Season 6, Episode 13, “Saal Khan”

Rhea Seehorn in Better Call Saul

Rhea Seehorn Better call Saul
Photograph: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

When asked for a hint on how Better call Saul Closing out during the Tribeca Festival panel in June, Bob Odenkirk offered two words: “Second Life.” That clue turned out to be far worse and far more accurate than anyone could have guessed. And it is was A perfect ending of sorts—and a new beginning for Jimmy McGill.

Jimmy leads to Saul, who briefly leads to Jean Dagovich, who returns to Saul, who claims he’s redeeming himself as Jimmy. The 86-year-old was sentenced to seven years in prison to prove he wasn’t too much of a slippin’, no matter what the likes of Mike Ehrmantraut, Walter White and his brother Chuck told him. Jimmy trick at the end.

The broken jean was done by intrepid Ask-Jeeves-seeking Marian, who used her LifeAlert to inform the police of Saul Goodman’s whereabouts, complete with car details and license plate number. He tried to walk away with his bandage tin full of diamonds, but Slippin’ Jimmy’s jewelry slipped out of his hands while he was hiding in a dumpster, and Omaha police officers took him to Husco. Showrunner and episode writer and director Peter Gould’s storyline sends Saul to prison early in the finale, building our excitement for what’s to come.

One of the episode’s biggest surprise appearances was Saul’s lawyer, or “counselor,” Bill Oakley, a former Albuquerque district attorney who took Saul’s place on a bus bench as he advertised his new position as defense attorney. Not in awe of Jimmy’s success after learning of his connection to the Salamancas, Bill nonetheless accepts Saul’s invitation and agrees to represent him after Saul promises that it will do wonders for his legal street cred. From the modest automobile he drives, we’re guessing he could use a high-end job. Not that Saul is doing Bill any favors. Bill is there to help Saul keep a little local street cred of his own, someone who doesn’t have a boatload of pending criminal charges, gives Saul a very generous seven-year sentence in a cushy Club Fed-type prison (in Butner, North Carolina, where Bernie Madoff died), golf perks and weekly pints of mint. Chocolate chip ice cream. That last perk proves that even in Saul’s situation, he can get the upper hand and defeat the lawyer who is said to have never lost a case. Even when he is in prison for decades, he can completely own his opponent.

But then, a twist: When Saul tries to play one more card by telling him new, juicy information about Howard Hamlin’s death, he learns that Kim has mucked up the dirt as part of a collection of confessions he’s already given. Albuquerque DA and Howard’s widow, Cheryl. She tells him all about her role in the circumstances surrounding Howard’s murder, shocking him with what Kim asked him to do during their recent tense phone call.

At first, we think Saul is angry that Kim took advantage of him and limited what he could get out of the government. He really likes that weekly Blue Bell ice cream, and Bill says in front of the marshal who shepherds him to the Albuquerque courtroom, something he’s sure Kim doesn’t share. could be used against her, perhaps causing a devastating civil action by Cheryl Hamlin. Saul seems eager to do this, and when Albuquerque Assistant District Attorney Suzanne Erickson informs Kim that Saul plans to introduce new testimony implicating him, Kim watches her latest shenanigans in the courtroom.

But there’s another twist, which explains Bob Odenkirk’s reference to the finale and the finale’s title, “Saul Khan.” Saul flashed a spectacular shot of the courtroom exit sign over his head to emphasize to the judge that Walter White’s criminal enterprise had earned him millions of dollars and that Walt would have ended up without legal maneuvering on Walt’s behalf. Jail for one month. Saul becomes emotional as he tries to talk to Howard about what happened, but when he sees Kim in the back of the room and sees that she’s actually listening to him, he finally reveals to Chuck what he did and ruined his coaching ability. Law, to injure him on purpose, after which Chuck kills himself. “I’ll live with that,” says Saul. And, officially, to make sure everyone knows what it felt like when Kim turned around and locked eyes with her, Mr. Saul asked Judge. He corrects Goodman when he asks him to sit down. “The name is McGill. I’m James McGill.” Pointing to himself, Saul took off the jacket of a very shiny suit.

Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul

Inside Bob Odenkirk Better call Saul
Photograph: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Poor Bill tries to salvage some semblance of a case, because when Saul gets his Jimmy McGill and redeems himself with Kim, he costs himself that sweet government contract. In fact, leaving Saul, Jimmy was taken to prison by bus… not Madoff, but Montrose, who he had previously described as “Rocky’s Alcatraz.” And he’s slated to stay there for the next eight-and-a-half decades, meaning a life sentence with time off for good behavior.

All is not lost, however: during that bus ride, his fellow inmates recognize him not as Jimmy, but as “Better Call Saul,” and they stomp their feet and shout his catchphrase in praise of their hero. Inside Montrose, it’s clear that he’s ready to get his Saul back to live out that sentence as comfortably as possible. His cohorts refer to him as Saul, and a scene of him operating a flour machine fools us into thinking we might be back in Chinnapan until we see Saul baking bread in the prison kitchen.

Then he gets a visit from his lawyer, but it’s not Bill. Kim uses her old New Mexico bar card to see her ex-husband. In another beautifully shot scene, Kim and Jimmy (as she calls him) stand across from each other in the visiting room, sharing a cigarette she’s stashed for him. One minute, in the first episode of the series “Uno,” the two ooze chemistry as they pass cigarettes back and forth in the HHM parking garage.

It’s a very emotional, brief, reunion, and as Jimmy stands in the yard and watches Kim leave, he fires finger guns and throws them at her as she leaves. They stand on opposite sides of fences, freedom, but Kim may return. She says she came to see Jimmy with that New Mexico bar card that had no expiration date. Kim, like Jimmy, likes to bend the rules a little more himself.

Incorrect observations

  • Who wants a surprise flashback cameo more: Peter DeSeth’s Bill Oakley, Jonathan Banks’ Mike, Michael McKean’s Chuck, Bryan Cranston’s Walter, or Betsy Brand’s Mary Schrader trying to make sure Saul is punished. Justice for her Hank? A natural fit for Saul’s inevitable prison trip, it was a welcome regrouping of favorites.
  • Jimmy’s big break started with dumpster diving to help Sandpiper residents sue the company. His life in prison begins in another dumpster, where he drops all those diamonds and destroys Ed’s chance at another life.
  • Without a doubt, the funniest line to Jimmy Chuck about a craft shop describing how his legal practice is going: “One of my clients, he got caught waving a weenie outside a hobby lobby.”
  • During flashbacks to Mike (during their infamous trek through the desert in “Pacman”) and Walt (from their time together in Ed’s basement, waiting to be transported to their new life), Jimmy is curious about what they will do. Different with access to time travel. Walt, in his most arrogant and dismissive ways, points out that time travel isn’t possible, and then says that what Saul really wants is for them to discuss what’s upsetting them. Later, in a flashback to the visit with Chuck, Chuck has a paperback book on the kitchen counter: HG Wells’ Time Machine.
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