Monday, March 30, 2020

REVIEW: 'Better Call Saul' - Jimmy and Kim Declare Their Love While Discussing the Future of Their Legal Careers in 'JMM'

AMC's Better Call Saul - Episode 5.07 "JMM"

Jimmy and Kim build a legal firewall with help from Huell. Kim sets things straight with her clients as Jimmy is compromised by his. At war on all fronts, Gus calms troubled waters in service of his plot to build an empire. Mike does damage control.

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.

"JMM" was written by Alison Tatlock and directed by Melissa Bernstein

Jimmy and Kim's relationship almost presents as purely transactional at the moment. They get married at the top of the episode. That isn't really a celebration though. In fact, their relationship is at a breaking point. Kim laid out what needed to happen after being betrayed by Jimmy in the Mesa Verde case. They either had to break up because he would keep hiding these crucial details about his new law tactics. Or they could get married with the guarantee that Jimmy would be completely honest all the time with her. The latter option is beneficial because it means they can't testify against each other. That appears to be the only reason why they decide to get married. Huell wants to build up the celebration of love. Instead, he is only present to be the official witness and to take pictures of the quick ceremony. And yet, this episode also features Jimmy and Kim at their most intimate. In that moment though, Jimmy feels the responsibility to break away and tell Kim exactly what he has gotten into with Lalo. That is a huge step of maturity. It's him understanding what she needs from him and providing it. It's absolutely scary and terrifying. He is detailing a plan where he would essentially become a lawyer for the cartel. That's not an ethical line anyone should be willing to cross. The next morning though the two of them are actively looking for ranch properties and mocking the details on the real estate ads. That has long been the relationship they have. They understand each other. They get how the other sees the world. They are scrappy fighters. Kim doesn't want to just sit in a room and leave her fate up in the air according to Kevin's whims. She will fight to prove that she did provide incredible legal counsel during this recent case. He chose not to follow the advice of his lawyers. She can make that case too. In fact, that may be the reason why Kevin decides to keep this professional relationship going. He still crosses the line in commenting on Kim's personal life. He sees Jimmy as nothing more than a swindler. Kim can do much better. He doesn't know the details of their connection though. It isn't good at the moment. However, Kim appreciates Jimmy being honest with her. She may be the only person he can have that connection with at the moment. He is putting on a show for the rest of the world. "Justice Matters Most" is the motto he has to live by because those are the letters printed on his briefcase. Lalo makes the argument that it should represent "Just Make Money." And yes, that may encourage the moral disruption of Jimmy's character. But he may also just be playing the hand that he was dealt in life. That's the attitude that Mike has embraced. That has allowed him to be open and present in his family's lives once more. Stacey appreciates that. He can actually talk about his son now. He doesn't have to bottle up those emotions. That just comes with the certainty that he has to keep Gus happy as he continues to expand his drug business. It's all a performance. One made to fool people. It can be splashy and dazzling. Los Pollos Hermanos goes up in flames thanks to a chicken. That is a fantastic and clever sequence. One that affirms this as arson while being just smart enough to show how creative the criminals of the world can be. Lalo is asking the impossible of Jimmy. Mike comes to him making the same offer. Lalo won't be easy to eliminate as a threat. He is always daunting and terrifying. He hasn't been sidelined yet. Jimmy is simply playing the role he needs to in this ongoing war within the cartel. Gus is preparing for the future. Lalo is attacking his partner in the enterprise. Nacho wants to get out. But Jimmy isn't passive in this conflict either. This isn't something that just mysteriously landed on his lap. That is brutally demonstrated in his epic confrontation with Howard. Jimmy sees himself as this person capable of greatness. He has continually had to prove that. Because he walks around with that chip on his shoulder, he believes that he has to match those expectations. He is erratic and destructive. In that moment, Howard knows he has to get out of this interaction. It's no longer healthy to try to maintain or cater to some relationship with Jimmy. The man is spiteful and vindictive. Someone who creates chaos in the world. Someone who doesn't quite understand the role he has played in the tragedy others have come to experience. Kim wants this relationship to work. She continues to think it might. She has personal agency. But her connection to Jimmy may always doom her in the end. They are married now. That is a significant difference. And yet, Jimmy's reputation will grow more infamous. He may not be able to keep the promise he pledges to Kim here. If that's the case, then things will explode even more. Right now, the anxiety from that uncertainty creates so much exciting and compelling drama right as Jimmy is bursting at the seams as Saul Goodman.