Sometimes, things go wrong. Your car battery dies one frosty morning when you’re leaving for work. Your expensive tech gets delivered to the wrong house and there’s no way to contact the new recipient. An insidious virus infects most of the planet you’re currently inhabiting, wrecks your economy, and makes you forget about an article you were supposed to write for a show last week. It’s terrible, and you don’t want to deal with it, but in the end the only way out is through.
So many of the characters we love in Better Call Saul have gotten themselves into truly awful situations. Kim, Mike, and Nacho, all people with generally good souls, have made metaphorical deals with the devil throughout the show’s run. This week we see each of these people dig their holes deeper, in breathtaking, deeply uncomfortable ways. And Jimmy, as always, is there to throw a huge bomb in the middle of everything. Twice. Poor Howard.
It seems that Kim has been around people who treat her poorly most of her life. From her mother, yelling, “You never listen!” with boozy breath through a car window as she herself refuses to listen to what her daughter is saying, to present-day Jimmy, who steamrolls over her with his Saul ideas even as she tries to tell him she wants to talk. It’s an unfortunate cycle that you see over and over again in people who experience abuse as children–it becomes the new normal, to the point that healthier relationships seem strange and unusual.
Kim is clearly in over her head with Saul Goodman, and with her earth-shattering suggestion at the end of Wexler v. Goodman, she may be thinking that moving forward is her only way out. Seehorn has embodied this character to a degree that’s an absolute pleasure to watch, even when her heart is being ripped out of her chest by a con man (and to a lesser extent, herself).
We finally see Nacho again this week, another person who’s tried backpedalling with similar dismal results. He seems to be unwillingly embracing his role as a double agent. At this point, he’s at the center of at least three conspiracies. As Mike leaves the meeting between Nacho and Gus, we’re introduced to a possible fourth conspiracy in the future. Nacho’s motivation to join the Salamancas is a little muddy, but one thing has always been clear: he’ll go to great lengths to save his father from both the Salamancas and Gus. Speaking of the Salamancas, Mike gets an honorable mention for moving Lalo’s plot forward–in the sense that Lalo’s carne asada cooking, dirt track racing, business burning days might be numbered.Saul is King Shithead of Dookie Mountain. Click To Tweet
And finally, Jimmy. Saul. King shithead of dookie mountain. It’s been a hell of a ride to watch this character slide deeper and deeper into his cynical worldview, and this week’s betrayal left us laughing and squirming in a way that the Breaking Bad universe has perfected. By the end of this episode, I felt Kim’s fury as my own. It’s true that she’s an adult, and she’s had every opportunity to back out of this strange codependent relationship. But of all the schemes we’ve seen Saul and Jimmy pull to date, making Kim the mark, even briefly, feels the scummiest.
Wexler v. Goodman left me seriously questioning Jimmy’s capacity for empathy. Maybe this season’s promotional image is even truer than we realized. Maybe Chuck was right all along. One thing’s for sure–that wasn’t a man presenting his “client’s” terms in the Schweikart & Cokely conference room. That was a chimpanzee with a chainsaw. YEEE-HAWW!