Better Call Saul Just Set The Stage For The Greatest Finale In Years

Better Call Saul’s finale is almost upon as. After seven years of phenomenal television, the Breaking Bad prequel is approaching its final hour, and none of us know what to expect.

Jimmy McGill is on the verge of going to prison, Kim Wexler wastes away at a dead-end job in Florida, while all remaining remnants of the Heisenberg empire have crumbled away into nothing. Much like the show’s fleeting monochrome aesthetic, there is so little life left in these characters that one of the few things left to root for is their eventual downfall.

It’s a different kind of tragedy compared to Breaking Bad. Jimmy and Kim deserve to suffer, or at least repent for previous sins that have seen people killed as a consequence of their actions. We see this with Kim in her new life, and how throughout the penultimate episode she never makes a single decision for herself. When a colleague asks what flavour ice cream she prefers she refuses to answer, while she even puts together a tuna salad sandwich using miracle whip because she’s too afraid to tell her new boyfriend that he made a mistake. Speaking up or making herself known has only ever resulted in disaster, so this new life is a chance for her to stay in her lane and never once rock the boat.

It’s a miserable existence, with a single phone call from Jimmy being all it takes to bring the past back into view and cause her to take action. She returns to Albuquerque to admit her past crimes and make amends with anyone who will accept her. Most of those people are either dead or have moved on, leaving our two protagonists behind to sleep in the bed they’ve made. It’s a hard episode to watch, one filled with unexpected revelations and a deliberate slow burn that peels away the final few layers covering the finale’s cryptic centre.

Jimmy and Kim couldn’t be further away from one another, but I feel the coming finale will see both of them redeemed, or left to float through life constantly taunted by another they let fall away out of selfishness. This isn’t where I expected these characters to go at all, nor am I able to predict their final destination, and I don’t think any other show or universe would be capable of stretching this tension with such delicate, beautifully orchestrated precision. Part of me wants them both to be happy, but such a saccharine ending wouldn’t be right, in spite of how much I admire them. Not after all they’ve done.

Jimmy leaned into the Saul Goodman moniker because being a lying, cheating trickster is the only thing he’s ever been good at. Kim offered a better life, but he dragged her into this realm of trickery and ruined her as a consequence. They’re a perfect couple, yet poison one another with corrupt ambitions that only ever hurt those around them. Now it has all come crashing down. Gene Takovic’s reveal as Saul Goodman is heart-wrenching to watch unfold because it so easily could have been avoided. Kim’s denial results in Jimmy going too far, digging so deep into a scheme that it becomes his undoing. He could have been a good man, but, instead, took advantage of people and acted like the smartest man in the room, when in reality he is little more than a sniveling punk clinging onto fading relevance.

This week’s episode leaves us at the bottom of the barrel with nowhere else left to go. We can dig through the bottom in search of salvation, but that will only take us deeper into the dirt as we search for a happy ending that I’m unsure Better Call Saul is willing to give us. Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould will no doubt surprise, with this show proving to be almost poetic in its layered storytelling and subtle thematic callbacks to everything that came before it. In many ways, this was Better Call Saul’s Ozymandias – a tragic, bitter, and unwinding tapestry of consequence that saw everything approach its eventual crescendo.

You can’t run from the past, and refusing to accept how it defines us will only result in lingering resentment. Jimmy and Kim never let go of who they used to be. It always occupied the periphery and came to define everything they said, did, or thought until it all finally came crashing down. In a cruel twist of fate, Jimmy’s nostalgic attempt to rekindle some form of relationship with Kim will come to bury him. He brought back so many memories and mistakes, forcing Kim to relive them because he was too afraid to move on and make something of himself despite being given a second chance. Kim wasn’t.

She knew when to run away, perfectly aware of how this criminal life was going to ruin her. Howard’s death was the end for her, but for Jimmy it was only the beginning. Now we are witnessing these two divergent perspectives reunite in one final reunion as we waltz towards oblivion. I’ve already talked about how Better Call Saul is the best prequel ever made, but in its final hours, it has finally surpassed the masterpiece that spawned it in the first place. The life and times of Jimmy McGill and Kim Wexler are without compare in television, and I’m both ready and terrified to say goodbye.

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