(SPOILERS for Better Call Saul will obviously be found below.)
After six episodes of buildup, Jimmy and Kim will enact their plan / scheme / chicanery against Howard during tonight’s midseason finale of Better Call Saul. But if you’re wondering, “Uh, what is Jimmy and Kim’s plan / scheme / chicanery again? I mean, I totally know. I’m just asking for a friend,” we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything we’ve learned about what Jimmy and Kim — and their desire for revenge fueled by anger, resentment, and a multi-million dollar Sandpiper payout — have in store for Howard.
The first time the Howard plan comes up this season is in the premiere, when Kim tells Jimmy, “I think there’s a way to get Sandpiper settled and leave him standing. Bruised, maybe, but still standing. Maybe the trick is, we’re not working on Howard, not at first. Maybe we start with Cliff Main.” Jimmy isn’t so sure about the idea, but Kim is determined. The plan has to be paced right, it has to make sense, and it has to stand up in court. “There has to be a reason for everything,” she says.
Jimmy plants a bag of “white powder” in Howard’s locker, so Cliff sees it falls out.
Jimmy and Kim pitch potential (fake) ways of getting Cliff to take a meeting, “but not the case,” when Kim comes up with an idea that Jimmy is going to hate: the Kettlemans. Betsy and Craig are now running a shady tax preparation service, which Jimmy and Kim use to their advantage. Jimmy tells the Kettlemans that Craig didn’t receive “proper counsel” from Howard because he may have been using a “certain illegal powder” at the time. The magic phrase is “ineffective assistance of counsel.” The Kettlemans take the claim to Cliff, but he declines to take their case. So do three other lawyers.
Betsy thinks she’s figures Jimmy out, that he’s using her and Craig’s name to “character assassinate” Howard (she’s not wrong!), but that’s only the carrot. Kim brings the stick: if Betsy and Craig don’t forget the name “Howard Hamlin,” she’ll report them — and the refund scam they’re running — to the IRS. “You think you’ve lost everything?” she tells them. “You have no idea.” Don’t come between Kim Wexler and her own scam.
Jimmy and Kim (with help from Huell) obtain a copy of the keys to Howard’s car. After completing his assignment, Huell wonders why Jimmy is going through all this when he makes decent money as a lawyer. “I know, from the outside, this looks like just another scam. But you’re not seeing the bigger picture,” he says, adding, “Trust me, we’re doing the Lord’s work here.” Huell is not convinced, and neither is Jimmy, honestly.
While Howard is in a therapy session, Jimmy “borrows” his car, picks up a sex worker named Wendy, and speeds past Cliff, who’s in a meeting with Kim. He kicks Wendy out of the vehicle in sight of Cliff, making it appear that Howard is a sex-crazy, drug-addicted speed maniac. (Jimmy is also dressed as Howard at the time, which is truly unsettling.)
The plan to make Howard come across as an unreliable drug addict with a secret seedy personal life is working so far. Cliff confronts Howard about his problem. Howard agrees, he does have a problem: a Jimmy McGill problem. He attempts to solve this problem by challenging Jimmy to a boxing match at a local gym (Howard wins).
Kim meets with her former-paralegal from Schweikart & Cokely, Viola (Lane from Gilmore Girls), to catch up over a friendly lunch — or so Viola thinks. Kim is actually using her to get information, specifically the name of the mustached judge assigned to the Sandpiper case, Rand Casimiro.
Howard has hired a private investigator to follow Jimmy, who is caught taking out $20,000 in cash.
Jimmy tests out a drug that he and Kim plan to use in their scheme at the veterinary office of Dr. Caldera (he of the Little Black Book).
Jimmy has receptionist Francesca call Hamlin, Hamlin, and McGill to get the conference call number for the Sandpiper cast meeting. We also learn that the mediation session will take place at the HHM office, where Jimmy and Kim enjoy a late-night picnic together the night before D-Day.
Uh oh. Cliff invites Kim to a luncheon in Santa Fe to meet with folks from the Jackson Mercer Foundation, which helps fund justice reform programs. Kim agrees, but the meeting is the same day as D-Day, a.k.a. when her and Jimmy’s plan is supposed to go into effect. Jimmy tells her to take the meeting (“Was Eisenhower at Omaha Beach? No!”), but on D-Day, he sees Judge Rand Casimiro at the liquor store with a broken arm. This is a problem. Jimmy and Kim hired a Rand lookalike to pose in a series of incriminating photos involving the cash that Jimmy took out from the bank to presumably discredit the actual Judge Rand Casimiro, but their doppelgänger isn’t injured. There’s no cast. Jimmy proposes trying again on another day, but Kim isn’t having it. “It happens today,” she says before turning the car around. So long, Santa Fe.
The “KABOOM” is on.