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Better Call Saul Recap: Key Search Terms

This article contains spoilers for "Better Call Saul" Season 6, Episode 12, "Waterworks."

"Better Call Saul" co-creator Vince Gilligan took the helm as writer and director for Season 6, Episode 12, entitled "Waterworks." It's a literal reference to Kim Wexler's (Rhea Seehorn) tedious job at Palm Coast Sprinkler, part of her boring new life in Florida — which is shot in black and white like Gene Takovic's (Bob Odenkirk) Omaha. The title is also a metaphoric reference to the tears that come later when she pays Albuquerque one last visit.

In Florida, Kim wears white mall walker sneakers and obsesses over brands of mayonnaise. The midwestern twinge has found its way back into her voice, but she still sleeps on one side of the bed as if she's waiting for Saul to find his way there. Before she heads back to New Mexico, we are clued into what was said on the phone call between them in Episode 11, "Breaking Bad" and it goes pretty much like Gene's reaction would indicate: Kim shuts him down and tells him to turn himself in. He challenges her to do the same, and as he gets angrier, his misguided rage finds its target.

Kim calls Gene's bluff and confesses to the court and Cheryl

Six years after they parted and now that she knows how far he went to help Walter White (Bryan Cranston) build his empire, Kim is left with the tiniest sliver of empathy for Gene. She stammers that she's glad he's alive and hangs up quickly, but his anger has shaken Kim from her protective shell and justice for Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian) and closure for his wife Cheryl (Sandrine Holt) are reason enough for her to come clean.

In the most shocking turn and moving scene of "Waterworks," Kim pays Cheryl a visit and shows her a copy of the statement she filed with the county court admitting her and Saul's part in Howard's death. In the years since then, Kim has gone from Pad Thai and bourbon on the couch with her literal partner in crime to deviled eggs and tuna salad with a bunch of women who think store staff should report rave-bound teenagers buying pacifiers to the police. The psychic impact of the trip back to Albuquerque hits this new and differently calloused Kim on the airport shuttle as she heads home, sending her into deep and soulful tears.

Kim and Jesse pass each other like two elevators going in opposite directions

It's presumably Kim's last visit to New Mexico in the "Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul" timeline, but not in the episode; there's also a six year flashback to Saul's Albuquerque office where he and Kim are signing divorce papers. Their paths had already diverged completely at that point, and she sees what she might have become had she stayed reflected in Francesca's (Tina Parker) exhausted, downtrodden eyes. Stepping outside into a downpour, she runs into Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) and they share a smoke. He asks her if Saul is a good lawyer. She replies, "When I knew him he was," pulls her hood around her head like a shield, and strides into the rain to try and rebuild her life.

She leaves Jesse to make his own decision about doing business with Saul, but Rhea Seehorn told "Talking Saul" host Chris Hardwick that Kim and Jesse were at opposite ends of their arcs and he may not have taken her advice had she told him to find another lawyer. "With the erosion of her conscience, she's gone all the way through," she said. "He's beginning it ... If she could tell him what she's learned, would he change what he's doing?"

We all know the answer to that question.

Gene sacrificing Jeff to the police is totally in character

Jesse's appearances in the last two episodes and his and Walt's in Episode 11 aren't just fan service. Their presence helps frame what stage of decay Saul is in at any given moment, and helps ground viewers amid the shifting timelines. Peter Gould thinks that while Walt is seen as the franchise's über black hat, Saul actually did plenty to drag the meth kingpin down. He told "Talking Saul" host Chris Hardwick, "If Walt hadn't walked into that office, the story of 'Breaking Bad' would be, I think, very different."

In 1964, Abraham Kaplan coined what he called the Law of the Instrument, which evolved into an adage stating that if the only tool you have is a hammer, soon everything starts to look like a nail. Even after two identity changes, the only tool in Gene's kit is a screwdriver; as a result everyone around him is constantly getting screwed.

This week it's his pseudo-friend Jeff (Pat Healy) who gets the worst of it. Gene is trapped in an identity theft victim's house by two police officers eating in their patrol car outside, oblivious to the crimes he's committing just a stone's throw away. Our intrepid-but-sloppy thief coaches Jeff to crash his cab as a diversion and — after his inevitable arrest — make his one allowed phone call to fake daddy Gene.

If Gene was ever a sympathetic character, that's not the case any longer

Gene has been icing cinnamon rolls and cooling his heels for six years, but he obviously hasn't learned anything from his Slippin' Jimmy days, Howard's death, or his own downfall. Bob Odenkirk told "Talking Saul" host Chris Hardwick, "He's not enjoying the Cinnabon job. He's not enjoying being hidden away." In "Waterworks," Gene sticks his head up above ground just far and long enough to get bopped. 

He's become impossible to root for at this point. He even threatens Jeff's mother Marion (Carol Burnett) after she uses her dial-up internet to Ask Jeeves about the man behind the mustache. After outfoxing the Salamancas, outrunning the FBI, and outliving Walter White, it appears Saul might be brought down by a scooter-riding, cat-video-loving old lady and her Life Alert. 

Marion finds his commercials by searching for "con man Albuquerque." In death, Howard has become a drug-addled liar, and in absentia Saul has been reduced to "con man Albuquerque." It's a label Slippin' Jimmy might actually be proud of, but probably has his brother Chuck (Michael McKean) doing somersaults in his grave. 

When does Better Call Saul Season 6, Episode 13 air?

"Better Call Saul" Season 6, Episode 13, "Saul Gone," airs on AMC Monday, August 15 at 9 p.m. Eastern. It will be the series finale for the show that has earned 46 Emmy nominations but taken home zero trophies. That might change this year, as "Better Call Saul" has seven shots at glory, including one for Outstanding Drama Series and individual nominations for Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn.

We last saw Gene running out Marion's back door as she summons the police, so it looks like his time in Omaha is coming to a frantic end. WIth Kim's fate seemingly established, Gene's is the biggest question still left to be answered heading into the finale. There are many doors still open for "Saul Gone" writer and director Peter Gould, from death or prison for Gene to a scot-free existence on a tropical beach somewhere. But there's another significant mystery to be solved: Odenkirk told Vanity Fair that Marion is actually related to someone familiar to audiences other than Jeff. 

Kim's hometown is Omaha. It would bring everything around in a perfect circle if her mother was the one to finally stop the boulder rolling downhill that Gene's life has become. Howard's ghost still hovers over "Better Call Saul," and if Marion turns out to be his or Cheryl's mother the justice would be equally poetic.