I don’t know about you, but my jaw is still hanging on the floor after Better Call Saul’s unsurprisingly masterful penultimate episode on Monday night, titled simply Waterworks. Which, as we now know, was a sly reference of sorts to not only Kim Wexler’s soul-crushingly boring new job at Palm Coast Sprinklers in Florida. But, also, to her gut-wrenching, tearful breakdown on the bus during this episode. When the weight of everything from her life with Jimmy/Saul became too much to bear.
In terms of everything that made Waterworks one of the all-time great episodes in the Vince Gilligan-verse, I mean, where do you even begin? There was the shot of Gene, in black-and-white, with his old Saul Goodman TV commercial reflected in his glasses (in color). Or how about Kim, standing outside the law office of Breaking Bad-era Saul Goodman, having just signed divorce papers and smoking a cigarette? And there’s Jesse Pinkman, asking her whether this guy Saul is any good.
“When I knew him, he was,” Kim coolly tells Jesse, before flipping her hood over her head and running out to her car in the rain.
Better Call Saul finale theory
The most important part of the episode, though, arguably came in the all-too-brief teaser for next week’s Better Call Saul series finale. In the teaser, which you can watch below if you missed it, “Gene” can clearly be heard reciting the code he’ll use to make a certain call to a certain vacuum store man.
Working backward from this, my theory for how the Better Call Saul finale will set about resolving everything is as follows.
During the Waterworks episode, we got to see the other side of the Kim-Gene phone call from last week in the phone booth. This is post-Breaking Bad, and it’s clear that Kim is aware of what went down, at least to some degree. She urges “Gene” to come clean and turn himself in. Of course, he’s not doing any of that, not for all the flashy men’s suits in Albuquerque. One kick of the phone booth’s glass later, and he’s off.
It’s the beginning of the end.
As a counter to Kim planning to come clean, Gene dives right back into a scam. Specifically, the selling-photo-IDs-for-cash scam. One that he’s so hardcore about, he’s even willing to take advantage of a mark who has cancer.
It wasn’t clear, at first, why he was so insistent about moving forward with the scam, once he found out that particular victim is sick. But there’s at least one scenario where it makes all the sense in the world.
Best Quality Vacuum
If you think about it, Gene’s insistence on going through with scamming that final victim is logical, if you consider it in the context of Gene really, really needing the money. Or, rather, needing a very specific amount of money. In cash.
Does an insistence on an absolutely precise amount of money — no hemming and hawing about being a little short — make you think of any particular Better Call Saul/Breaking Bad characters? Of course, it does.
Next week’s teaser also makes it clear. Gene whipped the photo ID scam together, because he needs cash to pay the vacuum man. Remember how much of a stickler the latter was for the exact amount of money in El Camino, when Jesse was a little short? But that, of course, raises all sorts of other questions.
He already called the man who makes criminals disappear once before, right? That’s how he ended up at a Cinnabon in Omaha. So, would this be a new do-over?
- We, of course, don’t have to wait much longer for the ending, with less than a week to go before all will be revealed. Also, fun fact: Series star Bob Odenkirk has confirmed that some of you out there have correctly guessed how everything will end up. He reads fan theories online, and he says that maybe 1 in 9 people get it right.
- The Marion theories are particularly intriguing, with some people suspecting that she is/was a Sandpiper client.
- Also, what if Gene isn’t calling the vacuum man for himself … but, rather, for Kim? As in, fine, Kim, you got it out of your system. You confessed. You cleansed your conscience. Here’s your ticket to a new life.