What Awaits Kim Wexler?

Photo: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Kim Wexler, that tightly ponytailed, straight-talking defender of justice, has grown into the defining character of Better Call Saul over the prequel series’ six seasons. Kim’s own steady moral decline has given her just as much development as the man with the titular pseudonym — arguably more — but she is conspicuously absent from her husband’s life in Breaking Bad. Theories and speculation about what might happen to the character have circulated since the very beginning, and now, faced with the final six episodes, the question of what happens to Kim looms larger than ever.

There is a lot that we do know, any and all of which could inform Kim’s ultimate fate. We know that Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are reprising their roles as the meth-cooking duo Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. We also know that characters including Mike and Gus will survive. And we know that Jimmy and Kim are separated during Breaking Bad. However, when Lalo Salamanca shot a hole in the head of Howard Hamlin (RIP), he also blew the doors wide open on Kim’s future. With Better Call Saul’s final run set to commence on July 11, audiences don’t have long to wait before that future is revealed. So with anticipation and no small amount of dread, we’re rounding up all the likely and not-so-likely outcomes awaiting Kim Wexler. Long live Kim Wexler (we hope).

Outcome No. 1: Kim dies

It’s extremely unlikely that Better Call Saul is going to kill off Kim Wexler. Rhea Seehorn herself has all but ruled it out, saying, when asked to speculate about her character’s fate, “Death is not the only tragic end.” Of course, Seehorn’s comments could be a bluff, an attempt to misdirect viewers in order to set them up for a big surprise. And it is true that Kim is facing a fair amount of danger: After their confrontation toward the end of season five, Lalo knows that Kim is a staunch defender of her husband. He also knows that she could be an impediment to his use of Jimmy. And, of course, she is a witness to his cold-blooded murder of Howard. Kim is becoming an increasingly inconvenient problem for Lalo.

However, even if Lalo did decide to kill Kim, to assume that he’d actually be able to pull that off would be a gross underestimation of the lawyer. So whatever the risks, we’re tentatively suggesting that the audience can rest easy. Kim’s death is off the table. Just about.

Likelihood: Almost inconceivable.

Outcome No. 2: Kim takes Cliff Main’s job offer

Lalo’s murder of Howard could conceivably be the catalyst for Kim reckoning with her recent actions and deciding that enough is enough. It wouldn’t be a complete surprise if Kim, assuming she manages to navigate her way through the imminent danger, were to choose a major course correction and leave Jimmy in order to begin righting her wrongs. Luckily for Kim, she has the path for atonement already laid out. Cliff Main all but offered Kim a new start working for the Jackson Mercer Foundation, which funds legal-reform programs and seems like a perfect fit with her career as a public defender and passion for pro bono work — or, at least, it would have been if she had chosen to attend the interview rather than bring down Howard. Still, with her exceptional reputation, if Kim were to decide that she’d had enough, there is little doubt that the job would still be open to her.

Allowing Kim to go down this route and arresting her moral decline would be a satisfying subversion of tropes seen throughout Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. But in the world of Vince Gilligan’s Albuquerque, it could be too happy an ending.

Likelihood: We can hope, but brace for disappointment.

Outcome No. 3: Kim continues working with Jimmy behind the scenes

Thinking about exactly how or why Kim and Jimmy would be separated romantically but still committed to working together on various schemes is headache-inducing, but it’s worth considering. We’ve seen how committed Kim is to her husband despite his flaws, she has always shown an interest in his more discreet dealings, and has become increasingly intertwined with his schemes over the course of the series. And yet so much about Saul’s life in Breaking Bad, from the dire state of his office to his mistreatment of Francesca, just seems too messy to have Kim’s influence involved.

According to the creative team behind Better Call Saul, the show’s final set of episodes will recontextualize the events of Breaking Bad, and Kim turning out to be working with Saul behind the scenes would certainly be some hefty recontextualization. But it would raise so many more questions, and with only six episodes remaining, Better Call Saul will hopefully be focused more on answers.

Likelihood: Possible, but only just.

Outcome No. 4: Kim is enlisted to work for Mike and Gus

More likely than Kim continuing to work with Jimmy is the prospect of Kim beginning to work with Mike and Gus.

Wait, we can explain. After watching her talk down Lalo at the end of season five, Mike finally met Kim in the final season’s “Hit and Run.” It was a big moment: two of the show’s leading characters meeting for the first time and Kim taking another step closer to the world of the underground drug trade. “I think you’re made of sterner stuff,” the ex-cop told her, impressed by her perceptiveness and ability to hold her own. Now it looks as if the pair is set to meet again. At the point of the mid-season finale, Mike and Gus are searching for Lalo, Lalo is on a quest to kill Gus, and now Kim and Jimmy are stuck in the middle. Whatever happens, Mike is going to want to tie up any loose ends, and following Lalo’s deadly visit to the husband and wife, that includes Kim.

We know that Gus and Mike both survive Lalo’s hunt. We also know it’s highly likely that Kim survives. So if, in the aftermath of whatever happens to Lalo, Mike deems that Kim handled herself formidably once again, he may consider bringing her inside the tent. Her background in financial law and her increasing moral flexibility would slot nicely into Gus’s money-laundering system or be helpful in cleaning up after Mike’s more messy assignments.

But how would the collapse of Fring’s empire impact her? Wouldn’t the show have to explore that as well? Well, we know that Better Call Saul’s final episodes will feature Walt and Jesse and will take place, even to a small degree, during the events of Breaking Bad. This outcome could explain why.

Likelihood: More probable than you may think.

Outcome No. 5: Best-quality vacuum

One thing’s for certain: Kim is in some hot water. Whether it’s the imminent threat posed by Lalo or the prospect of her involvement with the Howard plot catching up with her later on, it’s easy to come up with a reason why Kim would need to leave New Mexico with a new identity. The season’s “Axe and Grind” didn’t only show Kim finding Ed Galbraith’s infamous business card, but it actually had her say the words best-quality vacuum out loud. Since that moment, her fate has seemed to be sealed.

This isn’t the kind of thread that’s just left to dangle untied. Kim using Ed’s services would perfectly explain her absence from Jimmy’s life during Breaking Bad and why the two would be unable to be in contact. It also explains why Jimmy himself seems to be well informed about the procedure of being disappeared despite the process being shrouded in secrecy. Additionally, it could feed into recent plot developments, creating a use for the Sandpiper money that is soon coming Jimmy and Kim’s way.

This outcome would open up a world of possibilities for Kim’s life during the Gene timeline of Better Call Saul. Both characters assuming new identities would be the perfect pretext for a reunion between Kim and Jimmy, allowing them to find some semblance of peace with each other amid the chaos of a post–Walter White world.

Likelihood: This is the one to beat.

Wild card: Kim is in prison

While Kim’s mother might have taught her that you can get away with bad deeds if you can find the right words, in Gilligan’s world, actions always have consequences. In the back end of season five, Kim and Jimmy had an unceremonious marriage in order to take advantage of spousal privilege, which means one married partner doesn’t have to testify against another. That setup has yet to yield a payoff, and Kim facing a prison sentence could bring together a lot of moving parts. If, for example, the murder of Howard were to somehow be pinned on the pair of lawyers, that spousal privilege could come into play as Kim faces the prospect of being on the other side of a courtroom.

This could also be a suitably ironic precursor to a major twist. Knowing that Jimmy is on the run in his Gene timeline, Kim would be able to use information about her husband as a bargaining plea for some leniency and begin repairing her own life. What would it take for Kim to go that far? Better Call Saul could take Kim anywhere, so it’s not entirely out of the question, but it would be a serious departure for the Kim we’ve grown to know and love.

Likelihood: A complete gamble. Embrace this one at your own risk.

What Awaits Kim Wexler?