Saul Goodman is back in business as Better Call Saul returns for its final season — and he’s reuniting with some old friends, too.
Monday’s two-part premiere begins with the usual flash-forward… except this one isn’t in black-and-white and set in Omaha. Instead, we see a lavish mansion being cleared out by repo men, and when we spot the cardboard cutout and the tequila bottle stopper, we can guess this is Saul’s place, after his Breaking Bad “disappearance.” Back in the present timeline, Nacho is hiding out after the attempt on Lalo’s life (he doesn’t know it was botched), a seething Lalo is laying low in the Mexican countryside and the Cousins take stock of all the dead bodies at Lalo’s compound. Gus plays it cool when he hears from Juan Bolsa that Lalo is dead, but he’s a little concerned that all the mercenaries they sent to do the job are now dead. He doesn’t seem too eager to help rescue Nacho, either, despite Mike’s protests.
Jimmy and Kim, meanwhile, are a legal dynamic duo, with her happily taking on pro bono cases and him assuring prosecutors that Lalo hasn’t jumped bail. (He slips up a little, though, and calls him “Lalo” instead of his fake name “Jorge De Guzman.”) The two of them are still hatching a plan to take down Howard and get the Sandpiper case settled, too. Kim thinks there’s a way to pull it off without ruining Howard’s reputation, but “it has to be paced right, and it has to make sense.” Their first ploy: sneaking into Howard’s country club — Jimmy distracts them by causing a big stink about the club’s lack of diversity: “It’s wall-to-wall mayonnaise in here!” — and planting a tiny baggie of white powder in Howard’s locker, right where Clifford Main can see it.
Lalo lines up a ride across the border with smugglers, but first, he calls his uncle Hector, telling him “it was the chicken man” who tried to kill him and vowing to come north to “hurt him like you taught me.” Hector dings his bell to spell out the word “prueba,” or “proof,” and Lalo realizes where he can get some. He tells the smugglers he changed his mind and wants his money back — and when they say no, he guns them down in cold blood. Yeah, we’re learning it’s a bad idea to say no to Lalo Salamanca.
The premiere’s second half begins with Mike chasing the druggie girls out of Nacho’s apartment, handing them cash to leave town and stay somewhere “far away from here.” Then he gets a safe cracker to open up Nacho’s safe, taking out the fake Canadian IDs Nacho had for him and his father and replacing it with a new safe, in which he plants an envelope. (Gus still isn’t sure Lalo is dead, but he tells Juan Bolsa he has an idea to keep the peace.) Plus, Jimmy and Kim eye the next step in their plan: getting Clifford Main to take a meeting about a tempting class-action lawsuit. They’ll need help, though, from an unlikely ally. “You are going to hate this,” Kim warns Jimmy.
The scheme leads Jimmy to reconnect with — the Kettlemans, the couple Jimmy represented back in Season 1! He finds them offering tax services from a trailer deep in the desert, and Betsy is furious when she sees him, blaming him for the fact that they lost everything. (“Our kids are in public school!”) Craig is happy to see him, though, and their ears perk up when he tells them their lawyer Howard Hamlin was “impaired” by a cocaine problem, so they could sue to get Craig’s conviction overturned. They don’t hire Jimmy as their lawyer, but they do run to Clifford Main with their case, and though Cliff doesn’t take it, we can see that his wheels are turning when it comes to Howard and his activities outside the office.
Nacho is stuck in a Mexican motel as Bolsa’s men ransack his apartment and open the safe, finding the envelope Mike planted. It contains a phone number… for the motel where Nacho is staying. Gus meets with Hector Salamanca and offers his condolences about Lalo, but when he spots a slight smile on Hector’s face, he realizes the truth: “Lalo Salamanca lives.” Nacho spies a man watching him from a nearby shed and confronts the guy, who admits he’s being paid to watch him. The Cousins come screeching up, and a gunfight ensues, with the Cousins shooting one of their own who dared to shoot at Nacho before reminding their men: “Alive.” Nacho takes the wheel of an old truck and drives it straight at the Cousins, who shoot out his tires and force him to crash on his way out. He somehow gets to a phone and calls Mike, who’s busy firmly refusing Gus’ request to bring Nacho’s father to him. Mike hands the phone to Gus: “He wants to talk to you.”
Jimmy and Kim head back to the Kettlemans, who accuse them of using them to malign Howard’s reputation. Jimmy offers them cash, but Betsy only wants Craig’s good name restored. Kim cuts them off: “Enough carrot.” She calls the IRS and speaks to a criminal investigator she’s friendly with, tipping him off about a couple who’s scamming their tax clients. Betsy stops her, offering to do anything, and Kim orders her to refund their clients and forget all about Howard. “You think you’ve lost everything?” she warns. “You have no idea.” Jimmy looks positively shell-shocked as they leave. Maybe he’s created a monster. (And did we spot a car following them as they left?)
So now that we’ve reconnected with the Kettlemans — and we know that Walt and Jesse are making an appearance — when can we expect to reconnect with other familiar faces from Jimmy’s past (and future)? “We are blessed with this wonderful catalogue of characters,” executive producer and showrunner Peter Gould tells TVLine, noting that they have a corkboard in the writers’ room with the names of all the characters they want to see again. “I can tell you, I’m very happy and pleased with how it all knitted together,” he reveals. “We will see some familiar faces. Probably not all the ones that people are hoping or dreaming of. But there are a lot of surprises to come about who shows up and when they do.”
And about the season-opening flash-forward: Gould notes that this opens up a whole new avenue of storytelling for the writers. “We’ve got these different timelines to play with. We’ve been seeing the world of Jimmy McGill. We’ve seen glimpses of what life is like when he becomes Gene Takovic, the Omaha Cinnabon manager, and now we’re seeing possibly another timeline, which is what happened right after Saul Goodman flew the coop.” But we will check in with Gene in Omaha again before the series ends, right? Gould laughs: “Well, we’d be pretty crazy to put him on the key art and not ever see him.”
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