Previously on Better Call Saul, ‘Bali Ha’i’
Starring: Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn, Ed Begley Jr, Kerry Condon, Jessie Ennis, Omar Maskati, Dennis Boutsikaris | Writer: Gordon Smith | Director: Colin Bucksey
Time and again this season, Jimmy has been desperately seeking out methods of self-sabotage while enduring a career path he never truly wanted. After months of attempting to fit in, McGill’s desire to be “colorful” has eclipsed his eagerness to prove to everyone that he can be a team player. Of all the things and all the people out there in the world that could have jump started Jimmy’s transformation into Saul Goodman, never in the history of ever would viewers have suspected a fancy strip of vinyl fluttering and dancing about at a red light would give McGill a massive brainwave.
What followed was one of the most entertaining segments in all of Better Call Saul’s two seasons. No longer down with the brown (or being caged in beige), McGill infuses an obscene amount of flair into his daily wardrobe that makes Clifford Main (Ed Begley Jr) instantly suffer a rage-induced mini stroke. In an impeccably edited montage full of split screens and a classic 70s hook, director Colin Bucksey easily conveys the energy and excitement Jimmy feels in finding his groove again. His antics are very effective in their purpose – to drive Cliff insane to the point of terminating McGill – though they serve double duty as affirmation of Jimmy’s decision to walk a different path, perilous though it may be.
Back in Albuquerque, Kim is going through her own internal quandary that appears to be alleviated (albeit temporarily) in thick plumes of cigarette smoke. For a woman who doesn’t entirely trust Jimmy – and certainly doesn’t want to be in a relationship with him – Wexler sure is leaning heavily on his not-so-reliable advice about taking a position with crosstown rivals Schweikart and Cokely. Naturally, Kim exceeds expectations during her interview. Yet in another smoke break, Kim examines the sample card Jimmy gave her during a quick convo at HHM, where she rejected his professional advances after he couldn’t promise to stay on the straight and narrow.
In a surprising turn of events, Kim agrees to start a firm with Jimmy, with equal shares in cost and profit. For most of the second season, Jimmy’s intense affection for Kim has been casually deflected at every turn. That brief glimmer of hope in McGill’s eyes quickly dimmed after Wexler presents the torn card as she proposes a partnership that better suits her interests. This… this is the Kim Wexler we all deserve. These final moments keenly written by Gordon Smith further imbue Kim with a strength and drive that has been in dire need on the show. With so few female characters displaying any sign of assertiveness or self-sufficiency in Saul, it’s about damn time Wexler began flexing her muscles and strike out for herself.
The only problem is her newfound determination to achieve more is backed solely on the shaky optimism and problematic activities of one James M. McGill. Whether her new partner can a) keep things professional and b) not get them disbarred is a pledge that’s as flimsy as the paper it’s written. While he has the charisma and gusto, Kim could easily surpass Jimmy on sheer grit and her superior legal acumen. It wouldn’t be surprising if such a situation may be necessary in the coming season (or sooner).
As the grifter stated coldly to young Jimmy during “Inflatable”s flashback, “There are wolves and sheep in this world, kid. Wolves and sheep. Figure out which one you’re gonna be.” It’s taken some time, but McGill and Wexler have finally determined what skin they live in. However they must prepare for a bloody fight as they now have to contend with three firms whose bites are far worse than their barks.
The offices of Wexler and McGill open for business next Monday in “Fifi” at 10/9c on AMC!
Better Call Saul S2E7
While Better Call Saul has been a consistently well-written show, a few episodes like “Inflatable” give the series a shot of adrenaline it didn’t know it needed. The evolution of Jimmy to Saul has begun and it did not disappoint one bit. It was odd (in a good way) to witness Kim make such bold moves, considering she’s been a passably fastidious person in regards to her career.
Ehrmantraut was in the episode, however his current predicament took a step back to allow the big goofy flower that is Jimmy to bloom in all his cheeky splendor. An excellent and superbly directed episode.