravagantly generous sentence she's seen throughout her career.

Is Kim In Love With Saul? ›

Kim is primarily portrayed by Rhea Seehorn, and was created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould. An intelligent and proficient lawyer, she is the confidant and love interest of Jimmy McGill / Saul Goodman, whom she later marries.

Why does Kim leave Jimmy? ›

She found being with Jimmy was fun, with all their scheming and plotting. It brought out a side of her she did not recognize. Together they were poison, and she admits that to Jimmy's face. You can see the pain in her face when she realizes she has to leave Jimmy.

How does Saul get caught? ›

But finally, Saul's luck runs out. Everywhere he turns, there are cops. After hiding in a dumpster, Saul tries to dig out a phone to call Ed the Disappearer, but he fumbles everything he's holding and the police find him.

Was Hank's body ever found? ›

For the first time in the year since she learned Hank was dead at the end of Breaking Bad (and months after his body was located), Marie tearfully unloaded the grief she had no outlet for months.

Does Saul know Walt is Heisenberg? ›

track down Walt, foreshadowing the debut of Mike Ehrmantraut in "ABQ". In "Breaking Bad", Saul is shown asking Mike about Heisenberg and he identifies both Walt and Jesse for him.

Who is the guy at the beginning of Better Call Saul episodes? ›

Cinnabon appears in the first episode of every season of Better Call Saul, except for season 6. It is located inside a large Omaha, Nebraska shopping mall. Jimmy McGill, living under the false identity "Gene Takavic" is the store manager, depressed with his situation and longing to unearth his true passion as a lawyer.

What did Mike's son do in Better Call Saul? ›

Matty Was Killed By Corrupt Cops Before Better Call Saul

He joined the Philadelphia Police Department where he was quickly pressured into taking dirty money. Before accepting, he asked for advice from Mike, who worried that if Matty took a moral stand, he might be viewed as a liability.

What did the Kettlemans do? ›

Craig I. Kettleman is the husband of Betsy Kettleman and the father of Warren and Jo Jo Kettleman. He was a treasurer for Bernalillo County who embezzled $1.6 million, and is trying to flee away his conviction while mostly getting help from his wife. He and Betsy currently own the company Sweet Liberty Tax Services.

What happened in first episode of better? ›

Episode one introduced viewers to Leeds-based Detective Inspector Louisa 'Lou' Slack (Leila Farzad), who has a dark secret of being in the pocket of one of Leeds's pre-eminent drug traffickers Col McHugh (Andrew Buchan), for the last 20 years.

Why does Chuck hate Jimmy? ›

Although in the first season it seemed that he was initially supportive of Jimmy, Chuck harbored resentful feelings toward him because of his conman past and charisma, in addition to Jimmy's approach to his career. From the second season onward, Chuck transforms into Jimmy's nemesis.

Who are the two guys in Better Call Saul? ›

Marco and Leonel Salamanca, commonly known as the Cousins, are major antagonists in the TV series Breaking Bad and supporting antagonists in its prequel series Better Call Saul.

What is the point of the black and white scenes in Better Call Saul? ›

Director Peter Gould's use of black and white to draw the viewer's eye and aid in the framing of his shots is spectacular. He reminds the viewer of classic black and white films while also underscoring and symbolizing Saul Goodman's journey out of darkness and toward the light.

Did Mike's granddaughter get any money? ›

She didn't get it. That's one of the reasons he left when the DEA showed up at the park: he needed his buyout from Walt if he was going to set her up.

Was Mike Ehrmantraut a dirty cop? ›

Mike had one son, Matt, who also became a police officer. Matt married Stacey and they had a daughter, Kaylee. In an extended flashback in the Better Call Saul episode "Five-O", Mike is revealed to have been a corrupt police officer who took bribes.

What did Walt do with Mike's body? ›

Later in the season, Walt and Todd use hydrofluoric acid to dispose of Mike's body after Walt shot him in a fit of rage ("Gliding Over All").

What happened to Kim Wexler? ›

The ultracompetent attorney who married Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), the man most likely to bring out the shadier side of her character, never appears in Breaking Bad, which led some viewers to assume she would die before Saul finished its run. But as Monday's series finale confirmed, Kim Wexler lives on.

What did Nacho Varga do? ›

Against his will, Nacho later became an informant to Gustavo Fring after being blackmailed by him. As his role in both the Cartel and Gus' drug operation began to amplify, Nacho became increasingly discouraged with the organizations as his affiliation with them put both his and his father's lives in danger.

What disease does Chuck McGill have? ›

But the supporting cast are given plenty to do as well, including character actor Michael McKean, who plays Chuck McGill. One of the subplots of the show follows Chuck's obsessive compulsive order (OCD), a mental illness where people suffer from intrusive thoughts and compulsions.

Which is better Breaking Bad or Better Call Saul? ›

I would even go so far as to say that Better Call Saul is a much better show. I say this with the caveat that the shows are, for all their plot overlaps, polar opposites. Better Call Saul is an intimate legal drama/love story and Breaking Bad is a breakneck action-thriller/family drama.


1. Better Call Saul: Season 1 RECAP
(Man of Recaps)
2. Better Call Saul: Season 4 RECAP
(Man of Recaps)
3. Better Call Saul: Season 2 RECAP
(Man of Recaps)
4. Better Call Saul: Season 3 RECAP
(Man of Recaps)
5. Somebody's Going To Prison' (Recap) | Better Call Saul | Breaking Bad
(Breaking Bad & Better Call Saul)
6. BETTER CALL SAUL Season 1-5 Recap | Everything You Need To Know Before Season 6 | Series Explained
(Recap & Chill)


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