Better Call Saul has unsurprisingly remained one of television's best dramas with the viewer-friendly Season 5, with Bob Odenkirk's Jimmy McGill fully shifting into his Saul Goodman persona first introduced in Breaking Bad. Viewers are definitely watching to see how Saul's emergence affects his relationship with Rhea Seehorn's Kim, but on a smaller scale, it's been nearly as interesting to see Patrick Fabian's Howard Hamlin maintaining his place in the ensemble.
At the surface, Howard would be justified in putting as much distance between himself and Jimmy as possible. Yet he purposefully reached out to offer Jimmy a job at HHM, and barely balked at the Saul Goodman name change. While it might have come off as a suspicious move in previous years, it was presented as genuine in that moment. Speaking with CinemaBlend and several other outlets at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, Bob Odenkirk shed some light on the impetus for Howard's recent offer.
Though Howard Hamlin was presented as something of a smooth-talking antagonist in Better Call Saul's early years, a lot of that rust was knocked off whenever the show hammered home that Michael McKean's Chuck McGill had always been Jimmy's true obstacle in life. (Beyond his own selfish instincts, I guess.) And while Howard had always followed Chuck's guidance without question, he later came to understand that Chuck had misled him in many ways, particularly concerning Jimmy's skills as a lawyer.
Hindsight also gave Howard some perspective on the ways he was responsible for allowing Chuck and his ego to fly so high without proper regulation, which bled into the elder McGill's mental instability and, in some ways, Chuck's own death.
Patrick Fabian and Rhea Seehorn also sat down with CinemaBlend and others at TCA, and when Fabian was asked if he agreed with Bob Odenkirk's assessment of Howard's true feelings about Jimmy, he reflected on Howard's journey from his high horse to a more centrist position.
Indeed, Howard appeared to be as completely genuine as Howard can appear when he offered Jimmy/Saul a position at HHM, allowing him to retake the McGill name within the company's title. While I doubt he was 100% mentally behind the decision in every sense, I can imagine that Howard had more than enough faith in Jimmy's skills as a lawyer and an employee to want to bring him back around. Had HHM been on a downward spiral, it'd be a completely different story.
On the flip side of things, Jimmy's disinterest in returning to HHM in any capacity was showcased by him secretly launching bowling balls at Howard's fancy car. And yet, the show continues to make a point in showing that Jimmy isn't simply interested in ignoring and avoiding Howard. Here's how Patrick Fabian worded it.
Better Call Saul is full of interesting character couplets that only get more intriguing over time, with Howard and Jimmy's often awkward relationship having lasted longer than most others. It might be impossible for Jimmy to back-walk destroying Howard's car, so it should be fun to see where they stand with each other when Season 5 comes to a close, which will leave just one season left for Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan to wrap things up completely.
Will Jimmy ever go one step too far before Better Call Saul ends, inevitably turning Howard into a true nemesis? Could Howard find a way to draw Kim back to HHM after figuring out that Jimmy won't ever go back? Would that kind of betrayal be the straw that breaks the Jimmy/Kim camel's back?
Better Call Saul airs on AMC every Monday night at 9:00 p.m. ET.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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