Better Call Saul's season 6 finale broke us down, now it's time to return the favor. Here's a full explanation of James Morgan McGill's climactic curtain call. When Bob Odenkirk first strolled through the door of Badger's interrogation room in Breaking Bad season 2, few could've imagined Saul Goodman would, almost a decade later, be capping off a hugely successful prequel series. Better Call Saul has more than earned its place alongside Breaking Bad as a television heavyweight, and all but perfected the art of the spinoff. Alas, all good things must end, and that time comes in Better Call Saul season 6's "Saul Gone."
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Previously in Better Call Saul season 6, Jimmy McGill made the fatal mistake of getting greedy. Despite successfully starting a new life as "Gene Takavic" in Omaha, Jimmy couldn't resist the lure of criminality, and got caught out by Marion (Carol Burnett), who promptly informed the authorities that Heisenberg's accomplice was in her kitchen. Over in Florida, meanwhile, Kim Wexler's torrid new life was turned upside-down by a surprise phone call from Jimmy, which prompted her to come clean, signing a full confession to the Howard Hamlin scam and their role in his murder.
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Better Call Saul's series finale begins with Jimmy on the run, charting one last bid for freedom and all the twists and turns that follow. Along the way, a series of flashbacks to unseen moments from both Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad explain Jimmy's decisions in the present. When all is said and done, the legend of Jimmy McGill is finally drawn to a definitive end that occupies the bitter end of bittersweet. This is how Better Call Saul season 6's finale shakes out.
Click here to watch Better Call Saul Ending Explained on YouTube
Why Jimmy Asks Mike & Walt About A Time Machine
Better Call Saul's final episode includes a series of flashbacks: one opposite Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut during season 5's "Bagman" episode, one opposite Bryan Cranston as Walter White during Breaking Bad season 5's "Granite State," and one opposite Michael McKean as Chuck McGill shortly before Better Call Saul begins. All three are connected by the overarching theme of regret, and hark back to an Easter egg from Better Call Saul's season 6 premiere.
Jimmy's first ghost of criminals past is Mike. To kill time as they cross the desert, the lawyer asks what Mike would change if he had a time machine. After initially picking a date in 2001 (presumably when his son, Matty, died) Mike settles on the first time he took a bribe. He would've nipped his dark streak in the bud. Matty died after reluctantly accepting a police bribe on his father's advice, so Mike believes if he'd never been dirty himself, his son would still be alive. In a second flashback, Jimmy asks the same question of Walter White, who cites leaving Gray Matter as his biggest regret - a typically self-centered answer that speaks to his lust for greatness and glory.
In both scenes, Jimmy's own replies are meaningless. He tells Mike he'd use a time machine to invest in Berkshire Hathaway and become a billionaire, and gives Walt some story about injuring his knee during a "slip 'n' fall" scam. Needless to say, both are just Jimmy deflecting, and his true regret lies hidden within the "time machine" question itself. Throughout Better Call Saul season 6, a copy of HG Wells' The Time Machine has been shown in Jimmy's possession, and the finale reveals this originally belonged to his brother, Chuck. The real moment Jimmy McGill longs to change is ruining his brother's career in Better Call Saul season 3 - the act that led to Chuck taking his own life.
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Saul Goodman's Plea Bargain Explained
After running from Marion's house and grabbing his precious shoebox, Jimmy McGill hides in a dumpster. The glance toward his diamonds and the Disappearer's business card suggest he's planning yet another extraction, but the police catch up before he gets the opportunity. Languishing in his holding cell, etched graffiti reading "MY LAWYR WILL REAM UR ASS" sparks a classic Saul Goodman scheme in Jimmy's mind. He phones old lawyer friend Bill Oakley, who Francesca revealed was now working as a defense attorney earlier in Better Call Saul season 6.
Essentially, Jimmy intends to wrangle a ridiculously light sentence by exploiting his knowledge of the court system. He knows only a single juror ruling in the defense's favor is required, and gives the prosecution team a preview of his "I was a victim too" performance. This proves enough to sow doubt in the prosecution's mind as to whether they can secure conviction, giving Jimmy leverage to negotiate a deal whereby he pleads guilty (foregoing the need for a trial) in exchange for a cushy sentence. He also preys upon the threat of ending lead prosecutor George Castellano's flawless record, and whittles a life sentence down to seven years at a prison of his choosing.
Why Betsy Brandt's Marie Schrader Cameo Is So Important
While Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul were confirmed in advance, Better Call Saul season 6's finale drops a surprise cameo from Betsy Brandt as Marie Schrader. As the widow of a DEA agent who died chasing down Heisenberg and his cohorts, Marie is permitted to observe Jimmy McGill's sentence meeting, but the prisoner makes a point of inviting Hank's wife into the room. This is likely for Jimmy to send the prosecution a message: "If I can look directly in a widow's eye and lie through my teeth, I can probably convince at least one juror I'm telling the truth."
Betsy Brand's Better Call Saul cameo makes Hank's death an even bigger deal, showing how the ramifications of Breaking Bad's "Ozymandias" episode are still being felt, while also doing justice to those who survived. Jimmy performing his victim act in Marie's face then shows how morally far he's sunk as Better Call Saul's ending looms, setting up the eventual redemption nicely...
Why Jimmy Finally Confesses In Court
Jimmy McGill performs a miracle by negotiating a seven-year sentence, but something changes his mind, and when Saul Goodman finally gets his day in court, he throws everything away by spilling his guts in a shocking confession scene.
The redemption of Saul Goodman tentatively begins when he hears Kim Wexler came clean, but only during the plane flight to New Mexico does Jimmy decide to tell the truth himself. Through Bill, Jimmy learns that Kim not only signed a legal affidavit regarding the Howard Hamlin incident, but showed said affidavit to Howard's widow, opening herself up to a world of civil litigation. Kim's selflessness is the penny-dropping moment Jimmy McGill needed, and he realizes the time has come to cleanse his own soul. Because Jimmy wants Kim to see he's taking responsibility, he steps off the plane and tells the prosecution a whole bunch of fresh off-screen lies about Kim's involvement in the Howard scam. This lures Kim to the courtroom, where Jimmy fully intends to rescind those accusations. He just needed her to be there, and briefly incriminating her was the only way.
When Kim left Jimmy in Better Call Saul season 6's "Fun & Games," she pointed out how they encouraged each other's dark sides. While hard to disagree, Kim inspiring Jimmy to come clean in Better Call Saul's finale proves they're also capable of bringing out each other's goodness.
Jimmy McGill Kills Saul Goodman In Better Call Saul's Finale
The man entering court is Saul Goodman, complete with garish suit, arrogant swagger, and ridiculous name. All of this pompous showmanship is designed to give Saul Goodman one last dance in court. With each confession he makes, a part of Saul dies and a part of Jimmy is reclaimed, until only the latter stands before the court. There's a vital moment in Better Call Saul's finale when Jimmy lays bare his involvement with Heisenberg, then turns back toward Kim for approval. She remains stony-faced, and Jimmy realizes he hasn't gone far enough. Returning to the court's podium, the jail-bound ex-lawyer digs deep and drudges up his deepest regret - a trauma Jimmy has never properly confronted since it happened in Better Call Saul season 3: making Chuck take his own life.
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After laying every last sin on the table, Jimmy corrects the judge when she refers to him as "Saul Goodman," confirming his criminal alter ego is now dead for good, and tying into the Better Call Saul series finale title, "Saul Gone." When he looks back at Kim this time, her expression has softened, showing a mixture of pride and relief that Jimmy McGill is now a man without skeletons clogging up his mental closet.
Is Kim Wexler's Better Call Saul Ending Happy?
When Better Call Saul revealed Kim's post-Breaking Bad fate, it wasn't pretty. A dull job that doesn't make use of her extraordinary talent, a partner she shows barely any interest in, and an uncharacteristic refusal to make decisions or choices for herself. Kim's life is still pretty bad in Better Call Saul's season finale, as a lunch break scene proves she can't even pick between Red Lobster and Topkapi, but Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould do weave a slither of hope into Kim's Better Call Saul ending, as she volunteers at a free legal clinic.
The services provided here are very similar to Kim's pro bono work from earlier in Better Call Saul season 6 - offering legal aid to those who can't afford it - and reclaiming this aspect of her old life represents Kim taking the first step out of her current rut. Maybe reconnecting with her very first love (the law) will eventually coax Kim's old personality back to the surface, restore her confidence, and lead to a career change down the line.
Kim's fate isn't happy in the traditional sense, but her new job allows the audience to imagine things can get better. Better Call Saul season 6's ending also doesn't confirm whether Kim still gets sued by Cheryl Hamlin. Jimmy's imprisonment might spare his ex-wife a costly lawsuit, and when Kim turns up in Better Call Saul's final scene having evidently traveled far for the occasion, she certainly doesn't appear broke for cash, but Jimmy can't contradict the affidavit his ex signed. Jimmy's confession was inspired by Kim; it wasn't about saving Kim, since this would've negated her own redemption arc (confirmed by Better Call Saul's Peter Gould via Rolling Stone). Kim is still being punished for her Better Call Saul wrongdoing... but there are bright spots to be found.
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Jimmy McGill's Final Fate Explained
Because Jimmy McGill decided to turn his court hearing into a therapy session, the deal he cooked up becomes obsolete. Rather than seven years playing golf, Jimmy gets 86 years at Montrose, which is the very prison he said he didn't want during the initial negotiation with the prosecution. Just like Kim's ending, however, there are glimmers of light poking through the gray of Jimmy's future.
Prison isn't a fun place for an ex-prosecution lawyer, but for an ex-defense lawyer who achieved renown getting criminals off the hook, it's not so bad. Because of his reputation for defending crooks and the respect earned through his achievements with Heisenberg, Jimmy McGill is immediately accepted by his fellow inmates... even if he can't escape the shadow of Saul.
Even better, Jimmy's courtroom confession has healed the bad blood between himself and Kim. Visiting under the pretense of his lawyer, Kim is able to share a cigarette and a conversation with her ex-husband, burying the hatchet after six years of acrimony. Kim and Jimmy aren't back together, and Better Call Saul's star couple will likely never see each other again, but two small details confirm Kim and Jimmy's relationship is at least mended. First, the cigarette burns in color as opposed to black-and-white, proving the gloom of the Gene timeline is starting to lift. Secondly, when Jimmy gives Kim the ol' gun fingers as she departs the prison, she subtly makes a gun shape with her own hands.
Better Call Saul leaves audiences to assume Jimmy McGill spends the rest of his life incarcerated, and that the final shot of Kim walking away represents the last time they'll ever see each other. While hardly the most uplifting conclusion, Jimmy dies an honest man. In the words of his brother, Chuck, during Better Call Saul's series finale flashback, "There's no shame in going back and changing your path."
What happened at the end of Better Call Saul season 6? ›
In the finale, however, Jimmy 'returns'. Halfway through his sentencing hearing, Saul diverts from his 'victim' speech, admits to being a key part of Walter White's drug empire, to falsifying statements about Kim's role in Howard's death and to triggering brother Chuck's suicide.What does the ending of Better Call Saul mean? ›
Saul Goodman legal action, the now-reformed Jimmy McGill ended up with 86 years in prison as Walter White's “indispensable” criminal lawyer. After going down a dark path the past few seasons, Saul finally turned a corner and confessed to all of his crimes, clearing Kim Wexler's (Rhea Seehorn) name.Did Jimmy save Kim from civil suit? ›
And there was, but not from Saul Goodman. Jimmy confesses to all the crimes he was accused of and more, and even absolves Kim from her potential civil suit by telling the court that she was never involved in Hamlin's death.Why did Jimmy confess at the end of Better Call Saul? ›
However, as explained in Walter White's Better Call Saul finale scene, the ending is about regret. This is why Jimmy also confesses to the court about his involvement in pushing his brother Chuck to the brink of suicide, even though it technically had nothing to do with Jimmy's RICO case.Why did Saul get 86 years? ›
The series finale answered the big question, “Where is Kim Wexler in Breaking Bad?” Moreover, it showed what happened to Saul Goodman after the events of Breaking Bad as he was imprisoned for 86 years for his crimes after reneging on the seven-year plea bargain to protect Kim Wexler.Why did Jimmy tell the truth? ›
After spending years denying he had any love left for the man, the finale's biggest reveal was that Jimmy genuinely loved his brother and regretted how things ended up, and his moment of truth was towards himself in order to save his soul rather than someone else's.