Spoilers follow for Better Call Saul through Season 6, Episode 12, “Waterworks.”
Whether it’s the tone of the black-and-white alter ego of Gene Takovic’s “future” Saul Goodman or the fact that he’s a shadow of the flashy old self, Better Call’s Cinnabon Gene timeline Saul is a pretty dark place. Ever since the Breaking Bad prequel picked up on what happened to Saul (Bob Odenkirk) after Ed “The Disappearer” Galbraith (Robert Forster) sent him to Omaha, fans have wondered if that bland existence would end. finish for the charismatic Jimmy McGill. Worryingly, the penultimate episode confirms that our leader is not the only one facing a dismal fate.
Over the past six seasons of court cases and inconvenience, we’ve seen Rhea Seehorn’s Kim Wexler become more than Jimmy’s love interest — become his equal in many ways. Given that Kim was mysteriously absent from Gene’s timeline until “Breaking Bad” last week, some rightly feared she had gone the way of Nacho (Michael Mando) and Lalo (Tony Dalton). It’s true that Kim escaped having her throat slit with a box cutter and being put in a barrel of acid, but working in Florida at Palm Coast Sprinklers while being haunted by the past sounds terrible on its own.
Kim Wexler gets the Gene Takovic treatment
“Waterworks” establishes that after filing for divorce from Jimmy and sending Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) his way to legal advice, Kim settled in Florida. Kim divorced Jimmy before things got really bad in Albuquerque, which means she will apparently avoid paying for her crimes. Yet, everything has changed for Kim, and as her life has been irrevocably changed, she is largely no different from Gene. The only difference is that she’s not on the run.
Kim’s day involves tough decisions about whether Miracle Whip can be used as a substitute for mayonnaise and doing puzzles while her boring, average husband Joe sits in the other room. Kim’s professional life isn’t much better – writing a copy about the FLO-Chief 1.2 inch PEX Crimp Brass and asking about flange diameters.
At least there’s some sense of justice, because after her call with Gene, Kim phones Harold Hamlin’s (Patrick Fabian) widow to try to right past wrongs. There’s a glimmer of old Kim here as she boldly asserts that a lack of evidence or witnesses means she’ll likely be spared time behind bars. Even though Florida Kim is far from herself, she’s out there somewhere…buried under heavy bangs and box dye. When Kim travels to Albuquerque to sign an affidavit, she finally lets go of her emotions and collapses on a bus after revealing the truth about what happened the night Harold died some six years earlier.
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You better call Saul give a hard hand
Kim’s depressing fate is a well-established trope for Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. It’s not just the bad guys who get punished on Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould shows. Innocent bystanders like Wayfarer Flight 515 passengers and Drew Sharp (Samuel Webb) are caught in the crossfire. You don’t even have to die to have a shitty hand in this world, because we also don’t imagine a post-Heisenberg life was much fun for widowed Marie Schrader (Betsy Brandt) or Skyler White. (Anna Gunn).
Closer to Better Call Saul, bad luck continues to give minor characters a tough game like Marco Pasternak (Mel Rodriguez) dying of a heart attack or Fred Walen (James Austin Johnson) inadvertently getting on the path of Lalo Salamanca. Jimmy’s brother, Chuck McGill (Michael McKean), is one of the most controversial TV characters of all time, but it’s still hard to watch him burn to death in the Season 3 finale. More recently, there was the shocking realization that Harold wasn’t the villain we thought he was when Lalo brutally blew his brains out.
In this world, even death gives you no escape. In typical Badverse fashion, “Waterworks” includes a throwaway revelation that Mike Ehrmantraut’s (Jonathan Banks) ticketing job has been automated. Cheryl Hamlin (Sandrine Holt) also spent years assuming her husband killed himself until Kim told her the truth. Kim isn’t dead, but for all intents and purposes, she might as well be. Forced to attend potlucks with other ordinary housewives, it’s a fate the former Kim would never have chosen. But does she deserve it?
Kim isn’t as morally corrupt as Jimmy, but after committing the same scams as him and admitting she kept Lalo’s survival a secret because she was “having too much fun,” she isn’t either. Walt Jr. (RJ Mitte).
Will Better Call Saul have a happy ending?
What’s most poignant is that Kim chose this boring existence for herself. With so much death and destruction caused by Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jimmy, choosing your own destiny is a luxury few have been able to afford. It’s ironic that this new Kim can’t make a simple decision between vanilla or strawberry ice cream. Better Call Saul might turn around in the finale to bring back the Bonnie and Clyde-esque Kim we know, but on the face of it, she’s already been consumed by this mundane purgatory.
It’s possible that Jimmy and Kim will put their differences aside and reunite as the star-crossed lovers that they are. Then again, 2004 Kim had already warned Jesse that Jimmy has been a good lawyer “when I knew him”, implying that in addition to being a good lawyer, he was once a good man. Having gone through his Saul persona and into the Gene years, little of Jimmy McGill remains. You could also argue that Kim already has her perfect ending as she makes a statement against Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), Jimmy, and Lalo to finally give her some peace of mind. It’s easy to imagine the authors leaving Kim Wexler’s story here.
For now, the best we can hope for is that Kim returns to Florida and realizes she can do better, abandon her husband, and try to get back to law. It’s better to be buried under Gus’ meth lab.