Photo: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television
It’s almost time for Better Call Saul to reveal its last docket, as the AMC prequel series returns tonight for its final six episodes. The first half of the sixth season delivered a series of shocking moments, but also devoted much of its attention to unfurling Jimmy and Kim’s big Sandpiper scheme. With that thread more or less tied up (tragically, of course), Better Call Saul is in full endgame mode now, pushing the prequel closer and closer to the Breaking Bad narrative.
What we know about that series informs a lot of our questions about how this one will conclude, but Better Call Saul has become so much more than a prequel over the years, establishing some big story lines of its own that need resolution — in particular, one involving a certain Cinnabon employee. There are a lot of loose ends and not a lot of time left to tie them up, so let’s review what we’re wondering about ahead of Saul‘s final case.
Spoilers for the first half of season six follow.
Probably not. Let’s break it down. When Better Call Saul premiered in 2015, it was revealed that it takes place in May 2002, about six years before the action of Breaking Bad. Across town, Walter White is still an ordinary teacher; Jesse Pinkman was annoying him in class just a few years earlier. And while six years have passed in the real world, the narrative hasn’t gone on for nearly that long in the world of the show — the birthday celebrations help make this clear. Season six is unfolding in the middle of 2004, still four years before the action of Breaking Bad would start in 2008 (again, Walter celebrating his birthday helps date a few things). So a direct scene of Saul Goodman in the universe where Walter is cooking meth would require a major time jump, which the writers haven’t done before. Although…
It’s been widely reported that Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul will return as Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, but how? It seems unlikely to happen in the present-day material with alter ego Gene Takovic because, well, go watch the series finale of Breaking Bad again. (But imagine for a moment if this show revealed Walter’s fate was not what everyone thought it was; picture the Gene arc ending with our hero finding safety in Alaska with Jesse oath Walt. However, the writers don’t seem likely to pull a trick like that even if it would break the internet.) Could Jesse need to contact Saul/Gene in the action between Breaking Bad oath El Camino with some unfinished business? It’s plausible, but it’s more likely the appearance will be within the main timeline of the show, which we’ve determined takes place in 2004. Jesse was 20–21, estranged from his parents and really getting into the meth scene. Walter was still teaching and picking up shifts at the car wash to make ends meet. So who knows? Paul has commented that he didn’t see how they’d manage to bring the characters back, but declared the solution the writers came up with to be “perfect.” Whether that solution will involve Walt and Jesse together or separately is another big question, but the way the show’s Twitter announced their return certainly makes it seem like we’re in for a three-character reunion.
Everyone has been focused on Walt and Jesse, but could there be other familiar faces awaiting us in these final episodes? What about Bill Burr’s Patrick Kuby, the guy who was one of Saul’s enforcers in Breaking Bad alongside Huell, who has already appeared in the Saul timeline? Or could Jesse Plemons’s Todd and/or his neo-Nazi gang leader Uncle Jack have found themselves in need of Saul’s services prior to hooking up with Walt? Perhaps we’ll get encore cameos from Hank and Gomie or Huell or Lydia, all of whom have dipped briefly into the Saul timeline and could conceivably do so again. And then there’s Skyler White, an essential character that won Anna Gunn two Emmys. There’s every reason to believe she could be in the scene with Walter, unless it is does take place after the action of Breaking Bad.
The stunning sixth season went on hiatus with the return of Lalo Salamanca to Kim and Jimmy’s apartment, where he shot Howard Hamlin in the head. It feels likely to pick up right there, with a vengeful Lalo looking for answers about Gus Fring’s operation. We know many of these players are still active in the world of Breaking Badand so it’s not like Better Call Saul can end with a bloody shootout like BB. And it feels unlikely that the writers would kill Kim in the mid-season premiere. (Right?!) So how do they get out of this one? Or is this show brutal enough to pull a trigger that fans have been dreading for years…
This has been the big question surrounding Better Call Saul since the beginning. Kim, the love of Jimmy’s life, is never mentioned Breaking Bad. While this has led many to suspect that the final step for Jimmy to become Saul has to involve Kim’s death, others are more optimistic. What if she gets away? What if she’s living somewhere and Saul never mentions her to protect her from the cartel that’s still hunting her (or even the people who may have some questions about Howard’s death)? Listen, it’s very possible that she dies, and if that happens it’s going to be really hard to watch. But we can all hold out hope that one of the most richly drawn characters on TV in the last decade somehow gets away.
Fans may remember that while the vicious Lalo Salamanca does not appear in Breaking Bad, his name comes up in Saul Goodman’s first appearance, in the season-two episode titled, that’s right, “Better Call Saul.” Goodman has been kidnapped by Walt and Jesse, who the lawyer presumes are part of the cartel, and protests, “No, it wasn’t me. It was Ignacio. He’s the one.” Then, after realizing they have no idea what he’s talking about, he asks, “Lalo didn’t send you? No Lalo?” This seemingly throwaway line indicates that not only is Lalo still alive in the BB timeline, but that he’s still calling the shots. However, Saul also mentions an Ignacio, aka the full name of Nacho, and, well, we all know how things turned out there. Could this scene just be Saul vamping for time and tossing out names from his past, or will we discover how Lalo returned from presumed death to ascend to a position where Saul continues to fear his wrath?
The final alter ego of Jimmy McGill hasn’t been seen since season five, but the creators have confirmed that he will return in the back half of the season. Seen in black-and-white prologues, the Cinnabon employee was identified in Omaha as Saul Goodman and attempted to flee. The season-six premiere eschewed this opening structure for a scene of Saul’s house being cleared, presumably after the action of Breaking Bad and full of Easter eggs for fans of the show, but the last stretch will return to Gene and hopefully close his arc. Could the show end with the death of Jimmy/Saul/Gene? Anything is possible in Omaha.
This one was unexpected. It was announced last month that a living legend would appear in the final stretch of Better Call Saul in the form of comedian Carol Burnett, who expressed her love for the show way back in 2018. Her role is apparently substantial enough that her character has a name: Marion. Who’s Marion? The safest bet would normally be a client of Jimmy and Kim’s, but it doesn’t feel like these six episodes are going to have a lot of time for legal action. Could she play a relative of Kim’s? Perhaps one in mourning? Ugh.
Here’s the big question, right? After 14 years of Bad/Saul, are we really about to say goodbye forever? While nothing has been announced, doesn’t it feel like there are stories in this universe that could still be told? Giancarlo Esposito sure thinks so, as he said as much to Vulture. Esposito envisions a prequel that explains where Gus came from, but if Saul ends in 2004, it feels like there’s rich material that could be mined between then and when he shows up on Bad too. Or what about simply Lalostarring Tony Dalton?