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Better Call Saul Wexler v. Goodman Review – /Film

Better Call Saul Wexler v. Goodman review

This week on Better Call Saul:

  • Mike gets back to work!
  • Nacho is back, too!
  • Howard goes to lunch!
  • Jimmy plays Kim!
  • Kim makes a jaw-dropping suggestion!

Mike (and Nacho)

After his sojourn on the other side of the border, Mike is back in town – and back working for Gus. His new mission: Stop Lalo. Nacho returns to the show (finally), and meets up with Gus and Mike to fill him in on Lalo’s plans – all of which involve destroying Gus and making him useless to the cartel. Gus is his usual scary self, and demands Nacho report to Mike from now.

When the two are alone, Nacho fills Mike in on the fact that Gus has threatened his father’s life if he doesn’t play ball, and Mike, for his part, seems genuinely sympathetic, and suggests he’ll help Nacho out…somehow. It’s a sign that even though he’s back working for Gus he still has a little bit of a conscience left. But first, Mike has to deal with Lalo – and he does, with a little play-acting. Posing first as a private detective, and then a police detective, Mike is able to turn the cops onto Lalo’s scent and connect him to last season’s murder of TravelWire clerk Fred. This ultimately leads to Lalo getting busted by the cops. Problem solved? I doubt it’s going to be that easy. But for the moment, Lalo is out of the picture.

Jimmy

Jimmy McGill can’t quit. He’s an addict – addicted to scams, to cons, to deceit. It’s easy to feel sorry for him, because it truly seems like he can’t help himself. But this week he appears to go too far, and it’s never-jangling.

Things start off light enough, with Jimmy reuniting with his college film student pals to create a commercial – a commercial that’s part of Jimmy and Kim’s plan to ruin Mesa Verde, and its owner, Kevin Wachtell. This gives the show an excuse to let Bob Odenkirk slip into Mr. Show mode, and he does, delightfully so, as he directs a rag-tag bunch of amateur actors in the commercial.

But the fun Jimmy is having grinds to a halt when Kim tells him she’s changed her mind. She no longer wants to go through with the plan, especially since Rich, her boss, suspects something. She instead works out a way to get Jimmy’s client, Mr. Acker, a nice settlement. Jimmy is crestfallen, but he gives in and agrees to Kim’s wishes. At first. But then his addiction flares up. First, he tries to satisfy himself by embarrassing Howard and sending two prostitutes to ruin the poor man’s lunch.

But that’s not enough for Jimmy. The thrill of the scam washes over him, and like an alcoholic turning to the bottle, Jimmy goes into the settlement hearing and metaphorically sucker-punches Kim by ignoring her wishes and running the absurd commercial, which finds several ludicrous ways to run Kevin’s father’s name through the mud. While the commercial is too silly to be taken seriously, it bugs Kevin. So does the reveal that Mesa Verde’s logo was stolen from a photograph by a Native American artist. All of this will damage the Mesa Verde – and Wachtell family – name, and Kevin can’t have that. He gives in to Jimmy’s demands and Mr. Acker gets to keep his house. It’s a win in Jimmy’s eyes, but of course, he still has to explain himself to Kim.

Kim

This season of Better Call Saul is really zeroing in on Kim Wexler, and it’s making me very nervous. Kim is one of the few characters on this show who’s fate remains in question, but based on what we know from previous seasons of this show, and also Breaking Bad, it seems very likely that some terrible fate awaits Kim. I hope she makes it out of this thing in one piece, but it truly feels like this second-to-last season is devoting a significant amount of time to finally breaking her.

Kim remains the most fascinating character on this show, and “Wexler v. Goodman” gives us even more insight into her. In some ways, it even explains her attraction to Jimmy. During a flashback scene at the top of the show we meet a young Kim, who stands alone in a dark school parking lot clutching a cello, waiting for someone. That someone is her mother, who pulls up late, blasting music, and is clearly drunk. The way Kim’s mother talks to her – sweet-talking her while promising her a nice, fun, dinner-filled eventing – is very similar to the way Jimmy talks to Kim when he’s trying to smooth over his latest mistake. In the flashback, young Kim is able to walk away from her mother – but she can’t quit Jimmy. At least not yet.

After the fiasco at the Mesa Verde meeting, Kim returns home, and as you might expect, she’s furious. I thought – and I’m sure I’m not alone here – that this was going to finally lead to the inevitable moment where Kim tells Jimmy she wants to break up. And at first, it really does sound like that’s what’s happening. She explodes, berating Jimmy for stabbing her in the back and for constantly lying. Jimmy promises he can change, but Kim knows that’s just another lie. Jimmy can’t change.

And so Kim gives him an ultimatum. Jimmy may not be able to change, but something in their relationship has to. “Either we end this now and go our separate ways, and remember the good times we had,” Kim says, her voice cracking. Or…maybe we get married?”

It’s a stunner of a moment – just as much of an emotional sucker-punch as Jimmy showing up and tanking the Mesa Verde meeting. It’s also clearly a terrible idea. Sure, it’s fun to ‘ship Kim and Jimmy, and Seehorn and Odenkirk are so good together. But if Kim stays with Jimmy it’s only a matter of time before being in his orbit destroys her. But she’s stuck. She doesn’t want to walk away from Jimmy. I’m sure she’ll end-up regretting that someday soon.

Sidebar

  • Seriously, Jimmy, ease-up on Howard! He’s not that bad of a guy!
  • The young actress who plays young Kim, Katie Beth Hall, does a great job of recreating Rhea Seehorn’s mannerisms.
  • My heart was in my throat for that final scene. I am not emotionally prepared for bad things to happen to Kim Wexler, and I probably never will be.
  • Mike used the “Dave Clark” alias in Breaking Bad, too, so it’s clearly a favorite of his.
  • “Don’t touch the camera. He says it’s an extension of his body.”
  • I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of Lalo, but I would be fine if we did. Nothing against Tony Dalton – his performance is great! I just have a hard time caring about the Lalo storylines, probably because I know that Gus is going to come out the winner in the end (until he meets Walter White further down the road).

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