As we have been winding down to the end of the Better Call Saul series, we have been witnessing the deaths of characters we already knew would not make it to the Breaking Bad universe. Episode three saw the end of Nacho Varga‘s storyline, and the last two episodes showed us how Howard Hamlin and Lalo Salamanca met their respective ends. And this week’s episode showed us the death of another character, albeit in a completely different way.
Let’s talk about “Fun and Games.”
Just Another Day That Ends in “Y”
Unlike previous cold opens, this episode picks up the morning after the end of last week’s episode. Per Mike’s strict instructions, Jimmy and Kim are going about their day as if they didn’t witness Howard Hamlin get shot to death in their living room the night before. Jimmy and his assistant Francesca are watching a new sign being installed on the top of the Saul Goodman office, and Kim is at court, helping the indigent and underserved. Meanwhile, Mike and his guys are at the McGill-Wexler residence, removing any evidence of the horror that took place there just a few short hours earlier.
When their day ends, Kim and Jimmy enter their apartment hesitantly, but all they see is a clean, undisturbed home. Jimmy immediately relaxes at this sight, but a silent Kim shows the heavy weight of grief on her face. Later, Jimmy tells her that they’ll both realize they will have forgotten and moved on from this one day. That one day, everything will be ok. Kim remains silent, not convinced she’ll ever be able to move on from what happened.
Gus Smooths Things Over
Gus arrives at Don Eladio’s residence in Mexico, and Juan Bolsa and the Salamancas are there waiting for him. Eladio tells Gus that Hector has made some very serious accusations about him: he blames Gus for the raid on Lalo’s compound, and he also says (via his system of ringing-bell-to-Spanish translation) that Lalo informed him through several phone calls that Gus plans to take over Eladio’s operation and cannot be trusted. Gus simply replies that the baseless accusations do not warrant a response. Eladio asks the Cousins if they witnessed the phone calls from Lalo to Hector. They say they did not, and then confirm that they found Lalo’s burned body in Mexico and the dental records matched Lalo’s.
So, with an afterlife assist from Lalo Salamanca, Gus avoids any blame for the absolutely correct and very accurate accusations Hector has leveled against him, and Eladio tells Hector to go inside and sleep it off. The Cousins then hilariously carry their uncle in his wheelchair to the house, while Hector furiously and fruitlessly smashes his bell in never-ending protest. Before retiring himself, though, Eladio tells Gus that he sees the hate in his eyes for him. But as long as Gus remembers who boss is, Eladio says, then a little hate is ok. Eladio goes inside the house, and Gus walks over to the swimming pool and looks at the water. The wistful look on Gus’ face tells us that he is thinking about his partner Max, who was killed at that very spot years earlier.
Later, Gus arrives back home. He opens the blinds and seems to relax for the first time in months, knowing Lalo is truly dead. He meets Mike in the underground tunnel that connects his house to the watch house. Mike updates Gus regarding Jimmy and Kim and tells him that they spent all day with the cops and stuck to the story they were supposed to. At this time, Howard Hamlin is presumed dead by suicide. Gus then asks Mike when construction of the superlab can resume. Mike says that he’ll need to find a new engineer and crew, which will take significant time. Gus tells him to begin working on that immediately. Mike and Gus part ways, and the lights in the underground tunnel are turned off, presumably for good.
That evening, Gus goes to a high-end restaurant and sits at the bar. The bartender knows him and mentions how it’s been a long time since she’s seen him there. Gus orders a glass of something very expensive and relishes the taste. Then, restaurant sommelier David, who seems very excited to see Gus, walks up and sits next to him. After talking about various wines, David tells Gus a story from his earlier years when he traveled through Europe. Gus seems captivated by David’s story (and by David himself). A little later, David leaves to find another bottle of wine to show Gus. But while he’s gone, we see Gus’ expression change from relaxed and light to serious — to the Gus we know so well. He tells the bartender to inform David that he has been called away. Perhaps Gus is still thinking about Max, and he doesn’t want to risk losing another love.
Keep Telling the Lie You’ve Been Telling
Jimmy and Kim arrive at the offices of HHM to attend Howard’s memorial. The place is packed, and there are numerous pictures of Howard and his 100-watt smile throughout the lobby. Jimmy and Kim first run into Rich Schweikart. Rich tells them that HHM is downsizing, moving, and changing the name of their outfit to “Brookner Partners … or something similar.” This shocks Jimmy and Kim, not having foreseen such a consequence like this result from Howard’s death. They then head upstairs to offer their condolences to Cheryl, Howard’s widow. Cheryl demands they tell her what they told the police about Howard, because she knows that they were the last ones to see Howard alive. Jimmy recounts the story that he told the cops (authored by Mike), but Cheryl is not convinced. She knows her husband wasn’t an addict, and she refuses to believe that he took his own life in some cocaine-fueled bender.
Kim then whips up a story of her own. She tells Cheryl that about a year and a half ago, when she was an HHM associate, she was working late one night and saw the light in Howard’s office on. Thinking the cleaning crew had accidentally left it on, she walked in to turn off the light but found Howard at his desk, hunched over, and “snorting something.” She tells Cheryl that she and Howard never spoke of it again, and that she never told anyone about that night. “But now I wish I had,” Kim tells Cheryl.
A frustrated Cheryl can’t believe this, and she turns to Cliff Main, who’s standing next to her. She asks Cliff to back her up and say that Howard wasn’t an addict, but thanks to Jimmy and Kim’s long-form scheme that they had worked on all season, he can’t do that. He saw Howard in possession of a white powdery substance at the gym (or so he thought), and he then saw Howard throw out a prostitute from his Jaguar in the middle of the street during lunch hours (or so he thought). Because Cliff is unable to stick up for Howard’s integrity at this moment, Cheryl realizes that she may not have known her husband as well as she thought she did. She runs off in tears.
The End is Near
The next day, Kim is in court with a client, and she looks extremely nervous and fidgety. When the judge arrives to the bench, Kim announces that she has filed a last-minute motion to withdraw from the case. The judge asks her why, but she only offers “personal reasons” as an explanation. The judge won’t relent, though, and he pushes her to give him more information. Kim finally tells him and the court that she must withdraw from the case because she is no longer an attorney. She gave her notice to the Bar two hours prior.
We then see Kim on her apartment balcony, and we hear screeching tires growing closer. Jimmy is racing home, clearly having just heard the news about her decision. He rushes inside the apartment and yells at Kim to tell him why she’s done this. He begs her to reconsider. He offers her other options, like taking a vacation, getting a new place, moving out of state … anything except what she wants to do. But while Jimmy is pacing the apartment, trying to think of a way to solve this, he sees in their bedroom that Kim has packed her clothes and boxed up her belongings. Kim has not only left the New Mexico Bar, she’s leaving Jimmy, too.
Jimmy: “Hey. I love you.”
Kim: “I love you, too. But so what?”
Kim then explains to Jimmy what she’s been going through and why she’s leaving. In a heartbreaking monologue, she tells Jimmy that she has had the time of her life with him. But when they’re together, they’re poison. They are a danger to others around them. Jimmy begs her to tell him how he can change, so she won’t leave. But she says that isn’t what needs to change. Jimmy then says that she’s just reeling from Howard’s death. His death isn’t her fault, he says, but rather it’s Lalo Salamanca’s fault. Kim then admits to Jimmy that she knew Lalo was still alive and that she kept that information from him. She knew that if he knew Lalo was still alive, he would fear for Kim and pull the plug on the scam they were working on Howard to keep Kim safe. Kim didn’t want that to happen, because she was having too much fun. And she walks off, disgusted with herself.
The episode ends a few years in the future. Jimmy is in the lavish, gold-plated mansion we saw being raided by authorities at the beginning of the season. He wakes up next to some woman we don’t know and tells her it’s time for her to go, and he starts his day on the phone, giving orders and talking business. He mentions his “Xanax guy” at one point, and he wheels and deals while his overnight guest leaves his house quietly. He then arrives to his Statue of Liberty blowup-adorned office and illegally parks in the handicap spot. Francesca is waiting for him inside, any hints of her once bubbly and sweet personality completely gone. We are at some point in the Breaking Bad universe now — I honestly was expecting to see Jesse Pinkman in the waiting room.
Jimmy McGill is dead. Saul Goodman has arrived.
Only four more episodes to go, folks. Better Call Saul‘s tenth episode, “Nippy,” will air next Monday, July 25 at 9 p.m. EST on AMC. Catch our weekly recaps here.