‘Better Call Saul’ finale review: ‘Sublime final episode delivers unforgettable ending’

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE FINAL EPISODE OF ‘BETTER CALL SAUL’

It has been apparent for some time that the very latest episode of Better call Saul (Netflix) could only end one of two ways: with Bob Odenkirk’s Jimmy McGill, aka Saul Goodman, aka (briefly) Gene Takovic, either dead or in a jail cell.

The sublime finale of Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould’s brilliant series ended either way. Saul, the corrupt, garishly dressed huckster lawyer hired by Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) in season two Breaking Bad, died – if only figuratively – so Jimmy could resurface and reclaim his identity.

Not that he had much of a life to look forward to. He would spend the entire time in a strict maximum security prison called “Alcatraz of the Rockies” after being sentenced to 86 years. It didn’t have to be.

Earlier in the episode – which, like the others set in the “Gene” era, was shot in black and white – Jimmy’s legal counsel, Bill Oakley (Peter Diseth), was stunned by his client’s optimism when the Feds had “a stockpile of evidence.” ‘ to prove his guilt asked him: ‘Where do you see this ending?’

“Upstairs with me, like always,” Jimmy said cockily. For a while it seemed he was right.

Jimmy somehow managed to snag a plea deal that would see him serve only seven years instead of the life plus 190 years that had been hanging over him.

His wish to serve his time in the same comfortable, medium-security prison where con man Bernie Madoff was held was granted. He could even choose which wing he wanted to be sent to.

But as Jimmy tried to turn his knowledge of Howard Hamlin’s (Patrick Fabian) death, which was ruled a suicide, into yet another admission, he was overwhelmed by the news that his guilt-ridden ex-wife, Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) had already spilled the full story of Howard’s assassination by Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton) to the Feds, at the risk of going to jail herself, and also to Howard’s widow, Cheryl (Sandrine Holt).

This was the turning point for Jimmy. Despite the terrible things he had done as Saul, the numerous people he had wronged and hurt, the murders – including that of Hank Schrader in breaking Bad — of which he was complicit in one way or another, there was one last, tiny flicker of decency in Jimmy that hadn’t been snuffed out.

In court, to Oakley’s horror, Jimmy basically set fire to the deal he had with the Feds by confessing to the crimes he was accused of and much more including how he killed his own brother Chuck drove (Michael McKean) to suicide and ruined Howard’s life.

Gilligan and Gould (the finale’s writers and directors) are too good to tell us a simple, cheesy, personal redemption story.

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Jimmy did not confess to exonerate his soul and seek forgiveness from the court. He sought forgiveness from Kim, the only person present who meant more to him than himself.

She brought out the best in him; he brought out the worst in her. As Kim said in a previous episode, being together made them “poison” to others.

There was a sort of brief reconciliation in a touching final scene. Kim wormed her way in to see Jimmy by posing as his attorney.

Reminiscent of a moment when they just met at the beginning of the series, they shared a cigarette. Then Kim was outside looking at Jimmy through the prison fence. As she walked away, Jimmy was gradually being obscured by a wall. Then he was gone.

We had already seen cameos from breaking Bad faces in Better call Saul, and here was more: colored flashbacks with Cranston, McKean and Saul/Breaking Bad regular Jonathan Banks.

Rather than gratuitous fan-service, their common themes — regret and an inability to change the past just to atone for it — took center stage throughout the narrative.

That was the perfect finale, even superior breaking Bad‘s. The only thing that would make it better would be for Odenkirk and the criminally overlooked Seahorn to win the Emmys they’ve been shamefully denied so far.

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/television/tv-reviews/better-call-saul-finale-review-sublime-final-episode-delivers-an-ending-to-remember-41917159.html ‘Better Call Saul’ finale review: ‘Sublime final episode delivers unforgettable ending’

Fry Electronics Team

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