‘Better Call Saul’ Season 6 Episode 12 Recap: Hit the Road

After years of blending in and keeping a low profile in Omaha, Gene Takavic, aka Saul Goodman, is about to walk out the door. In the final moments of this episode, he is definitely unmasked by a terrified but determined Marion, who has uncovered the truth about her overly helpful boyfriend. All it took was a computer, Ask Jeeves, and a few key words: “Con man” and “Albuquerque.”

We still don’t know why Gene went from a temperamental, profileless schmo to a risque home invader. One of them assumed there were clues from the conversation he had with Kim in the previous episode, but in this one we hear that conversation and nothing about it says : “This guy needs a lot of money, stat.” It may be that the scammers need to scam, Jimmy/Saul isn’t alive unless he’s scamming someone and getting around the law. This may not be the story of a man who needs money. This is the story of a man who cannot change.

If so, that draws a sharp distinction between Jimmy/Saul and Kim. We find her in Titusville, Florida, living a totally pedestrian life designing brochures for a sprinkler wholesaler. She seems reasonably happy with her handsome boyfriend and their suburban, barbecue life. The justice-seeking lawyer in her has been undone, and we only get a brief glimpse of herself as Kim flies to Albuquerque and visits the courthouse, where she gazes longingly at a public defender . At a glance, she sees the life she gave up, the calling that pulled her in with such force that she hatched a very wicked scheme – to screen Howard Hamlin as a drug addict – in order to fund him. .

Kim returned to New Mexico to right a wrong. She confesses everything in an affidavit, which she presents both to the prosecutors and to Cheryl, Howard’s widow. Everything is here. Every little twist in the plot that buried Howard, including his murder at the hands of Lalo Salamanca. This drastic act happens right after that call from Jimmy/Saul in the previous episode.

“I always get away with it,” Jimmy/Saul says.

“You should surrender,” Kim replies, after a painful silence.

“Why don’t you surrender, since you’re the one with the bad conscience,” Jimmy/Saul says. “What’s stopping you?”

He then lists the people, all dead, who could possibly help implicate Kim. It’s a reminder that she could tell the authorities the whole truth, and without a body or witnesses, it might not matter.

It’s a point that Kim herself makes when Cheryl asks if this affidavit of cleansing of conscience comes with any real legal peril. The truth is that Kim can still get away with it, even if she wants to be punished. Maybe that’s why she’s crying on the bus ride with the rental car. Life without charge is not accessible to him. It’s a predicament worthy of Dostoyevsky, and it’s an especially gruesome fate considering that she was the one who engineered and pushed the scheme against Howard. There was a time — it started at the end of Season 5, to be precise — when Kim was the baddest of this duo.

Not that Kim has become a saint. Note that she tells Cheryl a whopper – that Jimmy strength to be dead. (To be avocado and specific on this, Kim says there are no living witnesses to the events described in the affidavit, other than her ex-husband, “assuming he’s still alive.”) She knows he’s alive. She just talked to him. Kim has always been this couple’s best liar, and that’s still true.

But with her job and boyfriend in Florida, Kim was trying to live a boring, law-abiding life. At first, it seemed hard to fathom that she had managed to become an office worker whose life revolved around writing vivid descriptions of plastic tubing. This seems a far cry from the valiant efforts she made on behalf of needy clients. Remember though that the crossover incarnation of Kim was relatively new. She worked for years as a partner in a law firm, then immersed herself in the intricacies of banking regulations as an advisor to Mesa Verde, a local bank with regional dreams. She’s already done the office chores.

Whether she can keep her daily existence is a question that she is no longer alone to answer. His affidavit also incriminates Jimmy, and at the very least, he will have to run from the law. If caught, the series could end with an episode pitting Kim against Jimmy, back in Albuquerque, possibly in a trial that draws national attention. (“Dead Meth Baron’s consiglier implicated by his ex-wife!”)

Kim would be the only witness who could fire Jimmy. And it’s getting easier and easier to get a prison sentence for this guy, isn’t it? In the final episodes, the writers put their collective, heavy thumbs on the scales by turning Saul/Gene into a monster. In this week’s episode, he looked like he was about to strangle Marion with a rope, and earlier he looked just as ready to cold-cock a man with the urn containing his dog’s ashes.

It’s a nervous turn of events. The show has abandoned the idea that it is a tale about love. The show will culminate, it seems, in asking questions about fairness and justice and perhaps mercy. Will Cheryl forgive Kim or sue her? Will Kim testify against Jimmy or spare him?

What end does Saul Goodman deserve?

  • It’s great to see Jesse Pinkman return for another scene, the one that happens before he tells Saul about his friend Badger’s release from prison, an event in the “Breaking Bad” timeline. His dialogue seems quite organic. (“It’s crazy, like bananas, all this rain. I thought we were, like, in a desert, you know?”)

    But it feels a bit like a stunt cast because it’s hard to see how her presence advances the story. The scene ends with Kim saying that Saul was a good lawyer when she knew him, emphasizing the idea that the man she married no longer exists. It’s a point that could have been made if it weren’t for Jesse, and one that’s pretty obvious during the signing of the divorce papers, moments earlier, when Saul feigns indifference as they wade through the paperwork. It would have been great to learn something about Saul that we wouldn’t have known unless Jesse showed up. Or even something new about Jesse.

  • Fun fact: Kim represented Combo after stealing a nativity scene.

  • Wait, another scene of Kim brushing her teeth?

  • Jeff’s panic and car crash seem implausible, even to Jeff.

  • Saul/Gene uses the name Viktor St. Clair as an alias when calling Kim, whom she seems to recognize immediately. Sound familiar? That’s the name he used (“Viktor, with a K”) when he and Kim ran their first scam together, on rude stockbroker Ken, back at the premiere of season 2 (with the help of a bottle of Sapphire appended).

  • We learn during this phone conversation that Kim did not take the Sandpiper Crossing settlement money. Her conscience has been tormenting her for a while.

  • Perhaps the best part of this episode is how its writer and director, Vince Gilligan, captured office life with such uncanny truth. The birthday cakes, the Miracle Whip lunch discussion, the ritualized passing of punchers from employee to employee – it’s all so dead. Offices like the one at Palm Coast Sprinklers have been a fixture on TV for a long time, but this is perhaps the most accurate portrayal Your Faithful Recapper has ever seen.

The next episode is the last. The end of an era! Feel free to make predictions in the comments section.

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