Better Call Saul is a show with range. Some characters like Jimmy/Saul lie constantly, others like Mike tell the truth to a fault. With that in mind, our coverage this season will be structured as a collection of true and false statements about each episode. Welcome to Better Call Saul Truth And Lies.
TRUTH — Kim is approaching the danger zone
Kim Wexler is no angel. Not in full, at least. She’s just a lady with a devil and an angel on her shoulder like everyone else. The angel tries hard, though. It really does. It wants to do pro bono work and help an old rascal keep his house even though the company she represents wants it bulldozed. The problem she runs into is that, when the angel encounters a little resistance, she’ll turn right over toward the devil and say “Well, what do you got?” The devil is usually wearing a bright dress shirt and carrying a yellow coffee mug and sometimes has the whole apartment smelling like curry as part of an archaeology ruse. I think you see where I’m going with this.
That’s where we are here. Kim turned to Jimmy for help saving Everett’s house. It’s going well in some ways (Everett is still there) and bad in others (she’s, uh, working with shady criminals who have suggestions like “What if we kidnap your client and drag him out to the desert?”). It’s not been great for her psyche, though. You can tell this is true because of the scene near the end, the one where her boss, Rich, sniffed out the whole scheme and called her on it after trying to be diplomatic at first. That was uncomfortable.
It was even worse because I couldn’t tell exactly what she was feeling. Was she pushing her chips all-in on the lie, calling Rich’s bluff publicly and loudly as a last-ditch attempt to save it? Or was it a deeper, more unsettling thing, where Kim was more mad that Rich thinks she is capable of doing the underhanded thing she is very much doing? (“How dare you accuse me of doing something I just did?”) That’s when you know you’re in too deep, when you’re lashing out in denial in front of a dozen people at work. It would mean she’s just yelling at herself, really.
Kim is approaching a dangerous area. Her boss is already looking at her with suspicion. She’s smiling at pictures of horses that imply Kevin from Mesa Verde has a vulnerable spot she can exploit. She’s having conversations where Jimmy is the voice of reason, for the love of God. If that doesn’t tell you she’s on a bad path, I don’t know what does.
LIE — This will end well
As we’ve discussed many times, there are really only three potential outcomes for Kim in all of this:
- She dies or goes to prison between now and Breaking Bad
- She and Jimmy break up between now and Breaking Bad
- They remain together but he never mentions her a single time during the entire run of Breaking Bad
The second option remains the most likely, in this reporter’s opinion. It’s also the most hopeful. Even if the breakup is bad, it’ll be good for her because Jimmy is toxic and brings out every tiny bad part of her personality. And I’m starting to think the jail part of the first option is more likely than the death part. Like maybe she gets in too deep somewhere and doesn’t have Jimmy’s inherent slipperiness. It won’t be pretty, whatever it is. I’m dreading it so much.
TRUTH — I wanted Mike and the old lady to kiss
You did, too. Don’t lie. Watching her cook for him and watching him play handyman around the house… it was adorable. And it was the first time in a while that we’ve seen Mike feel useful in a positive way. He was healing psychologically as much as physically. The language barrier wasn’t even a problem after a while. She said something he didn’t understand, he replied with a grunt. This is how most older married couples communicate anyway.
Their unconsummated affair will be short-lived, though, because Gus showed up at the fountain dedicated to “Max” with revenge in his heart. Revenge is always in his heart, to be fair. Don’t let the polite smile and calm demeanor fool you. There’s a fire raging inside that man, constantly, which explains pretty much everything he does. He needs Mike for a war against the Salamancas. I’m torn about it. On one hand, they’ll both end up dead because of it and Mike will never get to kiss this old lady. On the other hand, I want to see Mike and Gus do cool stuff. Real dilemma I have on my hands here.
TRUTH — You should watch TV with the captions on
Please consider this your periodic reminder to always watch television with the captions on, especially when Mike is on-screen. There are so many grunts, groans, and sighs transcribed in every episode and it brings me more joy than it has any right to. This isn’t even all of them from this episode. He had a really good groan when Gus hung up on him that was drowned out by dogs barking in the distance and the caption read “[dogs barking in the distance].” I swear watching with captions on has increased my enjoyment of my favorite shows by 20-30 percent. Give it a shot.
LIE — Jimmy’s Saul shenanigans are starting to get old
There is so much serious stuff going on in this show, with relationships crumbling and wars brewing and careers exploding, that you’d think repeated extended glimpses of Jimmy doing silly Saul stuff might get old. Mailbox flim-flams, archaeology okie-dokes, radiation subterfuge, Jesus gambits, etc. And yet, it doesn’t. Ever. It’s still just as fun watching him weasel his way into and out of jams as it’s always been, maybe even more fun as the cloud of impending doom starts sitting over the proceedings. We’re closer to things all going bad for these folks than we’ve ever been. The writing is on the wall and we’re close enough to start making out the letters. It’s not always great.
So, yeah, let Jimmy do some cool Saul stuff every now and then. One montage every episode. Just some harmless grift that helps the little guy fight back against some evil corporate goons. I think we’ve earned it.
TRUTH — All doctors should have one of those speedy little golf carts
Mike has a long and storied history of mocking little buzzy electric sources of transportation, and by that I mean he rolled his eyes at a man on a Segway one time and the moment delighted me so much that it is now seared into my brain forever. When I heard the offscreen hum in this episode, my hopes went through the ceiling. I wanted Mike to hate whatever zoomed around that corner. But then I saw the doctor’s little semi-enclosed golf cart zipping down the path and I immediately wanted every doctor to have one.
They could make house calls in the or we could make the hospital highways wider so they could scoot around from room to room in them. I would like that. Let the doctors have little scooty carts, as a treat.
LIE — I hated this moment
I’m a simple man, really. I like pizza and Philadelphia’s professional sports team and action movies where one guy tells his nemesis that they’re “not so different.” That’s why I whooped out loud a little when Mike dropped this on Gus while talking about the Salamancas. I choose to believe Mike watches a lot of action movies and said this sarcastically. We learned a few weeks ago that he’s an Eagles fan. We’ll have to check the DNA but there’s a non-zero chance he and I are long-lost relatives. I love you, secret grandpa. Next pizza is on me.