Better Call Saul: The Guy for This
March 3, 2020 7:07 AM - Season 5, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Kim's confidence is tested when she's faced with a legal problem only she can solve. Jimmy met some interesting people and had a few ups and downs, and some familiar faces show up. "Financially speaking, Saul Goodman just had his best day yet. Ka-ching!" Nacho continues his tight-wire act, and Mike makes suggestions to redecorate a bar, and gets to know some folks in the neighborhood.

Jimmy tangles with some familiar adversaries, and Better Call Saul's big bosses pull the strings (Donna Bowman for TV/AV Club, rating: A-)
A key tension on Better Call Saul stems from the characters’ positions as insiders or outsiders. Chuck was the ultimate legal insider, and he spent a frankly insane amount of energy trying to keep Jimmy on the outside. Even when Jimmy was part of HHM, or later dealing with HHM as a full-fledged member of another firm, Chuck had to make sure everyone knew he wasn’t in the inner sanctum, not really in the same profession at all. Then when Jimmy and Kim struck out on their own, building their own practices, they embraced that position of outsider. But that’s an precarious place to live. Outsiders don’t enjoy the same security as insiders; much less flows to you through the institutional structure. You have to hustle for everything you wind up getting.

And therein lies the problem. You build yourself a home, and then you find yourself inside it. Turns out it wasn’t your position in somebody else’s firm that was trapping you. It was the very notion of a firm — a practice — a professional identity. The ditch you dig to get the juice flowing becomes the bed you have to lay in. Or maybe the grave where you lay forever.
‘Better Call Saul’ Recap: Walking the Same Line -- Jimmy and Kim are sucked into soul-crushing schemes. Plus: Nacho earns Lalo’s trust, and Mike gets mad (Alan Sepinwall for Rolling Stone)
Last week’s episode concluded with Nacho and Jimmy reuniting for the first time since early in Season One. “The Guy For This” doesn’t so much break down the wall between the show’s worlds as it relocates it a bit so that Jimmy is for the moment on the cartel side of it, while Kim is largely holding down the law side on her own.

The episode is keenly aware of this shift, and the impact it’s having on our heroine and antihero. Kim reacts to Jimmy’s rising professional fortunes as if he has invited a third person into their relationship without her permission; when he declares that Saul just had his best day yet, Kim grouses, “Huh. Good for Saul.” But the hour also smartly links them through the same basic dilemma. Both have convinced themselves they can do exactly what they want professionally, and both are rudely reminded of the limits of their power. Jimmy’s money is coming from a drug kingpin, and Kim’s from a bank, yet they each find themselves forced to do unsavory things for clients who won’t take no for an answer.
posted by filthy light thief (41 comments total)
What was the photo that Mike demanded the bartender remove? I didn't catch that.
posted by bondcliff at 7:16 AM on March 3, 2020

The Sydney Opera House, which Werner Ziegler's engineer father helping to build.

A little bit of orientation: Here's a rough approximation of Kim's drive -- 2.5 hours from downtown Albuquerque at the court house to Tucumcari. It's not so much "down" from Albuquerque as it is "over" (or specifically, east). As far as drives in New Mexico go, it's not the worst. Heading down to Hobbs would be worse, though either trip will definitely ruin your plans for having a day of pro bono cases in court.

I was expecting that Kim would counter Mr. Acker's comment that she probably volunteers at a soup kitchen once a year at Thanksgiving by saying she left a day of pro bono cases for this. Instead, she first fired back out of frustration and anger. Then she returned and tried to empathize with him, even looking for possible homes he could own, only to have him reply "You'll say anything to get what you want, won't you?"

Which pairs with Lalo calling Saul "the guy with the mouth," who talked Tuco out of skinning the twins alive for calling his abuelita a "bizznatch." They're both lawyers, so of course they're talkers. But moreso, we learn more about Kim, to the point you could assume she relied on her ability to think and talk her way through things, to get away from her rough childhood, something akin to Jimmy, but definitely for different reasons.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:26 AM on March 3, 2020 [4 favorites]

Kim is shredding absolutely shredding in an existential crisis about Saul/Jimmy. And herself of course. And they're mirroring it in her outfits and hair.

Mike has a Sydney Opera House sized hole in his heart.

Nice moves by Lalo. I wonder how pissed he'll be that Gus isn't obviously more pissed.
posted by tilde at 7:30 AM on March 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

I thought the scene where Mike broke the would-be mugger's arm was hokey. There's no way that entire group wouldn't have jumped Mike and beaten the shit out of him. Tough old guy he may be, but there was about eight of them. To me that scene was almost kung-fu film stupid.

I fear Nacho's father's stubbornness is going to get Nacho killed. Lalo affects me the same way Joffrey used to on GoT. You just don't know what he's going to do - kiss you on both cheeks and buy you a beer or slit your throat. I feel tense watching every scene he's in.

Jimmy finally crossed the line and took some really dirty money. He's theirs now. He still has Kim, who still has that air of recklessness (hence the bottle-throwing). What I love about this show (and BB) is that there's no point trying to guess how the storyline will unfold. I've no idea how Kim and Jimmy will part, but I know it's probably not going to be in any way I could predict.
posted by essexjan at 7:59 AM on March 3, 2020 [7 favorites]

Nice moves by Lalo. I wonder how pissed he'll be that Gus isn't obviously more pissed.

The point is not to piss off Gus, but to undermine him so Don Eladio takes away Gus's territory and hands it to Lalo. If Gus loses a half million, that's a hit to Eladio's profits.

Unless Gus gets it back, which he will. And he'll get back at Lalo.

Jimmy finally crossed the line and took some really dirty money. He's theirs now. He still has Kim, who still has that air of recklessness (hence the bottle-throwing).

He lost the chance to back out when he got in the car. The locks were removed from the inside, and he met Lalo in an auto body shop, likely one in an industrial area where no one could hear him scream, or everyone would say they didn't hear anything, if anyone happened to ask. He couldn't not take the money. So instead, he set what he thought was a realistically high price, trying to dissuade Lalo, but like the drug boss he is, Lalo pulled $8k out of his wallet. Like a microcosm of Breaking Bad, Jimmy stepped into the car and was sliding down the slippery slope towards being a cartel lawyer. He retained his morality by trying to keep Domingo safe from law enforcement disinterest (and subsequent death as a snitch), and then pitching to Lalo that Krazy 8 is now a hotline to the DEA and (again) not a snitch. It's too early to see if Lalo values that decision or finds it a liability, but we know Saul survives.

And throwing the bottles -- I wasn't feeling like that was reckless (it was, but that doesn't quite encompass my reading of the moment). It felt like a semi-adult "fuck it all" moment. And that whole scene -- wordless camaraderie, Jimmy supporting and joining Kim's small act of rebellion and frustration, sharing a conspiratorial grin as they snuck back inside as the lights across the way turned on to the noise of crashing glass. Saul is definitely a bad match for Kim, but Jimmy is decent. He understands what she's come from, who she is, and what she's dealing with now, no talking necessary.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:22 AM on March 3, 2020 [7 favorites]

I thought the scene where Mike broke the would-be mugger's arm was hokey. There's no way that entire group wouldn't have jumped Mike and beaten the shit out of him.

I don't know about that. Certain people, when provoked, get a look in their eye, which even without the infliction of broken limbs, causes others to back off. I would agree with this statement had Mike shown any fear whatsoever. He didn't.
posted by Crystal Fox at 12:19 PM on March 3, 2020 [3 favorites]

That scene with them smashing the bottles was so delightful. They were playful kids. It’s exactly what she loves about him. Makes complete sense on the heels of her real childhood, cold and shuffling from place to place with her box of things.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:23 PM on March 3, 2020 [3 favorites]

Also, them playing in the shower at the open house. Which was waaaay less scandalous than those words make it sound.

Now I can’t watch any scene with her in it without feeling anxious about her demise. Even when her colleague said, “drive safe!” I was like, oh noooooo

Which of course would be ridiculous if they had her crash, again. But that’s how on edge I am.

So these other moments quite literally break that tension. No ants gonna swarm on spilled beer in the street.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:30 PM on March 3, 2020 [5 favorites]

Makes complete sense on the heels of her real childhood, cold and shuffling from place to place with her box of things.

Is this the first we’ve heard anything about Kim’s past? That specifically?

I ask because, and alternate take on all that is that Kim’s story was her pulling a WWJD* moment, where she made up a complete load of bullshit in order to win. But, the old dude called her on her bullshit And that resulted in her “oh, fuck it” bottle-tossing.

About the old dude straight calling her bullshit...Up until that moment, I think Kim probably felt the old dude’s attitude toward “the law” was a bunch of ignorant, redneck crap. Kim still believes in the law. She not the cynic Jimmy is. I think she feels above Jimmy in that regard. But, when the old dude called her out, it was akin to suddenly being caught in a spotlight and seeing she was now Jimmy/Saul (and the old dude was right about her profession)

* (What Would Jimmy Do?)
posted by Thorzdad at 12:53 PM on March 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

I think that’s totally possible! Either way, my money is riding on ‘Kim’s childhood sucked’.

Every character’s bullshit on this show is so interesting!
posted by iamkimiam at 1:10 PM on March 3, 2020

Which of course would be ridiculous if they had her crash, again. But that’s how on edge I am.

They also had the camera tight on her, which is something all directors do when they want to conceal a big shock that’s coming. It’s so overused a device that whenever a camera is tight on someone, even in the most banal of circumstances, I always get tense and assume they’re about to be hit by a bus/shot/eaten by a zombie or whatever, depending on what I am watching.
posted by chill at 2:10 PM on March 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

The actual soccer game (Belarus vs Mexico) Nacho and friends are watching happened in 2014 (Mexico lost 2-3). Not the worst anachronistic mistake, but seems Peter, Vince, and co. usually nail the details like this.
posted by sideshow at 5:06 PM on March 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

An old comment popped up. That art at Nachos’!

Two pieces behind the guys, dark for one, Orange for the other, raised,,triangular mountainous rocky .... 💞
posted by tilde at 6:39 PM on March 3, 2020

I thought the scene where Mike broke the would-be mugger's arm was hokey. There's no way that entire group wouldn't have jumped Mike and beaten the shit out of him.

I didn't see that as a Kung-fu "Mike shows how bad-ass he is" scene.

I think there are groups where the whole group would have beaten Mike, and there are groups where his takedown of the leader would be enough to stop them.

I feel like the point of the scene was that Mike didn't know what kind of group he was facing and he didn't care. He would have loved to fight the whole group and end up beaten half to death in that moment, because that's how he's feeling at this point. It just didn't happen that way.
posted by mmoncur at 9:05 PM on March 3, 2020 [15 favorites]

I am loving season 5.

Without re-litigating the end of season 4, I personally don't think they pulled off the transformation from Jimmy McGill to Saul Goodman, and it left me cold.

However, I'm happy with the destination. It feels like they're finally making the series they originally intended to before deciding to spend more time with Jimmy McGill, and it's a story I much prefer.
posted by chill at 5:05 AM on March 4, 2020 [3 favorites]

Good episode. I liked the fact that Saul throwing an ice cream cone created an unintended microcosm, which is exactly what his presence is doing in the criminal world. I liked that Kim, acting as an honest lawyer, is pulled away from helping people to act as the heavy in taking away a man's house, while Saul, acting as a crooked lawyer, is saving his client's life, or at least trying to. He also seems to be having a lot more fun, which Kim certainly isn't.
posted by maxsparber at 9:55 AM on March 4, 2020 [7 favorites]

Kim and Saul are going to end up on opposite sides of a case, aren't they. It's going to destroy them both, and I both dread and can't wait to see it.
posted by Drastic at 12:02 PM on March 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

This week's lesson for Kim was not quite "no deed goes unpunished," but the old man sure didn't appreciate her going the extra mile for him. Maybe she'll learn to not waste her good deeds on the unworthy. Maybe Saul will become unworthy.

Maybe the best possible fate for her is to become cold-hearted and looking out solely for Number One. It would certainly jibe with the tough childhood.
posted by whuppy at 4:45 PM on March 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

(Assuming Kim was telling the truth about her childhood, that is.)
posted by whuppy at 5:09 PM on March 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

"You don't just get to make up your own rules!"

To an extent, that's been Kim's idea of how things should work, even if it's not how they do. So who does get to make up their own rules? Well, Ignacio has an answer in tonight's episode, and by the end, so does Jimmy: "It's not about what you want." Implicitly, it's about what they want.

And who's they? People of power. Think of Lalo, who can peel off $8,000 to call Jimmy's bluff, and can terrorize Krazy-8 into folding -- in a poker game, last episode, and in a jail cell, this time. Think of Gus, who -- in a very on-the-nose shot -- holds a secret meeting in front of a literal power station, framed to show the grid of energy, the network of technological power. And Mesa Verde, who can toss away $18,000 on a $5,000 debt, as if that's...what was Mike's term last episode? Compensation?

And what else do Gus, Lalo, and Mesa Verde have in common? When the money isn't enough to change the rules, they can get others to exert force on their behalf: they send their armed minions in and that takes care of it. The best you can do, working under them, is to be one of those doing the threatening and cajoling. But as Tyrus learns tonight, as Nacho has learned, and as "Saul" and Kim learn, that power is borrowed, and can be taken back. The best you can do is pretend to still have something of your own.

Indeed, the tragedy is that all of these characters were, in some way, trying to empower themselves or set a moral balance once: Jimmy seeking his law degree to prove that he can do something legitimate, Mike trying to atone for his indirect role in his son's death and find a new moral balance, and Kim trying to move up from being that little girl in the cold a step ahead of the landlord and to find her own moral code so that she's not just that incorporate lawyer. Even Nacho implies that his turn to drugs was, to some extent, an effort to free his father of financial burdens and the need to work until he drops. But they all try to do that by getting into some existing power structure, becoming someone's conduit. And that ultimately means being within their power, not of it.

The visuality of the show drives this home. In the show's tendency to use visual symmetries, the shot of the transformers before which Gus stands, in closeup as if to signify his affinity for them, is the counterpart to thre sequence depicting Jimmy's ant-covered ice cream cone, one which shows a whole little world -- a microcosm, as maxsparber put it -- of ants.

But, in the episode's beginning, we zoom out to see the huge, tromping feet of people in suits and fancy shows, perhaps lawyers. That high-heeled shoe that seems to tread on the ants should remind us of Kim's introductory shot last episode, her similar shoes on the courthouse brickwork: the law, whose power both Mesa Verde and Lalo wield as a blunt instrument through their attorneys.

I tend to disagree, therefore, that Jimmy is the one creating the microcosm; it's his ice cream cone, and he doesn't even get to enjoy it thanks to Lalo's agents intimidating hi into service. Late in the episode he comes back to it, after he's been told that he's stuck as a cartel lawyer, trapped alongside Nacho. He and Nacho are like those couple of ants in the opening, getting stuck in the cone. Jimmy looks down at the ant-covered ice cream sadly at the end. Does he see himself in those ants?

Every story tonight is, in part, about the differences between being granted some power, but being trapped in the network, the grid, the sticky situation someone else has made, trying to navigate it, a frail creature liable to be trod upon by the uncaring big players, and having no moral way out. All one can do is try to pretend to have some dignity in the midst of surrendering it.

And so our episode ends with all our characters deeply compromised, trapped: Jimmy, Kim, Nacho, all see their escapes cut off, their ways out removed or turned against them. Saul Goodman is just one more trap, not the liberation of Jimmy McGill. Kim might think she can set up a day of pro bono work, but she has to leave it when Mesa Verde and Rich Schweikert call. Nacho can only drag more and more people into Gus and Lalo's orbits, sacrificing Jimmy twice, once to each of his cruel masters, just to keep breathing one more day. And Mike cannot drink his conscience away; even rejecting the money doesn't restore the lost humanity, the lost connection. Neither do futile gestures like Kim's late night visit to Mr. Acker, he thin gesture of empathy hardly enough to erase her wielding of Mesa verde's and the law's power against him.

"Mesa Verde keeps the lights on," just like those power transformers Gus stands in front of. In the end, power creates moral distortions and destroys human dignity and empathy. And so, in the end, the episode's visual strategy is actually not symmetry, but the destruction of symmetry. The most obvious indicator is the tweaker in Nacho's house, who disassembles a Rubik's cube in close-up. And, rather obviously, there are the two early "mirror" shots -- Jimmy reflected int he scuffed surfaces of Nacho's murder-n-kidnapping car, and Mike, in the extremely obvious symmetrical mirror shot.

Yes, both of these are standard "character reflects on their situation" moments, but they actually set up the counterpart that ends the episode: the smashing of the glass bottles, Jimmy and Kim's futile, pointless act of destruction. (yes, yes, Kim goes form pulling Jimmy's bottle back from the brink to smashing bottles with him, and sharing a cigarette, the show's very first metaphor for their addictive relationship to each other and to the thrill of the game. But there's no thrill here, just a kind of despair at self-recognition; smashing the glass is smashing the mirror, refusing to look at oneself. (So is breaking some random tough guy's arm on the street.)

But my favorite sequence of shot sin this episode is a different one. Just as the bottle on the rail was classic suspense -- will it fall? -- that is paid off in Jimmy and Kim anticlimactically tossing bottles into the parking lot in mutual misery, a shot when Nacho's father visits him seems to do the same thing: Nacho and his father are in the corner, signifying that they are trapped (Nacho knowingly, the father unknowingly), and, on the walls, we see on the left a Lichtenstein-esque painting of a roaring car, and, on the right, a metallic relief. Since the car's headed right, the image is of a car crash about to happen. Suspense. Will Nacho save his father? Isn't he foredoomed?

As if to confirm this, a subsequent shot in the family reunion uses a half0-wall to obscure the metal relief, and puts Nacho and his father in front of the zooming car painting: now it's headed for them, symbolically. And then a really funny thing happens: we cut tot he kitchen, and we get a shot where another of those metal reliefs is now on the left of the frame, and the zooming car is on the right, still zooming right.

On the one hand, this is Nacho's fantasy of escape, the idea that he can get himself and his father out. Of course, this fantasy is dashed by his father's intransigence, which dashed Nacho's hopes. The metal reliefs become the symbol of the father's refusal, the reality that the car cannot pass through the wall, and the wall will still be there. Nacho's still trapped. But it's also sequenced to create a sense of disorder: the earlier sequence is reversed, then the left and right background images are switched; things are not arranged as they should be, and the visual pattern doesn't hold.

The slow disordering of the visual sequence of this background art connects to Nacho's inability to save his father, the failure of his plan, and the impossibility of a way out form under the power of Gus and Lalo, once that power has been borrowed. The things Nacho can bu y with his drug money become the visual iconography of his capture int he webs of power, the power that dwarfs him, much as the power transformers will dwarf him in a long shot later in the episode when he meets Gus.

And so it's all sort of like Jimmy and Kim imagining that they can break the rules, just a little, for the right people or the right reasons, and without consequence. They throw their bottles, and share the cigarette, and smile. Maybe there's a little power to make or break some rules yourself in there, in some small, human space outside the grids of power. And then the neighbors' lights turn on. Jimmy and Kim scurry inside; so much for that little fantasy.
posted by kewb at 6:28 PM on March 4, 2020 [9 favorites]

Huh. Hadn't read that AV Club review before I wrote that.
posted by kewb at 6:30 PM on March 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

My big takeaway from this episode was that I feel like we are seeing the beginning of the final destruction of Kim Wexler. (I'd also like to say that the more this show goes on, the better and better Rhea Seehorn is getting. She is absolutely killing it in this role.)
posted by azpenguin at 7:36 PM on March 4, 2020 [5 favorites]

...I feel like we are seeing the beginning of the final destruction of Kim Wexler.

That's kind of my fear, too. Kim's always struck me as a sort-of metaphor for the state of "the law", in-general, as far as it exists in the Saul/Jimmy universe. This episode

Thing is, Saul/Jimmy has now officially become a very dangerous person to be anywhere near. My fear is Kim's "destruction" might be literal, should she find herself unknowingly crossing into Jimmy's new world.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:16 AM on March 5, 2020

Not the worst anachronistic mistake, but seems Peter, Vince, and co. usually nail the details like this.
Another one I've noticed in a couple of episodes this season is the parking-protected buffered bike lane and green zebra crossing in front of the court building. That kind of infrastructure wasn't being built in the U.S. at the time this show is set.
posted by borsboom at 5:33 AM on March 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

No one's commented on Hank and Gomie showing up, although I suppose that there's not much to say about it--this is well before Hank's redemption arc on BB, so he's just that guy, and Steve is playing along. But there's a nice echo in Saul and Krazy-8's routine back to the very first time we ever see Saul: rushing into the interrogation room and telling Badger to stop talking to the cop.

Something else, that I didn't realize until reading that RS review, that was neat is that Acker, the recalcitrant homeowner, is played by Barry Corbin.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:36 AM on March 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

kewb, I always look forward to and appreciate your insights and reviews, you definitely catch and consider more than I do. A few musings on your comments:

kewb: Think of Lalo, who can peel off $8,000 to call Jimmy's bluff, and can terrorize Krazy-8 into folding -- in a poker game, last episode, and in a jail cell, this time.

Playing poker with your (drug) boss is a complicated thing -- Lalo is definitely flexing his power in most instances, even casually, which stresses how much power he has. Can you really win in a game of poker against Lalo? I'm not just talking about this bluff, but in general -- would he let you win? Maybe once or twice, depending on his mood and the stakes.

But Krazy-8 had no out in jail -- he was found by the cops, trying to fix a drainpipe at night, which happened to spill out a half ounce "of street-grade gak. That's dealing weight." Staying quiet kept him out of trouble with regards to Lalo, but he's still in jail. He would do the time and give up no one, or he could be a pawn in a bigger game, which was Lalo's desire, after talking with Tio.

kewb: Mesa Verde, who can toss away $18,000 on a $5,000 debt

I think it's a bit different -- they were upping the pay-out on what was a shitty lease.

Kim: your lease stipulates that the property owner can buy you out at any time for fair market value plus $5,000. I know $5,000 isn't nearly as much as it used to be back in 1974, and and we do understand how inconvenient this must be, so, as a gesture of goodwill, Mesa Verde has just increased your buy-out to $18,000.

So Mesa Verde is either ponying up $13k (the difference, assuming Deerview Investment Properties agreed to, in their deal with Mesa Verde, pay off everyone to move out), or if Mesa Verde bought out Deerview and is assuming their role in the payouts, is paying $13k more than it had planned to previously.

They're not buying a debt, they're increasing the incentive to leave peacefully, almost in keeping with general inflation* (US Inflation Calculator says $5k would have inflated to $19,158.22 from 1974 to 2004, around when this episode takes place.

* The cost of housing has increased more. S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index says that on Jan. 1, 1987, the index was at 63.754, and was up to 140.709 on Jan. 1, 2004. Making this apples to apples, $5k from 1974 inflated to $11,997.97 in 1988, which is increased at a 1.6% rate, compared to the National House Price Index, which increased at a 2.2% rate (if I'm doing my math right and using the right terms, which I may not be doing). That $12k in 1988 growing at the House Price Index would be $26,480.26, which is still less than it should be, given the missing growth from 1974-1988.

Mr. Acker took a shit deal with the original lease, and now Mesa Verde is trying to coax him out with a slightly higher payout, which is still peanuts to them (I wonder how many hours of staff time have been billed to this incident already, even in 2004 dollars). He's in a different situation than Domingo, where he can hold out and possibly get a better deal.

Or, like Domingo, he could get screwed if he doesn't bargain now, because tomorrow the offer will be lower. Kim and Saul both currently have compassion, even if they have moments where they are furious (and rightfully so). They're called in to be fixers for people with more power but less time. So Kim and Saul use their time and people skills to read situations, and find solutions for their bosses, and in the process, interject some humanity that their bosses wouldn't have offered. After all, if Mr. Acker and Domingo aren't actively assisting Mesa Verde and Lalo, respectively, they're in the way.

In this reflection, I realize that through all this and into Breaking Bad and beyond to Cinnabon, Jimmy retains some sense of morals and what is right. Yes, he becomes a criminal lawyer, but while he's helping criminals get away with their crimes, he realizes that there are people who get trod upon in the process, and he still looks out for them. He tried to provide direction to Walt, before Walt became Heisenberg, and continued to guide Jesse. He doesn't bail on his co-workers at Cinnabon (in part to see if anyone has been asking about him, but he also asks Molly about signing for a delivery). Saul is sleezy, and a criminal, but there's still compassion. And Kim still has that, too, beyond her pro bono cases. They both treat people like people, especially people who are on the low end of power exchanges. Those people on the upper end, who have the power, that's more complicated.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:37 AM on March 5, 2020 [5 favorites]

I thought I recognized Corbin.

So one other thought on Hank and Steve: this lays out finding Nachos car (a car belonging to his dead CI) in breaking bad.
posted by tilde at 7:40 AM on March 5, 2020

It sure felt like several key characters had a chance to stare directly into the camera (and at us). Even Kim, via the rear-view mirror when she pulled over.
posted by jquinby at 10:17 AM on March 5, 2020

My fear is Kim's "destruction" might be literal, should she find herself unknowingly crossing into Jimmy's new world.

Yeah jeez, if this show fridges its amazing female lead by making her collateral damage from Jimmy's accidental involvement with meth dealers I will hate it forever.
posted by mediareport at 12:01 PM on March 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

(I mean, I'd hate it but not forever if her career is ruined as collateral damage from Jimmy's accidental involvement with meth dealers, but killing her off? That crosses a line.)
posted by mediareport at 12:03 PM on March 5, 2020

Yeah, I’d hate to see Kim killed, too. That said, something serious must happen, given that we never saw, or heard any mention of, her in BB. Maybe she ends up calling for a vacuum part and disappearing?
posted by Thorzdad at 1:40 PM on March 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

I hope that Kim "breaks good" and becomes a warrior lawyer for the downtrodden - like two orbiting stars flung away from each other, Jimmy's descent becomes Kim's ascent.

And then I want Kim to show up at the Cinnabon.
posted by Paragon at 2:07 PM on March 5, 2020 [6 favorites]

I've missed the shit out of your takes on this show, kewb. Glad to be back in ABQ with you.
posted by absalom at 5:14 PM on March 5, 2020

That said, something serious must happen, given that we never saw, or heard any mention of, her in BB.

Not necessarily something serious like death. If Kim left Jimmy's life, why would he bring her up with future clients ? BB's Saul Goodman story lines where always about Walter and Jesse.
posted by Pendragon at 1:15 PM on March 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

One thing I've been noticing these past couple of episodes; Kim keeps just missing Saul Goodman when she's moving around town. They hint at it; we see Kim's shoe step on the curb near the ice cream cone. Or Kim drives by Saul's meeting with Lalo out in the desert on her way to/from Tucumcari. Maybe it's just a cutesy easter egg. But it seems an important theme to me. No matter where Kim is, she can't escape Saul Goodman. At some point she's going to try to make a full break but then she's going to find she can't escape him, his presence all over town, his face on billboards. Maybe that's what'll cause her to leave New Mexico and live happily every after somewhere else. (Oh, I sure hope she has a happy conclusion!)

I love Kim too. But I'm frustrated this isn't a show about Kim, it's about Saul. In particular Kim pretty much has no life on camera outside Jimmy's sphere. We do see her doing her job sometimes but she has no friends, no family, no thing of her own other than work and Jimmy. And she's lost Jimmy.
posted by Nelson at 8:12 AM on March 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

I did not like that cold open. Lots of creepy crawlies and very anachronistic cars.
posted by Monochrome at 9:40 AM on March 15, 2020

Even if you’re not in the habit of listening to the podcast — listen to the first 20 minutes of this episode for the story of how they filmed the ants! They’re real ants, not CGI!
posted by logopetria at 12:12 PM on March 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm pretty sure we knew that Kim grew up poor before this. Her speech to the dude sounded pretty genuine to me.
posted by LizBoBiz at 12:46 AM on March 27, 2020 [3 favorites]

This is just what you'd expect from an old man who lives in Tucumcari.

Tucumcari considered my town to be their nemesis with regard to high school athletics. We, however, considered Artesia our rival while Artesia, in turn, considered Lovington theirs.

Also, an amusing or possibly horrifying story I have about Tucumcari is that my sophomore year a friend of mine was on the JV basketball team when they played against Tucumcari. He had a foul called on him, then he argued with the referee and got ejected from the game, whereupon he punched the ref in the face and knocked him out. Both benches then cleared in a free-for-all brawl and the game was suspended. On Monday morning, our principal gathered the entire school in the auditorium and was absolutely livid about it.

My friend could have and should have gotten into legal trouble, but he didn't and went on to be kind of notorious among the jocks for punching people really hard. That came in handy for me and my cousin from California the night I graduated high-school when my cousin disappeared somewhere with the girl who had just been that year's rodeo queen and some rednecks wanted to know who that fucking blonde guy was. I had my friend, who had known my cousin for years from his visits, tell the rednecks to fuck off.

So, after high school, that friend joined the Navy and then—guess what—became a Sheriff's deputy in town. I heard he's kind of a dick. Hopefully he won't see this comment because our 40th high school reunion is a couple of years from now and I plan to go so I can see how terribly old we all have become. Come to think of it, though, he probably doesn't punch very hard these days. I suppose he could shoot me.

posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:06 AM on March 31, 2020 [3 favorites]

I'm pretty sure we knew that Kim grew up poor before this. Her speech to the dude sounded pretty genuine to me.

I also think the speech was genuine, but the way I took it, it doesn't matter so much whether the story is true and/or whether the old man believes her or not.

Kim simply can't let go of the situation. She has to fix it, because that is how she sees herself, and she will go to great lengths to maintain that image. That perhaps the old man has no interest in being helped or that perhaps the situation can't be fixed doesn't seem to enter the picture for her. Instead Kim will prostrate herself for the old man by sharing uninvited confidences in the middle of the night if that is what it takes. Whether her story is true or not is not really the point. What matters is that she will do anything to preserve her self-image as fixer/savior. That is how I took it.
posted by dmh at 4:01 AM on April 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

I don't get why they needed Kim to drive out and talk to that guy. Nobody else had the balls to tell him he's got three days to leave or the sheriff kicks him out? You don't need to be a lawyer to say that, much less a great lawyer.

I can see Kim feeling crappy about having to give this guy the bad news, but it's not like she worked some lawyer stuff to swindle him out of his house. He's not gonna get to stay there whether she shows up or not. (Unless he hires Saul Goodman...that guy could probably work a scam to save it...)
posted by straight at 1:09 AM on August 23, 2023

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