Better Call Saul (Season 6), Episode 10: Recap & Ending Explained
Better Call Saul Season 6, Episode 10 Recap & Ending Explained: Episode ten of Better call Saul’s final season makes a jarring turn back to the past. It does not pick up from where episode nine left off. Instead, we go “back to the future” (pun intended), where Saul is hiding under the alias Gene Takovic. To get a sense of what’s going on, we must harken back to season four, episode one of the show, “Smoke”. The new season brought forth a new start for Jimmy, somewhere in the future as Gene. In the episode, he gets a heart attack and is seen working at Cinnabon. This episode picks up after the events of that morning. A gorgeous black and white template define the episode. It has the true hallmark of a Gilligan creation – complex, subtle, and delightfully existential. Read our review and recap for the episode, along with an explainer for that cryptic ending as well.
BETTER CALL SAUL (SEASON 6), EPISODE 10 RECAP:
We’re back in Omaha, where Saul lives post the events of the Breaking Bad fiasco as Gene Takovic, a mild-mannered and hard-working store manager. He manages the Cinnabon store at the Cotton Wood mall. The episode opens in a supermarket, where an old lady on the scooter, Marion (the iconic carol Burnett), picks up groceries. As she is about to enter her house, she notices the platform is a bit too steep. A hand reaches out from the right of the screen, with a stapler in the other. “Nippy”, a god is lost, and Gene pretends to staple posters of him on trees in the locality. He offers help, which is initially rejected but eventually taken up by Marion. Gene sneakily deactivates the power in the machine and his help is needed again to push her back home. The two get to talking and Gene stays on for dinner. He meets Marion’s son, Jeff, a cab driver. It is later revealed that Gene and Jeffie know each other. More importantly, the latter knows the former’s true identity.
For some reason, he hasn’t yet outed him. But he holds that leverage over Gene. To get even, Gene entices him into “the game”, where Jeff can fulfill all his wishes of excesses and luxuries. For all the confused viewers, here is some context. Jeff is actually the same person who had a run-in with Gene in season five of the show in the mall. We even saw the man ask Gene to do his Saul impression. Jeff drove Gene home after he had a heart attack (in season four) and instantly recognized Gene as Saul from a billboard he saw working in Albequerque. Marion also confirms later in the episode that Jeff had worked previously in Albuqeruere and “Fell in with the bad crowd”. If you remember, Saul was so flustered that he even considered asking Ed Galbraith to “take care of it”. The reason you do not recognize him is that the actor who played him, Don Harvey, has been replaced by a different actor.
Anyway, let us get back to it. Gene has an elaborate plan in mind that will take patience, regularity, and practice. If you have seen the episode, you will know what I am talking about. If you haven’t, here is how it goes. On the first day of that plan, Gene packs up, as he does, by 9.20 pm. He throws away the leftovers, but has another handbag. We discover that he is taking cinnabons for the security guards who called the EMTs when he fainted and had a heart attack. Nic and Frank, greet him. Nic is just leaving his duty and Frank is taking over. He sits down with Gene and talks about yesterday’s game. For some reason, Gene times the conversation, and Frank finishing up the delicacy. It almost comes out to roughly three minutes and some change. Gene takes his leave and quietly catches his breath again. The next day, he is more confident. And the next, even more. His trust level with Frank keeps on increasing every day, as it becomes a normal routine for Gene to take cinnabons up for Frank and talk to him while he finishes them.
Next, Gene mysteriously paces around a department store in the mall. He walks past several luxury brands on display. Armani suits, Nike Jordans, and many more. This is the second part of the plan. He counts the paces, measures the distance, and creates a rough placement of all these goods in the store on an open snow field. He marks the distances and the layout of the store with tapes and sure enough, we see Jeff with his friend. Gene times Jeff to complete raiding the store of a select few luxury items, the actual plan that they will execute in the store. Jeff’s timing is off and he struggles to remember the rhyme that Gene makes up to help Jeff remember the order and not deviate from his tight deadline. It is actually a genius plan but it is very tight. Even a small mistake can change the course of the game. And knowing Gilligan’s universe, inadvertent accidents are bound to happen (*wink, wink*).
It is the day of the robbery and we see Kathy, the store’s manager, finishing up her day by checking the location and inventory. She gets a note from the store clerk that she has a delivery of goods. Not expecting anything that day, she walks out and confronts the man who brings them in, Rick (Jeff’s friend). He gives her the number of his supervisor. Kathy calls the number and Gene picks up. Rick has brought in sprayer equipment that the invoice details as the consignment. Gene, being the smooth talker that he is, convinces Kathy to keep the consignment overnight in the loading deck as he would have to drive four hours from his location to Omaha. Before all of this, Kathy also asks one of the workers in the store to call the maintenance man to polish up a “mark” on the store’s floor before it opens tomorrow.
Sure enough, Gene repeats the routine. Everything is in place and the moment Frank takes the first bite, he starts his watch and texts Jeff to “Go”. Jeff is hiding in the crate that Rick wheeled in. In preparation for his “performance”, Gene has started following baseball games in order to elongate the conversations he has with Frank.
BETTER CALL SAUL (SEASON 6), EPISODE 10 ENDING EXPLAINED:
Gene’s plan is going smoothly. He is able to hold Frank with his conversation about their favorite team. He talks easily about the players and their form like an expert would. Jeff is gradually completing his part of the plan. He is only picking up the things that Gene asked him to, in the order he dictated before. In the last leg of the plan, we have that inadvertent accident. Jeff slips on the unpolished mark in the store. He falls with a thump, scattering all the stolen goods in his hands. Just as Frank is finishing up his cinnabon, Jeff lays there unconscious. The guard can turn any minute. Gene understands the gravity of the situation but he has mastered the art of lying. He is good at this stuff. He suddenly starts sobbing. Frank probes further. “I have no one, Frank”. In a hard-hitting moment of honesty, we see bared Jimmy McGill’s truth (and Gene’s lie). He actually has no one. Kim left him; his brother died; his parents always thought of him as a burden.
Jimmy’s truth catches him for a while. But as quickly as he got into it, gene snaps out of Jimmy’s misery as he sees Jeff getting back up. Frank still hasn’t turned. Now Gene has him right where he wants him. Jeff gathers the things, puts them back in the crate, and goes to hide in the bathroom of the store, now firmly out of sight. Gene breathes a sigh of relief and takes Frank’s leave. The store opens like nothing has happened and life goes on. Jeff simply walks out of the store. Gene warns Jeff and Rick never to contact him again. He has done his part of the bargain and now he will vanish into thin air. Back at work the next day, Gene sees Kathy and winces for a moment. He goes into the same store, trying on a tie and shirt over his work clothes. After a brief moment, he keeps them back and walks off.
The con is back on. It is so wild thinking of how easily Saul pulled this off. Even as Gene, he just cannot let that part of himself go. It is so exciting and adrenaline-pumping for him, that he cannot help himself. For a moment there in the episode, we saw Gene look at himself in the mirror after putting down Kathy’s call. I thought the following moment would bring something else over for Saul. But he was enjoying it. There was no remorse or guilt at all. This episode overall felt like a pitiful look at Saul, or at least the kind of man he has become. Even in that suit and with Kim by his side, maybe it was the same. Are there any differences between those two men? Probably not. Gilligan has reduced his once likable, underdog hero into a menacing, conniving villain. Without Kim, Saul runs ragged and can only “pretend”. He does mention the “50-year-old chemistry teacher”, indicating that Walter White and Jesse Pinkman aren’t far off.