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I really liked the ending. I think that the character of Jimmy was complex, he was a hard worker, he wanted to help his elderly clients, he loved Kim, he loved his brother, etc. But as he started losing the things that were important to him ( like his brother and Kim), he turned into Saul, a character whose only real love was for money. To the point that by the time he met up with WW, it was all Saul, Jimmy was gone. Then in the ending, his confession in court showed that Jimmy was still there, that he had regrets, and the only way he felt he could save Jimmy from Saul was to confess his wrong doing, and ask for forgiveness. Not from the judge, but from Kim.

As for the prison sentence, I think that the 86 years is actually pretty light sentence for the crimes he committed and admitted in court. If I am reading things correctly, the federal penalty for conspiracy to commit murder is up to life. And he admitted to conspiracy to kill Hank and his partner. If the feds had really thrown the book at Saul, he would be facing dozens of life sentences. Plus, those are federal charges, I'm sure that if the feds could only lock him up for 7 years, the state of New Mexico would have been able to dig up some more charges to pin on Saul without double jeopardy. So all in all, I think that Saul got Jimmy a pretty good deal.

I also have to wonder what Jimmy would do if he got out in 7 years with no law license, all his criminal buddies long dead, no Kim, no brother, he has a degree of fame for being a conman, and no more Cinnabon. I doubt life outside of prison is going to be much more enjoyable for Jimmy then life in prison where he at least seems to be respected by his fellow inmates and his legal advice is valued.
I think you and DevDogAZ see it the way I see it. Jimmy still couldn't help but use his skills to work a deal, just because he could, but he didn't really care about 7 years vs. the rest of his life without Kim, or at least Kim's approval. Even approval is a bit strong...maybe acceptance? He did it because he knew what HE could live with was pretty horrible, he wanted to be someone SHE could live with (not cohabitate, but tolerate).

And when they shared their last cigarette, didn't the overhead light have that same odd angle on the as it did in the garage?
 

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Not sure how to answer, as what I'm discussing started with the conversation on the plane, where he decided to give testimony against Kim (only to later recant that in court).
I'm trying to see when he changed his mind to recant and give this confession. I don't think it's shown and Gilligan and Gould are better at revealing those details.
 

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I really don't think he did it to "save" Kim from anything. He did it to regain her love and trust. He could see how she was looking at him, and he couldn't abide that. Kim was the love of his life and she was sitting on the side of the courtroom with everyone else that was against him. He just wanted to get her back on his side.

And he knew he deserved to be in prison for a lot longer than 7 years. By owning up to everything and accepting the full weight of the law, he feels like he's actually getting what he deserves, which finally gives him a measure of peace.

Kim didn't need to be saved, and I don't think Saul implicated her in anything. He really didn't even mention her until the last second in the negotiations when he thought he could use the Howard Hamlin thing to get the sentence even lower, and then it turned out they already knew everything. That's when he realized Kim had finally done the right thing and cleared her conscience, and he probably needed to do the same. But him truly clearing his conscience wouldn't result in no jail and a potential threat of a civil suit. For him, it meant spending the rest of his life in prison. So really, the number of years was irrelevant to him. He knows he'll die in prison and he's accepted that.

I don't think it was so much about making it so Kim would be able to visit him. It was about regaining her respect so she would WANT to visit him. Look at the difference in the phone conversation and their final conversation. That's what meant the most to Jimmy.

I disagree with your spoiler. We saw him in that jumpsuit before the trial. It was simply pointing out that he got caught and sent to jail. It's not supposed to be a crystal ball into the future. Plus, I don't think there would be any way to get transferred from a Federal prison to a county detention center based on good behavior. Those are two completely different systems.
What a great post! In my opinion you’ve completely captured what was going through Jimmy/Saul’s mind.

I came here because I really needed people to explain the ending to me. You nailed it.
 

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I took it as this:

His only goal was resolution with Kim so he didn't change his mind about confessing; it was his intention all along but he needed one more long-ish con to get there with her.

Just accepting life in prison without this scam would not have accomplished anything and accepting the plea wouldn't have garnered Kim's forgiveness. He first got as light a sentence as possible knowing it would result in a jaw-dropping spectacle in court when he contradicted everything he said to get the deal. When he was in court he quietly said, "it's showtime".

It was always his plan and it had to be a dog and pony show for Kim to see but he had to get her there. He concocted this new "curl your toes" testimony which resulted in the phone call to her.

It was always about Kim over himself as when Lalo killed Hamlin. He convinced Lalo to let Kim go assuming Lalo would stay there and kill her (or him). I think he was hoping she'd just keep driving somewhere far away. He was not concerned about life in prison - it's her forgiveness he wanted over all else and he couldn't live with himself in or out of prison without it.
 

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There needed to be a lightbulb moment where Jimmy realized that he wasn't meant for the outside world
In the prison kitchen -- "I got you Saul" ... was that moment. He's among his element, where he belongs. Where he finally has the respect he's craved his entire life.

4 words, very poignant, IMO. Kinda wraps the whole thing up and makes sense of the entire allocution.
 

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All About Footwork
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What a great post! In my opinion you’ve completely captured what was going through Jimmy/Saul’s mind.

I came here because I really needed people to explain the ending to me. You nailed it.
@DevdogAZ did summarize it very well. I completely agree that this was what the show was trying to show us.

The only problem I have is that it was stupid :D

Other problems people here have noted is how Saul had no escape plan. He didn't even have a hoard of cash and a "go" bag. Add to it that Kim had very little Hamlin's wife would sue her for, and this redemption seemed very forced and sudden (only explained by flashbacks that seemed hastily arranged at the end and felt more like cameos).
 

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I said it before he hated the Gene life this was a ticket to a life he would emjoy.
 

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He didn't stick with the seven years because Gilligan/Gould/Odenkirk didn't want everyone bugging them for a movie or reboot in seven years.
I want a Saul in Prison show now, though.
 

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To me, Jimmy needed to regain his identity - and the stakes needed to be high (this is TV after all). So the price he paid for becoming the good Jimmy again is 86 years in prison (the number 86 means to throw away or kill something, so I'm sure it was picked on purpose) rather than the negotiated-by-lies 7 years. He's not lucky 7 any more, he's sacrificial 86.

Kim has escaped Jimmy's leading her into a life of crime by imposing upon herself a kind of prison - of indecisiveness and banality. Jimmy was also leading a similar kind of life as Gene. But Kim's turnaround and fessing up showed Jimmy what the right thing to do was, and Jimmy's reclaiming of his identity showed Kim the way for reclaiming her identity. In the end, they are back to who they were again, smoking the same cigarette, and sharing a life, in a way. Jimmy almost didn't make it - he was very tempted to kill an old lady and a cancer victim. That would have been truly losing himself.

Throughout the final episode flashbacks, Jimmy's flirting with the idea of a time machine to go back and fix problems in the past is rightly pointed out by Walter White as a cheat and not worth taking seriously. Jimmy tried to do the time machine trick by telling a sob story about how he was a victim too, changing the meaning of things in his past, but when he reclaimed the truth about who he really was, he became himself again. That was the goal, not avoiding prison. Walter also could have run away at the end of his show, but he sacrificed himself for a greater good (saving Jesse, killing the Nazi cartel, and being true to himself).

The glimmer of hope in the interactions he's having in prison, rather than the disgust he had previously about the general prison population, shows how much better of a person he's become. He'll probably take Kim's lead and do legal good deeds for the other prisoners for a long time to come. But there's really no drama in that - Jimmy's identity is pretty much settled (for the better). So the show ends.
 
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