AMC's Better Call Saul has reached the end of its story. A prequel/sequel to universally loved and acclaimed Breaking Bad, it had massive shoes to fill. Not only did the series deliver, the finale, 'Saul Gone' was a beautiful way to close the curtain. Below we will run through a recap of the series' final episode, as well as some little moments that really stood out.
'Saul Gone' Episode Recap
The Cold Open
They could teach classes solely focusing on the art of the cold open as perfected by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould. Our final one takes us back in time and we get one last visit from an old friend (a recurring theme in this episode). Jimmy and Mike are walking through the desert with Lalo's $7 million in bail money and finally stumble upon some water.
Jimmy and Mike get to talking about what they'd change in their past with a time machine. Mike would right the biggest wrong of his past. Jimmy would go back in time to make money on the stock market. Mike offers a short yet poignant response: "That's It. Money?"
A Man on the Run
The episode picks up where we left off in the penultimate episode. Gene has been unmasked as Saul Goodman by Marion. She has alerted the police and they are en route. Gene rushes back home to get cash, gems, and a burner cell phone to hit the road. He tries to make off on foot, but the police force is circling fast. The cops close in and he hops into the nearest dumpster.
In an attempt to call the vacuum repair shop for an exit route, Gene spills his money and gems into the trash. A cop knocks on the lid to get him to come out. Gene had a shot at escaping (albeit and Skinny Pete-sized slim one) but now his cash and exit plan is "Saul Gone".
The Plea Deal
Before we get to the actual plea deal between Jimmy/Saul and the federal prosecutor, we get our farewell scene for Gene Takovic. What does he do with his one phone call? He calls his Cinnabon store. He apologizes for not being there and advises that they call corporate to get a new manager. Initially defeated, Gene reads a message carved into the holding cell wall that turns him back into Saul Goodman. He makes one more call, this time to Albuquerque's newest defense attorney, Bill Oakley.
Saul is confronted with the gravity of the charges he faces from his time working with Walter White. He's looking at life in prison, plus 190 years for his charges. After an initial offer from the AUSA Castellano of 30 years, Saul goes into show mode. Saul invites Marie, Hank's widow from Breaking Bad. After Saul gives one of his masterful speeches, he sets his sights on AUSA Castellano's perfect record as a federal prosecutor.
"And you think jurors are gonna buy that?"
"One. All I need is one."
- AUSA Castellano conversing with Saul Goodman at the plea bargain hearing
Now Saul has the prosecution team where he wants them. He is able to reduce his sentence to under eight years and gets himself a cushy low-security prison in a wing of his choosing. Saul takes it to the next level when he demands a monthly delivery of Blue Bell Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. He believes he has "primo" info on an unsolved murder - Howard Hamiln's. Unbeknownst to Saul, in the last episode, Kim Wexler already confessed everything. Castellano and crew have a laugh, but another seed is planted in the brain of Saul Goodman.
Better Call Saul/Breaking Bad Flashbacks
Saul Goodman and Walter White
The cold open is merely our first look back at the path of Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman. During the midpoint of the episode, we revisit a scene from the final season of Breaking Bad, with Walt and Saul awaiting their departure to safe harbor. They end up having the time machine discussion just like Jimmy had with Mike. Walt is much more abrasive and after pointing out that time travel violates the second law of thermodynamics, finally relents and agrees to talk about regret, the root of Saul's thought experiment.
Walt regrets leaving Grey Matter, and the riches that would have gone with it. Saul regrets a particular fall as Slippin' Jimmy. Years have passed since Jimmy had that chat with Mike in the desert, but it's clear he hasn't learned anything.
Jimmy and Chuck McGill
Later in the episode, we get our final color sequence in a flashback to Jimmy delivering groceries to his now-deceased brother Chuck. They have their typical banter we saw throughout the show. Chuck, as he always did, tells Jimmy that it isn't necessary to bring groceries every day.
When Chuck asks why Jimmy insists on doing it, Jimmy replies, "'Cause you're my brother. Duh. You'd do the same for me." The look Chuck shoots Jimmy after that comment is enough to break the most hardened of heart.
The final flashback ends in beautiful Better Call Saul/Breaking Bad fashion. Chuck grabs his lantern and walks away to retreat with a book. That book? H.G. Wells' The Time Machine. Brilliant. The three flashbacks we saw in the finale really tied together how Jimmy McGill grew into Saul Goodman, and how he seemed destined to continue to repeat his mistakes. Will he ever learn?
The Trial of Saul Goodman
Prior to Saul's trial, we see Kim Wexler pull an old move out of the hat. She leaves her 9-to-5 early. Thing is, she's not going to tie one off, she's going to do volunteer legal work. It's there that she gets a phone call that her Jimmy has been caught and arrested. Worse still for Kim, he's prepared to give testimony that will be very bad for her.
We see Saul Goodman make his way to the courtroom. The scene is shot in black and white, but we can still see that he's rocking a classic Goodman suit. You know Judge Papadoumian would be impressed. Saul sees a clearly nervous Kim sitting in the back of the court. He takes a deep breath and delivers his trademark, "It's showtime." Boy, is it ever.
Saul launches into a speech we think we heard earlier in the episode with Marie and AUSA Castellano. He throws a massive curveball when he fesses up to everything. He knows what the repercussions will be; he just wants Kim to see he's grown and learned. After fully unburdening himself to the court, he makes his final statement ever as Saul Goodman:
The name's McGill. I'm James McGill.
Better Call Saul Season 6 Episode 13 - Saul Gone
The Return of Jimmy McGill
The fallout from the trial is swift. Jimmy gets a massive 86-year prison sentence and is going to a maximum-security facility. On the bus ride in, he is spotted by the other prisoners as Saul Goodman. Life could be worse than being the most popular guy in prison. Jimmy gets informed of an unexpected visitor, his lawyer as it were.
When Jimmy arrives to meet said lawyer, it's Kim. She's come to see him, and they share a cigarette just like in the pilot episode. You can see by the way Kim looks at him that she's happy that her Jimmy is back again. Kim leaves the prison, but you get the feeling she will be back again.
Better Call Saul's Attention to Detail
Throughout both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul's run on TV, the shows have given a masterclass in hitting the fine details. 'Saul Gone' was one of their finest lessons yet.
Tying in Time Travel
Through the use of flashbacks, we got to see foundational conversations Jimmy McGill had throughout the years. He always framed it through a lens of "what would you do with a time machine." It's brilliant, because we, the viewer, are in our time machine.
During the big courtroom speech, it was very clear that his brother's death would haunt him forever. When they move to the next scene back in Chuck's kitchen, it cuts like a knife to see how little Chuck would do for Jimmy. When the flashback ends with Chuck grabbing the book The Time Machine, we've come full circle.
Subtle Audio Clues
There were two in particular that I want to touch on, the ticking of Walt's watch and the buzzing of an exit sign. Early in the episode, Saul is pleading his case for a reduced sentence. He mentions a fear of Walter White and specifically getting murdered in a jail cell, which Season 5 of Breaking Bad featured. When Saul asks Walter about what he regrets, we hear the ticking of his watch. The same ticking watch Walt was wearing when those jailhouse murders took place.
The other moment happens in the courtroom during the big speech. At the mention of Chuck's name, we hear a faint buzzing sound and the camera pans back to reveal the emergency exit sign. Just like the sign Jimmy referenced in the episode 'Chicanery' where he was in a battle with Chuck.
Better Call Saul and the Use of Color
Throughout the series, color was used to help indicate the timeline. Black and white signaled post-Breaking Bad events, while color meant before/during. It gave me strong Wizard of Oz vibes and I loved it. I only counted two times that we saw any color at all in the modern timeline, when Marion is watching the Saul Goodman commercials online, and Kim's cigarette in the prison with Jimmy. It's almost like they used color to mark the death of Saul Goodman and the rebirth of Jimmy McGill.