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May 18, 2022
Better Call Saul Season 6, Episode 5 Supports Howard Hamlin Death Theories
Many suspect Howard Hamlin could die in Better Call Saul's final season. 'Black & Blue' goes a long way toward supporting those theories.

Will Howard die in Better Call Saul season 6? Recent developments certainly point towards that morbid outcome. For Better Call Saul‘s final trick, Jimmy McGill and Kim Wexler are putting the heat on former boss Howard Hamlin. In order to bank Jimmy’s money from the Sandpiper case (and get a little revenge on a man they aren’t particularly fond of), the conniving couple are working to ruin Howard’s professional reputation by framing him as a crumbling drug addict. They’ve already planted drugs in his locker, provoked bogus accusations from a former client, and staged a very public meltdown with Wendy the sex worker.

In Better Call Saul season 6’s “Black & Blue,” Howard finally wises up. After being confronted about the Wendy incident by a duped Cliff Main, Howard does the math: public performance + unidentified sex worker + Kim Wexler = Jimmy McGill. Under the extremely cunning alias H.O. Ward, the disgruntled lawyer ambushes Jimmy at a boxing gym and, quite bizarrely, demands a match. However, it’s what comes after their humiliating bout that feeds into theories Howard Hamlin will die before Better Call Saul ends.

Clutching his ribs and dripping with a mixture of testosterone and toxic masculinity, Howard exits the gym and immediately rendezvous with a private investigator he hired to follow Jimmy’s every movement. Evidently, a rough-up in the ring has not quelled Howard Hamlin’s anger – he plots to drag “Saul Goodman” down permanently. Echoes of Walter White’s famous “I AM the one who knocks” speech come to mind here. Howard is woefully underestimating the man Jimmy McGill has become in Better Call Saul, believing he’s still Slippin’ Jimmy, Chuck’s meddlesome, no-good prankster of a younger brother. The HHM boss may now know Jimmy represented Lalo Salamanca, but plainly still thinks his tormentor is a small-time lawyer so desperate for work he’ll represent anyone.

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Howard has absolutely no idea Jimmy McGill is so deep in cartel waters only a small brown quiff of hair remains flapping on the surface. Moving well beyond the amusing antics of his former conman days, Jimmy has faced down a gun-toting uber-criminal, survived a shootout, trekked through the desert carrying a bag of illegal cash, become embroiled in the machinations of the DEA’s most wanted, and actively helped cover up a murder. Just as Skyler White didn’t know she was dealing with Heisenberg rather than Walter White, Howard Hamlin is completely oblivious he’s gunning for Saul Goodman now – and that brings an infinitely greater risk of danger. In hiring a PI to dig up Jimmy McGill’s darkest secrets, Howard is poking his nose into a world he’s not remotely prepared to handle. A world the ill-equipped rarely exit alive.

There are two ways Howard Hamlin’s investigation into Jimmy McGill could end with bloodshed. Perhaps the private investigator gets picked up by Mike’s men, then immediately gives up Howard’s name under interrogation. The HHM lawyer then gets a not-very-friendly visit from either Gus Fring’s goons, or some other cartel enforcer looking to teach Howard a lesson in minding his own business.

If not the cartel, could Howard’s campaign push Jimmy and Kim to even more extreme measures? The husband and wife tag-team have already been busy destroying Howard in Better Call Saul season 6 – and that’s before he did anything to seriously wrong them. Now their enemy is trying to fight back by playing dirty himself, Jimmy and Kim’s tactics (and Kim’s in particular, since she’s made of “sterner stuff”) might escalate with deadly consequences.

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