Welcome back to our weekly breakdown of the minutia of Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould’s Better Call Saul. While Alan Sepinwall provides his always excellent coverage of the series (here’s his write-up of the most recent episode), here we will look at some of the details viewers may have missed, callbacks to Breaking Bad, references to other shows or movies, and theories on the direction the series is heading. We scour Reddit threads, Twitter, listen each week to Kelley Dixon’s Better Call Saul Insider Podcast, and attempt to curate the best intel about each episode.
In this week’s episode, “Fall,” Jimmy scams Irene, and it’s probably time to worry about Kim Wexler.
Jimmy McGill’s Transition Into Saul
Last week, Bob Odenkirk pinpointed the exact difference between Jimmy McGill and Saul Goodman. It’s not about the clothes, the schemes, or even the name. He explained that “it’s the growth of the character to an awareness that people get hurt by his schemes and then not caring. A choice to be mercenary.”
In other words, it’s when Jimmy starts to realize that not only do his schemes hurt other people, but when he doesn’t care about the consequences.
That behavior is on full display this week in the way Jimmy treated Irene. He hatched a plan specifically designed to ensure that Irene would get her feelings hurt. He meticulously turned her friends against her knowing that exact outcome, and he showed no remorse for it. In fact, he celebrated with shots. That’s as Saul Goodman as we have ever seen Jimmy McGill. He made an evil choice “to be mercenary” to a senior citizen who trusted him.
Kim Wexler’s Ponytail
When Rhea Seehorn does press in other countries, her ponytail is a huge topic of conversation among the press. They are fascinated with her hair, which is not something I have ever paid much attention to until Seehorn pointed out in this weeks’ Insider Podcast that even the way she styles her hair is specific to each scene. Looking at the evidence on the series, there is consistency to her ponytail. The more pressure she is feeling, the tighter wound the ponytail curl is. The more relaxed Kim is, the more relaxed her hair is. So, for instance, in court her ponytail is curled tightly; on dates with Jimmy, it’s more loose; and at home, her hair is always down.
For those curious about this sort of thing, her ponytail is mostly all of Seehorn’s real hair. However, in the second season, she had to add protective pieces of synthetic hair around her ponytail because her real hair was being damaged by the number of times the stylist had to curl it.
Also, Kim only owns two suits, a blue and a black one, and they both come from Marshalls in Albuquerque, because the costume designer Jennifer L. Bryan reasoned that Kim could probably only afford two suits and that she would buy inexpensive ones at Marshalls. Often, she will mismatch the suits to offer more variety.
One more thing: Kim almost always wears the same earrings.
Kim’s Car Crash
Without most of us even realizing it, the writers have been foreshadowing Kim’s car crash all season long. We’ve seen her pulling all-nighters, sleeping in her office, and showering in the gym. Kim’s morning routine montage in episode three was planted to foreshadow the crash. In episode seven, Kim even briefly nodded off in her car.
Earlier in this episode, we also spot a bottle of NoDoze in her car (via Brian Davids):
And yet, the crash still came as a shock.
That brilliant crash sequence, by the way, consisted of only four quick cut edits.
Vince Gilligan’s girlfriend, Holly, is all of us. After she saw the car crash scene, she said to Vince: “You have to tell me you aren’t going to kill off Kim, because if you do I will murder every single one of you.”
The car crash, by the way, took place on the same road where several scenes in Breaking Bad took place, including the one in which Walter White is eventually pepper sprayed by a police officer.
I loved this from Redditor littleasskicker. Jesse Pinkman would be so proud.
Mike and Lydia
This meeting between Mike and Lydia is fascinating because of two things we know from Breaking Bad. First of all, we know that Lydia has a five year old in Breaking Bad, and though we are still a year or two away from Lydia conceiving the child, we may find out who the husband is. It may be someone we know.
Second is a quote that Mike delivered to Jesse in Breaking Bad: “Trust me, this woman deserves to die as much as any man I’ve ever met.” I suspect in the coming seasons we’re going to find things out about Lydia that led Mike to draw that conclusion.
Related: The Los Pollos Hermanos website is now advertising a position that perfectly fits a man with Mike’s talents.
Finally, remember the Kettelman’s, the family from the first season who embezzled $1.6 million? Kim helped negotiate a plea deal for for Craig Kettelman, who ended up going to prison. We have an update on the family. As part of an advertising partnership between the AMC series and Acura, a short, three-minute film was made, catching us up on their whereabouts. It won’t be available to the public until Monday, but fans can watch it over on Adweek until then. It’s pretty great.