- Terrific themes regarding the challenges of moving on
- Heartbreaking, but satisfying conclusion
- Rhea Seehorn and Bob Odenkirk are simply astonishing
- Completely devestating scene with Mike and Mr. Varga
- Fun foreshadowing with Gus and Don Eladio
- A slower paced episode until the final moments
- Where does the show go with four more episodes?
NOTE: This review contains spoilers for Better Call Saul season 6 episode 9, "Fun and Games." You can read previous recaps for Better Call Saul season 6 right here.
After last week’s intense, action-heavy episode, you’d think Better Call Saul would give us a break. But ultimately, the hits just keep coming. These last three episodes have not given viewers any sort of emotional break.
At the heart of it tall, this is a show about addiction. But unlike that of Howard’s fictionalized afflictions or anything related to the recurring drug motifs of its predecessor, the real addiction in the show is an emotional one. But we’ll get to that soon.
As promised, Kim (Rhea Seehorn) and Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) try to carry on with their lives as if nothing has happened. The Saul Goodman and Associates sign is installed. Kim is continuing her work in the courthouse. Though they are both traumatized, it seems like Jimmy is having an easier time going along with this than Kim. He tries to reassure her that one day they’ll forget everything.
The episode then shifts focus to Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) and the aftermath of Lalo’s death. He meets with Don Eladio (Steven Bauer), Hector (Mark Margolis), the twins (Daniel and Luis Moncada) and Bolsa (Javier Grajeda). Hector is accusing Fring of killing Lalo and plotting against him and Eladio. But unfortunately for him, there’s absolutely no proof or evidence, given Lalo only spoke to Hector directly. Eladio takes Fring’s side, wanting to uphold the peace. He gives Fring control of the North, under Bolsa. Credit to the excellent foreshadowing moment of Fring looking into the pool Eladio will eventually die in Breaking Bad.
Fring returns home and tells Mike (Jonathan Banks) to work ASAP on finding an engineer to complete the superlab. He then goes to get a drink and sips on a very good wine, being friendly with the restaurant manager about wine and a bottle of wine Fring is saving for a special occasion, but he abruptly leaves. Despite victory over Lalo, there’s still Eladio. So Fring isn’t in a celebrating mood yet.
Mike, much like Kim and Jimmy, is a victim of trauma from the events of the past few episodes. He needs to tell Nacho’s (Michael Mando) father the truth. Mike visits Mr. Varga (Juan Carlos Cantu) and tells him Nacho is dead, but defending him as being better than those around him. He also promises the Salamancas won’t be a problem, as he’ll see to it justice will be had.
But Mr. Varga is smarter than that. He tells Mike it’s not justice he’s describing, but revenge, and that it never ends. It’s a tragic moment for both, but perhaps infinitely more for Mike, since Mr. Varga is correct. Mr. Varga will feel the pain of Nacho’s death for a while, before quietly moving forward peacefully. But Mike is trapped in the game and the remorse he feels from every action he takes will be palpable. Like Jimmy and Kim, this isn’t something you can just wake up and forget about one day.
We then come to one of the most painful moments for Jimmy and Kim: needing to appear at HHM one final time to honor Howard. After finding out HHM will be dissolving into a smaller firm, Kim and Jimmy go to pay their respects to Howard’s wife, Cheryl (Sandrine Holt). Cheryl accuses Jimmy of harassing Howard, not believing Howard was addicted to drugs and that there must be more to the story of his death. As the last two that saw him, the two are backed into a corner.
Jimmy earnestly tells her an alibi, then admits he was always jealous of Howard. Cheryl doesn’t buy it, so Kim makes up a story about seeing him doing drugs in his office. Cheryl asks Cliff, but given the locker room incident earlier this season, he believes the addiction to be true. Poor Cheryl doesn’t wanna believe it (and rightfully so), but as it’s three against one, so she tearfully retreats.
Kim and Jimmy leave. He says they can let the healing begin. It’s obvious to her that Jimmy is throwing another sales pitch her way. That he’s trying to comfort her, but she knows for sure, it won’t just fade away. She kisses him and leaves without saying a word.
Later in court, Kim reveals she’s quit her job as an attorney. Jimmy naturally freaks out about all of this and rushes back home to chat with her, trying like crazy to convince her and himself that they can keep everything status quo and Kim can become a lawyer again. But he soon realizes its not just her job she's walking away from, she is packing to leave him too.
What follows is perhaps one of the most honest and heartbreaking conversations in the Breaking Bad universe. Kim tells Jimmy they’re bad together and people suffer because of them. Apart they’re okay, but together they’re poison. They recognize that they love each other, but it’s not enough. Kim finally admits she knew about Lalo and didn’t tell Jimmy because she was just too addicted to the scheme and the idea of being together with him having fun. As previously stated, this is a show about addiction. And Kim is finally quitting.
This is the final straw for Jimmy. With Chuck dead, HHM gone, Kim leaving, the last lingering thread of the man that was Jimmy McGill has left too.
The episode ends with a fair amount of time passing. Saul Goodman wakes up in his gaudy mansion next to a hooker. Driving to his office, we see his classic Saul Goodman and Associates sign replaced by a sleazy billboard-esque font, symbolic of the classic persona he replaced as soon as Kim left. Saul is officially in business and, as we know, business is booming.
New episodes of Better Call Saul air on Mondays at 9 pm ET/PT on AMC in the US and release on Tuesdays on Netflix in the UK.
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.
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