Last night brought not just the end of the fifth and latest season of Better Call Saul but the conclusion of a really terrific trio of episodes. Beginning with "Bagman", written by Gordon Smith and directed by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan, the show finally managed to make its Mexican drug cartel subplot interesting by making it a traumatically personal experience for Saul.
Through the perspective of Saul's (Bob Odenkirk) reactions to being ambushed by gunmen and saved by Mike (Jonathan Banks), all the gunplay and posturing suddenly become deadly serious. In the next episode, "Bad Choice Road", writer and director Thomas Schnauz makes a very wise choice in not making the events of the previous episode about Saul's deal with Kim (Rhea Seehorn) about not lying to her. She only brings it up to highlight the fact that the trauma Saul has clearly experienced has gone well beyond any such relationship boundary.
In fact, the season finale, "Something Unforgivable", is almost a step backward because it spends so much time on Lalo (Tony Dalton) and Nacho (Michael Mando) in Mexico without Saul--and once again, like Breaking Bad, the show returns to that annoying device of tinting yellow everything that happens in Mexico.
The United States does not have a monopoly on the rest of the spectrum, you know.
But the confrontation between Lalo, Saul, and Kim at the end of "Bad Choice Road" remains to haunt the episode. That stand off so brilliantly played off the underlying tension of Saul's trauma, his long standing criminal inclinations, Kim's increasingly dodgy ethics and sensitivity for Saul, and Lalo's suspicion--and then Kim saving the day by basically being a really good lawyer. So this show does have legs without Chuck after all.
The final episode seemingly sets up a conflict for season six in which Kim and Saul go after Howard (Patrick Fabian) to win millions in a case from season one. I can't imagine this will go well for anyone. I kind of hope we don't find out Kim ended up going to federal prison. I definitely don't want her to die, I'm still holding out hope we'll see her in the present day.