Better Call Saul Final Season Predictions and Theories
Better Call Saul is one of my favorite shows of all time and it’s only got one season left. That means, it’s time to talk theories and predictions for Better Call Saul season 6.
Five years ago, the journey of Better Call Saul seemed simple. Jimmy McGill slowly entrenches himself in the criminal underworld and becomes Saul Goodman. However, the show introduced layers of complexity, new characters, and other curve balls that make the final leg of this journey anything but straightforward.
We have non-Breaking Bad characters like Kim, Nacho, and Lalo whose futures are uncertain. There are hints, and we’ll certainly go through those, but their fates are largely unknown as we head into Better Call Saul’s endgame. Even Jimmy’s fate is uncertain. The Saul Goodman personality trapped within Gene was seemingly awoken in season 5’s opener. What’s next for him? And even the Saul Goodman we see in Breaking Bad. Although we know his story to the extent it intersected with Jesse and Walt’s, we know very little of his personal and private life.
To uncover the mystery of what lies ahead, let’s first briefly look back at season 5’s conclusion.
Season 5 Ending Recap
After his near death experience in the desert, and a visit from Lalo, Jimmy takes Kim to a hotel where they lay low. After annoying Mike, Jimmy learns that Lalo’s assassination is imminent. So, it seems Jimmy and Kim are going to be okay! This time anyway… Jimmy believes that although they are (as far as they know) free and clear of Lalo, something like this will happen again. That’s the world of Saul Goodman. Kim insists that it’s not going to happen again and instead, lulls Jimmy into a romantic hotel dinner.
During the meal, she tells Jimmy about her run-in with Howard. He told her all about Jimmy’s antics throughout the season: bowling balls, prostitutes, and all. This leads into a playful conversation about the many ways they can get one over on Howard. They could put Nair in his shampoo bottle for example. But, after a romantic evening, Kim gives a more serious suggestion… What if they get Howard accused of misconduct? This would put pressure on Cliff to settle the long pending Sandpiper case, putting about $2M in Saul Goodman’s pocket.
Jimmy tells Kim that she’d never actually go through with this and that she wouldn’t be okay with it. Slippin Kimmy replies, “wouldn’t I?” and shoots Jimmy the patented Saul Goodman finger pistols.
Meanwhile, a nervous Nacho unlocks the back gate at Lalo’s compound, inviting in Gus’ best assassins. They fail to kill Lalo but do slaughter all his friends and associates at the house. Lalo suspiciously eyes the glasses he shared with Nacho and, almost literally, “storms” off.
And thus ends season 5 of Better Call Saul.
Now, let’s look ahead. Starting with Nacho and Lalo.
Nacho v. Lalo
As one of the more sympathetic characters on Better Call Saul, Nacho often feels like the “Jesse Pinkman” of the show to me. If they follow a similar trajectory, things are about to get really bad for Nacho and I think that’s exactly what is going to happen.
Given Lalo’s intelligence and athleticism, it shouldn’t take long for him to catch up with Nacho immediately following season 5’s finale. Also, considering the way Lalo eyed the glasses he shared with Nacho, I think it’s clear he now realizes Nacho was a double-agent, doing Gus’ bidding.
So, does Lalo immediately slay Nacho in an act of revenge the moment they reunite? I don’t think so. Lalo thinks strategically and will see Nacho as a pawn to be used in the war against Gus. Meanwhile, Gus should now think Lalo is dead. Remember, Lalo forced one of Gus’ henchmen to report a successful assassination. So, Lalo can threaten Nacho’s father as leverage and turn Nacho into a triple agent with two puppet masters: Gus on one side and Lalo on the other. With the faked assassination, Gus won’t suspect Lalo of pulling Nacho’s strings.
Though, considering how smart Gus is. We have to assume it won’t take long for him to discover Lalo is alive. At which point, he’ll likely try to play Nacho against Lalo all over again.
If Nacho walked a tightrope last season, next season he’ll walk a tightrope where one end is on fire, slowly catching up to him, and a vat of man eating sharks wait below. Squeezed in a vice between Gus and Lalo, with his father’s life on the line, he’ll be forced to take offensive action.
For this, he’ll need to turn to Mike and Saul for help, who both also have a vested interest in ensuring Lalo’s demise. So, the stage is set for all out war next season.
However this battle plays out, it seems likely that Mike and Saul are able to facilitate Nacho’s escape from Lalo’s clutches. Unlike Kim, we have a little fodder for speculation from Breaking Bad because Nacho and Lalo both get mentioned by name in that series. When Jesse and Walt kidnap Saul, he believes Lalo is behind the kidnapping. He begs for them to spare his life by yelling “It wasn’t me, it was Igancio. He’s the one!”. Ignacio is, of course, Nacho’s full name.
This would imply that whatever offensive strategy Nacho and company enact, it ends with Lalo defeated but not dead. Otherwise, Saul wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that Lalo was behind the kidnapping.
Perhaps, with Saul’s legal expertise, they’re able to get Lalo arrested. It’s already been established that, even behind prison walls, Lalo has power. Certainly power enough to arrange for the kidnapping of a scummy lawyer.
Speaking of which, let’s talk about Saul Goodman himself.
What’s Next for Saul Goodman?
We are quickly hurtling towards the point in Saul Goodman’s career where he bumps into Walter White and things go haywire. In Breaking Bad, Saul seems to have let go of the moral qualms held by Jimmy McGill. It’s hard to imagine our Jimmy casually suggesting Walt send Hank Schrader “on a trip to Belize” (S05E10). In case you need a reminder, that’s code for assassination.
So, I think it’s safe to assume there’s at least one more Fred Whalen in Saul’s future. One more event that wakes him up to the realities of being a friend to the cartel. I imagine that in the course of his war against Lalo, he’ll have to make some tough choices and sacrifices that harden him and prepare him for Breaking Bad.
I think that “hardening” and final step into criminality is most of what remains in Saul’s journey. I’m sure the writers have some major surprises in store for us but at this point, with his trajectory leading to known territory, I actually find myself much more intrigued by Kim’s transformation.
There’s been a long standing debate over whether or not Kim will survive Better Call Saul. It seems unlikely that she’s part of Saul’s life in Breaking Bad. At the same time, if she were to die, it’s hard to imagine Saul being the happy go lucky lawyer we know he becomes.
So, let’s talk about where Kim is heading. Then, we’ll check back in with Saul during the Breaking Bad timeline and beyond.
Kim Wexler “Breaks Bad”
To understand Kim’s position heading into season 6, we need to consider one of Better Call Saul’s major themes – coming to terms with who you are. We saw this when Mike accused Gus of trying to balance the scales in the episode “Dedicado a Max”. Why does Gus anonymously fund the compound where Mike is treated? “Is that supposed to balance the scales?” Mike asks.
Gus replies, “It makes up for nothing… I am what I am.”
Gus accepts who he is more than anyone and it’s no coincidence he’s one of the most successful characters on the show.
This conversation resonates with Mike as his character seems to lock into place by the season’s end. He tells his daughter-in-law Stacey that he’s better now. When she asks why, he explains that he “decided to play the cards he was dealt.” In other words, he’s no longer fighting who he is. He’ll work for Gus and carry out his orders even if they fall into the gray area Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould love to explore.
Kim seems to struggle with defining herself more than any other character on the show. Who is Kim Wexler? Is she the up and coming lawyer at Mesa Verde? Is she the last line of defense between the system and the underprivileged? Or, maybe she’s a con-artist who goes by the moniker “Giselle”.
The best example of this is in the latest season where Kim hatches a scheme with Jimmy to save Mr. Acker’s home and at the last minute, tries to stop it. She dips into the world of Saul Goodman, only to change her mind and attempt a return to legitimacy.
By the end of season 5, has Kim figured out who she is and accepted it? I think the answer is mostly yes. This is what allowed her to make a major decision like quitting Schweikart and Cokley. Taking that kind of a risk and making big decisions are part of the Gus-like superpower you gain when you come to terms with who you are. After being played by Saul, Kim has taken a firm grip on the reins of her life and won’t let go again. She is finally going to focus her efforts on helping the underserved. Through her pro-bono work, people will get representation typically reserved only for the wealthy.
Before leaving Schweikart and Cokley for good, Kim returns to her office and grabs a souvenir – a stopper from the bottle of Zafiro Añejo she acquired as Giselle back in season 2. She’s accepted Kim the con artist as part of who she is. Meaning, I don’t think we’ll see her flip flop again. Where in season 5, she wanted to stop the Kevin plan at the last second. In season 6, I don’t think she’ll back down from hurting Howard. Even if Saul tries to stop her.
That’s my prediction for Kim in the final season. We’re done seeing her flip flop; she’s full steam ahead on taking down Howard. Then, the question becomes – so what? What happens next? I see a few possibilities:
- Kim succeeds and everything goes according to plan.
- Howard fights back and Kim either loses or wins but suffers greatly to do so.
- The plan backfires and essentially ends Kim’s career.
The first option – everything goes according to plan, seems less interesting on the surface. However, the Breaking Bad / Better Call Saul universe is one where characters constantly change. So, if Kim and Jimmy are successful in taking down Howard, Kim will somehow evolve through the process. The writers caught most of us off guard last season reminding us that Kim’s moral compass isn’t as functional as we thought. I have a feeling, they’ll run with this thread and Kim’s evolution will be one that takes her further into dark territory.
I should note, I don’t think Kim is “becoming” more evil or anything like that. Rather, I think we’re seeing something that’s always been a part of her. She’s only now choosing to fully embrace it. If you reflect back on the series, Kim’s objections to Jimmy’s antics have often come from a place of avoiding consequences. If you’re going to break the rules, you need to break them in a way so that you don’t get caught. Her objections have not typically come from a place of moral concern.
I believe her moral compass points towards helping the less privileged. If there’s collateral damage, like Howard Hamlin’s career, so be it. Her stated plan is to take a portion of the Sandpiper earnings to open a pro-bono practice. She wants to have her moral cake and eat it too. Unfortunately, in the Breaking Bad-universe, consequences are real. You don’t get to balance the scales by doing a little evil to fund a little good.
My prediction is that Kim wins and Howard loses. This strengthens Kim’s resolve as a Robin Hood-esque character leading to riskier endeavors. Ultimately, one of these endeavors comes close to ending her career or sending her on the run. Partnering with Saul, she pulls through and survives, career intact. Massive relief. This storyline may even dip into the Breaking Bad timeline, lulling us viewers into thinking “wow, maybe Kim makes it! Maybe she’s around during Breaking Bad, lurking between the scenes!”
Then Howard shows up and asks, “Jimmy, have you thought about that job offer?”
Just kidding. Howard shows up with either proof of what meddling Kim did to frame him or something else damaging to her career and life. Whatever the specifics, I think it ends with Kim losing her career shortly after starting her dream job. She opens the pro-bono practice and things are great but ultimately they are undone by the sin that funded them. Many of us have assumed her downfall will be as collateral damage to Saul Goodman. I think it’s much more likely and more interesting, that Kim’s unraveling will be a consequence of taking a ride on “Bad Choice Road”.
At this point, I think Kim leaves Jimmy and Albuquerque behind. She can no longer be a lawyer or live the dream she’d long sought. Therefore, sticking around Saul Goodman and all his lawyerly antics would be a pretty painful reminder of what’s been lost. Also, after reflecting on who she’s become and how far her moral compass has gone askew, I think she’ll want a fresh start. That could mean moving somewhere new to hit the reset button. Or, depending on how hard Howard presses, it could mean calling Ed the Disappearer to avoid a prison sentence. That could, by the way, be how Ed the Disappearer is introduced into the show’s mythology as we’ve yet to see him mentioned outside the Gene story.
Kim has always been the hardest character to predict. So, just for fun, I’ll throw another possibility out there. It’s safe to assume that Lalo or another villain will threaten Kim’s life as leverage against Saul. We’ve seen it happen already so I’m sure it’s not a tactic Lalo will take off the table. We’ve also seen that Kim can fend for herself and stand toe to toe with Lalo. Maybe she becomes more involved in the war between Gus, the Cartel, and the Salamancas. Ultimately, Kim is key in defeating Lalo and after a taste of cartel-life, she wants more. Kim quickly rises up the ranks, surpassing even Saul Goodman, to become entrenched in the broader criminal world. Perhaps Madrigal needs to hire a new in-house lawyer? Kim moves up and moves away from Jimmy McGill, Albuquerque, and her old life.
Either way, I don’t think that’s the end of Kim’s story. I tend to be an optimist and I’m holding out hope for a Kim appearance in the Gene timeline. Before we get to that though, let’s talk about what happens when Better Call Saul collides with the Breaking Bad timeline.
Saul Goodman, Meet Walter White
As I alluded to earlier, I think there’s a good chance we’ll dip into the Breaking Bad timeline next season. I don’t think it’ll just be glossed over or skipped entirely to reach the Gene story. In a way, telling any of Saul’s story in Breaking Bad seems limiting because they can only play between the cracks of what we already know. However, another way to look at this is it gives the writers a chance to seriously play with audience expectations. For example, it feels safe to assume Kim won’t be around but what if she is? What if Nacho somehow played an unseen role in Breaking Bad? The writers know what we expect to see and I don’t think they’ll pass on the opportunity to subvert those expectations in really interesting ways.
Also, I’ll be upset if we don’t get some Back to the Future II magic where scenes from the original are intercut with new footage. Smoothly combining Breaking Bad scenes with new Better Call Saul footage just feels like too fun a challenge for these writers to pass up. Watching some of the AMC behind-the-scenes footage, you can see how much joy they got in recreating Saul’s office for the season 4 flash forward to Saul’s closing his office.
Once they’ve shown us what we need to see from the Breaking Bad timeline, there is an interesting filmmaking question – how do we fast forward to Gene?
For example, do we see Saul and Walter White meet for the first time then fade black and fade back in on Gene? Or, does one episode end with Saul and Kim’s journey essentially wrapped up, then the next opens in black and white?
Since Better Call Saul began, knowing the writers’ affinity for montages, I’ve always had my money on a Breaking Bad montage that fast forwards us to Gene. I can imagine them editing together a great five or so minute mix of new footage and old footage set to the perfect song summarizing Jimmy’s journey from Saul to Gene. This would also allow for a few tasteful Walt and Jesse cameos.
However we get there, I feel pretty certain that we’ll spend at least an episode or two with Gene as the coda to this series. It’s easy to do the math and say, “hey most Better Call Saul seasons are ten episodes and this one is thirteen… that means we’re getting three Gene episodes!”. I’m sure it doesn’t work out that cleanly but I’d also bet that more Gene-time played into the decision for a longer season.
Anyway, whatever filmmaking trick the writers use to fast forward into the post-Breaking Bad timeline, let’s talk about what might happen once we’re there.
Before we get to Gene and Better Call Saul’s grand finale though, let’s touch on a couple of other loose ends.
What about Mike and Gus?
By the end of season 5, I feel as though Mike has essentially become the Mike we know from Breaking Bad. That’s not to say there’s no development left for his character. For example, he’s clearly still feeling the fallout from Werner’s murder and he’ll likely have some tough choices to make when it comes to Nacho vs Lalo vs Gus. However, I think he’ll serve as more of a supporting character in the final season. For example, in the episode “Bagman”, he played a prominent role but rather than teach us about Mike, he taught us about Saul. He prompted Saul to think about why he’s doing all this and taught Saul the lesson that Kim is now “in the game.”
I think Gus will play a similar role. Better Call Saul has already added more layers to this fascinating character. I’m hopeful we’ll get a few more windows into his backstory next season but I think he’ll largely be there as a supporting character, helping to shed light on our protagonists. For example, his constant pushing is largely what’s forced Nacho to take action and further revelations on the Nacho character will come from Gus’ presence.
Will we see Walt or Jesse?
Peter Gould, Vince Gilligan, and the other writers have shown incredible restraint when it comes to Breaking Bad crossovers. It would be so easy to grab the ratings bump and tell people “Hey, Walter White shows up in the next episode!”. Given their restraint, we’ve come to trust the writers that any Breaking Bad appearances will be tasteful and organic. So, entering the final season, as we come closer to the Breaking Bad timeline, will they finally take the plunge and give us appearances from Walt or Jesse?
It feels like the opportunity is too inciting to say no. Interviews with Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan all point to Better Call Saul likely being the last entry in the Breaking Bad-verse at least in the foreseeable future. So, if they don’t put Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul into the final season, they might miss their last chance to work with them in these roles.
However, I honestly have a hard time picturing how this will work. I don’t think they’ll use Better Call Saul to tell us anything new about Jesse or Walt. However, either or both of these characters may be used in service of further developing Saul. In the same way that Mike helped to further develop Saul in the “Bagman” episode. Whatever the nature of the appearance ends up being, I think it’ll be brief. For example, I mentioned the possibility of blending new scenes with old footage to show some of what we didn’t see from Saul during Breaking Bad. Perhaps Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul will shoot some new footage primarily to help in this blending of worlds.
I’d love for them to subvert my expectations and show that there’s some surprising way to use Walt or Jesse in a significant role while still feeling organic and tasteful. However, this feels nearly impossible, even for the amazing writers behind Better Call Saul.
In fact, although I’m expecting at least a minor appearance. I don’t think I’ll be disappointed if they don’t show up at all. It just doesn’t feel necessary after Better Call Saul has done such an amazing job of standing on its own and at times, surpassing its predecessor.
Anyway, without further ado, let’s talk about Gene and how Better Call Saul may end.
How it All Ends
We last left Gene in a precarious position. He was recognized as Saul Goodman by a taxi driver named “Jeff”. This immediately prompts him to call Ed the Disappearer only to change his mind and pronounce that he’s gonna “fix it himself.”
First question I have is how does Gene intend to “fix” this? If he were Walter White, I’d guess his next steps are to figure out Jeff’s favorite artificial sweetener and lace it with ricin. However, I don’t think assassination is what Gene has on his mind. Saul may be okay with crossing that line when he’s suggesting or ordering a hit but I don’t he has the ability to do it himself. Instead, he’ll have to open up his Saul Goodman toolbox and use some good old fashioned criminal lawyering. And I’m sure he’ll relish the opportunity.
I think Saul will follow Jeff and learn everything he can about him. He’ll look for either an opportunity to blackmail or, if needed, frame him for something. Either way, he’ll find or create leverage over Jeff. Something that provides the mutual assured destruction Gene needs to ensure Jeff won’t talk. Assuming Gene is successful in protecting his identity, he goes back to the Cinnabon, and… roll credits? The end?
I’m assuming there is more to it. So, I find myself asking “what’s left in Saul Goodman’s journey?”. I think the answer is reckoning – coming to terms who he was and who he is. In Breaking Bad, Walt had to reckon with himself by finally admitting that he didn’t do it all for his family, he did it for himself. He was good at it and it made him feel alive.
I can’t imagine Better Call Saul ending without a similar moment of reckoning for Jimmy McGill. He needs to come to terms with the choices he made and why he made them. I’m not sure, even as Gene, he has a full appreciation for the karma of his situation. Does he recognize that he became, in many ways, a bad person? From episode one of the series, we’ve seen him long for his days as Saul Goodman. The series opens with him pouring a drink and watching old Saul Goodman commercials. Similar to Walt, his days as a criminal were his best days. He enjoyed them. However, the fact that he still romanticizes them and longs for them, tells me he has not fully reconciled with himself.
Similar to Walt and Skyler’s tense conversation in the Breaking Bad finale, I predict we’ll get a conversation between Kim and Jimmy as a sort of “final statement” on his character.
We have to talk about the flash forward in Better Call Saul’s season 4 episode, “Quite a Ride”. In the flash forward, Saul and Francesca are shredding all their documents and tearing down his office. Before leaving, Saul asks her, “Where are you gonna be November 12th at 3PM?”. She answers, “I’ll be there but if it doesn’t ring at three on the dot, I’m gone.”
Who is going to be calling at 3PM on November 12th? Well, November 12th is Jimmy’s birthday. If, at this point in the series, Kim is on the run or just completely out of Jimmy’s life, is it possible they have an annual tradition of her calling him on his birthday? Perhaps they are completely out of touch. Maybe Jimmy doesn’t even know how to reach Kim, but they have at least one check-in each year. Kim calls at 3PM on November 12th to wish Jimmy a happy birthday. Even if the two are separated, I think they’ve been too important in each other’s lives to walk away with absolutely no contact.
My prediction is that Jimmy has left Francesca with some piece of info to pass on to Kim the next time she calls. This information will give Kim what she needs to track down Jimmy as Gene in the post-Breaking Bad timeline.
So, Gene takes one last ride as Saul Goodman to protect his identity. He meets up with Kim. Then what? There are so many ways the show can go in its finale. Personally, I’m crossing my fingers for a happy ending. Breaking Bad showed us the absolute moral and physical disintegration of Walter White. I’d love for Better Call Saul to show us the flipside of that coin. I believe Jimmy McGill is a good person who has gone astray. Bad circumstances taught him the wrong lessons and his talents unfortunately aligned perfectly with some awful things. I’d like to think Gene can achieve some reconciliation for himself, make peace with what he’s done, and find some way to move on.
I’d love to think whatever’s next for Gene, Kim is a part of it but in terms of happy endings, that might be a bridge too far. In fact, when we meet Kim in the post-Breaking Bad timeline, I wouldn’t be shocked if there were some allusion to a post-Saul Goodman husband or serious relationship. She’s moved on but she’s happy with whatever new life she’s carved out for herself. Perhaps she’s also found a new way to help people that doesn’t require her to be a lawyer. And perhaps seeing Kim happy will show Jimmy that although he’s left his old dreams behind, he too can find some meaning in life. They part ways and Gene, although alone, smiles as he reflects on the new life he is about to begin.
Maybe I’m too much of an optimist but that’s the sort of bittersweet ending I’d love to see for Jimmy McGill.
Anyway, we’ve been on an amazing journey with these characters. I can’t believe it’s almost at an end and although I’m sad to leave this world behind, I can’t wait to see its conclusion.