“You don’t save me, I save me.” – Kim Wexler
Like many (or even most) of you, I have spent an inordinate amount of time feeling anxiety about Kim Wexler ahead of Better Call Saul‘s final season. She’s the moral center of the spinoff, obviously, but I also (strangely) take note of how she’s voluntarily a “Kim” (and as the show emphasized when she took her rather restrained wedding vows, she’s legally a Kimberly). That makes her a no-nonsense kind of gal in my mind already. Even if she actually prefers Kimberly, she’s fine with the Kim, although all Kims know that everyone will shorten your name (unlike with, say, a Patrick) no matter what. Kims get on with it. They don’t wish to quibble over unimportant details, and such is the case with Kim Wexler. Names aside, she’s one of the best damn TV characters in recent memory. She’s a complex character and impossible to 100% pin down, but she’s a reliable and steady presence. Also, there’s every likelihood that she’ll be ripped away from followers of the Breaking Bad universe.
Yes, it’s going to hurt if that happens, but the timelines are going to collide soon, and you know the drill. There’s no mention of Kim in Breaking Bad. If she’s not dead, then, where would she be — working as a silent partner or becoming the Cinnabon in-house counsel? Ehhh probably not. Alright, so there’s plenty of cause to worry, but I’m letting it go. (And I’ll save that worry for Ozark‘s Ruth.) Let’s talk this out.
“This is why this works. I go too far, and you pull me back.” – Jimmy McGill
Throughout the show, Kim’s been the perfect complement (and vice versa, although notably, they do not “complete” each other in some codependent way) to Jimmy, both professionally and personally, but they also (quite importantly) stand as separate entities, doing their own thing but also really coming together in their kinship. No matter what, though, Kim has always been underestimated, not only by those in her professional sphere, but also her mother, and eventually, by the Saul audience. Hell, even Jimmy thought that he really knew her, and then she whipped out those finger guns, which only appeared to come out of nowhere, but the Saul Goodmanification of Kim Wexler is definitely in the works. There’s still plenty to question about how her darker side will further darken, but one thing that I do feel in my bones is this: Kim Wexler would not want any of us to worry about her. She’d most likely even find the idea to be ridiculous. Remember this little gem of dialogue, back from Season 2?
This utterance arrived when Kim was working off some professional punishment (being banished to document review) that, for all practical purposes, was Jimmy’s fault. Still, she didn’t want help from him. That’s a firm line in the sand, and Kim’s never deviated. She doesn’t want anyone to save her. No one who walks three miles in the icy dark with a cello wants you to worry about her. And no one who worked herself into a car wreck and simply responds, “I know,” when Jimmy shows concern, well, you catch the drift.
What we could do (instead of worrying) is savor the last drops of this magnificent character before she disappears on us, alive or dead. After all, there’s also little debate about how — given that we already knew what Jimmy’s capable of doing before Better Call Saul began to air — Kim is essentially the Heisenberg of this prequel series. She is breaking bad, and it would be astounding to see her stay alive. The only way that I can envision Kim not dying is if she went into hiding, never to be heard of again except to make some annual phone-booth call (*cough*) from an undisclosed location.
Yes, I’m being silly with speculation as a coping method. I’m trying to get into Kim’s head to see how she, like Walt, is pouncing upon the possibility of being a friend (by marriage here) of the cartel, in order to serve what she sees as a greater good. Kim sure did quit the law-firm life in a flash after Jimmy got paid by Lalo. And Jimmy wasn’t thrilled, either, to see Kim decide to practice pro bono from here on out. It’s hard to fathom her speedy decision, and it’s easy to theorize how she has some master plan to win the whole game. It’s difficult to imagine that she didn’t have some kind of income back-up plan (because Kim is meticulous regarding every detail in life), and I’m tempted to scrutinize how (in the Season 5 finale) she begged the public defender’s office for twenty felony cases and emphasized how “I’m looking for something specific.”
Was “something specific” code for “a secret weapon for the future?” I probably sound conspiratorial at this point (go back and watch it — it is an unusually phrased request), but Kim is such an atypically wily character who plays so many cards close to her sleeve. She is almost always in control (witness that impeccably curled ponytail 95% of the time) of situations, long after what she went through with such a sh*tty, alcoholic mother who uprooted her at the drop of a hat. Even back then, choosing to walk home in freezing temperatures was rooted in a need to exert control over her environment. Oddly enough, though, she is somewhat vulnerable with Jimmy. They’re much more alike than anyone could’ve imagined, and when their foreplay turns to business talk, this actually isn’t too surprising.
That’s why I feel like Kim Wexler, even if she’s gunned down by Lalo’s goons, will never be a victim. Hell, she’s begun to (if this is the right term) get off on the idea of cons. She quite nearly fetishized the idea of taking Howard Hamlin down. And any other bride would have headed straight to annulment city if her husband had begun confessing cartel business as they’re about to do the thing. It’s amazing, the bullsh*t that she’s put up with from Jimmy, but in the end, she was more like him than he ever realized. And boy, she was angry as hell that he wasn’t thrilled about her pro-bono life after all she stood through all of his shenanigans. She had even pretended to believe that his trauma in the desert was simply down to “I had to drink my pee.”
Kim knows better. Get it together, Jimmy.
Kim is in the game now, for better or worse. Maybe it’s all “bad choice road,” as Jimmy phrased things, but she went into all of this with eyes wide open. True, Kim shouldn’t have decided to go visit a drug dealer in prison and identify herself as Saul Goodman’s wife. Arguably, she also shouldn’t have told Lalo to go pound sand. These are acts that could seal her fate. She may very well die, but she’ll go out having essentially controlled her own fate. To her, that’s winning. Don’t worry about Kim Wexler.
Again, the timelines are about to collide. Kim apparently doesn’t exist in the flagship series, and we’ve seen that Jimmy is (also apparently) later on his own as Cinnabon Gene. He’s miserable in that life, and no clues on that end have been forthcoming. Wouldn’t it be quite something, though, if Kim turned up in that timeline, and everything turned to color? Below, the season’s poster suggests something, although what exactly that something is, well, that’s anyone’s guess. We’ll soon find out.
— Better Call Saul (@BetterCallSaul) March 10, 2022
‘Better Call Saul’s final season begins (the first half, anyway) on April 18. The second half will arrive on July 11.