Better Call Saul Season 6 Episode 1 & 2 Recap, Theories, and Thoughts

Better Call Saul, arguably the best show on TV right now, finally returns for its final season – and it’s more than worth the wait.

There’s a lot to unpack in the massive first two episodes, and plenty of intrigue to be found. First and foremost, it’s strange how this show has morphed from a not-quite-necessary prequel series chronicling the rise of everyone’s favorite slimeball lawyer (Bob Odenkirk), to an intimate show about rival brothers, to a series about wholesome lawyer Kim Wexler’s (Rhea Seehorn) journey to the dark side. As interested as I am in Mike (Jonathan Banks), Nacho (Michael Mando), Lalo (Tony Dalton), the Chicken Man (Giancarlo Esposito), and Saul, the biggest question I have is what the hell happens to Kim?

The season premiere offers few details but adds to the mystery with one of those patented Breaking Bad montages — this one set to Jackie Gleason’s “Day of Wine and Roses” — that paints a decidedly different picture of Saul than we’ve seen. Said sequence moves through a large mansion adorned with statues, vast rooms, an absurd amount of medication, a massive bathtub with a pink thong hanging off the faucet, a gold toilet and a legion of colorful business jackets. It’s all tied together by a cardboard standee of the man himself, Saul Goodman, which effectively gets tossed in the trash.

I could spend hours dissecting this intro, but there is still over two hours of show to get to. Suffice to say, as was the case with Breaking Bad, we can’t take anything at face value. Would Saul/Jimmy really reside in such a glamorous home? What sort of deal does he make to attain the required cash to live such a life?

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Storyline B concerns Nacho Varga escaping the compound raid seen at the tail end of Season 5, which was executed by Gus Fring as a means to murder Lalo Salamanca. Spoiler alert: the assassination attempt didn’t work out, and Lalo remains very much alive and extremely murderous. At least, that’s what I gleaned from the part where he steals a pair of scissors and ominously stands behind a man who looks exactly like him — “It’s like looking in a mirror, but not.” I assume he’ll use the corpse as a body double to buy himself some more time. At any rate, the most dangerous man on the show is alive and well, and ready to take the necessary steps to off good ol’ Gus.

We don’t get a ton of Lalo, outside of a terrific exchange between him and Hector that ends with the younger Salamanca gleefully driving off (after murdering two men) to attain proof of the Chicken Man’s involvement in the assassination attempt. I’m not sure where this plot thread is going, but gut feeling says it has to do with Nacho. Or maybe even Nacho’s dad?

Speaking of which: Nacho winds up in a seedy motel where he’s to await further orders from Mike. As the days wear on, Nacho spies on and eventually confronts a man who is paid — by Gus — to spy on him. The Chicken Man has sold the poor kid out, leading to a wild shootout with those lovable Salamanca twins that presumably ends with Nacho captured alive.

Not good.

Meanwhile, Mike takes steps to aid Nacho, despite Gus ordering him to leave the young man to his fate. No dice. Mike heads to Nacho’s house, breaks into his safe, empties out the contents (including a pair of passports for Nacho and his father), then replaces the safe with a replica replete with phony passports and (I hope) a phony phone number. Is Mike trying to see who Nacho is up against? Or did he just accidentally leave the motel phone number in the new safe?

On a side note: I hated Mike on Breaking Bad. The man was a pain in Walt’s ass and carried a higher-than-thou persona that plagued him until the bitter end. I love the guy in Better Call Saul, though. He’s smart, tough, and incredibly ruthless, but he also has a soul; and his bid to help Nacho only amplifies the respect I have for his character.  

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Saul and Kim begin to plan their next attack on Howard — an intricate scheme that involves planting fake drugs on his person and getting Cliff to suspect foul play. I forget why the pair hate Howard so much, but I’m willing to roll with the sub-plot because it’s fun to see Saul and Kim team up for anything.

Interestingly, Saul takes point on this one while Kim remains behind in the car calling the shots. Is this foreshadowing their relationship on Breaking Bad — Saul executes Kim’s plans while she methodically conducts from the shadows? Theatricality and deception are powerful agents to the uninitiated.

Said plan also includes a cameo from embittered former clients Betsy and Craig Kettleman and that famous Statue of Liberty inflatable that lingered outside of Saul’s office during Breaking Bad. Saul needs the Kettleman’ to increase Craig’s doubts about Howard, you see, and manipulates them to pay the old guy a visit. All goes according to plan and, in one of the best scenes of the show, Saul opts to buy the pair’s loyalty with a wad of cash. Mrs. Kettleman isn’t buying any of Saul’s B.S., however, and threatens to call the police.

Kim grows tired of Saul’s “carrot” approach and goes for the jugular, threatening to expose the couple’s illegal tax operation. Her ploy works and the Kettlemans agree to stay silent. Saul still gives them the money.

The same ruthless pragmatism that made Kim such an astonishing lawyer now aids in her villainy. I dig it. Though it is weird to see Saul on the opposite end, eyeballing his love interest with “what have I done” bewilderment. Perhaps Kim truly is the monster behind Saul, while Jimmy merely acts as the puppet. After all, it’s she who suggests he get a better car, office, and adapt a sharper look.

For Kim, this is just business and she runs the show accordingly. In that regard, she’s essentially the anti-Skyler White. Kim chooses a side and jumps straight down the rabbit hole without a second thought, a contrast to Skyler who remained on the fence for far too long.

Anyways, Kim and Saul’s plan goes off without a hitch, though the final shot reveals a car trailing them as they leave the Kettleman’s law office. I assume that’s Mike, but who the hell knows?

Overall, this was a great first few episodes to the final season of Better Call Saul. I can’t believe it’s been seven years since this show began. That’s a long damned time to wait for a finale, but in this case the journey has been absolutely worth it. Let’s hope that Vince Gilligan and Co. stick the landing.

Other Notes and Theories

  • I’m starting to wonder if Saul’s quick exit at the end of Breaking Bad had more to do with Kim than Walter. Wouldn’t that be a novel twist? Like, what if that was indeed Saul’s house at the beginning of this episode, but all of that stuff (including the golden toilet) was purchased by Kim as part of her grand design to make Saul Goodman a viable property? And Saul was basically a prisoner working under her ruling thumb all along?
    • On that note, we assume Gene the Cinnabon worker is evading the authorities or drug cartel during those black and white flash-forwards, but what if he’s really hiding from Kim? He seems fairly disturbed by her activities in the first two episodes … maybe she goes too far?
    • Saul may be a slime ball, but he’s not a villain. He does care for people. His entire Saul persona is designed to help out the little guy, and he’s made it clear that money is not the end game. Nothing in that house at the beginning of the episode reflected Saul as we now know him. Maybe a much different character emerged from this season, or maybe Kim is the machine behind the man.
    • Also, Kim legit freaked me out in these first two episodes. Long gone is the noble, law-abiding lawyer. Replaced instead by a ruthless, emotionless warrior with an eye fixed on the end game. Scary.
  • Gus Fring’s battle with the Salamanca’s has a Breaking Bad Season 4 vibe to it, albeit with Gus playing the Walter White role and Lalo slotted into Gus’ position. Will it all lead to Lalo stepping out of an explosion with half his face blown off? Probably not, but his life is likely going to meet a grisly end.
  • Nacho drove straight at the Twins. I’m not sure what I would’ve done in that situation, but I imagine there were plenty of other ways for him to escape that predicament.
  • Saul stripping down to his birthday suit as a disguise was genius and very much in line with the Walter White school of getting out of trouble.
  • Nacho’s roommates are nuts.


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