Addictions are weird things. You work hard to rid of them and you are doing great for a period of time. And then something happens and it triggers your brain to fall back into old habits.
The trigger could be all kinds of things. Seeing an old friend, depression, a fight with a loved one, some guy cutting you off in traffic or hell, the smell of a freshly baked cookie.
The trigger doesn’t need to make sense. It’s like your brain is just finding any sort of excuse to get you back to the high of your addiction.
Jimmy isn’t addicted to drinking, smoking or drugs. He gets his high on conning people. And he is damn good at it.
For Jimmy the moment his past broke through was not his brother’s betrayal. In fact Jimmy was calm as he discussed the situation with Howard Hamlin. He even made sure that Hamlin would find someone to take care of his brother Chuck.
Jimmy attempts to live his life normally as he is calling a bingo game for some senior citizens. But a few ‘Bs’ in a row and Jimmy’s addiction breaks through.
Something so minor as a letter that reminds him of his brother’s betrayal broke Jimmy McGill. He ends up having a week long binge of booze, women and most importantly conning in his old state of Illinois.
He wakes up at the end of the week and decides he has had his fill. He best get back on his path of doing the right thing because it will eventually pay off.
Unfortunately for Jimmy, his pal Marco has other ideas. Marco wants one last con. One more Rolex scam just for old time’s sake. Jimmy reluctantly agrees.
That evening the Rolex scam goes wrong when Marco really ends up having a heart attack. Jimmy sticks around for the funeral before getting a call from Kim with good news.
She tells him a big named firm wants to add Jimmy on a partner path. All he has to do is come back home and have an interview. It’s not HHM but it is the career defining moment Jimmy has been waiting for.
Jimmy returns home in New Mexico and is nearly at the door to his next big step when he turns around and asks Mike why they gave back the Kettleman’s $1.6 million.
Mike answers because he was only there to do his job. This doesn’t satisfy Jimmy as he promises to never let that happen again. He drives off while humming “Smoke on the Water” with a grin on his face.
The finale was simple and quiet. I was waiting for the big moment that Jimmy McGill turns into Saul Goodman. Maybe the humming at the end signified that. Or maybe that moment has yet to officially happen. Either way the episode was a fascinating look into a man at a crossroads in his life. Between his past, present and future self. He has tried the life of a con man, he has tried the life of a good man and now he knows where his future lies.
While not the explosive, exciting ending I was hoping for, this episode wrapped up a wonderful freshman season for Better Call Saul. The groundwork has been laid beautifully for this show to run for many more seasons. Jimmy and Mike are proven they can handle their own show and they are officially out of Walt and Jesse’s shadow.
If you aren’t watching Better Call Saul you better catch up soon because the ride has just begun.