Better Call Saul season 5 finale review: Slippin’ Kimmy is born

Michael Mando as Nacho Varga - Better Call Saul _ Season 5, Episode 10 - Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television
Michael Mando as Nacho Varga - Better Call Saul _ Season 5, Episode 10 - Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television /

Gus takes aim, Nacho gets a job offer, Kim turns to the dark side, and Lalo makes a miraculous escape in Better Call Saul’s fifth season finale, “Something Unforgivable.”

After a 10-episode season that, let’s be honest, flew by, Better Call Saul season 5 draws to a close with the hour and 25-minute finale “Something Unforgivable”. Although it may not have been as eventful as some might expect for a show that’s one season away from being over, “Something Unforgivable” still delivers where it counts, and sets up some enticing teases for what’s to come in the show’s final season.

Picking up just seconds after Lalo’s impromptu visit to Jimmy and Kim’s apartment in last week’s “Bad Choice Road,” we see just how much a taste of the cartel world has shaken the intrepid pair. They immediately decide to pack up and get out of town for a little while, taking up residence in a luxury hotel, where Jimmy tries to get Kim to relax and enjoy a spa day.

Never one to sit still, Kim declines and instead heads to the courthouse to take on 20 pro-bono cases. She’s certainly got the time on her hands, now that she’s free from Schweikart and Cokely, but things are looking like they’re going her way. She bumps into old blue eyes himself, Howard Hamlin, in the elevator. Howard is delighted to introduce her as an HHM alumn off to bigger and better things, but Kim can’t help but correct him that she’s no longer working at Schweikart and Cokely.

When Hamlin confronts her to ask why, he eventually reveals that Jimmy threw bowling balls at his car and sent prostitutes to his lunch meeting — which Kim responds to by laughing in his face. It’s tough to see Howard get beat down time and again, especially now, considering that Kim is edging further and further away from the pillar of morality we know her as. Howard seems to be the only person who truly calls Jimmy’s character out for what it is, but Kim shoots him down — which, in hindsight, is foreshadowing her final scene in the season.

After returning home from a day at the courthouse, and finding out from Jimmy (who found out from Mike) that Lalo will no longer be an issue (or so they think), she takes him up on his offer of relaxation, and the two of them get cozy — before things take a turn. Kim recounts her run-in with Howard, and they begin to joke about ways to get back at him — shaving his head, switching his shampoo for Nair, all of the standard Jimmy-level pranks.

Suddenly, however, Kim makes a suggestion: What if Howard were to fall from grace? Jimmy initially plays along, thinking this is just another fun fantasy, but the more the conversation continues, the more he (and the audience) begins to realize that Kim isn’t joking. She actually wants to take him down.

What Kim is suggesting seems like nothing short of getting Howard disbarred, and it’s terrifying to hear it come out of the mouth of a woman who we have come to know and love as Jimmy’s moral compass. Rhea Seehorn brings a side of Kim out that we don’t see very often, and it works to a chilling effect. Kim seems hungry, almost bloodthirsty with her hatred for Howard. Their story ends with a reversal of season 4’s final shot: When Jimmy asks if she’s serious, Kim merely responds with a smile and finger guns.

It’s certainly a compelling ending and one that makes clear more than ever that season 5 was just as much Kim’s season as it was Jimmy’s. Bob Odenkirk, however, is still in top shape as well — for once he’s playing the straight man, and to see a sober, worried Jimmy (who we assume still has a little PTSD) is so harrowing that it makes us even more uncomfortable with Kim’s turn to the dark side.

However, Kim and Jimmy make up just one facet of the show — and the other side came to an end in “Something Unforgivable” with a whole lot of bloodshed. As promised, Nacho drives Lalo to Mexico, and they arrive at Lalo’s own hacienda, where Lalo tells Nacho he’ll be meeting Don Eladio to discuss a promotion.

Although Lalo sees this as a good thing — Kim reminded him just how much he needs a trusted advisor, and he seems to think Nacho is just the guy — Nacho is less than thrilled about the fact that he’s moving up in the cartel world when he wants nothing more to get out.

Unfortunately for Nacho, he passes Don Eladio’s test (in a moment of surprising honesty) and seems primed to carry on with a new position of authority — until he gets a call that at 3 a.m., assassins will be coming to kill Lalo. Nacho is instructed to leave the door open and get the hell out, but when 3 a.m. finally rolls around, he discovers that his boss is a night owl. Lalo is wide awake.

With some quick thinking, Nacho is able to distract him long enough to open the door and make his escape just as the assassins are entering the house. The last shot we see of Nacho is as he runs from the Hacienda. However, what he doesn’t know is that, thanks to a hidden tunnel, some superhuman abilities, and quite a bit of luck, Lalo also survives the encounter — albeit limping, dripping blood, and with a face that says he isn’t too happy with how the evening played out.

This may have been Kim’s season, but the finale belonged to Nacho and Lalo. Michael Mando and Tony Dalton play off each other beautifully as the ever-so-tense, stoic Nacho, and the chatty, almost goofy Lalo. Seeing Lalo on his own turf for once is a delight. He’s showboating and charming everyone as he always does, but even with Don Eladio there, he never seems intimidated.

Nacho, on the other hand, is a bundle of nerves. Lalo has to remind him multiple times to smile and lighten up, but his best moment is during his poolside chat with Don Eladio. When Eladio asks him what he wants, Nacho responds that he wants freedom, and to be able to not have to constantly look over his shoulder. We know he’s referring to the freedom to get out of the business with his father, but Don Eladio doesn’t and responds with a crack about how Nacho is in the wrong business if he doesn’t want to look over his shoulder. Trust us, Eladio: Nacho knows.

Just as Kim and Jimmy’s plotline ends with an exciting (and a little worrying)  promise of what’s to come in season 6 (Slippin’ Kimmy), Nacho and Lalo’s story also leaves a major cliffhanger: The very last shot of the episode is a furious and bloody Lalo staring into the camera. If Nacho was in a tough spot before, he’s a dead man walking now. It’s going to take a miracle to save him and his father after it finally came out that he’s been double-crossing Lalo and the Salamanca family for years.

While it was certainly an engaging episode, “Something Unforgivable” was a little light on content as far as finales go. It didn’t include many payoffs or big moments like previous finales have. Instead, it seemed more interested in setting up for season 6. We can hardly fault it for doing so, however — with just one more season to go, there’s a hell of a lot of ground to cover and quite a few loose ends to tie up.

When the credits rolled, though, stellar performances from Michael Mando, Tony Dalton, and Rhea Seehorn — coupled with Peter Gould’s sharp wit and a killer sense of irony — left us satisfied with the season’s conclusion.

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What did you think of the Better Call Saul season finale? Who’s your favorite character? Sound off in the comments below.