This article contains spoilers for Better Call Saul season 6.
There are cons and then there are long cons.
Ever since Jimmy McGill a.k.a. Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) and Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) resolved to frame their rival Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian) for “something unforgivable” in the Better Call Saul season 5 finale, fans have eagerly awaited the arrival of that plan. As it turns out, however, revenge is a dish best served slowly and deliberately.
Throughout the first six episodes of the show’s sixth and final season, Jimmy and Kim have laid the groundwork for something major to happen to Howard. In the season’s first few episodes, the married couple successfully got Howard’s business partner Cliff Main (Ed Begley Jr.) to suspect that the hotshot lawyer may be abusing cocaine. But that’s just a soupçon of what’s really to come. In “Axe and Grind,” the last episode before the midseason finale on May 23, Jimmy and Kim acknowledge that Howard’s reckoning has nearly arrived in an event that they’ve come to dub “D-Day.”
What exactly, however, is D-Day? Neither Jimmy nor Kim have let on to the audience what Howard’s destruction will entail leading fans’ imaginations to run rampant. Still, Better Call Saul has dropped plenty of breadcrumbs for us to try to figure it out. So let’s do exactly that. What follows is a breakdown of all the clues we have for D-Day and our official prediction for what they might mean.
Framing Howard As a Cocaine Addict
In advance of the events of D-Day and the final preparations for it in “Axe and Grind,” Jimmy and Kim have already sowed the seeds for Howard’s downfall. Part one of their plan appears to be tarnishing Howard Hamlin’s pristine image. To go about doing so, Jimmy and Kim methodically implant the idea in Cliff Main’s head that Howard is a coke fiend.
For starters, Jimmy infiltrates Howard’s country club and plants a bag of white powdery substance in Howard’s locker. When Howard and Cliff return from a round of golf, Howard opens his locker only for the bag to conspicuously fall out. Shortly after that, Jimmy convinces the Kettelmans to reach out to Cliff to ask for his representation because their previous legal counsel, Howard, is rumored to have drug problems.
Those two isolated incidents certainly caught Cliff’s attention but could still be construed as coincidence or hearsay. So Jimmy and Kim embark on one final gambit to truly change Cliff’s perception of Howard. Jimmy gets a Howard-esque spray tan, steals his car, picks up a sex worker, and then tosses her out of said car right in front of Cliff. That is the coup de grace that seals the deal for Cliff. He is sure enough that Howard has a drug problem to confront him about it. Now the rest of Jimmy and Kim’s D-Day plan can proceed…whatever that is.
Howard’s Private Investigator
We don’t know this for sure but it sure does seem like Howard hiring a private investigator is all part of Jimmy and Kim’s plan. Shortly after Cliff confronts Howard about his drug use, Howard invites Jimmy to a boxing match and then hires a P.I. to spy on him. The evidence that the P.I. uncovers, however, seems a little manufactured, does it not?
The P.I. snaps photos of Saul Goodman generally being a model citizen save for one instance in which he withdraws roughly $20,000 from the bank. Doesn’t that seem like the kind of thing Jimmy knows Howard would hone in on? Howard does not know a lot about the seedy underworld Jimmy traffics in but he sure does know that there is no legitimate legal reason to withdraw $20K. Keep this incident in mind as we discuss some of the other clues.
The Vet’s Medication
Shortly into “Axe and Grind” Jimmy and Kim meet with Dr. Caldera (Joe DeRosa), the local veterinarian who also operates as an information broker and under-the-table healthcare provider to all of Albuquerque’s outlaws. Jimmy and Kim appear to have purchased a substance from him that will cause the user to experience hyperactivity. It may even just be garden variety caffeine, but an elevated dose of it.
“Depends on how used to caffeine you are,” Caldera tells Jimmy of the substance. “You’re not gonna be tripping balls but it will feel like two Red Bulls on an empty stomach. It won’t show up on any blood test. If you’re gonna do this, this is the way to go.”
Sure enough, after taking the substance Jimmy’s pupils appear to dilate and beads of sweat start to gather on his skin.
The HHM Mediation
It appears that D-Day will coincide with the day that Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill has a mediation with their clients about the Sandpiper Crossing case and whether to settle it. We know this because Jimmy has his receptionist Francesca call into HHM and pose as the daughter of one of their elderly clients, Marine Stuber, who lost her call-in information about the Mediation.
Now Jimmy knows what day and time the Mediation will be and how to access it via conference call (password: 842159 if you numerologists want to take a crack at that). Who will be the judge presiding over this mediation? Well that brings us to…
Who is Judge Rand Casimiro?
Judge Rand Casimiro is a respected New Mexican judge who has been selected to mediate the Sandpiper Crossing case. Kim was able to find out about Casimiro’s involvement in episode 5 when she visited with her former Schweikart & Cokely colleague Viola Goto. Casimiro will play a big role in D-Day, whatever that is. Jimmy and his trusty UNM film students hire an actor who resembles Casimiro to film something involving him.
Near the end of episode 6, we discover that in addition to whatever they were filming, they (or perhaps Howard’s P.I.) took some candid shots of Jimmy conspicuously handing a package to Casimiro. Unfortunately, on D-Day itself, Jimmy just happens to come across Judge Casimiro in the liquor store only to discover that he has a freshly broken arm. This renders the photos they staged useless and puts the whole operation in danger.
There’s one final bit of evidence to cover before we move onto our final theory and that’s the grand, conspiracy corkboard that Jimmy and Kim have assembled to track their plan. We’ll be honest: very few of the post-it notes on this board make sense to us right now. Presumably they will after the events of next week’s midseason finale but for now, here it is in all its glory should you want to try to decode it yourself.
What is D-Day?
And that brings us to D-Day and our prediction of what it might entail. Remember that Jimmy and Kim’s plan has two stated goals: one is to humiliate Howard by framing him for “something unforgivable” and the other is to convince HHM and the Sandpiper residents to settle the case so that the elderly plaintiffs (and more importantly: Jimmy) can get the settlement money quicker. What route could Jimmy and Kim take to ensure these two goals come to pass? If we assess all the evidence we have on hand, a rough picture begins to emerge.
Jimmy and Kim have already successfully tarnished Howard’s reputation in Cliff Main’s eyes, now they have to do so in everybody else’s. What better time to make Howard lose his cool than during a highly important event like a mediation for the Sandpiper case. Howard finding out that Jimmy and Kim were plotting something was a crucial part of their plan because now he is on edge and paranoid. They can intensify that paranoia by somehow dosing him with the caffeine-like substance provided by the vet.
Then they can have the P.I. (who is likely in Jimmy’s employ) leak the photo that appears to show Saul bribing Judge Casimiro to Howard. If they time the whole thing correctly, a sweaty, large-pupiled Howard might accuse Casimiro of being on the take during their mediation. Once Casimiro clears his name, Howard’s reputation will be in tatters and HHM will have no choice but to settle the Sandpiper case. Recall that Howard is the one at HHM pushing the Sandpiper residents to see this through to the end. Once he’s out of the way, the plaintiffs will demand quick financial relief.
There are still a lot of smaller details regarding D-Day that are unclear as to how they fit in. That aforementioned corkboard and all of its enigmatic symbols is particularly maddening. But as far as the broad strokes go for Jimmy and Kim’s plan, forcing Howard into a public meltdown seems like the most likely option.
The Better Call Saul season 6 midseason finale airs Monday, May 23 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.