Tweetable Takeaway: Jimmy makes a life changing decision in the finale of #BetterCallSaul. Tweet
Airtime: Monday at 10 PM on AMC
By: Jeff Iblings, Contributor
Here it is, the finale of BETTER CALL SAUL. We’ve been in a world both familiar and new as we got to know Jimmy McGill the last 10 episodes. His struggles to do the right thing, the obligations he feels to his brother, and his determination not to give in to his base nature, have kept us invested in Jimmy this whole time.
I like Jimmy McGill. I could honestly watch him trying to walk the straight and narrow another season, but a lot has happened in the nine hours leading up to the finale. At first it seemed Jimmy’s biggest problem was himself. He was Slipping Jimmy the con artist, but could he funnel that energy into something positive and be a productive member of society? He seemed to really take to elder law, and the people he worked for truly enjoyed and appreciated him. The case he built against Sandpiper was the work of real attentiveness. Sure it took a con to see a con being perpetrated on the poor tenants of Sandpiper, but when Jimmy saw it he reacted in a protective and honorable way.
We should have seen Jimmy break through barriers to become a big time lawyer with his name on the placard of a law firm. The trouble was the unforeseen power working against him the entire time was his own brother. Chuck was the barrier, or gatekeeper, making sure the doors remained closed to Jimmy. The betrayal would have rocked anyone to their core. The crux of the show is, how does Jimmy react?
He does what a lot of people would. He gives up the case to HHM, takes the payday, and then heads home to blow off some steam. It was nice to see that Hamlin wasn’t the big asshole he came off as. I think if it were up to him, Jimmy would have a seat at the table at HHM. What Jimmy was able to do, and the case he was able to put together is impressive. Hamlin understands that, and he respects Jimmy. His hands are tied though.
There’s a wonderfully tense and uncomfortable scene of Jimmy in the aftermath of the betrayal and the handoff of his dream case, where he’s back in a retirement home hosting bingo. The editing is phenomenal, and portrays his inner struggle and turmoil with the churning of the balls in the air powered bingo machine. There’s freneticism to the action reminiscent of someone having an anxiety attack or nervous breakdown. All of the anger and feelings of betrayal boil over until Jimmy loses his shit, starts over sharing, and explains to the crowd of befuddled geriatrics the nuances of a Chicago Sunroof. The story explains Jimmy’s trouble in Chicago and made me laugh my ass off. “He wanted soft serve, I gave him soft serve.”
The blowing off steam portion of the episode takes Jimmy back to the Chicago suburb of Cicero, and the bar he and Marco used to hang out in. Things haven’t changed much in the ten years he’s been gone, and he finds Marco at the same bar Jimmy left him sitting at a decade earlier. The familiar setting, an old friend, it’s all so comfortable that it doesn’t take long for Jimmy and Marco to pick right back up where they left off conning people. The duo fall right back into it like it’s the most natural thing in the world.
What follows is a wonderful montage reminiscent of classic movies. Jimmy and Marco pull all kinds of elaborate and entertaining ruses. They swindle people out of their money in ways that make it obvious these two have perfected it to an art form. The only thing that stops Jimmy are the voice messages from back home on his cell phone. Reality, his New Mexico reality beckons him back to the honest life. Only Marco doesn’t want to hear about it. There’s one fake Rolex left, and he wants Jimmy to pull the Rolex con one last time.
The way they film Marco waiting in the alley, you almost think Jimmy has told him yes but is going to leave him waiting in the alley, never to show up. I wanted that to be the case. The camera lingers on Marco waiting so long it seems like it’s possible, until the wolf call echoes down the alleyway. The con doesn’t go as planned. Marco has a heart attack and dies before they can pull it off, but he let’s Jimmy know the past week has been the greatest in his life.
After receiving a phone call from Kim letting Jimmy know his case has gotten too big for HHM and they’re getting a bigger firm who also have an interest in hiring Jimmy, it appears Jimmy ay have gotten Slipping Jimmy out of his system. But between Marco’s death, Chuck’s betrayal, and his dream job becoming a near reality, something clicks. Jimmy no longer has to prove anything to Chuck. After ten years of trying to impress him and earn his respect, it’s now evident there’s nothing he can do to get Chuck to think of him as anything but a con artist. His week with Marco just reminded Jimmy that he can no longer deny his true nature, so he turns his back on the honest opportunity Kim presents him with.
The final interaction between Jimmy and Mike shows off the decision Jimmy’s made. He asks Mike why they didn’t just split the Kettlemen money when they had a chance. They could have each had $800,000 free and clear. Mike tells him it had something to do with doing the right thing. Jimmy is never going to let doing the right thing get in his way again.
- I felt a little let down by the episode because I truly wanted to see Jimmy continue to do the right thing. I wanted to see him give the law firm in Sante Fe a chance, but it seems he’s already on the path to becoming Saul Goodman. His choice is made.
- I thought Nacho would play a bigger role in this season, and would actually be part of the reason Jimmy can’t go straight. Hopefully he reappears next season in a more pivotal role.
- I like Kim, but she’s the only character in the show that seems to be under utilized. It’s too bad, because her relationship with Jimmy interests me. Sadly she’s the only two dimensional character in a show filled with multifaceted characters.
- Now that Jimmy has cut Chuck out of his life, Chuck seems like a shell of a man. He’s lost the power and awe he was presented with earlier, and now just seems sad and pathetic.
For six months out of the year Jeff is holed up in his home with nothing to do but shovel snow, watch television, write, and dream of warmer climates.