“Bali Ha’i,” the sixth episode of Better Call Saul‘s second season, illustrated that Jimmy is not the only one uncomfortable with his job. Jimmy doesn’t fit in at Davis & Maine, and as we are learning, maybe Kim doesn’t fit at HHM, either. Jimmy, however, at least knows what he wants, and there was a subtle implication at the end of the episode that Kim had freed him to pursue it.
Meanwhile, Kim is still not sure. She got a dream job offer, but for some reason, it’s not sitting well with her. The only thing she knows she wants is Jimmy, and what does that really say about her? Perhaps that she’s just as unhappy working in corporate law — and dealing with those douchebags — as Jimmy is. She just hasn’t been willing to admit it to herself yet because she’s tried for so long to achieve a particular dream only to discover that maybe it’s not her professional dream, after all.
Here are several behind-the-scenes details and callbacks you may have missed from this week’s episode, gleaned in part from Kelley Dixon’s essential Better Call Saul Insider podcast with Gilligan and Gould.
For the opening montage, they tried a couple of songs before settling on Santo and Johnny’s ’50s classic “Sleepwalk,” but it didn’t quite fit. Vince Gilligan thought aloud, “What if we got Junior Brown to do a rendition?” (Junior Brown did the fantastic “Better Call Saul Song.”) Junior Brown agreed to do his own version, and after clearing all the requisite licensing hurdles, they had it five days later.
Those balls, by the way, have made an appearance before.
Bob Odenkirk did several renditions of “Bali Ha’i” from South Pacific, and it was originally meant to be a funny take on the song. However, the more he sang it, and the more he began to understand the meaning of the song, the more earnest he got. It was one of the earnest takes they ended up using.
Odenkirk’s take was also recorded separately from Rhea Seehorn’s scene, so she was actually hearing it for the first time in that scene. That was her natural reaction to hearing Odenkirk sing the song.
It’s not a six-minute Cary Fukunaga shot, but the two minutes from which Mike enters his house until he turns on the television is also a neat, single-take tracking shot.
It was good to see Breaking Bad’s Salamanca cousins again. One interesting note about this scene, however, is that Vince Gilligan asked Jonathan Banks to come back after all the episodes had been filmed and reshoot one, tiny scene: Mike’s reaction to the Cousins. Mike is usually a low-key character, but Gilligan wanted him to come back and express more anger/fear when he saw the Cousins. So, basically, he came back to shoot a second-and-a-half reaction shot.
World’s 2nd Best Lawyer
In case the metaphor wasn’t obvious, the coffee represents Jimmy and the cup holder represents Davis & Maine, and Jimmy just isn’t a great fit for that life. He’s going to have to force the straight-and-narrow path to adjust to him instead of the other way around.
Jimmy has a plan, and his determination to execute it is represented by the speed with which he took the turn in the final scene. And if you really want to understand how much attention to detail Vince Gilligan puts into this show, he had the brake lights removed from the scene because when Bob Odenkirk took that corner while shooting, he had to slow down, but Gilligan didn’t want anyone to know that.
Ice Station Zebra
The check made out to Ice Station Zebra Associates was not only a callback to the earlier season episode, “Amarillo,” and the movie that Jimmy and Kim were watching together, Ice Station Zebra, but it was also the name of name the holding company Saul Goodman used for tax-evasion purposes in Breaking Bad.
A tipster, Steve P., sent us an email suggesting there could be something to Kim’s Kansas City Royals shirt. The Royals Triple A team is actually the Omaha Royals, which may suggest a connection between Kim and Omaha, which may be why Saul Goodman decided to relocate there after the events of Breaking Bad. That’s some deep foreshadowing, but a very cool suggestion.
The lyrics to “Bali Ha’i” include, “Here am I your special island/ Come to me, come to me.” A Redditor, YouFeelShame, cleverly suggested that each of the characters found their “special island” in the episode.