The penultimate episode of Better Call Saul held plenty of surprises and suspense, even as we close in on the end of the series. We got to hear the other end of last week’s emotional phonebooth call, we took a trip down to Titusville, Florida to visit an old friend, and we got to see Marion put her laptop to good use.
Let’s talk about “Waterworks.”
Garnet and Gold
We’re in black-and-white, and someone is in their kitchen making potato salad. The brunette chops up a potato — wait a minute, that’s Kim Wexler! She’s sans ponytail and avec some pretty severe bangs, and there’s not a trace of blonde on her head. Her boyfriend Glenn comes in from the grocery store, and they have a serious discussion about whether Miracle Whip counts as mayonnaise. Kim won’t commit either way, so Glenn decides that Miracle Whip is good enough for their potato-laden dishes.
They’re hosting a backyard barbeque for some friends. The ladies are gathered around the food table, concerned about whether the decorations are clearly garnet and gold enough (Florida State University’s colors), while the guys cook burgers and talk about epoxy. Later that evening, Kim is putting together a jigsaw puzzle at the dining table while Glenn watches The Amazing Race and asks her if she thinks they would succeed as a couple on that show. Kim won’t commit either way, so Glenn turns back to the tv and she focuses on her puzzle.
The next day at Palm Coast Sprinkler, Kim gets to work putting together the online inventory for the company, pasting pictures of sprinklers, and writing copy for each item. Her day is filled with making copies, borrowing her cubicle neighbor’s hole puncher, and calling suppliers to ask about various sprinkler dimensions. In the breakroom, a coworker tells her that today is receptionist Tammy’s birthday, and she hands Kim the birthday card to sign. She then asks Kim if she thinks Tammy would prefer a vanilla or strawberry birthday cake. Kim won’t commit either way, so the coworker walks off to continue passing around the birthday card.
Kim Wexler’s life in a post-Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman world is void of … well, life. There is nothing exciting or noteworthy that seems to happen in her day-to-day. But perhaps this is exactly what she wants. She seems to have made a good life for herself in Florida, one of stability and routine and absolutely nothing flashy. So when birthday girl Tammy the receptionist tells Kim that someone named Viktor St. Clair is on line 3 for her, she becomes understandably shaken to her core.
You Should Turn Yourself In
After frantically drawing her window shades closed in her office and closing the door, Kim finally summons the courage to pick up the receiver. Jimmy is on the other line, and he basically tells her that he thought it would be nice to catch up with her. It’s been six years since they split up, and he sounds excited to be in touch with her again. He tells her that he’s still “getting away with it,” gloating about still having not been caught after all this time. But he keeps asking her if she’s still there on the other end of the line because Kim is so dumbfounded that he’s called her that she barely says anything to him. But what she does say is enough to enrage him.
“You shouldn’t be calling me. You should turn yourself in,” she says to Jimmy. Jimmy tells her angrily that she should turn herself in since she’s the one with the guilty conscience. He says she wouldn’t even get in trouble, because anyone who can implicate her — Gus Fring, Lalo Salamanca, Mike Ehrmantraut — is dead. Not knowing what else she can safely say to Jimmy, Kim responds, “I’m glad you’re alive,” and hangs up the phone. A coworker opens her office door and tells her it’s time to sing “Happy Birthday” to Tammy.
We next see Kim arrive at the Albuquerque airport. She leaves in her rental car and heads to the very courthouse where she put in countless hours. There is no parking deck attendant anymore; Mike has been replaced with a credit card machine. Inside the courthouse, Kim heads upstairs in the elevator. She sees a young attorney helping her client put on a tie for his court appearance, and Kim is clearly grieving the loss of her old life.
Now at the Hamlin residence, Kim arrives, and Cheryl lets her in. Kim hands Cheryl an affidavit, a statement of her and Jimmy’s illegal actions — this was the purpose of her courthouse visit. Absolutely everything she and Jimmy did to Howard Hamlin is written down in black-and-white: their scheme to smear Howard’s reputation, including their plan to paint Howard as a cocaine addict. Everything is there, including the details of Howard’s murder, all in intricate detail.
Cheryl is seething with anger, understandably. Cheryl asks where Howard’s body is, and Kim says she doesn’t know but that the police will search for it. Cheryl asks Kim what will happen next, and Kim tells her that it’s up to the D.A. to bring charges against her. But since there is no physical evidence or witnesses to corroborate Kim’s words, filing charges against her will be difficult. Cheryl then threatens to sue Kim in a civil court of law, to take her for everything she’s worth. But the look on Kim’s face tells her (and all of us) that she believes she really isn’t worth that much anymore.
Kim is now on the rental car bus at the airport, riding back to the terminal. And in the two minutes we see Kim sitting there silently on that bus, we see sadness, anger, grief, regret, every heartbreak, every loss that Kim has felt pass across her face. And she suddenly shatters completely and breaks down. She is racked with loud, uncontrollable sobs.
It’s Like Bananas, All This Rain
We’re in Saul Goodman’s Breaking Bad strip mall office, and he’s throwing a ball against the wall and catching it, over and over. Francesca calls him from the front desk and tells him that he needs to get a move on things because it’s late and he has a waiting room full of potential clients. He then opens a manila envelope on his desk, and out comes the Dissolution of Marriage paperwork for him and Kim. He then tells Francesca to “send her in.”
While Kim is signing the paperwork in the appropriate places, Saul is making small talk with her, and he seems bored and flippant and unimpressed with what is happening. He asks her why she picked Florida to move to, but when she tries to respond, he says, “Eh, it doesn’t matter.” He then tells her that she will regret not taking her part of the Sandpiper money. When the paperwork is complete, Saul says, “Have a nice life, Kim!” Kim says nothing to him and leaves his office.
Outside, it’s raining cats and dogs, so Kim lights up a cigarette to wait it out. She hears, “Can I bum one of those?” from a guy leaning against the wall, and it’s Jesse Pinkman. She gives him a cigarette, and Jesse starts talking about the huge amounts of rain. “It’s like bananas, all this rain. I mean, I thought we were, like, in a desert, you know?” Jesse then tells Kim that he recognizes her. She defended his friend Combo when they were younger, and she got him off scot-free. Kim remembers that client, and she tells Jesse that she hopes he is keeping his nose clean. Jesse then asks Kim if Saul Goodman is a good lawyer. His friend needs “top shelf” representation because he is facing serious time, and he asks her if Saul is any good. “When I knew him, he was,” she responds and runs out into the pouring rain to her car.
Rhea Seehorn’s performance in this episode is so captivating that I had honestly forgotten about Gene and what he did after he broke the glass of the phonebooth in a fit of rage. We pick back up where we left off in last week’s episode, with Gene breaking into his latest identity-theft victim’s house through the back door. He silently gets inside the house and is relieved to see the victim passed out on the living room floor, snoring very loudly. Gene gets to work taking photos of the man’s personal information, including bank statements and credit card accounts. After several minutes, Jeff has returned outside to pick him up, but Gene seems to be feeling incredibly cocky, so he heads upstairs and finds some more interesting items. After he steals a Cuban cigar and a few very expensive watches, Gene realizes that his victim has woken up and is no longer on the living room floor.
Gene starts to panic when the guy wobbles his way over to the staircase and sits on the bottom stair, thereby trapping Gene upstairs with no way to get down. Gene sees an urn that contains the ashes of the man’s dog, and he decides it’s hefty enough to hit him over the head and knock him out. Fortunately, by the time Gene silently makes it down the stairs to hit the man, he has fallen back into a drug-induced slumber. (Thank goodness. Put the doggie urn down, Gene!) But as Gene quietly opens the front door to leave, he sees that a cop cruiser has pulled up behind Jeff’s cab outside and is just … sitting there.
The cops have been sitting there for several minutes, absolutely freaking out Jeff. We get to hear the cops’ conversation, which is centered around how much fish does a fish taco need to contain to be appropriately called a fish taco, and we realize that the cops are just stealing a few minutes from their beat to grab a bite. Jeff doesn’t get the benefit of hearing this conversation, which is a real shame because, in a fit of pure panic, he screeches off and makes it about 40 feet before crashing into a parked car. The cops, upset that their dinner has been interrupted, unenthusiastically get out of their cruiser and walk up to a groveling Jeff lying on the ground, ready to be handcuffed.
At his house, Gene waits for his cellphone to ring. When it does, it’s Jeff on the other end calling him from jail. In a ruse that was presumably planned in advance, Jeff refers to Gene as “Dad” on the phone and tells “Dad” that not only did he get into a fender bender, but the cops are throwing a burglary charge at him. The homeowner — their latest identity-theft victim — ran outside while the cops were there and told them that he had some expensive items missing. Gene tells Jeff that he has nothing to worry about because Jeff wasn’t in possession of any burgled items and that he should just sit tight and wait for him and his mother to bail him out later that day.
Gene then calls Marion to tell her about Jeff being arrested. She is worried and upset that her son has gotten into trouble again like he did in Albuquerque, and she says that she doesn’t have the money for a bail bondsman. Gene tells her not to worry because Omaha doesn’t deal with bail bondsmen. They can just walk into the jail with cash and bail out Jeff on their own. “It’s nothing like the system in Albuquerque,” Gene tells Marion. (But how does he know about the system in Albuquerque?)
When Gene gets to Marion’s house to pick her up, she doesn’t answer the door. He walks around the back and sees Marion in her kitchen watching her laptop screen. He walks through the unlocked door and gets her attention. While she tries to tell him to go on to the jail without her, he hears the sound coming from her laptop — and it’s a “Better Call Saul!” advertisement. She’s found out everything about his former life, thanks to Ask Jeeves.
When Marion threatens to call the police, Gene rips out the phone line from the wall and menacingly tells Marion that she needs to just keep quiet about what she’s found out. He is wrapping the phone cord around his hands as if he plans on strangling her, but Marion has one more trick up her sleeve: her Life Alert pendant is around her neck, and she’s ready to push the button. Gene moves to rip the pendant from her neck, but when Marion tells him that she trusted him, he falters. Marion takes the opportunity to signal the Life Alert operator and tells her that a wanted fugitive is in her kitchen, and his name is Saul Goodman. The operator says that she is contacting the police, and Gene runs out of the house.
Better Call Saul‘s series finale, “Saul Gone,” will air next Monday, August 15 at 9 p.m. EST on AMC. Catch our weekly recaps here.