Better Call Saul continues it’s run of brilliant episodes this week with “Wexler v. Goodman”. In this episode, Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) begins to execute his and Kim (Rhea Seehorn)’s plan to blackmail Kevin and Mesa Verde. He hires his regular film crew, and makes an advertisement criticising Mesa Verde. Meanwhile, Kim has second thoughts about executing their plan, and decides to call if off. Also, meanwhile, Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) and Mike (Jonathan Banks) meet up with Nacho (Michael Mando) to discuss what do with Lalo (Tony Dalton). They all plan to get Mike to plant a seed with the police, to get Lalo arrested once and for all.
Although, Better Call Saul has obviously always been a spin-off to Breaking Bad, and an origin story for Odenkirk’s Saul, it feels like only now are they really embracing it’s Breaking Bad roots. The show has been a very slow burn, and very much in the first 3 seasons, the show felt like a lighthearted take on this universe. However, with these last two seasons, it feels like the show has largely embraced it’s darker roots.
In this season, and this episode in particular, showcases Jimmy McGill more as Saul and less as Jimmy. Specifically, the scene near in the end, where Jimmy has a meeting with Kim and Mesa Verde felt quintessentially Saul. Every from his cocky confidence, his charm, his sense of humour, and his ease with everyone, he felt like the same sleazy, money-grabbing lawyer from Breaking Bad.
However, the writing in the show manages to keep the character very three-dimensional. We also see Jimmy play a “prank” on Howard (Patrick Fabian), by paying two hookers to disrupt a meeting he is having. This shows Jimmy’s immature, almost child-like personality. Also, at the end, during the argument between him and Kim, we see him be almost remorseful for his actions and how he has upset Kim. It is very impressive to see how the writers of the show are still making Jimmy a very three-dimensional character, and Odenkirk plays him to perfection. Speaking of Howard, however, this episode gives him very little to do, and it does seem like the show is started to forget about him. This is a real shame, as Howard and Fabian are real assets to the show.
As always, Kim has some very interesting development this episode. The episode starts off with a flashback to Kim in her childhood, where we see her neglectful mother forget to pick her up, and because of her negligence, Kim decides to walk home by herself, detailing just how stubborn she is. Flashbacks have been a common feature in both this show and Breaking Bad, and they always use it in a way to flesh out the characters, and make them more interesting.
She also has some very interesting things to do in rest of the episode, especially in how she attempts to pull away from the blackmail scam that she and Jimmy conceived. Kim is very much a character that goes back and forth from being a good, moral character to toying more with the darker, more criminal side. This is a character that is often very hard to pull off, but largely down to Seehorn’s fantastic performance, they do it very successfully.
Both of these two contrasting performances from Odenkirk and Seehorn come to a head in it’s heartbreaking climax in which we see Kim and Jimmy have a large argument. Although, Better Call Saul is very much a lighthearted, sweet show, this argument scene is hard-hitting, beautifully acted and very emotional. The closing scene is something that we all, including Kim and Jimmy, all knew was coming, however, ends on a very shocking note as Kim suggests they should get married. This goes on along with Kim’s self-destructive behaviour, and could lead to some future problems for Kim.
Meanwhile, also in the episode, we sees the return of Jimmy’s film crew characters. These are characters that have recurred through the past 4 seasons, appearing in a episode there and here. The characters have remnants of Badger and Skinny Pete from Breaking Bad, in that they appear very sporadically, buy they are always very funny and entertaining. Also, the sequence in which Jimmy makes his commercial in the first few minutes is a very lighthearted and enjoyable moment that is really great.
Also, Mike’s story-line carries on being riveting and interesting. The cliffhanger scene involving Lalo, and seeing him getting arrested was very shocking. His arrest could also lead to some dramatic moments for Nacho, as he was essentially behind it. Maybe, the reason why Nacho is not in Breaking Bad is because he is killed off by Lalo.
In conclusion, this episode was a very strong episode for the series, and will probably be held in high regard as one of the show’s best episodes. Let’s hope that they keep up this run of perfect episodes for the final 4 episodes, as this could lead to a perfect season of television.