Winner (Better Call Saul)
|Better Call Saul episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4|
|Directed by||Adam Bernstein|
|Written by||Peter Gould|
|Original air date||October 8, 2018|
|Running time||60 minutes|
"Winner" is the tenth and final episode of the fourth season of the AMC television series Better Call Saul, the spinoff series of Breaking Bad. The episode aired on October 8, 2018 on AMC in the United States.
In flashback to 1998, Chuck provides the ritual introduction and stands beside Jimmy as Jimmy is inducted into the New Mexico bar. Kim joins Jimmy and Chuck and other HHM employees at a karaoke bar to celebrate. Chuck is about to leave but a drunken Jimmy convinces Chuck to stay and join him for karaoke with "The Winner Takes It All" by ABBA. Chuck helps Jimmy home and to bed. They both drift off to sleep, repeating the song they sang together at the bar.
In 2004, Mike arranges a search party to locate Werner Ziegler, while he tries to track down Werner through a money wire agency by pretending to be Werner's brother-in-law and convincing the clerk to let him look at the security camera footage. After confirming that Werner had been there, Mike meets with Gus and shows him the note Werner left indicating he would be gone for four days to be with his wife, and would return to complete the work on the meth lab. Gus confirms that Werner's wife is due at the Denver International Airport within the day. Mike convinces Gus to let him try to find Werner and make him return rather than kill him. While reviewing the transcript of the last call Werner made to his wife from the warehouse, Mike discovers that he is likely going to a local hot spring, and begins calling hotels near facilities in the New Mexico area.
Lalo stakes out Gus' chicken farm, where he sees Gus, Victor, and Tyrus leaving to search for Werner. He follows and observes the meeting between Gus and Mike. He tails Mike as Mike continues to search for Werner, but Mike notices the car that's following him and evades it. Lalo goes back to the money wire agency where he saw Mike meet with Gus, but the clerk refuses to give him any information, so he kills the clerk and reviews the security camera footage that shows Mike picking up tourist pamphlets for the hot springs. Lalo calls hotels until he locates Werner and then places a call to him in which Lalo pretends to work for Gus, enabling him to extract some details of Werner's work on the "superlab" before Mike arrives at Werner's location and ends the call. Mike takes Werner to a remote site and calls Gus to inform him of Lalo's activities. Gus realizes that Lalo knows about Werner and can trace his work back to Gus, so he intends to send men to kill Werner, but Mike persuades Gus to let him do it. Mike has Werner call his wife at the airport and convince her to return to Germany, then assures him that his men will be sent home without incident. He also promises to make Werner's death look like an accident and ensure there's a believable story for authorities to accept, so that his wife will know he died. Werner walks off to look up at the stars and Mike shoots him in the head. Later, Mike meets Gus at the construction site, which Gus is showing to Gale, and it is revealed that the underground meth "superlab" has been created in accordance with Gale's design.
On the anniversary of Chuck's death, Jimmy and Kim place "in memoriam" ads in the local newspapers. Jimmy then spends the day feigning mourning at Chuck's gravesite as several of Chuck's former associates visit it. Later that day, Howard holds a celebration to dedicate a law library reading room in Chuck's name, at which he announces HHM's recovery from its recent setbacks. The reading room was paid for by an anonymous donor, but Kim and Drama Girl, who's working as a server at the catered event, reveal to the guests as gossip the fact that Jimmy was the anonymous donor. Kim has Jimmy use these events to his advantage prior to the re-instatement appeal, hoping to influence the panel by showing that despite how he appeared during his first hearing, Jimmy is actually grief-stricken over Chuck's death. Later, Jimmy and Howard sit on a panel reviewing potential candidates for scholarships in Chuck's name. Jimmy focuses on Christy, a student whose background includes a shoplifting charge when she was younger, and tries unsuccessfully to persuade the other board members to award her a scholarship. He follows her out to give her the bad news, and tells her the results were predetermined because the wealthy and powerful will never look past her mistake. He uses the same phrase Chuck used to cut ties with him - that she's "not all that important" to them - and encourages her not to stick to the straight and narrow path she is trying to follow, but to cut corners and do whatever is necessary to succeed because "the winner takes it all". In the parking garage afterward, Jimmy's car won't start and he weeps uncontrollably out of frustration for Christy's situation, recognizing the similarities between her circumstances and his.
When Jimmy returns home, Kim is preparing a speech for Jimmy to use at his appeal, and he makes the same point about himself that he made to Christy about her situation - that no matter how hard he tries to overcome his past, the people with wealth and power won't let him. At his appeal hearing, Jimmy begins to use Chuck's last letter to him as part of his argument, but stops midway and gives a seemingly impromptu speech about his remorse for Chuck's death, how much Chuck influenced his decision to pursue the law as a career, and how hard he'll work to be worthy of the McGill name if he's reinstated. Jimmy's speech earns visibly emotional expressions from the panel and from Kim. He wins reinstatement and then stuns Kim by revealing that his speech was actually an insincere performance. When the panel's secretary arrives to lead Jimmy to the office where he'll fill out the paperwork so he can regain his law license, he asks for a doing business as form and states his intention not to practice law under the name "McGill". As he walks down the hall, an even more shocked Kim asks Jimmy what he's doing. He briefly turns around to face her and says "S'all good, man!"
This episode includes guest appearances from Michael McKean as Chuck and Brandon K. Hampton as Ernesto, both of whom appear in the flashback. In Episode 1 of Season 1 ("Uno"), Jimmy displays his post-meeting frustration with Howard by kicking a dented trash can located inside the doorway between the HHM office building and parking garage, causing it further damage. In this episode, the same still-dented trash can is visible as Jimmy returns to his car after following Christy out of her meeting with the scholarship committee.
"Winner" received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, it garnered a perfect 100% rating with an average score of 9.1/10 based on 15 reviews. The site's critical consensus is, "An excellent ending to a bittersweet season, 'Winner' ties up loose threads while priming each of Better Call Saul's excellently drawn characters for the coming danger."
"Winner" was watched by 1.53 million viewers on its first broadcast, earning a 0.5 ratings for viewers between 18 and 49.
- Nerdcore Movement (October 9, 2018). "'Better Call Saul' Season 4 Finale Recap 'Winner': It's All Good, Man". Nerdcoremovement.com.
- Sepinwall, Alan (October 8, 2018). "'Better Call Saul' Season Finale Recap: Winner Takes It All". Rolling Stone. New York, NY.
- "Directing Credits, Adam Bernstein". IMDB. Seattle, WA: Amazon. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
- "Winner". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
- Welch, Alex (October 9, 2018). "Monday cable ratings: 'Better Call Saul' finale holds steady, 'Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood' dips". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved October 9, 2018.