Since Better Call Saul relented a couple of seasons ago and let Breaking Bad-esque storylines creep in, it's often felt like two very different shows in one. Mike's out there tailing shady cartel characters and staging noir-ish executions, while Jimmy's sub-plot serves as a more light-hearted character and relationship study where the only injury anyone will be sustaining is a paper cut.
And yet there was a symmetry to their two stories in the season 4 finale, "Winner", with Mike – like Jimmy before him – learning the hard way that kindness and patience often goes unrewarded.
Let's take a look at how their narratives wrapped up for this year:
Mike hunts down Werner
Alas, there was no "Wiedersehen" for Werner Ziegler and his wife – as the previous episode's title had suggested – their reunion being thwarted by Mike, with Gus pulling the strings.
In last week's recap I was convinced that Werner's escape from the engineers' little warehouse prefab village involved a hidden motive, but no, he really did just want to see his wife that bad. It's pretty astonishing and strains credulity that Werner thought Gus would have him back after the stunt, but then I guess the German never got a chance to truly know his boss. He knew who he was working with, but he didn't know who he was dealing with.
Mike managed to beat Lalo Salamanca, who is taking an aggressive interest in the Fring business, to Werner, who was found at a hot springs resort (did anyone else initially mistake it for Don Eladio's backyard?). If playing truant in order to chill by the pool wasn't bad enough, Werner was sporting socks and mint green Crocs, so Gus's decision to bump him off starts to feel more justified.
Mike showed kindness to Werner throughout their brief time working together, and I thought for a moment that Mike might let the errant architect flee the country, but he knows better than to deceive Gus and mournfully carried out his orders, shooting Werner in the head in what was a stunningly framed super-wide shot.
Jimmy gets his licence back
Kim and Jimmy found time for one more elaborate con in the season 4 finale, having Jimmy pretend to mourn Chuck at his grave and set up a scholarship programme at HHM in the hope of wooing the board who would settle his appeal. Last week, Jimmy's patent insincerity lost him the initial ruling on his law licence, but instead of trying actual sincerity, Jimmy decided he just needed to get better at faking it.
Kim was devastated to learn that his courtroom opening statement about his brother wasn't from the heart, and I don't think she'll forget it in a hurry. To make matters worse, Jimmy – who had just delivered a crocodile tear-filled speech about wanting to live up to his family name – announced that he'd be practising law under a different name from now on. "It's all good man!" he told her, closing the season, a line that was really giving the people what they want, and I too lapped it up.
So where might we go in season 5?
Gus's superlab is no more than a hole in the ground right now, Better Call Saul being about the only show that could fill an entire season with the excavation of one and keep you rapt. We know the cavern will end up state of the art, but how will it get there? I guess we'll see a new team of engineers next season, but will Gus' response to Werner's desertion be to give his workers more free time or less? We can expect the Lalo vs Gus sub-plot to come to a head too, and I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't end up in a war with the cartel, Gus's lean operation having to make some very strategic strikes.
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As for Jimmy, I think it's about time we see him in a gaudy Saul Goodman suit, and I'd expect to find him in his strip mall office from Breaking Bad by the end of season 5. I'd imagine he'll be single too, as Kim's apparent enjoyment of petty crime isn't going to extend to her boyfriend helping killers and meth pushers.
Season 5 could be the show's last, and you could find the creators talking to us about when Better Call Saul might end here.
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