Saul Goodman’s Ice Station Zebra associates company could be a major clue as to Kim Wexler’s whereabouts after Better Call Saul. Set in the years prior to Breaking Bad, the Better Call Saul spin-off charts Jimmy McGill’s transformation into the crooked criminal lawyer known as Saul Goodman. In the prequel’s first season, direct connections to the world of Breaking Bad were few and far between, but as Better Call Saul gears up for its sixth and final run, the threads between the two shows are stronger than ever, as one story begins to bleed directly into the next.
Nevertheless, Better Call Saul season 6 still has a long list of lingering, unanswered questions that must be addressed in order to fully correlate with its predecessor. What happens to Nacho Varga? How does Gus Fring get the better of Lalo Salamanca? When does the meth super-lab finally open for business? But undoubtedly the most important gap to bridge is the fate of Rhea Seehorn’s Kim Wexler. A long-standing friend and colleague of Jimmy’s, Kim eventually begins a romantic relationship with the future Saul Goodman, before their partnership takes a Bonnie and Clyde turn in seasons 4 and 5. Jimmy is clearly devoted to Kim, but not only is she absent in Breaking Bad, Jimmy doesn’t even mention her.
Obviously, this is because Vince Gilligan created Kim expressly for Better Call Saul, but the character’s vanishing act is still something that needs explaining in the Breaking Bad universe’s impressively tight continuity. The big question is whether Kim lives or dies, but other possible endings include going on the run, being sent to jail, or breaking up with Jimmy. Better Call Saul season 6 also needs to reconcile how Jimmy gets over Kim, and Breaking Bad might contain a neat solution to these pressing queries thanks to Jimmy’s holding company.
Saul’s Ice Station Zebra Associates Company In Breaking Bad
You’ve seen the commercials. Every Breaking Bad fan knows that Jimmy McGill practices law under the pseudonym “Saul Goodman” out of an unimpressive strip mall office in Albuquerque. Morally bankrupt by this point, Saul is happy to represent any sort of criminal who requests his services. Although Saul operates under the business “Saul Goodman & Associates,” he’s essentially a legal gun for hire, with no other lawyers on the company’s books. Less clear in Breaking Bad is that Saul Goodman & Associates exists under a holding company known as Ice Station Zebra Associates.
A holding company is essentially a parent body that houses several different businesses under its umbrella. For example, Sony is a holding company that comprises of many subsidiaries in music, technology, movies, etc. In Breaking Bad, Ice Station Zebra Associates is the holding company of Saul Goodman & Associates. This is highlighted in season 2, when Saul instructs that his payment be “made out to Ice Station Zebra Associates” and in season 3’s “Abiquiú” when Walt presents Skyler with his first Saul-laundered drug money check and Ice Station Zebra Associates is listed as the payer. The holding company is also referenced on some of Breaking Bad‘s fictional “Better Call Saul” commercials.
As Saul describes it, Ice Station Zebra Associates is a “totally legit” loan-out corporation created for tax purposes, since holding companies benefit from certain exemptions. Ice Station Zebra Associates is likely nothing more than a legal shell company registered with the authorities with nothing of substance behind it. But what if it’s something more?
How Better Call Saul Has Already Referenced Jimmy’s Breaking Bad Company
Better Call Saul has already sneaked several nods to Ice Station Zebra Associates in its five seasons thus far, and these draw a clear line between the Breaking Bad company and Kim Wexler. Ice Station Zebra is a 1968 spy film starring as Rock Hudson, and is mentioned by Kim as one of her father’s favorite movies in Better Call Saul season 2’s “Amarillo,” as she and Jimmy curl up on the sofa one evening to watch it. Later in the same season, Kim and Jimmy (posing as her brother, “Viktor”) run a spontaneous con on a stranger in a bar, convincing him to invest in their make-believe dating website. Kim proudly displays the check she receives, and the company name is clearly visible as “Ice Station Zebra Associates.”
The reference is clearly intended as a tribute to both Kim’s father, and to a memory Kim and Jimmy made together – like a couple who name a dog after their favorite TV character. When Jimmy sets up his holding company in Breaking Bad, he apparently reuses the name, this time as more than just a fictional matchmaking business. This provides a potential clue as to Kim’s fate in Better Call Saul season 6. While it’s possible that Jimmy simply chose the name as a reminder of a former love, the connection between Ice Station Zebra Associates and Kim Wexler could run deeper, proving she and Jimmy are still together.
How Kim Could Be Behind Jimmy’s Breaking Bad Company
One possible Better Call Saul ending for Kim Wexler is that she continues her descent into criminality with Jimmy and eventually decides to help support his growing legal practice from the shadows, setting up Ice Station Zebra Associates and laundering money for her husband’s law firm. Alternatively, Kim’s increasing appetite for scams could see her come unstuck, needing to run away from either Albuquerque’s law enforcement or Jimmy’s friends in the cartel. Instead of going their separate ways, Kim and Jimmy might use Ice Station Zebra Associates to continue working as a law-breaking married couple.
Kim was always an intelligent and professional legal mind, and it’s certainly within her character to establish a business from scratch. In Better Call Saul season 5, however, Kim truly broke bad when she came up with a scam to destroy Howard Hamlin. Throughout the Breaking Bad spin-off, Kim has been slowly dipping her toes into Jimmy’s murky world of con artistry, and she reached the point of no return in season 5’s finale. Being the brains behind Ice Station Zebra Associates would give Kim the best of both worlds – a legitimate front with a side-hustle of tax evasion and money laundering.
There are several little clues that hint towards Jimmy and Kim still working together in Breaking Bad. The desk in Saul’s gaudy Breaking Bad office is used by Kim in Better Call Saul, and after Kim gives Jimmy a “World’s 2nd Greatest Lawyer” mug as a gift, Saul is seen drinking from a “World’s Greatest Lawyer” mug in Breaking Bad. If Kim had died or broken up with Jimmy, it would be strange/morbid for him to be reusing her desk and claiming her vacant position as the world’s greatest lawyer. However, these small in-jokes would be totally fitting if Jimmy knew Kim was safe elsewhere. And the fact that Kim would’ve moved away from the legal profession means Jimmy would, technically, now be the world’s greatest lawyer… in his eyes.
Kim Setting Up Ice Station Zebra Associates Explains Where She Is In Breaking Bad
Kim secretly running Ice Station Zebra Associates in cahoots with Jimmy would neatly explain her Breaking Bad absence. The connection would account for Jimmy’s finances and ability to run a clearly illegitimate business in broad daylight, and Jimmy not mentioning Kim in Breaking Bad would also make sense, as he wouldn’t want to incriminate his wife by bringing up her name with clients. Jimmy and Kim absolutely could’ve been meeting up off-screen during the events of Breaking Bad, enjoying their unconventional married life and ensuring their joint operation runs smoothly, with Jimmy coyly playing down the importance of Ice Station Zebra Associates to anyone who asked questions.
Whether this would be a satisfying ending for Kim Wexler is another matter. Kim’s arc in Better Call Saul has been a slow downward spiral of wrongdoing, and there needs to be some kind of dramatic resolution at the bottom. Becoming the owner of Ice Station Zebra Associates might work on a practical level, but thematically risks being an anti-climax. Instead of Kim’s taste for danger leading to a tragic end, or the character realizing she needs to break up with Jimmy because he brings out her darker side, running Ice Station Zebra Associates represents a more mundane middle ground that doesn’t bring proper closure to Kim Wexler’s story. The Ice Station Zebra Associates ending might also contradict Jimmy’s post-Breaking Bad “Gene” life. After all, if she were still in contact with him, would Jimmy really run away to start a new life without Kim?