SPOILER ALERT: This article contains details of tonight’s Better Call Saul 6A finale.
EXCLUSIVE: “I mean, we lived together for the majority of the season, and he is absolutely my big brother.” Better Call Saul’s Rhea Seehorn says of co-star Patrick Fabian after his Howard Hamlin character met a sudden end in tonight’s conclusion of the first part of the Breaking Bad prequel’s final season on AMC.
“We’re very close and I love him, and it also was just another side of like, ‘Oh, right, the show is actually ending,’” said the acclaimed actress who portrays self-destructing lawyer Kim Wexler on the series created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould. “Like for real. Like they’re not going to take this back. It’s happening.”
After Kim and perpetual con man Jimmy McGill’s (Bob Odenkirk) drawn-out revenge trap on the arrogant Hamlin snaps shut in his disgrace and embarrassment, the Thomas Schnauz-directed and -penned “Plan and Execution” episode finds the HHM partner almost incidentally shot dead for being in the wrong place at the wrong time by bloodless drug kingpin Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton). For a show that prides itself on the mayhem of the seemingly minuscule, tonight’s seventh episode in the 13-episode sixth and final season eschews the traditional midseason cliffhanger. Among other moves, the episode instead pivots Better Call Saul toward what many presume is a tragic consequence for Wexler as she spirals into an abyss – or not.
Because while we know the New Mexico-set series also starring Jonathan Banks and Giancarlo Esposito will end up with the beginning of the rise of Walter White in the Bryan Cranston- and Aaron Paul-led BB, how BCS gets us there remains a mystery. Well, except to those like Seehorn among the inner circle, but they ain’t talking.
Stressing how she can keep the Saul secrets, an FYC-busy Seehorn spoke with me about what might or might come next and Fabian’s abrupt exit for the Season 6A Better Call Saul closer. Laying out how “tragic, disturbing, incredibly thoughtful” it will all be in the end, Seehorn generously revealed what a fan she is of her own show, and the power of interpretation.
DEADLINE: That killing of Howard at the end by Lalo was a real shocker, not at all where I thought this midseason finale was going to go after the scam was successfully pulled off by Kim and Jimmy. What’s your take on Howard’s death from a very up-close-and-personal perspective?
SEEHORN: I just thought Patrick played it beautifully, and it was not easy. Patrick did such a beautiful job of that very complicated journey his character has to go on in this episode and the one before where … you know, that place we’ve all been in when you’re trying to argue your innocence. Like, “I’m not on drugs. I’m not.” Everyone is like, “Yeah, that’s what people on drugs say.”
DEADLINE: How did you learn about the death?
SEEHORN: It wasn’t until we got that script, and I audibly gasped reading the script.
SEEHORN: Because I was just kind of, “Oh, this is dangerous. Oh, my God. This is going to be bad. Oh, my gosh. Oh. What’s going to happen?” And then it’s written in the same kind of language that you witnessed it as far as like it’s a regular sentence and then it just cut off, you know, like that — pffft !– and you’re like “Wait, what.” Then he falls and hits his head. It’s brutal.
We rehearsed it extensively like we do on the show and there’s tremendous sadness about it because it’s my friend Patrick Fabian, my brother at this point. So, once you get through that you start getting down to you know you need to do your job. I had to start digging into how Kim would feel in this moment, and she’s so in control even when things outside of her are out of her control. She suppresses and compartmentalizes and all that, but as you justifiably saw, there’s this book ending of how she responded last time Lalo came here and how she rose to the occasion and what she does this time.
DEADLINE: What was it like saying goodbye to Patrick after all these years working together?
SEEHORN: I was sad.
I mean, we lived together for the majority of the season, and he is absolutely my big brother. We’re very close and I love him, and it also was just another side of like, “Oh, right, the show is actually ending. Like for real. Like they’re not going to take this back. It’s happening.” It was sad.
Also, when it comes to Patrick, I liked having him around. I like his work. I like his contribution to the show. But I was thrilled that they gave him so much to do in these last couple of moments because I think he’s a tremendous actor and I knew he would not only rise to the occasion but surpass it. So that’s the part we’d have to celebrate. It’s like OK, if you got to go, at least you’re going to go in fashion.
DEADLINE: In terms of the show, the death of Howard comes as yet another consequence of Kim and Jimmy’s actions — do they have any true comprehension of that? Of the blast radius of death and destruction around them?
SEEHORN: I mean, this is the embodiment of what Kim and Jimmy have been pretending is not true this whole season — that there are no consequences to their actions. That they’re not actually harming anyone, and now a person is dying at their feet, and I think that is a seismic shift that would happen in somebody when that goes down. It remains to be seen where Kim will go with that, what she will do with it. It’s traumatic.
It was traumatic to think about it and play it then deal with it, much like you’re saying to just deal with this sort of violence, to be that out of the blue and out of context, and yet, I’m playing Kim who is intelligent enough and self-aware enough that I believe that she would understand this is not out of the blue, but it all happens so fast too. It’s like how fast can you even process something like that. I think it’s utter shock at first. Yeah. It’s a lot.
DEADLINE: This episode and final season so far has planted so many stakes in the ground, specifically for Kim. You know, there’s always the perpetual rumor that there’s going to be a spinoff with you in it because we all want there to be a spinoff with you in it …
SEEHORN: Thank you. That’s very kind. Thank you.
DEADLINE: So, let me ask you this, with no spoilers: Is Kim done when Saul the show is all done?
SEEHORN: You know, Peter and Vince have said publicly that though they feel that there are stories, mine included, that are worthwhile to continue to tell, that they do want to step away from this franchise for a beat. So that’s all I can say about that. You’d have to ask them for specifics beyond that. Nobody is being coy about anything, but I’m also very grateful that they and fans feel like there is an ellipse to who Kim is and who Kim was.
DEADLINE: In that, with a spinoff or no spinoff, where it all ends up, Howard’s death and the ethos of Better Call Saul, how hard is it to keep all what’s going to occur a secret?
SEEHORN: Not hard at all.
SEEHORN: My fiancé does not have any idea what happens, and because we shot some things out of order and did some reshoots and things like that, he doesn’t even know exactly how long or how many episodes that we have. I can totally keep a secret because I have the great fortune of the people in my life that are watching this show are not watching it just because I’m in it, which happens sometimes with loved ones. They are huge fans.
Even the person in the grocery store, whenever they’re like, “Oh, my God, what happens to Kim? You have to tell me.” I can’t even start to tell them I can’t before they say, “I mean, don’t. Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know.” Their investment, I wouldn’t ruin that for the world. I wish I could watch every single person watching it.
DEADLINE: With all the speculation of what happens to Kim, because of her lack of apparent presence in Breaking Bad, that U-turn in last week’s episode to return to Albuquerque to revive the scheme against Howard was seminal for Kim’s full descent into her own kind of evil. Huge reaction to that, but I want to go to the source – who is Kim Wexler in your eyes at this point?
SEEHORN: That U-turn is predicated by another glimpse into the bifurcation that’s going on with her. This compartmentalizing that has gone off the deep end in my opinion, and that’s when Francesca is congratulating her on their wedding and asking where they’re registered, and there’s this beautiful, small moment where Kim has never forgotten that she’s in love with Jimmy but those sort of more traditional ways to celebrate their union and to walk amongst the living and be a normal person. I’m not sure that Kim ever dreamed of that sort of life anyway.
So I don’t know that it’s a loss to her, but what is it that she did think she wanted to be or do or how did she picture her life? I’m not going to answer those things because one of the things I love about the show is that they are brave enough to leave things open to interpretation.
DEADLINE: How do you mean?
SEEHORN: I have always agreed with Peter when I had asked him like, “Are you doing a lot of like flashbacks or answering this question or that question?” He said part of the allure of Kim is that she is inscrutable and enigmatic at times and she is as complex as we think she is. She is all of these things that we’re thinking, and if you answer too many of those questions, you sort of crush that.
So that’s why I’m sort of talking around in circles because I don’t actually like to tell people exactly what I’m thinking. I make very specific decisions when I’m playing her, but in my opinion, this is somebody who compartmentalized and suppressed and took care of herself as a super power at one time and it turned into a character flaw because she truly believes that she can manage everything.
DEADLINE: So with months to go before it is all over and in the world, how are you feeling in this time of suspended animation as we wait for the final episodes to start on July 11?
SEEHORN: In this case, there is a positive effect of that suspension, which is we get to grieve a little bit in steps. Because it’s like it hasn’t fully hit us, the cast, that we’re not going back next season because we always do. We take a break, and you have a hiatus, and then it airs. So I don’t think until we’re watching these final episodes unfold will it start to truly, truly sink in. It was a very tearful goodbye for each of us when we left set on our own timelines.
It’s hard and yet at the same time I had a lot of excitement about critics like yourself that have been so with us on the whole journey and getting the subtext, and getting really subtle, difficult things that we were trying to play and going on that journey. I feel like what they wrote for this season is so respectful of that kind of intelligent watching. There is nothing cheap about where we go from here to the end. It was tragic, disturbing, incredibly thoughtful.
I’m a fan of the show as well as being in it and you know these guys’ writing. There’s nothing quite like it, and it was very, very challenging to shoot this season because it is so great.
Nailed it. #BetterCallSaul pic.twitter.com/4z5FEhJPbu
— Better Call Saul (@BetterCallSaul) May 24, 2022
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