It’s difficult to judge season finales in serialized shows such as this one on their own merits. You can talk about individual scenes or developments, but unless they actively tie up storylines as opposed to introduce new ones or continue existing ones, you’re left in a sort of narrative limbo.
Some Better Call Saul finales do wrap up storylines, most notably season one’s “Marco.” There, it may have been written with the thought that the show might not get a second season. It didn’t show us Jimmy’s complete transformation into Saul, but it could arguably have showed us enough that we could fill in the blanks. Here, in “Something Unforgivable” (as in the past couple of seasons), the show knows it’s coming back. The writers are able not only to keep their momentum, but to leave things so artfully unresolved that audiences will be left anxious for the next season.
All of which is to say, there’s not much I can discuss from a story standpoint. Last week’s episode brought a number of threads to acceptable ends, even if it did so temporarily. This week was untethered. It could do whatever it wanted to do without having to live with its own consequences. There must have been a giddiness to that writing process. I certainly thought I could feel it.
“Something Unforgivable” follows two main stories, both of which hinge upon their own unforgivable somethings.
For Eduardo, that’s Nacho inviting assassins into his compound and telling them exactly where to find him. Does Eduardo know that this happened? He at least suspects it, and when he sees that the lock on the gate was jimmied (ha ha) from the inside, that will seal it. This represents a massive betrayal, and it’s not as though Eduardo was ever the forgiving kind.
I love Eduardo. Tony Dalton is rivaling Rhea Seehorn as Better Call Saul’s best casting choice, which is all the more impressive since he only joined the show toward the end of season four. The guy is so much fun. He positively bursts with personality, and the show keeps finding new ways to explore his strange, scary playfulness. In this episode, he plays a joke on one of the guards at his compound by pretending to be an intruder himself, only to roll down the window and smile into the barrel of the gun. Funny guy!
We see him with his “family,” with his boss. We see him both at work and at rest. And we see that he’s a bit more wily than we probably believed, leading his own assassins in circles to get the drop on each one of them in turn.
Also, Gus says these assassins are the best in the business. He says this to Mike, the actual best in the business. Mike, who has a sniper rifle and has demonstrated many times that he knows how to use it. Mike, who didn’t get the chance to put a bullet in Eduardo’s head last week and would certainly be more than willing to do it this week.
Gus, you fucking bozo.
The episode ends with Eduardo alive, though Gus will be led to believe he’s dead. This frees him up to set into motion whatever form of revenge he deems fit, and we end “Something Unforgivable” as he stomps away from his compound, pulsing with anger. This is a guy who is dangerous enough when he’s happy.
Then, of course, there’s the Jimmy and Kim plot. Their unforgivable something isn’t done by either to the other, but planned instead for Howard.
If they can erode the confidence Howard’s clients and peers have in him, they decide, they can force an earlier settlement with Sandpiper — remember season one? — and Jimmy will finally get paid for his role in the case. He’ll end up with about two million dollars, splitting it with Kim so that they’ll each have one million.
And here’s the brilliant part: When something happens on this show, we can often flash ahead in our minds to Breaking Bad to know how it pans out. Mike and Saul are lost in the desert? They’ll get home, because they’re alive in Breaking Bad. Nacho wants Hector out of the picture? One way or another he’ll get his wish, because the guy is an invalid by the time of Breaking Bad. Jimmy faces any kind of ethical conundrum whatsoever? He can go either way today, but we know where he’ll land tomorrow.
In this case, though, anything could happen. We don’t know if their big coup will succeed or fail. Either result could fit. We know Kim is gone — however we have to end up defining that word — by Breaking Bad, but that’s it. Is she gone because this attempt on Howard’s career derailed her life? Or was it successful and she took her million dollars to open the law firm she dreams of in this episode? We don’t know. Is Jimmy operating in a strip mall in Breaking Bad because he didn’t get his million, or is he only there because the million allowed him to afford the startup costs? We don’t know.
That’s exciting, and it sets up an unknown battle that can play out in the show’s final season, just as Eduardo storming off does. One might have understandably expected Better Call Saul to become necessarily more predictable as it approached Breaking Bad, but season six — the final season — could well be the least predictable of all.
That’s a good trick.
Speaking of which, we don’t meet Saul in Breaking Bad until season two. That means it’s possible that some of Better Call Saul’s final season could overlap Breaking Bad’s first. After all, Saul mentions Eduardo and Nacho when we meet him in that show, suggesting they’re pretty fresh in his mind. We’ll see.
Otherwise, before we part, just a few tiny observations: Kim turns the finger guns on Jimmy, whereas he turned his on her at the end of season four. Mike argues to Gus that they owe Nacho his freedom, something he wasn’t able to argue for Werner. Jimmy tells Kim that she’ll feel differently when her head clears “in the cold light of day,” a suggestion I made in my review of “Namaste,” proving that the Better Call Saul writing staff reads my reviews and adjusts their plans accordingly.
And, most importantly, Jimmy hammering on Mike’s door just for the guy to drive up behind him and ask him what the hell he’s doing cements these two as the greatest comedic duo of our time.
Scattered thoughts? Certainly and appropriately. “Something Unforgivable” scattered a lot of things. We’ll see how season six, the final season, goes about picking them up.
Thank you once again, sincerely, for taking this trip with me. I’ll see you sometime in 2028 for the final stretch.