This post contains spoilers from Better Call Saul episode 611, “Breaking Bad.”
When I interviewed Rhea Seehorn and Bob Odenkirk earlier this summer, I asked them for a hint to how the final half season of the series would play out. Odenkirk said: “Nobody gets off easily from here on out.”
And Seehorn added: “There are consequences for all actions.”
So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that this is where we are, even though I don’t think this is the resolution most fans have been looking for. Yes, it’s still possible Kim and Jimmy/Saul/Gene will be reunited, but it’s not shaping up to be a very happy ending. Tonight’s episode, in fact, is rather overwhelmingly sad.
But there’s a moral clarity at work here that you can’t really argue with. Sure, Kim and Jimmy had a lot of fun together, but they also caused a lot of damage and pain. Quite a lot. And there is something heartening in seeing Kim find the courage to come clean.
So let’s dive in and talk about what happened, shall we?
The cold open brings us back to Saul Goodman’s office, where he’s bouncing a rubber ball against his wall-sized blowup of the U.S. Constitution. When Francesca calls to tell him he needs to stop stalling and start his next appointment, he blows her off, only to relent after he knocks over one of the fake columns. He puts on the salmon-colored blazer that matches his hideous tie, checks his teeth in a hand mirror, and then opens the manila envelope on his desk: divorce papers from Kim citing “irreconcilable differences.” Then he dials Francesca and tells her to “send her in.” Her meaning Kim.
After the break, we finally get to see what’s become of Kim. She really does work at Palm Coast Sprinklers in Florida, writing copy for their e-commerce website, from the looks of it. She has dark brown hair, which she wears sans statement ponytail. She is … not married to a dim but seemingly benign guy in a tiger shirt who yells the word “yep!’ repeatedly during intercourse. And she studiously avoids making decisions or even expressing opinions, instead deferring to whoever she’s talking to. She won’t even come down against Miracle Whip. Maybe that’s because her life in Florida is Miracle Whip—a fake and rather poor substitute for the real thing.
New Kim is enjoying a perfectly normal day at work, fine-tuning her little write-ups with the help of some original research and looking forward to the office sing-along in honor of the receptionist Tammy’s birthday, when she receives a highly disruptive phone call from a certain Viktor St. Clair. This, as Better Call Saul completists know, is the pseudonym Jimmy used back in the day—and his better half, Gisele St. Clair, was portrayed by none other than Kim Wexler.
Stifling her shock, Kim draws all the blinds in her office. For a moment, I was worried that we would yet again be deprived of hearing this conversation, but thankfully that was not the case. Now we know what caused Gene to smash that phone booth window.
Gene/Viktor/Saul/Jimmy doesn’t come off too well. He’s condescending and pushy and rude. Kim, for her part, barely speaks. But when she does, she makes it count. She tells him, “You should turn yourself in.” Gene doesn’t like that very much, and dares her to turn herself in, pointing out that Gus and Mike are both dead so she won’t face any consequences.
Kim also says, “I’m glad you’re alive.” And that’s about it.
I was wrong that Gene was trying to get her to come to him. At least he didn’t say he was. It sounds more like he wanted her to give him some validation, tell him she still loves him, is proud of him, thinks it’s cool that he hasn’t been caught. Instead, she tried to awake his conscience. And that enraged him.
Next, we find Kim at an airport. Albuquerque, in fact. She rents a car and drives past the parking booth where Mike used to work. Now there’s no human attendant, just a credit card machine. She pauses by the lunch table where Saul hatched his cartel business. And then … she turns up at Howard’s old house. To see his widow, Cheryl. She hands Cheryl something—an affidavit confessing everything about how she and Jimmy tormented Howard, watched him die, and helped cover up his murder. It seems Kim submitted it at the courthouse during her visit.
It’s disconcerting to see the insane details of what Kim and Jimmy did laid out in black and white, in legalese no less. On one hand, I’m like, Hey, writing room, you’re the sickos who came up with all this. Why are you trying to implicate me? On the other, I realize that they laid a brilliant moral trap, tricking us into rooting for our grifting heroes while they were perpetrating all these horrors.
Cheryl’s hands shake as she reads the details of how Howard was killed. Yes, she’s relieved he didn’t commit suicide. That must be a burden lifted for her. But when Kim says, “He didn’t suffer,” she has to object, pointing out that the caricature of Howard that Jimmy and Kim created is all anyone remembers now. Kim says she wants to change that, but she doesn’t know if she’ll be prosecuted since there is no physical evidence—and the only witness, Jimmy/Saul/Gene, is missing.
It’s a heavy conversation, and on the airport shuttle back home, the weight of everything Kim has been carrying finally hits her. In a sequence that brilliantly shows off the acting prowess of Rhea Seehorn, who has been spectacular throughout this series, we see Kim’s eerie Stepford-girlfriend facade finally crack. “Waterworks” indeed.
After another break, we are back where we left off last episode, with Gene breaking into the house of the mark with cancer. He plays a high note on the piano to make sure the guy is really out cold, then finds his documents and passwords. Everything is going almost to plan when Jeff pulls up outside as instructed, but then Gene gets greedy. He goes upstairs, steals a Cuban cigar, pours a drink, and pockets a few watches—only to realize that the guy woke up. Meanwhile, a cop car has pulled up behind Jeff’s cab.
When the mark sits down at the bottom of the staircase Gene needs to go down to escape, he grabs an urn carrying the poor guy’s dead dog’s ashes, presumably intending to bash his head in—or at least knock him out. But then the guy falls asleep again, allowing Gene to sneak past instead. He gets to the front door, only to pull back when he sees the cop car. The cops have no idea what’s happening—they just needed a place to eat their grim taco dinner—but Jeff is too much of a jumpy amateur to stay cool. (Remember Mike’s warning last week about amateurs?)
Jeff peels out, to the absolute surprise of the cops, then turns left and … crashes into the back of another vehicle. The cops begrudgingly cut short their meal and arrest him, while Gene beats a silent retreat.
Now we’re back in Saul’s technicolor office, as he and Kim sign their divorce papers while Francesca hovers anxiously. Clearly, the only way Saul can get through this is by affecting a level of bravado that would be appalling in a barnyard rooster. Feet on the table, talking over her, he expresses his unsolicited opinion that she should have taken her cut of the Sandpiper settlement—money that could not feel more dirty to her, given the way the final deal went down.