We’re back with some more Better Call Saul. This episode arrives with a lot of hype considering the damned thing is literally titled “Breaking Bad.” If Walt and/or Jessie don’t appear, there may be riots.

Especially after last week’s episode resulted in a massive, “Meh.” That’s too harsh. I dug “Nippy.” It was a fun, sometimes tense, character-driven chapter that gave us a very important character beat when Saul (as Gene) realizes (in a bit of faux emotion that hits close to home) that he’s utterly alone. He has no parents, his brother is dead, the woman he loved ditched him … and for what? His years as Saul Goodman provided fleeting entertainment but left him without, well, anything. That was a significant moment for Saul. And while the episode itself lacked the emotional stakes of this season’s best offerings, the ho hum store robbery heist subplot was worth it just to see Saul finally come to terms with the mistakes he’s made throughout his life.

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What Happened in Better Call Saul Season 6 Episode 11

Okay, wow. Saul opens in the past with a familiar sight: our man bound with a black hood draped over his head. Yeah, we’re in Breaking Bad territory. Specifically, the moment in which Saul confronts Walt and Jessie in the desert. “It wasn’t me,” Saul screams, “it was Ignacio!”

So many fan theories hung their hats on that statement. It’s wild that nothing went the way any of us expected.

After the credits (which cleverly rewind to the title sequence), we’re back in the future (black and white) where we see … Francesca Liddy chastising two young men about their house manners. “Your whole place smells like a skunk’s butthole,” the “Narca” declares. Evidently, these guys pay rent to Saul’s former secretary, but she’s as good of a landlord as she was an assistant for a criminal lawyer and urges the men to clean up their damned apartment.

She hops in her car and catches what she thinks is a tail. The van in question eventually pulls away and she heads to a remote outpost at 3 p.m. to wait for … someone. At 3:01 p.m., a nearby phone rings. Its Saul. The pair banter like the good ole days, but Francesca is all business. Saul directs her to a nearby locale where she uncovers a bag of money.

Satisfied, the pair talk shop. “How hot is it,” Saul asks. “Well, I still get followed,” Francesca replies. “Not as bad as when the shit first hit the fan, but I still see them.” Oh, the fallout from the reign of terror inflicted by Walter White knows no bounds. Francesca complains that her mail is constantly opened and her phone clicks whenever she uses it.

“So the maestro buying the farm didn’t change anything,” Saul asks, obviously referencing Walt.

“No,” Francesca says, “if anything it made it worse. Skyler White got her deal. So the only ones left to go after are you and Pinkman.”

It’s so weird to hear these characters reference the events of Breaking Bad. These conversations somehow make the adventures of Walter White even more legendary — if that’s even possible — like some bad dream everyone is still trying to wake up from.

Francesca tells Saul that “they” found Jessie’s car by the border, which means she clearly watched El Camino. It’s bad news for Saul, however, as he’s the only one left for anyone to go after.

Saul switches gears and asks about the Nail Salons. Gone. The vending machines? Gone! Laser tag? “The Feds found it all, Saul.” He really has nothing. Even the $850K from his “Tigerfish Corporation” is gone.

After depositing more quarters, Saul asks about the rest of his gang. At least Huell got out. Saul and Francesca struggle to find closure. Even though they’re not friends, they still went through a lot together. The extended beats give Francesca enough time to mention that she got one phone call when everything came crashing down — from Kim.

“No kidding,” Saul asks.

“Your name came up,” Francesca says. “Asked if you were alive.”

“She asked about me,” Saul says, almost astonished. “Well,” he continues, “I guess this is goodbye —”

Click.

Saul exits the phone booth and heads home, stopping at a four-way stop. He gets an itch, hops on another payphone, and calls a number in Florida that requires a lot of friggin’ quarters. “Hi,” he says, “I’m looking for Kim Wexler. I believe she works there.”

We don’t get to hear the rest of the conversation, but we see Saul lose his shit (from a distance) to the point where he bashes the phone multiple times and even shatters the glass surrounding the booth.

After the break, Saul heads back to his lonely life as Gene, the Cinnabon worker. Clearly, this isn’t doing it for him anymore. So, he goes to visit Marion and Jeff. They fawn over funny cat videos on Marion’s new laptop before ditching the old gal to go talk business in the garage.

Saul, clearly desperate for cash (and action), plots his next adventure — something that requires Jeff to work the 9 to 6 shift at his taxi company and for the men to get their hands on some barbiturates. Jeff is shocked. “You said, ‘We’re done,’” he reminds Saul. “So, we’re back in business?”

Yup.

We cut to a bar where Saul does karaoke badly. Though, at least one man (named Alfred) enjoys his antics. Turns out, Alfred believes Saul’s name is Viktor and challenges him to do embarrassing things for money. The man slaps a $100 bill on the bar and tells Viktor he can keep the money if he grabs it first. (Only now am I starting to process that this actor might be Buzz from Home Alone.) Saul loses, despite having the upper hand (ba dum tss!) and agrees to buy another round. We know how this story goes.

Saul pretends to drink more booze but really sucks the liquid up via a device hidden in his shirt.

Outside, Alfred challenges Saul to another bet — the loser pays for the cab. All he has to do is balance a box of matches on his hand for 10 seconds. Saul accepts, places the matches on his hand, and begins counting down. Naturally, Alfred lights the book on fire, and Saul “loses” again. Alfred crawls into the cab and drives off laughing hysterically. Except, he’s sitting in Jeff’s cab, and not looking too well.

Jeff’s silent partner radios him and instructs him to head to the airport after his next stop. What’re we doing here, fellas?

After the break, Jeff helps Alfred out of the cab and walks him to his rather large house. As the man drunkenly walks into his abode, Jeff slaps a piece of tape on the door to keep it from locking. Then, his friend approaches, enters (with a dog), and gets to work. First, he takes Alfred’s wallet, empties its contents — driver’s license, insurance card, credit cards, etc. — and snaps a photo. He then snaps photos of Alfred’s tax returns and other personal documents. He even steals a check. Further investigation reveals a piece of paper with a list of accounts scribbled on it. Yikes. Also, jackpot.

Jeff’s friend exits the home and we linger on the door for a spell before he returns and rips the tape off.

Another break. Then, we’re back in Breaking Bad territory, immediately following Saul’s encounter with Jessie and Walt next to the ditch. Saul enters the meth camper, followed closely by Jessie and Walt. (This is amazing.) Saul is fishing for details, which Walt fights against, but Jessie can’t help himself. “You two make the blue stuff,” Saul states while messing with a flask. “If you make the blue stuff, that makes you Igor,” Saul says, pointing to Jessie, “and that makes you Heisenberg,” he continues, now pointing to Walt. (This is amazing, but also everyone is so old.)

Walt tries to steer the conversation, but at this point, he wasn’t really Heisenberg and thus allows Saul to walk all over him. Moments later, Walt and Jessie bicker over the camper after it unexpectedly dies. The threesome sit in silence for a spell and Jessie asks. “Who’s Lalo?” The question hits Saul deep — the deceased Salamanca sibling played a huge part in his break-up with Kim, after all — and he implores Walt to try starting the camper again. This time, it works.

As the camper drives away, the camera lingers on the grave Walt and Jessie had dug for Saul. We get a wicked transition of Saul (as Gene) literally lying in the hole. Bravo. He rises from his bed and snags a package from his front porch — a swing master, i.e., that device he used often in Breaking Bad. Yeah, Saul is going full on Saul — again — and likely venturing down a dangerous path he won’t be able to escape a second time.

We get a montage of Saul hanging out with a number of men at a variety of bars where he gets them drunk so that Jeff (who drugs them) and his buddy can break into their homes and steal info. Said info is exchanged for cash, which the gang use to buy booze, strippers, and hookers.

Saul is back, but this time he doesn’t seem to enjoy the lifestyle as much as before. Even as he sets aside a lot of money. Perhaps because this go-round is born out of necessity, not pleasure. Or, maybe he’s grown up and merely clinging to the shadows of his past life?

At any rate, the next target exchanges pleasantries with Saul, who once again pretends to drink his booze. Turns out, this new guy has cancer, something Saul deduces after watching the poor guy choke down a couple of pills. “Oh,” Saul says, “sorry.”

Now what?

“Hey, it’s none of my business,” Saul says, genuinely concerned, “but should you be drinking?”

We see a heap of emotions pour over Saul’s face. Clearly, he’s debating whether or not to go through with this latest venture. His inner demons get the best of him, however, and he sends the poor guy off in Jeff’s cab. I think.

Another break, and we’re back in Breaking Bad. Saul enjoys his swing master as Mike walks in. After some back and forth, the pair get down to business. Mike tosses some photos on the table. “There’s your Mrs. Denise Gabler,” he says. “She’s cheating alright.”

“Wow,” Saul beams. “At least I know they didn’t spot you. No one could stay aroused with your mug peeking through the window.” Classic.

Mike then moves onto the next item: he followed a bus driver who really does have a broken neck. “That makes my life much easier,” Saul exclaims. “What about that Heisenberg fella,” Saul asks, reluctantly.

“High school chemistry teacher,” Mike states. (I predicted Kim would deliver this news back when I thought she was still part of his life in the Breaking Bad era. Those were the days.)

“You’re shittin’ me,” Saul gasps. “Really?”

Mike gives Saul the lowdown, dishing on everything from Pinkman to Walt’s cancer. (I’m an idiot. Only now do I get the point of the previous scene. Derp.) “Even if this guy was going to live, I wouldn’t go near him. He’s a complete amateur,” Mike says.

“You see an amateur, I see 170 pounds of clay ready to be molded,” Saul fires back. Mike still doesn’t think it’s a good idea to trust Walt, prompting Saul to mention Gus, i.e., “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.” Who knew Saul was into Harry Potter?

Still, Saul feels there’s something unique about Heisenberg — a top-of-the-line product. Mike notes that he once bought a Betamax after hearing it was a top-of-the-line product, but it turned out to be a waste of time and money. “Let it go,” he orders. Wise words, Mike. Too bad Saul didn’t heed them.

(In point of fact, Saul is the one who really helped Walt’s business take off. So, really, it’s all his fault, right?)

In the final segment, we’re back to the future … Saul mixes a drink at home and watches some TV. His phone rings. Problem. “Tell him to get his ass back to the garage right now,” he yells into his Bluetooth headset.

Marion hilariously watches cat videos on her laptop but hears an intrusion outside. She sees Saul pull Jeff and his buddy into the garage.

Apparently, Jeff’s friend couldn’t in good conscience rob the cancer guy. Saul pleads with him to finish the job, noting that people with cancer can be horrible. “We can let this one go,” Jeff’s friend says.

Saul is adamant and tosses him out of the garage. He then turns to Jeff and practically forces him to finish the job. “Are you in or out,” he says once more.

Saul sits in the back of Jeff’s car looking very much like Walt circa Breaking Bad Season 5. As he steps out, we cut to Breaking Bad, where Saul heads to Walt’s classroom … then back to the future where he breaks into the house of the man with cancer.

Roll credits.

Final Thoughts on Better Call Saul Season 6 Episode 11

Okay, so, wow … only two more episodes left. Saul is haunted by his past, nay, haunted by Walter White, a man he clearly underestimated. At this point, he seems intent on regaining everything he lost purely out of spite (and also out of necessity) and obviously wants to get some sort of victory over the man he blames for ruining his life.

Except, Walt didn’t ruin Saul’s life. We all know that. Throughout this show, Saul has been presented with choices that either leads to a normal life or drag him deeper down the rabbit hole. For whatever reason, he always opts for the latter and ends up hurting others as a result. But, like an alcoholic, Saul is addicted to the criminal lifestyle — mostly because it represents freedom, but also because, well, like Walt, he’s good at it.

Except, now he no longer seems to enjoy it. Now, he’s angry … and reckless. Problem is, he’s channeling all of his anger towards a dead man when really he should be mad at himself for his personal choices — particularly the choice that brought Walt into his life.

Whatever he and (presumably) Kim argued about over the pay phone pushed Saul over the edge — he broke bad, again. Perhaps Saul Goodman was merely a means to punish Kim for her betrayal. Or, maybe Saul is Jimmy’s way of forgetting the past and a means to distance himself from his former life — the more he becomes Saul, the less he has to remember Jimmy. Now, it’s just a question of who will stop him from complete self-destruction.

Last week, I started wondering if Saul’s journey would lead him back to Kim, albeit as a criminal she would represent. In this episode, we learn that Kim lives in Florida and works at … a company. What if she has indeed returned to her lawyering ways? Kim serving as Saul’s lawyer would offer a nice bookend to the series.

The other theory I posited has Kim tricking Saul into a trap that would lead to his arrest. In this case, she betrays him out of love, knowing full well that Jimmy won’t stop being Saul until he’s dead.

I’m fine with either, though, as stated, it’s likely Vince Gilligan and Co. will deliver something else entirely. Perhaps that shot of Saul lying in a grave was a piece of not-so-subtle foreshadowing … every path he chooses leads to death. Still, in many ways, he’s dead already — I mean, he’s working full time at the Cinnabon people! Saul’s latest actions may only speed up his eventual demise.

In short, this was a fantastic episode of Better Call Saul. Dare I say, one of this season’s best? I loved the way the story bounced back and forth from Breaking Bad to future Gene; and dug seeing Walt, Jessie, and Mike again. The two universes collide and do so in a satisfactory manner that feels neither forced nor contrived. Well done.

The only negative? I miss Better Call Saul. I miss Kim. I miss Nacho. I even miss Lalo. That was such a fun series to experience. It’s hard to watch Saul on the downward spiral of his career after spending so much time watching him ascend the criminal ladder. It’s even more painful to see him experience these self-inflicted hardships alone. Better Call Saul ended with Kim walking out on Jimmy … everything else since that moment feels like a tragic epilogue to his already tragic story.

Call it “Breaking Bad Coda: The Death of Saul Goodman.”



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