Here's What Jimmy Was Really Trying To Accomplish In The Better Call Saul Finale

Jimmy McGill evaded consequences for years. He got away with fraud and escalated a conflict that led to the death of his brother. He got away with making deals with the cartel, and spent two years building Walter White's meth empire. But in the end, Carol Burnett finally made "Better Call Saul" face consequences.

Of course, Saul Goodman does not go down without a fight. When he is captured in Nebraska, Saul pulls one last shocking scam, plays the victim card once again, and manages to cut a lifetime in jail down to a seven-year sentence deal. It is the perfect con, a true act of magic, but then something changes. When he hears Kim already confessed her knowledge and involvement in Howard Hamlin's death, Saul has a change of heart.

In what may go down as one of the best and most riveting courtroom scenes in TV history, Saul pulls his biggest transformation yet and becomes Jimmy McGill once again. He blows up his perfect deal and instead is sentenced to spend the rest of his days in prison. But while that could be interpreted as Jimmy trying to save or protect Kim, that is far from what he was trying to accomplish.

A breakup, a phone call, and a confession

From the very beginning, Kim was shown to be the only person who truly saw Jimmy. She saw him as the brilliant lawyer that he was, one that cared, one that may cheat the system, but did it for reasons he believed to be justified. She knew how much Chuck and the system hurt him. And she also recognized when he lied, both to her, to others, and to himself. When Chuck died and Jimmy said he was fine, she saw the truth beneath the lie.

Things changed when, after a painful breakup, they are pseudo-reunited after six years via one fateful phone call. During the call, Kim tells Jimmy he should turn himself in. This infuriates Jimmy, who suggests Kim should turn herself in if she feels so guilty. Well, that is exactly what she did, as she went ahead and confessed the truth behind Howard Hamlin's murder to alleviate her guilt. As for Jimmy, he goes back to being Saul instead, pulling another scam.

When, in the last episode, Jimmy hears that Kim followed through with his challenge and actually confessed, sacrificing everything and putting herself at risk of a civil lawsuit, he realized what he did.

Will the real Jimmy McGill please stand up

Here's the thing. Jimmy McGill is smart enough to know nothing he'd say in court would actually save Kim from a civil suit. She already confessed on the record. What he could do, however, is match her confession with one of his own. He could finally stop lying to himself and to others, confront his past, own his mistakes, and face the consequences. 

This is why the key to his confession is not the admission of being a willing participant in Walt's criminal empire. It also isn't his admission of knowing what really happened to Howard. The key to Jimmy's confession and transformation was admitting that he was the cause of Chuck losing his malpractice insurance, something that led to his death.

As far as we know, Kim didn't know about this, but that moment is what showed her that he was being truthful about his confession, and it was that moment that was Jimmy's sacrifice. He wasn't saying those things to save Kim. He wasn't saying those things to try and lower any sentence — the judge didn't care about the Chuck stuff — he was saying those things to prove to Kim that he was actually remorseful, that he had skeletons in his closet that he wanted to get rid off. He matched her confession with one of his own, and just like Kim faced Cheryl Hamlin knowing it would cause her great hardship, so does Jimmy confess fully aware he's going to suffer for the rest of his life.

The moment of truth

As Bob Odenkirk said after the finale aired, this was Jimmy finally being himself and finally being truthful with himself for once. He is not trying to save Kim, but to show that he isn't fully lost. "He does it because he loves Kim, and he does it because he knows that in the long run, it's the thing that's going to show her that he was always a really good guy. And not a broken snake."

This is why the flashback scenes throughout the episode are important. Following the format of "A Christmas Carol," Jimmy is visited by three ghosts, as he ponders the question of whether he has any regrets. While Jimmy is speaking his truth in court literally, he also speaks his truth metaphorically when we get to the final flashback and see Jimmy truly regrets not making more of an effort to build a relationship with his brother.

After spending years denying he had any love left for the man, the finale's biggest reveal was that Jimmy genuinely loved his brother and regretted how things ended up, and his moment of truth was towards himself in order to save his soul rather than someone else's.