Better Call Saul S6E12
AMC | Sony Pictures Television

‘Better Call Saul’ Recap: Things Fall Apart

This week on 'Better Call Saul,' things are starting to go sideways for Gene Takovic once more. Only one episode remains, and the pieces are set for a devastating finale.
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In the penultimate episode of Better Call Saul, titled “Waterworks,” we learn what Kim has been up to in the years between her departure from Albuquerque and “Gene’s” life in Omaha. This is a heavy episode that finally shines some light on why Gene is starting to break bad like his former partner Walter White, and it speaks to how empty and hollow the man once called Jimmy McGill has become. 

This week, we see Kim floating through an indecisive life in Florida, Jimmy slipping deeper into a pit of moral ambiguity, and we even get another fun cameo from a character who plays a major role in Breaking Bad. Naturally, spoilers follow!

Living and Not Much Else

Kim Wexler, one of the most brilliant attorneys to ever work in Albuquerque, spent her days following Howard Hamlin’s murder as a copy editor at a sprinkler company in Florida. Now, this isn’t meant to be a dig to copy editors or Florida, but it’s evident that Kim is extremely overqualified for everything in her new life. Her new boyfriend is about as bland as a person can be, idly discussing the merits of Miracle Whip as opposed to Duke’s mayo. Kim’s coworkers speak in hushed tones about the various street drugs they see depicted on TV.

Kim’s eerily still life is suddenly disturbed by a pebble tossed into the pond when Gene Takovic, a man she knew as Jimmy McGill, calls her on her work line. She’s simply assumed he died in the catastrophic fallout from Walter White’s Heisenberg operation going belly-up. Gene calls her and gleefully confides that he’s “still getting away with it.” Kim is awestruck and only manages to tell Jimmy that he should turn himself in. He deflects, saying if she’s the one with the guilty conscience, she should turn herself in.

Kim quietly tells Jimmy that she’s glad he’s alive. The devastating truth behind her words is that she means it–no matter how many people Jimmy has hurt, or how much suffering he’s inflicted on the world by acting like there are no consequences for his crimes, Kim’s still truly relieved to hear from him.

Fessing Up

Kim does something we haven’t seen a character in the Breaking Bad universe do yet. She confesses to everything. She returns to Albuquerque, signs a sworn affidavit explaining what really happened to Howard Hamlin, and discloses her and Jimmy’s full dealings with the cartel and how they got wrapped up in criminal dealings in the final days of their marriage. Moreover, she takes this affidavit to Howard’s widow, Cheryl, and lets her learn the truth.

Cheryl is understandably livid and tells Kim that her and Jimmy’s scheme to paint Howard as a drug addict worked, and that’s all anyone remembers of the late lawyer. Kim explains that she hopes her confession will help rehabilitate Howard’s memory in the public eye, and Cheryl seems to realize that even suing Kim in civil court would be essentially meaningless. She doesn’t have anything to lose, and Cheryl, sitting in a gorgeous multi-million dollar mansion, has nothing to gain.

On a quiet bus ride back to the airport, the camera lingers on Kim as she thinks back through everything that has happened to her in the past eight years since Jimmy slipped back into her life. Kim bursts into tears, a moment of true catharsis that these shows have denied their protagonists since Walt first learned of his cancer diagnosis way back in the pilot of Breaking Bad. Kim realizes that what she did was wrong, and she comes clean on her own terms.

Still Getting Away With It

Meanwhile, back in Omaha, Gene and Jeff are still trying to rob a cancer patient. In a tense sequence, we see Gene rifling through the man’s home and looking for his personal documents and passwords as he sleeps soundly on his living room floor. The audience knows that the barbituates Jeff slipped the victim will wear off soon, but Gene leisurely takes his time, even having the gall to pour himself a drink and steal some high-end watches from his victim’s parlor. 

The cancer patient awakens downstairs and Gene briefly considers using a heavy urn–the man’s pet dog’s remains, no less–to bash the unsuspecting victim over the head. Thankfully for him, he nods back off on the stairs, and Gene quickly moves around him to get out of there.

Outside, things are going poorly for Jeff, too.

A police cruiser has pulled up behind Jeff’s cab, and he’s convinced they’ve figured out something is amiss. A quick shot of the two police officers arguing about the quality of fish tacos they’ve recently purchased, oblivious to Jeff’s rising panic, is a perfect cherry on top of this stressful sequence. Jeff loses his cool, spinning out and driving his cab into the back of a parked car. Gene slips out the back and takes a bus home, ready to go into full damage-control mode.

Jesse’s Cameo

Jesse Pinkman gets a brief cameo in a flashback sequence. After Kim shows up at Saul’s law office to sign divorce papers, she waits outside and watches a torrential rainstorm. This is the first time we’ve seen it rain in this series, which takes place in the arid Mojave Desert. As the camera pans out, we see a ghost from the past: Jesse Pinkman, Walter White’s eventual partner in crime.

Jesse asks Kim for a cigarette and then mentions that he knows her. She once helped his friend Combo get off without any penalty after a stupid infraction landed him with minor charges. Jesse notes that his buddy, Emilio, is in a spot of trouble and needs a good lawyer. He pointedly asks, “So, this guy, any good?” while gesturing at Saul Goodman’s firm.

Kim thinks for a moment, flicks her cigarette off, and replies “When I knew him, he was.” In a single sentence, Kim lays out the entire tragedy of Jimmy McGill, a man who has some inherent goodness but simply can’t help himself but get mixed up in criminal schemes. As Kim runs out into the rain, fleeing the life of crime that Saul has chosen for himself, Jesse takes her words as encouragement, setting him on a path that will eventually lead to Walter White. 

Marion Knows What’s Up

Gene gets a phone call from Jeff, who addresses him as “dad” to throw off the police officers in the sheriff’s department who can overhear his call. Gene tells Jeff not to panic since he doesn’t have any stolen goods on him and they can’t charge him with anything beyond a traffic infraction. Gene calls Jeff’s mom, Marion, saying that they’ll just go pick him up and pay his bond. 

Marion is troubled that her son would call Gene before calling her and tells him that she’ll meet him soon. She senses that something is amiss and looks up “con man” and “Albuquerque” and sees numerous Saul Goodman commercials. Jimmy’s flair for the dramatic comes around to bite him in the end after all.

Gene confronts Marion in her kitchen and realizes that she knows who he is. After a tense standoff in which Gene brandishes a phone cord at the frail, elderly Marion, he relents, and she uses her Life Alert necklace to contact help and call for the police. Gene bolts out the door, once again on the run from the law. There’s only one episode left in Better Call Saul, and Gene’s ultimate fate is anyone’s guess. One thing is certain, though: no matter how things go down, it’ll be some of the finest television ever aired.