‘Better Call Saul’: Fans Have a Surprising Theory About Why Howard Hamlin is So Desperate to Have Jimmy McGill Work at HHM

There are several simultaneous storylines right now on the hit AMC Breaking Bad prequel, Better Call Saul. Kim and Jimmy are working together to take down her client, Mesa Verde, though his latest move didn’t sit well with her and resulted in a dramatic fight and a surprise proposal. Meanwhile, Jimmy is being drawn into the bitter feud between Gus Fring and the Salamancas that’s guaranteed to end in bloodshed. Mike is fighting his inner demons.

Howard Hamlin’s relentless pursuit of Jimmy to come back and work at HHM feels like a frivolous, silly side story that’s just meant for some comic relief. But between the hookers, the bowling balls, and Howard’s endless reserves of namaste, is there really more to it than meets the eye?

[Spoiler Alert: Spoilers ahead for Better Call Saul, Season 5]

Jimmy McGill and Howard Hamlin
Jimmy and Howard | Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Howard Hamlin won’t take no for an answer

In his wildest dreams, Jimmy McGill couldn’t have predicted that Howard would offer him a job at Hamlin, Hamlin, McGill during that very awkward lunch meeting. In some ways, the offer serves as vindication for Jimmy because it’s the one thing he wanted for his whole life — to be seen as an equal to his older brother, Chuck. But unfortunately, the offer comes as too little, too late.

That scene could have served as the end of the road for that storyline and just been a nice way to cap off the drama between Jimmy and Howard. But instead, Howard takes Jimmy’s brush off response that he’d “consider it” and get back to him as fact.

Over the next few episodes, Howard keeps pestering Jimmy and asking if he’ll come work for HHM. But why?

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Fans wonder if Howard needs Jimmy’s help at HHM

Showrunners Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould are careful about the details of the show, from the subtle references they make to Breaking Bad to the immense amount of foreshadowing they’ve been doing about the rest of the season. There’s little chance they’re using the Howard Hamlin job offer storyline as pure comedy.

Fans on the Better Call Saul Facebook group posit that perhaps Howard got into something sinister at HHM. Remember, last season the firm was facing financial troubles following Chuck’s death. They most likely lost clients during that time, they had to pay out to Chuck’s estate, and they were doing massive layoffs. It looked like the firm could go under.

Yet when Jimmy and Howard meet for lunch in Season 5, Howard claims the firm is doing “better than ever.” What happened to get everything back on track? And more importantly, could Jimmy’s potential position there have something to do with covering up illegal activity?

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Getting lost in those Hamlindigo Blues.

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We haven’t seen the last of Howard Hamlin yet

It’s clear from the past few episodes of Better Call Saul that Howard isn’t going to take Jimmy’s non-answer as an answer. It’s also interesting how Jimmy hasn’t told Howard to go to hell yet — at least, not directly. The audience knows that Jimmy is behind the bowling ball assault of Howard’s car and the hookers masquerading as clients who embarrassed him at lunch. But does Howard know Jimmy is behind his latest woes?

There’s a separate theory that Kim could end up becoming romantically involved with Howard which would guarantee that Jimmy never spoke to her again. That’s seeming less likely now that Kim proposed marriage to Jimmy at the end of Episode 6. But if there’s anything we’ve learned about Better Call Saul, it’s that you can never predict where it’ll go next.

Catch new episodes of Better Call Saul Monday nights at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.