The finale of the series “Better Call Saul” was of melancholic beauty

Better call Saul is the rare successor, superior to its classic predecessor and Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould breaking Bad Prequel ended tonight on a note as perfect as almost any other maneuver it’s made in its six stellar seasons. Unveiling what will become of Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) after his antics with Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), as well as the fate of his ex-wife and frequent crime partner Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn). it turned out to be the ideal capper for one of television’s greats – even if, when it came to the fate of its protagonists, all was not well, man.

[Spoilers Follow]

Last week’s penultimate installment “Waterworks” ended with Jimmy driving out of the home of Marion (Carol Burnett), who – via an internet search conducted after the arrest of her cab driver son Jeff (Pat Healy) – had discovered that she was It was The new friend was not just a neighbor worried about his lost dog, but a wanted con man. However, the aptly titled “Saul Gone” doesn’t immediately begin with Jimmy on the run. Rather, it skips back to last season’s eighth episode, “Bagman,” to catch a glimpse of a brief conversation between Jimmy and Mike (Jonathan Banks) as the duo haul $7 million in cartel funds across the desert. Mike ponders what date they would travel back to if they had a time machine and chooses the day he took his first bribe. Jimmy, on the other hand, says he would travel to 1965 to get on the first floor of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and then come back to the present as a billionaire (or trillionaire). When Mike asks if he only cares about wealth, Jimmy replies, “What else?”

The love of money and the thrill of cheating are fundamental to Jimmy, and two consecutive full-color flashbacks — one involving a hide-and-seek talk with Walter, the other a late-night encounter with his late brother Chuck (Michael McKean) — further underscore that fact, as well such as Jimmy’s inability to see the mistakes of his past ways and to feel remorse. The fantasy of radically changing the past doesn’t appeal to Jimmy, and yet Saul Gone is his last chance to do just that. However, as the episode begins, Jimmy’s future seems both bleak and set in stone. Jimmy quickly picks up where “Waterworks” left off, escaping Marion’s house and attempting to flee town with a shoebox full of cash and diamonds. Unfortunately, the cops are on his heels and he’s soon caught – hiding in a dumpster in an alleyway, covered in trash.

When he hears that Jimmy’s only regret is a simple slip trick he did as a teenager, Walter replies, “So you’ve always been like this.” Better call Saul was, from the start, the story of a man who couldn’t stop being a seedy, me-first peddler — or at least couldn’t keep his worst impulses from ruthlessly brushing off his better nature. Even when facing a life sentence plus 190 years and confronting cocky prosecutors and Hank Schrader’s enraged widow Marie (Betsy Brandt), Jimmy remains calm, composed and composed, full of confidence, just like his counsel Bill Oakley (Peter Diseth) , things will resolve “with me at the helm, as always”. In fact, Jimmy convinces prosecutors that he can convince a jury of the idea that he was Walter’s victim – a plausible scenario that scares his opponents into offering him a plea deal that gets him just seven years behind bars.

As it turns out, this isn’t the significant case of story rewriting that “Saul Gone” was built on. After making that sweet deal – to the point where he’s pushed his luck by demanding his favorite prison as well as weekly ice cream desserts – Jimmy learns that Kim has revealed the truth about the murder of Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian ) stood. While they’re unlikely to face criminal charges, Howard’s wife intends to pursue civil suits, which means Kim is certain to face financial ruin. Jimmy’s attempt to get Kim off the hook with more talk doesn’t move prosecutors, but word of his efforts reaches Kim and motivates her to attend the hearing, where Jimmy accepts his slap. wrist plea.

So the stage is clear Better call Saul‘s climax, at which Jimmy comes before the judge, acknowledging that he was a willing and enthusiastically greedy participant in Walter’s meth empire (“Walter White couldn’t have done it without me”) and accepts the legal responsibility for Howard’s death and the Death of Chuck. In that moment, Jimmy isn’t so much revising the past as, for the first time, confronting it fully and honestly, without the fanciful lies he’s colored it with for so long. In doing so, he metamorphoses from Saul – the name he used in court – back to Jimmy. It is a reversal that reveals him as a versatile individual and thus as a counterpoint to the anti-hero Walter.

“In that moment, Jimmy isn’t so much revising the past as, for the first time, confronting it fully and honestly, without the fanciful lies he’s colored it with for so long.”

Unfortunately, noble gestures like this do not go unpunished, and having made several trips down memory lane to contextualize the difficulty of Jimmy’s hard-won maturation, Better call Saul finally arrives at the finish line. After a bus ride to prison, during which his fellow inmates recognize him as Saul (and initiate a “Better. Call. Saul” chant in his name), Jimmy is visited in prison by Kim. In an empty room scarred by window grille shadows straight out of a film noir, Odenkirk and Seehorn convey deep compassion, sadness, and understanding with subtle expressiveness, the two share a cigarette in silence, and their only words exchanged reveal that Jimmy has accepted 86 Years to protect Kim. It’s a bargain he seems happy about, and evidence that he (mostly) left Saul behind. Nonetheless, their long farewell look across a gray, snow-covered prison yard, the distance between them just a few feet yet forever non-negotiable, suggests that for these two hopelessly compromised and complicated lawyers, the price of personal growth and selfless sacrifice is genuine happiness, always thereafter.

However, when its main characters are denied true victory, Better call SaulThe bittersweet conclusion of is nothing short of a triumph. It cements the show as one of modern television’s finest – the saga of a man who did wrong even though he knew better, just to remember who he was before it was too late.

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