Spoiler Warning: Better Call Saul Seasons 5 & 6
You better call Saul is approaching the end of the first half of the final sixth season. The penultimate episode, “Axe and Grind,” will premiere Monday, May 16, and will likely see the pieces begin to fall into place. Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) as Saul Goodman is expected to be cemented and the You better call Saul finally catching up on timeline Breaking Bad†
Since the death of Nacho Varga (Michael Mando) in the third episode of the season, “Rock and a Hard Place”, tension has grown as Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) anticipates the return of Lalo (Tony Dalton) and Jimmy and Kim. (Rhea Seehorn) continue their scam against Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian). With only two episodes left before the mid-season break, it’s safe to say that things are about to escalate massively.
So far, the scam against Howard has been kept separate from Jimmy and Kim’s connection to Lalo and the cartel, but this could change in the next two episodes. The most recent episode, “black and blue,” finally saw Lalo return as he searched for evidence of Werner Ziegler’s (Rainer Bock) connections to Gus’ superlab in Germany, meeting Ziegler’s wife, Margarethe (Andrea Sooch). At the same time, Cliff Main (Ed Begley Jr.) finally confronts Howard with his fictional cocaine addiction, prompting Howard to realize that Jimmy is once again pulling the strings to embarrass Howard in his personal and professional life.
Ready to fight back, Howard enlists the help of a private detective to go after Jimmy. However, the results of this investigation could lead Howard to become involved in the cartel’s world and potentially become collateral damage to Jimmy’s transformation into Saul.
The Con on Howard
Jimmy and Kim’s scam with Howard has been going on since the first episode of the season, but the details of their plan have yet to be revealed to the public, igniting a mystery about what Jimmy and Kim hope their actions will accomplish. The first step in their plan was to have Jimmy plant fake cocaine in Howard’s locker at a country club. Howard was playing golf with Cliff Main, and when Howard opened his locker, the suspicious bag fell from his locker. Howard tried to play it out like it was already in there, and Cliff seemed inclined to believe him, but the ruse’s sole purpose was to sow the seed in Cliff’s mind that Howard might have a cocaine addiction.
Then Jimmy enlists the help of Betsy (Julie Ann Emery) and Craig Kettleman (Jeremy Shamos) to reinforce the idea of Howard’s addiction in Cliff’s mind. Jimmy makes them think Craig has been partially convicted of their attorney Howard’s drug addiction. Knowing that the Kettlemans hate him, Jimmy begs them not to take the case to Cliff Main, which leads them to do just that to hate Jimmy. Cliff takes the meeting with the Kettlemans, but decides not to take the case based on no real evidence.
The next step in Jimmy and Kim’s plan was to get the keys to Howard’s car. Jimmy persuades Huell (Lavell Crawford) to lift Howard’s keys from the servant so they can be replicated just in time before the servant returns to find the keys. Now that they have a copy of Howard’s keys, Kim arranges a meeting with Cliff at a cafe, while Jimmy dresses up as Howard and steals his car while Howard is in therapy. Jimmy goes to the Crossroads Motel “Crystal Palace”, where he picks up a prostitute named Wendy (Julia Minesci). Breaking Bad† Jimmy drives Wendy past the cafe where Cliff and Kim meet so Cliff can see Howard’s car. Once the car is in sight, Jimmy throws Wendy out of the car and drives off, giving Cliff some visual confirmation of Howard’s troubles.
This also ties into Jimmy’s ruse in season five, where he paid two prostitutes to confront Howard during a meeting with Cliff. In “Black and Blue,” Cliff finally confronts Howard after meeting the Sandpiper’s clients, telling Howard that he knows about his addiction and wants help. Though confused at first, Howard finds that Jimmy is behind it and has his calendar off for the week.
Howard discovers Jimmy’s involvement
Howard arranges a meeting with Jimmy under the alias, HO Ward, to have Jimmy meet Howard at a boxing gym. Howard confronts Jimmy and says he’s tired of the conflict between them and hopes that by kicking him out of the ring, Jimmy can overcome his anger against him. Howard tells Jimmy that he wanted to get caught and that it was easy to see all the ways to him. Jimmy denies the purchases, but when he turns to walk away, he decides he will take up his offer to box at the last minute. The two begin their match with both Howard and Jimmy taking some serious punches, but in the end, it’s Howard who delivers the winning punch, knocking Jimmy flat on his back. As Howard steps over Jimmy, he tells him that he mistook his kindness for weakness and hoped the match would make a difference between the two, but before walking out of the ring, Howard tells Jimmy that probably isn’t the case.
Howard leaves the gym and gets into the passenger seat of a nearby car, where he meets a private detective. The PI asks if Howard is looking for anything specific about Jimmy, to which Howard says he should “know everything he does and everyone he talks to”. After Howard leaves, the PI waits for Jimmy to leave the gym and follows him back to his apartment. Once back in the apartment, Jimmy puts on some makeup to hide his black eye, while Kim jokes not to cover it up, that it’s a good look for his Saul Goodman character.
Kim tells Jimmy about meeting Viola (Christine Keiko Agena) and finding a retired judge who fits their plans perfectly. Jimmy vents his frustration to Kim at Howard dragging him to the boxing match, to which Kim says he had his reasons because he knows what’s coming. Howard discovering Jimmy’s involvement was all part of their mysterious plan, which now involves bringing a judge into the mix to deal a crushing blow to Howard.
Howard is in the game
It’s clear Jimmy and Kim intended for Howard to hear about Jimmy’s involvement in the scam, but it’s not clear whether they thought Howard would fight back with a private investigator. This move could be disastrous on Howard’s part for several reasons.
First off, Howard’s PI isn’t the only person following Jimmy as it was revealed in episode four, “Hit and Run”, that Mike (Jonathan Banks) followed Kim and Jimmy in case Lalo resurfaces and decides to go after them. . If Lalo goes after the two, Howard’s PI will see it all happen and become a loose end for the cartel. Not only will the PI be killed, but if he reveals that he is a PI, Lalo will likely go back to Howard. There’s a chance Gus or Mike may have to kill Howard too. Mike follows Jimmy and Kim, which means that sooner or later he will learn about the PI. If the PI witnesses something related to Lalo, it makes sense that Gus would want him killed. If he discovers the link back to Howard, things won’t end well for him either. The second Howard’s PI witnesses all things cartel, Howard will be in the game.
In the teaser for the penultimate episode, “Axe and Grind,” the phone number of Ed (Robert Forster), the vacuum salesman who helps people disappear with new identities, is shown. The public will finally find out how Jimmy got Ed’s number, but the main question is, who will help Ed disappear? The popular theory is that Kim uses Ed’s services, which is why she’s not in Jimmy’s life Bad break. But maybe Howard should be the one to use Ed’s services.
While there is a chance Howard will die as a result of seeing something he shouldn’t, it seems more likely that his life would be ruined and he would have to leave his career and family behind. The purpose of Jimmy and Kim’s scams seems to be to somehow ruin Howard, and it can work, but not the way they intended, forcing Howard to run away. Whether Howard dies or has to flee, things don’t look good for Jimmy’s old adversary. The closer Howard gets to Jimmy’s cartel connections, the closer he gets to indirectly uprooting his own life.
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