How do Better Call Saul‘s past and future come to an end in the show’s upcoming final season? Prequel spin-offs have a tarnished reputation in the television world; very few live up to their predecessors and most are just plain awful. Better Call Saul is something else entirely, and makes a strong claim for being the best TV spin-off ever aired. Expertly crafting its own story around the central duo of Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) and Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), Better Call Saul also retroactively enriches the story of Breaking Bad in unpredictable and thrilling ways.
Unfortunately, Better Call Saul season 6 will be the show’s last, almost certainly drawing a line under the entire world of Breaking Bad. But while season 5 brought the two narratives closer than ever before, there are many dots to be connected and plot points to be rounded off in both of Better Call Saul‘s timelines. As a prequel, most of Jimmy’s story takes place in the past, gradually building towards the events seen in Breaking Bad. However, Better Call Saul has also included black-and-white “Gene” sequences, which show Jimmy in hiding after his Breaking Bad departure.
Vince Gilligan has often shown an uncanny ability to surprise even the most diligent of viewers. The audience might think they know how Better Call Saul‘s timelines will end, but there are bound to be a string of unforeseen surprises along the way. Nevertheless, here’s our prediction of how the legend of Saul Goodman will conclude.
By the end of Better Call Saul season 5, Jimmy McGill is already within touching distance of becoming the Saul Goodman Breaking Bad fans know and love. He’s working hand-in-hand with the cartel and has relinquished most of his moral qualms about representing criminals in the courtroom. Jimmy has also established professional relationships with Gus Fring and Mike, and regularly calls upon familiar “assistants” such as the indomitable Huell Babineaux. So what else needs to happen before Better Call Saul ends?
Jimmy is yet to move into his recognizable strip mall office, and somehow must detach from Kim, who isn’t referenced in Breaking Bad at all. Meanwhile, Gus Fring must defeat the Salamancas and become the dominant force in the local meth-amphetamine scene, while the absence of both Lalo and Nacho in Breaking Bad also requires explanation.
Jimmy & Kim
The strip mall setting is something that will likely be introduced in Better Call Saul season 6, with Jimmy no longer keeping his questionable exploits (and questionable earnings) from his wife, Kim Wexler. This development would also see the return of Saul’s long-suffering assistant, Francesca. That’s easy enough to resolve, but the real conundrum is the fate of Kim herself. Will she die? Will she break up with Jimmy? Will Jimmy leave her? The final chapter of Kim’s story is surely tied into the devious plan she reveals in season 5’s finale – financially ruining Howard Hamlin. This shock twist proved Kim’s appetite for criminality, and even Jimmy seemed uncomfortable at the idea of bringing down a (more or less) innocent man.
It feels unlikely that Kim will die at the end of Better Call Saul. Such a blow would damage Jimmy irreparably and there’s no sign of that grief in Breaking Bad. Furthermore, it’s hard to imagine Jimmy continuing his illegal exploits if Kim was killed as a result of his dealings with the mob – her murder would prove in no uncertain terms that Jimmy was far out of his depth. Prior to Better Call Saul‘s fifth season, many viewers theorized that Kim might leave Jimmy due to his decaying morality, but the way Rhea Seehorn’s character turns in the season 5 finale suggests otherwise. If anything, she’s now the dominant force.
Perhaps, then, Kim will end up in jail by the end of Better Call Saul. Kim forges ahead with her Howard scheme, with Jimmy semi-reluctantly following along. After Howard’s legal empire is destroyed, the police catch onto Kim and Jimmy’s crimes and one or both of them are arrested. As the court case looms, Jimmy might realize that jail is inevitable, but his own skin can be saved… at Kim’s expense. Jimmy uses his trademark legal chicanery to wriggle out from under the Howard case, leaving Kim to take the fall. This parallels the time Jimmy callously set up his own brother in the courtroom.
Throughout Better Call Saul, Jimmy has been portrayed as both a coward and a survivor, while Kim’s unexpected villainous twist is bound to negatively affect their relationship. Realizing Kim perhaps never really loved him the same way he loved her, Jimmy watches his wife get sent to jail, while “Saul Goodman” walks away a free man. This ending explains why Kim doesn’t appear in Breaking Bad, but also why Jimmy carries on practicing as a criminal lawyer and doesn’t display any grief. Jimmy can justify his actions by telling himself the Howard plan was Kim’s idea and that she was going to be convicted anyway, but the guilt will always stay with him. The final scene of Better Call Saul‘s prime timeline could then be the first meeting between Saul and Walter White, after references to the events of Breaking Bad‘s first season are peppered throughout Better Call Saul‘s final run.
Lalo & Nacho
With Kim out of the way, Better Call Saul still needs to resolve the other half of its main timeline – the cartel civil war between Gus Fring and the Salamanca family. By the time Breaking Bad begins, Gus has beaten his rival and Lalo is out of the picture. Thanks to the now-famous “it wasn’t me, it was Ignacio” line, it can be determined that Jimmy has something to do with Lalo’s fate, but the gangster likely isn’t killed, otherwise Jimmy wouldn’t have mistaken Walt and Jesse for Lalo’s assassins. How does Better Call Saul season 6 bring everything together?
In the Better Call Saul season 5 finale, Lalo survived Gus Fring’s squad of hit-men and realized Nacho was the one who betrayed him. Lalo also knows that Juan Bolsa (Don Eladio’s right-hand man) tried to stop Lalo making bail after being arrested for murder. This leaves Lalo going single-handed against a host of characters that would rather him dead in Better Call Saul final act: Gus Fring, Mike Ehrmantraut, Jimmy McGill, Nacho Varga and Juan Bolsa. This motley crew could team up against their mutual enemy.
Saul’s Breaking Bad line suggests Lalo isn’t killed, but as Gus has already discovered, imprisoning the Salamanca chief is useless. Fring even ordered Jimmy to ensure the release of his nemesis after his murder arrest, and this implies Lalo won’t end Better Call Saul behind bars either. The obvious alternative is the above quintet conspiring to set Lalo up in a way that’ll incur the wrath of Don Eladio himself, thereby getting the smooth-talking criminal exiled from the cartel completely and forced into hiding.
This accounts for Lalo’s whereabouts in Breaking Bad, but what about Nacho? Unfortunately, the future doesn’t look as promising for Michael Mando’s character. Nacho’s chief motivation in Better Call Saul‘s final season isn’t his own safety, but that of his father, a civilian in the ongoing drug war. Now that Lalo knows Nacho sold him out to Gus, Mr. Varga is firmly in the firing line, and Nacho will have to take extreme measures to keep his dad alive. As the plot to frame Lalo commences, Nacho may be required to put his own life on the line to ensure the plan works, forcing Lalo into exile and winning his father’s safety at the cost of his own life. This would redeem Nacho for getting his father involved in the first place and also explains why Jimmy is happy to shift the blame onto “Ignacio” in Breaking Bad – Nacho’s already dead.
The last time Better Call Saul viewers saw “Gene Takovic,” he was clearly being followed, and despite claiming to be a cab driver, Jeff is undoubtedly either an undercover cop or working for a gang. Spooked at being recognized, Jimmy considered using the services of Ed Galbraith to “disappear” once again, but ultimately decided to deal with the matter himself. Although it’s not certain where Better Call Saul‘s future timeline takes place in relation to the El Camino movie, a conversation between Ed and Jesse in the 2019 film hints that the former lawyer meets an unfortunate end.
Better Call Saul season 6’s Gene scenes will most probably involve Jimmy trying to figure out Jeff’s real identity and deter the supposed taxi driver from following him further. Whether Jeff is cop or criminal, Saul’s threats would fall on deaf ears. Unwilling to run and unable to fight, future Jimmy may be left with only one option: face up to his crimes. After visiting Kim in jail, Jimmy comes to a decision. Rather than live a life constantly looking over his shoulder, he goes to the police and reveals his entire involvement in the cartel, the Howard scam, Walter White – even sins the police have no interest in such as indirectly causing his brother’s suicide. Considering Jimmy’s position as the lawyer of the Breaking Bad world, confessing to everything and facing justice would be a highly appropriate end for the character.
While he may no longer be free in the traditional sense, the weight Jimmy bears is finally lifted. Odenkirk’s character has previously handled emotional trauma largely by ignoring it, as seen with Chuck’s death, and Jimmy’s arc won’t be complete until the entire “Saul Goodman” facade is dropped and everything falls out into the open – the same kind of mass redemption Walter White’s last stand evoked in Breaking Bad‘s finale. And just as Walt sacrificed himself to save Jesse, Jimmy might do the same for Kim. By finally admitting to his own part in the take-down of Howard Hamlin, Kim’s jail term would be reduced, allowing her to leave prison as Jimmy enters and providing the final bittersweet image of Better Call Saul‘s future timeline.
More: Better Call Saul: Every Breaking Bad Character Who Appeared In Season 5
Better Call Saul season 6 is currently without a release date.