If you understand television, you’ll know that episode 12 is a beautiful encapsulation of character development. This is what it’s like to have true patience in storytelling.
This recap of Better Call Saul season 6, episode 12, “Waterworks,” contains spoilers.
The complicated life of Kim Wexler. Well, it’s less complex than the life of Saul Goodman, but every time Rhea Seehorn graces the screen with this character in a Kim-centric chapter, it’s no surprise that these are the best installments.
If you understand television, you’ll know that episode 12 is a beautiful encapsulation of character development. This is what it’s like to have true patience in storytelling. Let’s recap episode 12.
Better Call Saul season 6, episode 12 recap
Episode 12 starts with Jimmy (as Saul) in the Breaking Bad timeline in his office. Francesca is cranky due to the number of clients waiting to see him late in the evening. However, Saul is too busy deliberating over a divorce document from Kim Wexler.
It then returns to Gene’s timeline. Kim Wexler returns in the black and grey scenes, cooking. She’s hosting a BBQ with a new partner, Glen. This is far from the life she had, which equates to everyday routines and below-average sex. It has a normal feel to it. Kim even sounds like she has a different voice; it’s almost like she’s dumbed herself down for this new life without Jimmy.
Kim works at the company Palm Coast Sprinkler in an office administrative role. Despite a drastic change of career (from law to admin), Kim seems to be embracing a new world with little thrills, engaging in a new social life with a group of women from work. Interestingly, she decided on this life while Jimmy was forced to live in a different world.
And then, Kim receives a phone call at work; she takes a long time to answer it, and it’s not surprising why. It’s Jimmy, who is sounding ironically casual, considering he’s on the run. Jimmy asks if they can “catch up” after six years apart, but Kim tells him he shouldn’t be calling her and that he should turn himself into the authorities. She suspects he hasn’t lived a good life since running away. Jimmy gets angry and asks her to turn herself in. Kim is emotionally stricken by the conversation — she tells him, “I’m glad you’re alive,” and puts the phone down. Why is she glad he is alive? Well, the answer may be in the same episode.
Following this phone call, Kim heads out on a journey to a county courthouse. She sees a lawyer nearby preparing one of her clients; her face says it all — she misses that life badly; if only she decided to lead a life to be a good person rather than plotting up wicked plans with a man she loved. She then meets the wife of Howard, Cheryl, and gives her a document. It’s an account of what happened to Howard and how he met his demise at the hands of Lalo; the document highlights how Howard was at “the wrong place at the wrong time” due to Kim and Jimmy’s meddling.
Cheryl is in shock, but Kim reassures her that Howard did not suffer. Cheryl does not buy Kim’s sentiments, knowing Howard’s life was a lie. Kim assures Cheryl that she wants to change Howard’s story — she tells her it’s up to the District Attorney whether to prosecute after handing over this document, but it may not happen because there’s no evidence.
Could it be that Kim is happy that Jimmy is alive because he is the evidence?
On the way home, Kim cries on the bus — she uncontrollably sobs. The toll of the last six years weighing on her. An insurmountable measure of emotional stress compels her to break down at this very moment. It’s hard not to cry with her. Imagine holding all that guilt for years and then revealing the most haunting truth to the wife of a man she indirectly killed? Kim looks like a character that wants to break free, and prison maybe her fate. At least then, she will live a guilt-free.
We then return to Jimmy (as Gene), breaking into the wealthy man’s house. This is the rich man who has cancer, which Gene has decided to con with his team of criminal misfits. The man is asleep on the floor after being sedated. Gene taps a key on a piano nearby to test how asleep the man is. He then takes photos of all the man’s financial information, including identification and passwords.
As Gene is about to leave the house, he hesitates and heads upstairs. Unbeknown to him, the wealthy man downstairs awakes. Gene decides to help himself to the liqueur, and expensive cigars as his friend outside waits for him and gets nervous that there’s a police car behind him.
But then Gene realizes that the man downstairs is awake, and he needs to sneak outside. Gene grabs an urn with the dog’s ashes to hit the man with, but luckily, he doesn’t have to use violence as the man falls asleep.
As Gene looks outside, he sees the police car, so he heads back inside again. Ironically, the police officers have zero interest in the cab in front of them — they are arguing over the tacos they are eating. But Jeff drives off and hits a car around the corner, presumably to distract the police. It works, and Gene leaves the house.
Back to the Breaking Bad timeline; Saul and Kim are signing the divorce papers together in Saul’s office. The silence is loud as it rains outside. Saul tries to small talk with her as they finish proceedings, which catches Kim off guard. Saul tells her to “have a nice life.” Kim hesitates for a brief moment, looking like she wants to say something, but instead walks away, gritting her teeth. Kim leaves and sees the type of clients Jimmy is working with — criminals.
Kim lights up a cigarette outside. Jesse is outside, and he asks her for a cigarette while making small talk about the rain. He recognizes her as a lawyer who defended one of his friends. Jesse asks Kim if Saul Goodman is a decent lawyer. She tells him, “when I knew him, he was,” and runs out into the rain to her car.
Kim recognizes that Saul is not Jimmy. She knows Jimmy was a good lawyer — she’s answered the question literally.
Back in the Gene timeline, Gene gets back home — he nestles the stolen watch from the wealthy man’s house on the side and pours himself a drink. Jeff rings Gene and tells him he got arrested for committing a robbery. The rich man suspects he got robbed and told the police after Jeff crashed his car. Pretending to be Jeff’s father, Gene gives him legal advice and assures him he’ll get him out, as there’s no evidence.
So Gene rings Jeff’s mother, Marion, and lets her know her son is in jail. He reassures her that it will be a straight-cash bail and that it will be straightforward because “it is not like Albuquerque.” Marion sounds suspicious as Gene walks her through the plan and tells her he’ll pick her up in the morning. After their phone call, Marion gets out her laptop.
The next day, Gene heads to Marion’s house and can see she’s deep into her laptop. Marion tells Gene to go to the police himself, but then he sees what she’s looking at on her laptop — a Better Call Saul television advert. Ironically, Gene can hear himself talk about Albuquerque in the advert. Fear strikes in Gene’s eyes as he closes the laptop.
Gene asks Marion if she thinks he is Saul, but she is prepared for his bullshit. She typed into the internet “con-man, Albuquerque,” which brought up Saul. As Marion tries to phone the police, Gene disconnects her phone and asks her to see the “bigger picture.” Marion grabs the alarm button attached to her neck. She’s an older woman with a house set up for assisted care living.
Gene tells her to put down the alarm button, but Marion is upset — she trusted him. She pushes the alarm, and a nurse talks to her through the speakers — Marion tells the nurse she’s with a criminal called Saul Goodman.
Gene flees the house. Jimmy has a knack for underestimating and overestimating people with his arrogance. Once again, he has upended himself through greed and ambition, refusing to live an everyday life.
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