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Better Call Saul season 6 episode 12 review: has Saul gone too far?

The penultimate chapter of Better Call Saul brings heartbreaking catharsis and heart-stopping thrills

Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul
(Image: © Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)

Our Verdict

"Waterworks" is a masterful and incredibly cinematic episode, that serves as the perfect build up a hopefully beautifully tragic curtain call.

For

  • We FINALLY give Carol Burnett something to do!
  • So many long-awaited answers for different characters
  • Terrific usage of the Breaking Bad timeline
  • Rhea Seehorn's beautiful performance
  • Terrific writing and direction from Vince Gilligan

Against

NOTE: This review contains spoilers for Better Call Saul season 6 episode 12, "Waterworks." You can read previous recaps for Better Call Saul season 6 right here.

As the story of Saul Goodman comes to a close, creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould know that the audience deserves answers. Thankfully, "Waterworks" not only gives us a satisfying (if not utterly heartbreaking) answer to where Kim Wexler is in the post-Breaking Bad timeline, but also represents the start of real closure for both fans and the characters they’ve grown to love these past six seasons.

The episode begins in the Breaking Bad timeline. Saul (Bob Odenkirk) is contemplating, passive aggressively bouncing a ball off the walls of his office to the annoyance of poor Francesca (Tina Parker). Clearly he’s immersed in some much needed alone time. We soon find out why: Kim has served him the divorce papers for their marriage.

The show cuts to the Gene timeline, where we see a brunette woman chopping away at a potato. It’s none other than Kim (Rhea Seehorn). We get a glimpse into the life she’s assumed post-Jimmy and she seems absolutely neutered. 

Living in Florida, where the most adventurous in her life is trying Miracle Whip in a potato salad, every word out of her mouth seems to be one of compliance and repetition. The silent, passionless sex with her dull boyfriend is only drowned out by him hilariously saying "yep" with every thrust. She can’t even bring herself to come up with a decision for what type of ice cream to get for a work birthday. It embodies how flavorless her life has become and the purgatory she’s chosen for herself as a penance for her guilt. Yet, like a meteor crashing, she receives a phone call.

This gives us answers to what happened when Saul (aka Gene) called Kim in episode 11. What started out as checking in on a former love quickly devolves into a one-sided argument of a man unable to accept any sort of emotional or verbal rejection. The childish, antagonizing way Saul acts over the phone at Kim’s deafening silence and suggestion to turn himself in is reminiscent of the "lightning bolts shoot from my fingertips" speech he gave to Howard (Patrick Fabian) in season 5. He brags about his continued schemes to Kim, before launching into a tirade, essentially calling her a hypocrite and mocking her guilt. Daggers to poor Kim. It’s an incredibly painful scene for both (though gloriously well acted) knowing how much they once loved one another.

Just as we saw in the previous episode how much the call affected Jimmy, we now see how much it destroys Kim, as she’s prompted to fly back to Albuquerque. She walks through the halls of the courthouse where she defended the innocent; a sad, yet fitting look back at who she used to be. She then heads to Cheryl Hamlin’s (Sandrine Holt) home, where she comes fully clean about her involvement in the events that led to Howard’s death, consequences be damned. 

What follows is one of the most emotionally difficult and beautifully acted moments in the show. After carrying the burden of pain, guilt and torment for so long, the emotion overwhelms her and Kim breaks down on the shuttle to the airport. It’s a hard moment to watch because of how much we love Kim. But it’s arguably one of the finest performances Seehorn has ever given, which is saying something. It’ll be highway robbery if she doesn’t win a Emmy for this.

Things then pick up with Gene and Jeffy (Pat Healy) breaking into the house of Gene’s latest victim. In a tense nearly dialogue free 10 minutes (except for a hilarious police conversation about fish tacos), we see Gene stealing the personal data of the cancer patient, getting greedy and stealing the man’s watches. He even contemplates assault (or murder) when he’s almost caught after his victim awakens. Thankfully, he’s able to avoid the mess when the man falls back asleep. Unfortunately, Jeffy, in the getaway car, panics after seeing a few cops park behind him and he guns it straight into another truck, allowing Gene to make his getaway.

We get another flashback to the Breaking Bad timeline; specifically Kim and Saul signing the divorce papers. Jimmy puts up a callous and rude front, signaling to Kim that the Jimmy she loved is dead and all that’s left is Saul Goodman. It’s pain on top of more pain, but it’s a necessary piece explaining how and why Kim winds up in Florida, emotionally drained. 

We also get a terrific fan service moment where two of the characters that represent morality in the Breaking Bad universe, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) and Kim, meet for the first and only time. They only to share a word (or hilariously several from Jesse) and a cigarette. "This guy. He good?" Jesse asks about Saul. "When I knew him, he was," says Kim sadly. Indeed he was, Kim.

In the present, Gene continues to become worse. Gene makes it home, scot-free, as he’s known to do. He gets a call from Jeffy from prison and tells him to sit tight, since there’s no evidence to have him convicted of robbery. Gene calls Marion (Carol Burnett) to help Jeffy, but in his over-confidence, lets slip that he’s familiar with the prison systems in Omaha and Albuquerque. This inspires Marion to put the laptop and internet skills Gene empowered her with to do a bit of research. She deduces that Gene is wanted fugitive and con-artist Saul Goodman. 

What follows is a dark and intense moment where Gene menaces Marion before realizing that he’s gone too far. Marion presses her Medicalert necklace to alert the authorities, at which point Gene flees. It’s important for the show to remember that Saul Goodman is not Walter White. At the very last second, thankfully it does.

The Better Call Saul series finale airs on Monday, August 15, at 9 pm ET/PT on AMC in the US. It premieres on Netflix in the UK on Tuesday, August 16.

Mike is a proud, sarcastic nerd with a penchant for comic books, comic book movies, and movies in general, and occasional delusions of grandeur. He's also a UC Berkeley graduate who decided to go into writing over pre-med because he figured he'd ultimately save more lives by not being a doctor. He's a Slytherin and a Pisces, so he's very emotionally sensitive, yet also evil, but can be defeated by exploiting his insecurities. His goal is to live one hell of a unique life, and it's been working so far! His proudest moments are being retweeted by James Gunn and Ryan Reynolds in the same week, and getting 999,999 points on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters at Disneyland. 


You can find Mike's writing around the web at publications like The Nerds of Color, What to Watch, Spoiler Free Reviews, and That's It LA.