When the credits rolled on last night’s episode of Better Call Saul, I felt disappointed. That’s not a feeling I usually acquaint when watching Saul but it was there none the less. I sat there for a minute just staring at the television as the credits made way for a preview for next week’s episode, and still that feeling of disappointment sat on my chest. My Monday night’s after ten o’clock are usually filled with Twitter posts filled with praise for the hour of television I just watched, and here I was with zero desire to go on Twitter to talk about the show. Instead, I put on Monday Night Football where Ryan Fitzpatrick destroyed my chance of a fantasy football win and fell asleep in the same spot I was in when Better Call Saul wrapped.
When I woke up this morning and started to organize my thoughts for this review I realized I was still disappointed, and in order to write this review, I needed to know why. Was the episode bad? The easy answer to that was no. It was not bad at all. I felt engaged and enthralled with everything that was happening on screen as per usual. Couldn’t be that. Did the episode not cover enough burning questions? No, we got our resolution to the Huell problem and expanded on Mike’s relationship with the construction workers. That wasn’t it. Did something happen to a character I love? Wait, there seemed to be something there. I dug through the events of the episode and tried to dissect the character moments and what they represented, and it dawned on me all at once. I was didn’t disappointed with the episode, I was disappointed with Kim. After that everything kind of fell into place.
It’s funny, for a show that has so much to do with underhanded schemes and con jobs, you never expect one of those cons to be on the audience, but when the credits rolled it was beyond evident that Kim Wexler had pulled a long con on us all. All season I’ve sat here singing her praises. Talking about how she’s finally making a difference with her work. How she’s a partner in a big firm and living the dream that Jimmy wants. How, at long last, she’s finally seeing Jimmy for who he is. All those events had me believing that it was Jimmy’s lifestyle, most likely the Huell scheme, that would cost Kim everything. This whole season I watched as Kim Wexler became what I assumed she wanted to be, and that’s where they got me. All this time we’ve looked at Better Call Saul as a show where Jimmy wants to be a lawyer even though his ethics are a wee bit flawed, and we’ve looked at the character closest to him as a gold standard. The bar when it comes to where Jimmy wants to bring his life, and we failed to do the reverse. Not once did we think that Kim didn’t want her life, that she wanted Jimmy’s life, and that realization last night was kind of devastating for me.
When you think about it all the pieces were set into motion from the early stages of the show. We’ve seen Jimmy and Kim pull some small cons together, but that mostly felt like Kim wanting to dip her toe in the danger side of things. It was an outlet much like dating a guy who wears a leather jacket and rides a motorcycle. It feels dangerous but deep down you know that there’s no future there. Except with Kim, the excitement is everything. Here is a woman who lives a pretty ordinary life. I’m not saying it’s a bad life, not at all, but for the most part, Kim Wexler works hard, eats take out, and wears blue. Not a lot of room for excitement there. Sure, she loves doing her smaller cases and making a difference but it doesn’t leave her feeling like a bolt of lightning coursing through her body. Running cons does.
The church letter scheme to free Huell was brilliantly orchestrated and masterfully crafted, and all types of stupid. There just seemed like a hundred different ways for this to go wrong but Jimmy and Kim are able to pull it off. Bringing in a number of the season’s running threads together (like the burner phones, Kim’s power with her new firm, her conversation with the judge, and Slippin’ Jimmy himself) to result in a moment where Kim is able to get what she wants not only for her client, Huell, but herself. And that feeling leaves her charged both sexually and mentally. I would argue that the success of this con is one of the first times that Kim Wexler feels alive. The smirk she carries during her Mesa Verde meeting and the way she waxes nostalgic with the bottle top that she keeps in her desk drawer it becomes clear that there is something deeper going on with Kim.
Right at a time where we thought Kim was ready to ditch Jimmy and live the life she’d been striving for she pulls the show’s ultimate con job. She goes to see Jimmy, smoking a cigarette like a dame out of a movie in the 50’s, and ignores his claims that they’ll never do anything like that again. No, no, no that’s unacceptable. Kim wants that rush again. She wants that lightning coursing through her body. She wants to pull another con and tells Jimmy so.
And just like that, Better Call Saul introduces the downfall of Kim Wexler, and while it’s easy to place some of the blame at the feet of Jimmy McGill, a lot of it will be misplaced. Yes, Jimmy kind of introduced this type of lifestyle to Kim but he never really forced her into it. Sure he may have pushed here and there but even through his hollow apology at the end of the episode, it’s clear that he knows the gravity of the consequences for the two of them. Jimmy doesn’t ask Kim to meet him at a potential new office building. Kim makes that choice on her own. Kim chooses to tell Jimmy that she wants to pull another con. Kim assesses her life and decides that she needs this feeling to continue, and that is what makes this episode so damn disappointing.
Kim Wexler was my MVP. I loved this character and worried about her so much because of her lack of existence in the Breaking Bad timeline. And all this time I was putting the blame on Jimmy McGill for the lack of Kim Wexler in Breaking Bad, but now it looks like Kim is just as much to blame. The one character I was holding out hope for took that hope and turned out the light, and I’m crushed. Ugh, Rhea Seehorn has been tremendous and a lot of these feelings are based on how electric she is in this role. Season four of Better Call Saul isn’t the season where Saul Goodman comes to the light. It’s the season where Kim breaks bad.
Some other quick thoughts before I leave you-
- Is it possible that Kai is just a red herring? Seriously, you’re building a secret meth lab underneath a laundry mat… why would you think drawing a blueprint on a coaster would be a good idea?!
- Do the Salamanca’s suspect that Nacho is working for Gus or is this guy who plays loud music when he cooks and is overly enthusiastic represent something else?
- Was anyone else super touched that Nacho’s escape plan includes his father? I don’t know if the man would join his son but there was something endearing in seeing that.
There you have it Geeklings, what did you think of last night’s Better Call Saul? Were you disappointed with Kim’s decision? Were you surprised their plan worked to free Huell? What does Kim decision mean for her future? Sound off in the comments with all your thoughts and theories. If you’d like to talk more Saul with yours truly then you can find me on the Twitter @iamgeek32. See everyone back next week with only two episodes left in the season, but don’t worry… it’s all good man.
Images from AMC