Monday, March 23, 2020

REVIEW: 'Better Call Saul' - Jimmy Launches a Personal Attack on Kevin While Kim Has Her Doubts in 'Wexler v. Goodman'

AMC's Better Call Saul - Episode 5.06 "Wexler v. Goodman"

Kim tries to pump the brakes on Jimmy's latest scheme, but it may be too late to stop Saul. Mike turns the heat up on Lalo. Nacho attempts to enlist support from above.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of AMC's Better Call Saul.

"Wexler v. Goodman" was written by Thomas Schnauz and directed by Michael Morris

Kim Wexler was never seen or mentioned in Breaking Bad. Cinnabon Gene is all alone in his new life in Omaha. Kim's past and upbringing have only been sparingly mentioned so far. Jimmy's drama has defined the narrative spine of the series. However, Kim has frequently been the heart and sense of compassion throughout the stories. She is the person most destined to be hurt because of Jimmy's transformation to Saul Goodman. And yet, the two of them share some striking similarities that always bring them close together. She has no problem conspiring with Saul in order to get a better deal for Everett Acker. She knows that he doesn't deserve to be forced out of his home. She knows the law isn't necessarily on his side. But she also has the passion to be creative with a solution and to bend the law in order to better apply it in this situation. She still has a moral code though. Jimmy was suspended. He has returned as a new lawyer altogether. People are still confused about whether to call him Jimmy McGill or Saul Goodman. That can make him seem like he is segmenting portions of his personality. It may make it easy for him to withhold information because he believes the actions Saul does could hurt the life Jimmy has created for himself. He was more than comfortable leaving the McGill name behind. He continues to mess with Howard. He doesn't care about impressing that corporate structure of the law anymore. His theatrics have come to define the way that he practices. He is quite efficient and effective at it too. He has no qualms about representing criminals so long as their offenses aren't too serious. He wants to encourage them to make better choices. But he is constantly pushing the limits of how far he can go as well. That may all culminate in this episode. It's so destructive to watch as he goes full steam ahead with the attack against Kevin and Mesa Verde. He has never met Kevin or Paige before. He only knows the stories that Kim has told him. She is his rock in this situation. She determines how far he can go and what is appropriate. However, he simply believes in his abilities as a lawyer. He makes Howard's life difficult by sending two hookers after him just to embarrass him during a lunch meeting. He views that as all the evidence it takes to prove his skills. It also highlights the way that he values perception over the actual rules of the law. That is the way that he will always define his success. He will expand that perspective in the future. Right now though, he forges ahead despite Kim now having regrets. She will make a scene at her firm just to fight back against the accusation Schweikart throws at her. Jimmy believes he is doing her a favor. However, he still presents these amoral attacks in order to back Kevin into a corner. It has just enough of the truth in order to make this CEO very worried about the future of his business. He can't afford any more delays with this project. This has been the focus of the season so far. Kim introduced this client to Jimmy. She wanted to make a difference in his life. Instead, it may have irrevocably changed the bond between Jimmy and Kim. She doubts what people are telling her all the time. That was a skill she developed at a young age. Jimmy pleads with her saying that he'll never stab her in the back again. That isn't true though. This is who Saul Goodman is. He is a showman who reaches out for a handshake deal to bind this agreement together. It isn't official. It's boisterous and disruptive. But again, it's effective. Kim doesn't feel like a winner though. She is defeated and no longer views this relationship as a partnership. They are kindred spirits in some remarkable ways. However, Jimmy may always be selfish in the end. He may contort a story for himself to believe that he is doing things for her too. She may know the honest truth though. It would be smart to walk away from this life. She may not make that choice though. It's presented as a debate between a breakup or a wedding. That's how all of this is positioned in the end. That is the choice afforded to the two of them. It stands in contrast to the rest of the narrative in which people don't necessarily feel in control of their lives. Jimmy and Kim haven't always felt like that either. They have been beholden to others in the past. Now, Mike is the one trying to frame Lalo for a crime to prevent him from disrupting Gus' business any further while also possibly helping Nacho escape from his entanglements in this drug operation. That won't be easy. Nothing is in the end. Kim is realizing that. She has given her heart to Jimmy. She feels betrayed by what he does. He wants to celebrate. She pushes their relationship to the brink by being frank and honest about how she feels. That could bring them incredibly close. But again, the future seems perilous for the two of them as Kim doesn't seem like a part of it. Her life could be destroyed because of this partnership. She feels the impulse to leave. She may not follow through on it. Love is present. Betrayal is as well. She is torn in many different ways and doesn't know how to balance all of that. She doesn't have the clarity she had as a child to walk away when her mother was driving drunk. The situation may present to some as an easy choice. It isn't though. Even decisions made quickly can backfire. Jimmy saw only the benefit of using these videos and accusations of copyright infringement. The consequences could destroy everything for him as he fights to maintain that in the future.