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Howard Hamlin’s Death: Proof following rules is a loser’s game

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Patrick Fabian as Howard Hamlin, Tony Dalton as Lalo Salamanca - Better Call Saul _ Season 6, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television
Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Howard Hamlin’s death is the ultimate proof following society’s rules is a loser’s game. For his efforts at being a consummate professional… Hamlin was rewarded with a full public humiliation, failing marriage, and early retirement six feet under. If he even gets the privilege of a casket.

Rule breakers always win in business. They’re not held back by arbitrary, imaginary lines & regulations. Saul Goodman is free, endlessly adaptable. If the physical world allows it, Goodman can make it happen.

In comparison, Howard Hamlin is shackled by the archaic law books chained to his foot. He sees the red-lit emergency axe but refuses to break it open in case alarms go off.

Hesitating, practicing inaction, NAMAST3. While Goodman would already be in his getaway car ten minutes ago. Maybe even steering Howard’s own car to make his escape.

That’s why for all his wealth and high status, even boxing prowess, Hamlin’s three steps behind Jimmy every time.

Patrick Fabian as Howard Hamlin - Better Call Saul _ Season 6, Episode 5 - Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Patrick Fabian as Howard Hamlin – Better Call Saul _ Season 6, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Case in point: Hamlin tried to work things out with Jimmy behind closed doors multiple times instead of turning him in. He relentlessly offered the dream job Jimmy always wanted.

In return Hamlin got a bowling ball on his car, strippers tarnishing his reputation while dining with his work peers, and his wife Cheryl subconsciously losing respect for him. And that’s all before Lalo Salamanca ever came into the picture.

Sandrine Holt as Cheryl Hamlin - Better Call Saul _ Season 6, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Sandrine Holt as Cheryl Hamlin – Better Call Saul _ Season 6, Episode 6 – Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Ask yourself if Cheryl Hamlin would still be as icy as a blizzard in Antarctica if Hamlin had handled his ‘Jimmy McGill problem’ earlier? Howard sparred with Jimmy, gave him friendly jabs in the ring. While Jimmy went for the full TKO outside of it.

A Ring without Gloves

Patrick Fabian as Howard Hamlin - Better Call Saul _ Season 6, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Patrick Fabian as Howard Hamlin – Better Call Saul _ Season 6, Episode 7 – Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

What did Howard get for paying off Kim Wexler’s law school tuition? A willing accomplice for Saul Goodman in the mission to destroy him. Remember Kim telling Clifford Main she owed ‘everything in her career to Howard Hamlin’? That debt was refunded with interest.

Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler, Ed Begley Jr. as Clifford "Cliff" Main - Better Call Saul _ Season 6, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler, Ed Begley Jr. as Clifford “Cliff” Main – Better Call Saul _ Season 6, Episode 6 – Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Howard Hamlin and Hank Scharder

In their last hours, the similarities between Howard Hamlin and Breaking Bad’s Hank Schrader only become more evident. Hank’s death was collateral damage from of Walter White’s unsavory business associates just like Jimmy’s. Both Hank and Howard followed the rules, the laws, and were routinely punished for it. Eventually with their very lives.

Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman, Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler - Better Call Saul _ Season 6, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman, Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler – Better Call Saul _ Season 6, Episode 7 – Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Jimmy and Kim could do nothing but watch Howard’s death happen. Hust as Walter White had watched Hank’s in the desert.

Tony Dalton as Lalo Salamanca - Better Call Saul _ Season 6, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Tony Dalton as Lalo Salamanca – Better Call Saul _ Season 6, Episode 7 – Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Fortune tellers. They knew Howard & Hank’s fates but were powerless to stop the chaos they had themselves created.

‘Wrong place at the wrong time?’ A coping mechanism at best.

Patrick Fabian as Howard Hamlin - Better Call Saul _ Season 6, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian) of law firm HHM – Better Call Saul _ Season 6, Episode 7 – Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

In the end, keeping his integrity intact and his nose clean, ironically enough, only brought Howard Hamlin to an early grave. Chuck McGill had warned him but Howard acted as the good samaritan messenger to Kim instead of heeding his own advice.

If Howard had played by Jimmy’s rules instead of society’s he would still be around now. Because there would be no rules at all. The Winner Takes It All.

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Patrick Fabian as Howard Hamlin - Better Call Saul _ Season 6, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Patrick Fabian as Howard Hamlin – Better Call Saul _ Season 6, Episode 7 – Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

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