Monday, April 18, 2022

REVIEW: 'Better Call Saul' - Jimmy, Kim and Lalo Seek Revenge Against Those Who've Wronged Them in 'Wine and Roses'

AMC's Better Call Saul - Episode 6.01 "Wine and Roses"

Nacho runs for his life. Jimmy and Kim hatch a plan. Mike questions his allegiances.
"Wine and Roses" was written by Peter Gould and directed by Michael Morris

The final season premiere opens with the end of Saul Goodman; not the life of Gene Takavic. That's a noticeable departure. Of course, it's still a glimpse into the future. It's a very simple sequence overall. A moving company is packing up the belongs of Saul Goodman. His presence is felt throughout this mansion. It's designed in such a gaudy and over-the-top way. The direction presents it all beautifully. It even toys with the viewer by starting in black and white before transitioning to vibrant color. It's positioned as the final form of this character. In the present day with Kim, she is the one making suggestions for how Saul Goodman should present himself. Jimmy is taking on this character. He is leaning into it and Kim is enjoying that now as well. They have the financial resources to make it a reality too. As such, they are no longer limited in any way. It just takes conviction to follow through on those ambitions. The future is already set for Jimmy. His tragic downfall has already been mapped out. That's not the complete telling of his life story. Other facets of his life are just as crucial. The audience receives these glimpses of Saul Goodman. He has become more and more central. However, he's just another identity. Jimmy is the man behind the mystery. He is so incredibly supportive of Kim and her career. She is the one experiencing the best days of her professional career. She has escaped her work at a corporate law firm. She has embraced pro bono cases working for those who would otherwise be steamrolled by the system. She won't allow the wealthy and privileged to take advantage when they are clearly in the wrong. She has the skills to make a difference. Messing with Howard is also something she puts into her schedule. It's all stated very matter-of-factly. This is something she and Jimmy must do. The plan they come up with is essentially gaslighting the world into believing he is a drug addict. Kim worries their tactics are too subtle. Jimmy sees the perfection of the scheme. At first, he was very tentative. He saw no issue in listening to it. He has indulged in it fully. He carries the risk. Howard, Clifford and Kevin are members of the same country club. Jimmy invades that space and makes a scene just in order to plant a damning piece of evidence. He is allowed to witness the plan coming to fruition. He can't escape the locker room in time. He is present and knows it's a success. He can read into human behavior and how everyone responds to this sudden turn of events. It's an exciting venture. He walks a precarious line. Kim's pursuits excite him. Those are thrilling. With Lalo, he remains absolutely terrified. That fear makes him slip as he isn't as comfortable lying as Saul Goodman as he inevitably will be. His words have always been his super power. They still require him to be in control. When dealing with the cartel, he doesn't quite have that confidence and assurances.

Lalo is still alive too. He didn't die during the raid on the Mexican compound. Everyone else did. Nacho is the only other person to escape. He was lucky because he started running the moment he opened the door. He is a loose end everyone is ultimately chasing. No time is allotted to mourn or reckon with the destruction. It's all about vengeance and the need to keep on moving. Nacho can't stop. He is wanted by anyone who can spot him. He is essentially abandoned by anyone who could help him too. He has no true allies. A few people have simply needed him for various reasons. His grand purpose may have run its course. He is still alive. He will now be staying in one place for a few days. That's a major risk. He is suppose to kill anyone who knocks on his door. His escape will inevitably be dangerous too. That's what he has to accept. Nothing is better elsewhere. He's the only person who can connect the raid to Gus. The entire drug organization is scrambling to make sense of this disaster. Everyone fears they could be targeted next by some unknown competition. Gus flexed his power and influence. He remains calm and level-headed. He carries no emotion whatsoever. He did what he had to do to survive. He had to strike down this threat to his ongoing existence. Similarly, Mike has to judge how far he is willing to risk his life to serve others. He can't do anything for Nacho. Gus orders that by not encouraging some elaborate and well-executed mission to bring him back. Nacho deserves respect. He has given Gus everything he wanted. He should be rewarded. He doesn't deserve to be executed. That may still be his fate. Lalo roams the countryside as well. He does so with more allies. However, he too wants to keep his ongoing livelihood a secret. He is blinded by rage. Strangely, Hector is the one who gets him to calm down and embrace a different plan altogether. They are still driven by animosity towards Gus. They must take him down no matter what it takes. Lalo has no proof to back up his claims. He knows Gus is responsible. Nacho is the only person who can serve as the evidence needed. So all hope may not be lost. Life simply remains precarious for those who wish to escape this dangerous path. Jimmy and Kim utilize the money given to them by the cartel. They continue to defend their actions. They made that deal in order to embrace their personal happiness. Others made the same choice because they had no other options. And so, some get to evolve over the years while others are limited in their possibilities. Jimmy doesn't have to necessarily reckon with any of that. He can continue to exist in his own bubble. And yet, these diverging narratives always come together. That's inevitable despite the habit of venturing into more personal concerns.