Better Call Saul 506 – Wexler vs Goodman
“You never listen!”
Those words uttered several years earlier by Kim Wexler’s less than responsible mother not only encapsulate her frustration with her daughter, but highlight a trait that Kim has maintained into her adult life. Just as Kim used her better judgement to refuse her inebriated mother’s offer for a ride, instead opting to walk three miles home, she often makes the right call on things – except where Jimmy is concerned. She has been a willing accomplice to Jimmy’s high jinks, often to the bewilderment of the audience but perhaps, now knowing what lies in her past explains her blind spot for Jimmy’s failings and her ill advised gambit against Mesa Verde.
Wexler vs Goodman isn’t solely focused on Kim and her inner conflict however as it also touches on the ongoing friction between Gus and Lalo. Nacho is a pensive ball of apprehension searching for away out of the vice grip he finds himself in. Caught between serving two masters with his father’s safety on the line, the situation is wearing on him and it’s evident in the quiet moments when Nacho has no lines that his thoughts are dancing nervously behind his eyes. His fears aren’t assuaged any further even after having a chat with Mike to explore his options.
Flipping back to Kim, an interesting scene plays out in Richard’s office over a conference call regarding the Mesa Verde land dispute. After it’s revealed that a deal has been struck between Acker and Mesa Verde, Kim takes a moment to apologize to Richard for her earlier conduct. Richard accepts her apology and lets her know that he doesn’t mind her going toe-to-toe with him but not in front of everyone in the office. It’s another example of Kim looking authority in the face and not backing down, even when it might not be prudent. Whether it’s her mother or her superiors Kim digs in her heels and stands firm.
There is a fair bit of comedy during Wexler vs. Goodman’s run time and the majority of it is provided by Jimmy. From his attempt to direct a video to help bring down Mesa Verde to the scam that brings a monumental amount of shame to Howard Hamlin, Jimmy brings the laughs and unfortunately an unexpected and unfortunate amount of discomfort to Kim. During the settlement meeting, Jimmy is feeling himself a bit too much and as usual takes things way too far, at the expense of those around him even his loved ones. Jimmy’s decision to go off script leaves Kim in a terrible position and having to scramble not only to keep her composure but also to save face.
Mike spends the majority of the narrative finding ways to make life difficult for Lalo. Using his extensive knowledge of law enforcement he weaves an elaborate breadcrumb trail of false evidence to get Lalo in trouble with the police. Mike is a man with a considerable skill set and his ability to entrap Lalo demonstrates why he’s such a valuable asset to Gus.
Wexler vs. Goodman is punctuated by the evolution of Kim and Jimmy’s relationship. The fissures that have been growing over the past few seasons have become too wide to seemingly allow their relationship to survive. However, it’s hard to fight one’s DNA and Kim’s Achilles heel raises its foot once again. The twist at the end of her impassioned rant catches everyone off guard, including viewers but in reality it’s true to form. Just as Jimmy is incapable of telling the truth or taking other people’s feelings into account, even when he has good intentions Kim is unable to have the same fortitude that she has with people in positions of power than with those whom she sees as equals. We know how Jimmy’s weaknesses contributes to his eventual downfall and now we are given a window into how Kim may stumble into hers. She can do better than Jimmy, but somewhere deep in her mind she’s still the girl waiting for her mom to pick her up from school. The last thing she wants to be is her mother, but sometimes no matter how hard someone tries it’s almost impossible to break the cycle of one’s past. Especially when you refuse to listen to the warning signs around you.