Better Call Saul: Fun and Games
July 18, 2022 5:46 PM - Season 6, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Gus attempts to smooth things over with the cartel while Mike ties up loose ends.
posted by Rhaomi (91 comments total)
Oh my god. This one leaves an ache.
posted by azpenguin at 7:54 PM on July 18 [4 favorites]

Of all the alternatives, I can still admire Wexler in this.

If it sticks.
posted by porpoise at 8:19 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]

Gilligan is really worried we are going to think Saul, Kim and Mike are good guys
posted by shothotbot at 8:30 PM on July 18 [3 favorites]

Jesus Christ the last 5 minutes. I’m horrified.
posted by rhymedirective at 8:36 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]

I knew Jimmy was fucked, but I kinda hoped at least Gus could have a nice wine enthusiast boyfriend for a couple of years before Hector blew him up. That guy seemed really cool! Then again, that guy would probably would have wound up in a landfill, so...

This felt so much like a finale. I am afraid to imagine the next four episodes.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:53 PM on July 18 [8 favorites]

Ooof. Heartbreaking.
posted by torticat at 9:13 PM on July 18

Easy to forget after everything that followed, but what an opening montage.
posted by HillbillyInBC at 9:44 PM on July 18

It was fun. And she was so good at it. And so good at being a lawyer for justice.

Saul, of course, isn’t. And his reasons for law aren’t like hers anymore, he’s too twisted by what his brother and Howard did to him. Howard just allowed it but there’s no real difference in the end.

I’ve learned in my life to never debase yourself, even a little bit… just one time! It’s fine! Don’t. Don’t do it, live a virtue or some fucking thing. I’ve seen people I thought, in many ways still think, were good shame themselves for in the end no god damn reason at all.

So yeah, good show. Really human lesson in this one. I’d definitely have loved the caper myself in a previous version of me.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:49 PM on July 18 [6 favorites]

My read on the wine bar scene was that Gus was trying to pick up the waiter so that he could kill him as a stand-in for Howard's body. Earlier Gus hears about how Lalo used a body double to fake his death. Then Mike comments that the case can't be closed if Howard's body isn't found.

So Gus returns to a wine bar he hasn't visited in a long time because he remembers the waiter who looks a lot like Howard. He flirts with him and sets up a story about a rare bottle of wine he'd like to share back as his house. Gus is planning on taking him home and killing him. When the waiter departs for a moment, Gus's face goes classically cold, but then he seems to be struck by a thought that moves him -- probably thinking about Max -- and leaves instead of seeing his plan through.

That was the subtext I saw, anyway.
posted by Emily's Fist at 10:42 PM on July 18 [11 favorites]

It is so rare that a woman in fiction gets to just walk away, determine her own fate like that. It was heartbreaking, and unexpected, but holy shit, she chose it.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:02 PM on July 18 [25 favorites]

EF, given all the tortured complications Jimmy and Kim experienced just because someone might have seen Howard's car parked outside their home on the night of his disappearance, I don't think Gus would allow himself to be seen in public with a man he planned to take home and murder that night...or indeed, any night in the very near future. Gus' inscrutability made it impossible for me, at least, to know exactly why he walked away from the situation -- I feel like we hardly ever know exactly what's motivating Gus, and by design -- but I think he just realized that although he could slightly let his guard down with Lalo dead and buried, he could never really let his guard down as long as the Salamancas were still around.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:44 AM on July 19 [7 favorites]

I thought the wine bar scene was showing us a possible friend, a different life that Gus sort of leads...a fancy, rich, rewarding, warm life. But at the same time that Gus only play-acts that life, since he's a man driven by incredible rage and revenge, the wine bar man was also play-acting - a friendly sell, a con, just like Gus, and more so, like Jimmy. A lovely story, an angle, an excuse to keep selling expensive wine. It was all very sad and felt creepy to me. Nothing actual.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:12 AM on July 19 [17 favorites]

If Gus had wanted a body double for Howard, Mike would have set it up complete with matching dental work and fingerprints.
posted by whuppy at 7:41 AM on July 19 [12 favorites]

Not sure how I feel about the sudden leap from "Kim nopes out" to "full throttle Saul" (besides gut punched, that is.) On the one hand it was too abrupt, OTOH we know enough about both of them now to fill in the gap ourselves.

In any event: Pre-BB timeframe complete. The rest of the show has no guardrails.
posted by whuppy at 7:51 AM on July 19 [7 favorites]

I think the thing with Gus is that he's also in transition, as Jimmy is, to his final state. Flirting with the guy in the wine bar is an indulgence he can no longer allow himself.
posted by Grangousier at 8:40 AM on July 19 [9 favorites]

I have questions:

- will we see Kim again and find out what happens to her? I hope we do, although it seems more natural for her to just leave and never look back.
- will Mike give Nacho's father the fake ID and will there be a storyline where he'll need it? I have a suspicion Hector, furious at Don Eladio's treatment of him, will send the twins to visit him.

Lovable rogue Jimmy has now fully morphed into the repellent Saul. I'd forgotten, as it's a while since BB and because BCS has been following such a long timeline, how truly awful Saul Goodman is. Maybe Kim could have saved him from himself, but at what cost to her?
posted by essexjan at 9:09 AM on July 19 [1 favorite]

I don't think that Gus was setting up the wine guy to be a corpse double for Howard; the chances that any body thought to be Howard's would be DNA-tested (as opposed to Lalo's, I guess) are about 100%. I think that Gus was just enjoying a fine vintage when he realized that, yeah, it did taste "meaty", or really, like blood, and suddenly he lost his taste for that.

Maybe that's the big theme here: Gus, Mike, and Kim finding out what they lost. Mike wanted Nacho's dad to believe that there would be "justice", but Mr. Vargas wasn't playing along. And Kim had to admit that being a public defender didn't justify what she did, not just to Howard or even to Jimmy, but to herself, and left, with probably very little to her name except whatever she got from Sandpiper, and whatever little scrap of her soul still remains.

And Jimmy? Gone, like HHM. Just Saul, and the never-ending hustle. "Though the heavens fall," indeed.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:17 AM on July 19 [10 favorites]

First, that final scene between Kim and Jimmy was amazing. It felt like watching an Arthur Miller play. The emotional roller coaster that each of them went through in that one scene was astoundingly good. Rhea Seahorn should get the emmy on the basis of that single scene alone.

Second, Fring wasn't going to kill this guy. This scene showed Fring wanting something that he was never going to have. And it's just as tragic as Kim, and very similar. When Fring showed up at the compound in Mexico, there were half a dozen cars that were all special in their own way: Rolls-Royce, Ferrari, Porsche, and a couple of bitching old cameros. And then there's Fring, in a rented Ford Taurus, the most boring car ever made in the history of cars.

And this is the tragedy of Fring: he is working so hard to climb to the top of this drug cartel, and for what? He has this public-facing life, as Gus Fring, the chicken man. He can never let that go. He will always have to drive that Volvo, and live in that modest house, even as he amasses wealth and power.

And that goes for his relationships as well. He will never be able to be close to anyone. The closest he will ever get will be with his head of security. Even though he still wants to. He wants to have a close, human relationship with someone, thus the waiter. But he can't. Because, just like Kim, he can't afford to have fun. So each of them give up the things they actually want, to protect those things from themselves.

This show is so sad, and so good.
posted by nushustu at 9:21 AM on July 19 [25 favorites]

Mike too. All Mike wants to do is be a dad. He loved his son, and he loves his granddaughter, and he loved Nacho like a son. And his own son died, and he basically got Nacho killed, and deep down he knows that what he does puts his granddaughter and her mother at risk. He'll never be happy, because of that.
posted by nushustu at 9:39 AM on July 19 [15 favorites]

fair points on my body-double theory - I'm not fully convinced it wasn't a subtext, especially because I can't see Gus even considering moving on from Max before his revenge is done. But maybe I'm reaching with this one! :)
posted by Emily's Fist at 10:29 AM on July 19

I think it's a reach but you DID hip me to the fact that the wine guy does look a bit like Howard, which I didn't put together.

Reminds me of how the guy who recognized Gene Takovic at the mall looks a bit like Don Eladio.

I like how this show pushes sometimes unconscious associations.
posted by tiny frying pan at 10:38 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]

And this is the tragedy of Fring: he is working so hard to climb to the top of this drug cartel, and for what? He has this public-facing life, as Gus Fring, the chicken man. He can never let that go. He will always have to drive that Volvo, and live in that modest house, even as he amasses wealth and power.

This is what struck me about that scene of him pulling up in the Ford, too. He's putting himself in constant danger and living this double life where he's forced to deprive himself of the luxuries his wealth could afford him so that the only reward, ultimately, is revenge. He's not getting anything out of this game except the satisfaction of destroying the Salamancas.

In any case, yeah, the final scene between Kim and Jimmy was brutal and perfect and I am going to be so sad if we don't see Kim again.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:43 AM on July 19 [1 favorite]

I will be sad too.

I am glad she had agency in the end but I think we were severely deprived in learning who Kim is. I suspect they didn't know how to write for her effectively and its a real missed opportunity. I still don't understand her psychology and that teensy hint of her background didn't exactly explain it.

But I had a feeling she would leave him. Because you don't get the Saul we know with his touches of misogyny without a jilted heart. His con wife, his true love schemer - left him high and dry. Hello, cynicism.
posted by tiny frying pan at 10:48 AM on July 19 [4 favorites]

Yeah it’s not enough of an ending with Kim. Maybe she saves his ass in the Gene-times with whatever big something is being set up there.
posted by chococat at 11:06 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]

Kim's such a great character that we all want to know more and more about her, sure. But "severely deprived"? Even without the flashbacks, she was fully fleshed out: Professionally unappreciated and underestimated, she never had anyone but herself looking out for her. Superhuman levels of grit and hustle. Giselle was practically her destiny once she cottoned to the idea of treating the world like the world treated her. Jimmy was her perfect "you and me against the world that doesn't give a shit about either of us." And yet, despite our suspicions that it might be "slippin' Kimmy" that would ultimately doom Jimmy, there was a guttering flame of conscience all along.

Also, I'm sure we're not done with Kim just yet. That leap at the end was too abrupt.
posted by whuppy at 11:11 AM on July 19 [13 favorites]

Yes, severely deprived. I do not understand why her grit and determination relate to her loving grift and lies. I do not feel this was explained.

If it is innate, like Jimmy, I do not think we saw enough of why she threw herself into it so much, risking her professional life she worked so hard for in the process. Jimmy never worked hard at being professional - Kim did.
posted by tiny frying pan at 11:16 AM on July 19 [1 favorite]

She had two wolves inside her: One wanted to renounce her upbringing and live by the rules. The other saw that wasn't working out for her.

The grit itself was value-neutral. And as she said, being bad was fun.
posted by whuppy at 11:20 AM on July 19 [8 favorites]

There's no pat answer. I wish they had spent more time on her.
posted by tiny frying pan at 11:29 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]

(I think I struggle with these discussions because we all have our takes - but some comments present like THIS IS THE ANSWER when it's all opinion, from all sides. Thank you all for sharing yours - it's more varied when we don't agree, no need to convince anyone).
posted by tiny frying pan at 11:34 AM on July 19 [3 favorites]

Man, I doubt we'll see any more of Kim, or Gus, or Mike. I'm on the fence. OTOH, we still have four eps left, which is a lot of time. But OTOH, it sure felt like endings for each of those characters as far as their stories go. Now we get a flash-forward to Saul in his prime, and soon (I would expect sooner than the last ep) we get a visit from Walt and Jesse, and then we push forward to get some eps showing how he's going to get out of the mess he's in at the Omaha Mall Cinnabon. I wouldn't be surprised if we spend 2-3 eps on that really.

I could be wrong, I hope I am, because I love Rhea Seahorn, but I think she went out on top.
posted by nushustu at 11:38 AM on July 19 [1 favorite]

Oh! I thought we only had two episodes left. That makes more sense.
posted by tiny frying pan at 11:43 AM on July 19

I'm wondering if Carol Burnett is playing Kim's mom in one of the remaining episodes? Is she in need of an attorney with, perhaps, some experience in elder care issues? Are Jimmy and Kim fated to be together again in Nebraska?
posted by emelenjr at 11:46 AM on July 19 [1 favorite]

Kim's not just a supporting character, whatever the Emmys committee think, and I suspect she returns when we get back to the Gene story.
posted by Grangousier at 11:50 AM on July 19 [3 favorites]

In the bar scene, when describing the wine, the sommelier had asked if he could taste blood, which came from oxides in the soil. When he was on his own, Gus had a good long pull on the wine and perhaps he tasted it a little too much...
posted by jontyjago at 1:43 PM on July 19 [8 favorites]

jontyjago said: In the bar scene, when describing the wine, the sommelier had asked if he could taste blood, which came from oxides in the soil. When he was on his own, Gus had a good long pull on the wine and perhaps he tasted it a little too much...

The theme of invisible traces of ugly truths that are still felt, tasted, and remembered runs across this episode. The opening montage's cross-dissolves between the erasure of Howard Hamlin's blood, his murder, and the sham of everyday life that Jimmy -- no, Saul, to paraphrase Rich Schweikart -- and Kim successfully work through announce this very clearly. In particular, I noticed the transition from the UV-visible spatter of blood on that hardwood floor and the star in the courthouse on which Kim stands: a trace of the injustice done to Howard dissolves into the ideal of justice promised, but rarely delivered by the state and the legal system.

And as the dissolve happens, there Kim is, standing, for a split second, in the overlapping visuals of both. She is bracketed by her secret guilt and her idealism, two things that coexist only through a trick of editing, the manipulation of images. But it's a momentary trick, an unsustainable artifice; not something Kim can live in for long. So, on the one hand, she engages in one last manipulation of image -- Howard's image -- by telling a cold-blooded lie to his widow, the better to cement the deception and evade accountability. And on the other, she demands a full accounting of herself, admitting not only that she cannot pretend to be a fighter for justice anymore, even as a pro bono lawyer, and by admitting that she cannot pretend that what she and Jimmy, no, Saul, are doing is sustainable or just.

Worse, she must admit that she has been lying to herself that their relationship is sustainable, that her lie of omission to him was a novel one.Instead, she comes to see it as, essentially, a rationalization of their shared, cruel hedonism. She takes in a truth about who they are as a couple, what they do, and who she's become. And then she makes a gesture to give it all up, to try to be something else, something more honest and perhaps less destructive.

Likewise, there is Mike, who has been hanging on to the idea Gus gave him: that vengeance is justice. Unlike Kim, Mike has given so much of himself over to that lie -- not only regarding the Salamancas, but also with regard to his son and his granddaughter -- to really see it on his own. It takes Nacho's father bluntly, concisely, and inescapabaly undercutting Mike's self-delusions to show him that venegance is not justice, just the endless sangre por sangre cycle of the gangsters. And what is Mike, if not a gangster? He's the number two man to the main drug distributor of the Cartel, after all; at most, he's lieutenant to the man who wants that empire for himself.

But, as with Kim, Mike's disocvery of this hard truth about himself and his actions is prompted, ultimately, by a reminder of artifices. His life as Grandpa Mike, watching football, having a beer, and assembling toys and projects with Kaylee gives way to a world of false floors, fake IDs, and from there to the illusion - and disillusioning -- that he can redeem himself by consoling Nacho's father. Where Kim cruelly lied to the survivor of her schemes to save herself, Mike tells his story in an effort to console, as if that will erase his complicity. But the elder Varga's questions and observations -- "Were you there? [....] "All you gangsters are the same." -- makes it impossible for him to lie to himself. Unlike Kim, however, he will continue on in his complicit path. Under the right kind of light, the truth shines through, as in the injunction in the Book of Genesis that the very stones will cry out when blood is spilt.

We can contrast these two characters with the ways the symbolism of blood interacts with Jimmy -- no, Saul -- and Gus. Bothe of them, symbolically, feed on tis spilled blood in their own ways. In the opening montage, we cut from Mike's men wiping up Howard's blood to Saul daubing his enchilada in the sauce, then eating it. And from there, we see him putting a fake neck brace on a client, presumably part of some trumped-up injury claim. Even the very opening shots are about Saul literally erecting a facade, a facade that by the end of the episode has consumed his life much as he symbolically consumes blood only a little later. That is what it is to live the lie.

Gus, too, lives his lie. Others here have commented brilliantly on the degree to which Gus maintains his facade at all times, and how this denies him any real human connections, either to the waiter or to Mike, whose caution and gestures of care Gus pushes aside with his endless scheming. Gus relishes that wince and its hematic flavors; what he flees from is the threat of intimacy, the danger of actually letting someone in, as if his false front would crumble and spoil the vengeance, dissolve the lie of justice, to which he has devoted his entire life.

Here, he's a foil to Saul Goodman: reserved where Saul is flashy, ascetic where Saul is hedonistic, driven where Saul is nihilistic. But what drives them both is an unwillingness to understand what Kim and Mike realize, and instead to live a hollow life of lies. They can only sustain themselves and their illusions by victimizing others, savoring the harm they cause. They say vampires cast no reflections; here are two people who feed on those around them and refuse to see their true image, who refuse, in the end, to reflect.
posted by kewb at 2:39 PM on July 19 [25 favorites]

Easy to forget after everything that followed, but what an opening montage.
What strikes me about the show, is the confidence they show in avoiding dialogue. At this stage, we know Kim and Jimmy and Mike well enough as characters to know exactly what each one is doing in each of the cold open scenes. So instead they let Harry Nilsson’ Perfect Day play out and we just watch. The whole episode had that feeling for me: the many silences as people come to terms with putting their lives back together after a trauma. Edit: in fact it was this cover used in the soundtrack
posted by rongorongo at 3:43 PM on July 19 [5 favorites]

Isn't it going to look a bit weird, to the APD and to Howard's widow and the rest of HHM, that right after Howard's memorial service Kim abruptly and without explanation quits being a lawyer and vanishes?
posted by Flashman at 4:07 PM on July 19 [5 favorites]

Isn't it going to look a bit weird, to the APD and to Howard's widow and the rest of HHM, that right after Howard's memorial service Kim abruptly and without explanation quits being a lawyer and vanishes?

I suppose it could be explained away as sympathetic guilt, perhaps, or maybe that Kim was reminded how fleeting life could be and that shocked her out of her routine.

It is suspicious tho.
posted by ishmael at 4:16 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]

Counterpoint: Kim was the co-last person to see her former mentor in a paranoid state before he went off and killed himself, possibly due to the pressures of the job, pressures which may have also contributed to the mental illness and death of another mentor a few years ago. This could easily be spun as a wake up call that caused her to get out of the profession.
posted by snofoam at 5:31 PM on July 19 [12 favorites]

Howard's widow may decide, once her initial wave of grief and anger subsides, that what Kim did was a better, more justifiable decision and even something of a tribute to Howard than, say, becoming the sleaziest, most notorious lawyer in Albuquerque. (And, for that matter, unless quitting a bunch of public defense cases mid-case is grounds for denial of a renewal of license, there's nothing AFAIK keeping Kim from eventually returning to the practice of law.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:51 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]

The time leap was certainly bold and somewhat thrilling. Satisfying? I suppose that remains to be seen. There was a real sense of closure throughout the episode. The stuff with Lalo - done, Howard - done, Nacho - done, HHM - done, Kim - done. Breaking Bad prequel- done, what else is there to say other than without Kim and with the corrupting influence of the life he’s chosen he gradually becomes the terrible version of himself we see in Breaking Bad. I guess we don’t need that spelling out.
posted by chill at 7:01 PM on July 19 [5 favorites]

It'll be interesting to see how the last four episodes play out, timeline-wise. On the one hand, there's not much point in rehashing all of Breaking Bad, but at the same time, they probably want the show to work as a self-contained narrative. Maybe some kind of montage that gets us caught up to the Gene story?
posted by Crane Shot at 7:06 PM on July 19

And, for that matter, unless quitting a bunch of public defense cases mid-case is grounds for denial of a renewal of license, there's nothing AFAIK keeping Kim from eventually returning to the practice of law.
I think Kim was licensed in New Mexico and so left the New Mexico bar, but she might want to move to another state (say, Nebraska?) to start a new practice, in which case she would need to register with the bar there.
posted by borsboom at 8:07 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]

Isn't it going to look a bit weird, to the APD and to Howard's widow and the rest of HHM, that right after Howard's memorial service Kim abruptly and without explanation quits being a lawyer and vanishes?

There’s knowing, and then there’s proving. APD or even the FBI could grill her for hours, she’s an attorney well versed in criminal defense and knows not to talk to the police. What proof do they have? There’s no body. The apartment was cleaned thoroughly. Mike is a former cop and went to great pains to remove every shred of evidence that Howard died there.

We went into this series knowing the outcome of Jimmy becoming the depraved *criminal* lawyer. All this time, we saw where there was someone who was trying to be a good person but couldn’t escape the pull of pulling con jobs. That’s his addiction. Even though the final transformation happened through a tremendous crushing heartbreak, we knew what we were getting out of this show and so as painful as it was to see, that’s the ticket we bought by tuning in. Kim is different. Like Jimmy, she’s plucky, she’s determined, she’s a hard worker, she never quits. And she’s a person you like pretty much from the outset of the show. Over the seasons, we saw her work her way up all the way to partner, but we also saw her turning rotten. We knew Jimmy had that rot. We didn’t know she did, aside from a little flashback scene. That’s what really made this episode a gut punch. Even through her descent into Jimmy’s equal, she was still so likeable. But now she has to face up to everything she has become, and what it has brought down on her world. Saul is ready to just continue on, hey, let’s go order pizza and write some letters and fix a few things. She’s realized who she has truly turned into and she knows that can’t continue, and that realization destroys everything she values. “I love you too… but so what?” In the garage, Saul says “let the healing begin” and then wants to go on like everything’s fine. She’s taken the first steps towards (hopefully) healing and she’s crushed. Saul is a broken man. It remains to be seen - if it is seen - how broken Kim is with the passage of time. She’s the heartbreak for the fans of the show. (Give Rhea all the damn Emmys. Her work has dramatically - no pun intended - improved as the show has gone on. She went from doing a good job in the role in the first season, to really damn good by season three, to absolutely transcendently phenomenal these last two seasons.) Four episodes left, and I hope they find a way to somehow give her a happy ending.
posted by azpenguin at 8:37 PM on July 19 [9 favorites]

This can't be the end of Kim's story. She's the most important part of the show, the one mystery. We know all about Saul already but Kim is the unknown. This episode sure didn't reach a satisfying end to her story.
posted by Nelson at 9:59 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]

I think the great thing the writers pulled in BCS was they made us all like Kim, then there is all the speculation about what happened to Kim, why isn’t she in Breaking Bad, etc... then it just turns out that Kim realized it was all crazy and just left. Brilliant!
posted by oldnumberseven at 10:05 PM on July 19 [5 favorites]

I like the way this episode deals with the notion of fun. Kim tells Jimmy that it was the simple lure of fun that kept her enthralled in a toxic relationship with him. Better Call Saul is ultimately about con games and deceptions: both by lawyers and by the cartel. As the audience we see that there is indeed a lot of amusement to be had there - we enjoy seeing elaborate bluffs and careful subterfuge; the often amusing pay-offs. But then we see how Howard's death forces Kim to confront her feelings and get out - while at the same time it leads to Jimmy doubling down on his skulduggery (now driven entirely by bitterness and cynicism rather than mirth). Note how the mug reading "World's Best Lawyer" transforms from being Kim's whimsical gift given of love - to just another marketing gewgaw like the TV ads and the rather flaccid looking Lady Liberty. I like how we can now re-watch both Jimmy and Mike, in the Breaking Bad timeline, and see the same actions as before, imbued with a greater understanding of what is driving them.
posted by rongorongo at 1:20 AM on July 20 [4 favorites]

Also remember Kim's mug gift was "2nd world's best lawyer" (or something like that). Saul now has a commercial one that isn't special - and does claim top status. Definitely not as cool. 😀
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:33 AM on July 20 [4 favorites]

The way Rhea Seahorn poured so much scorn into the word "fun". That and the dead face at the end of the montage. Just two tiny moments, each worthy of their own Emmy. Brava.
posted by whuppy at 5:54 AM on July 20 [4 favorites]

Did Jimmy/Saul have experience with this scenario before, enough to get him through Howard? YES! The same sort of "playful" actions, to a lesser degree, caused the death of his brother. And before that, to an even lesser degree, his partner Marco. He compartmentalized both of those, and it seemed shockingly easy for him to jump over Howard's death too. I didn't even see it until now. This show is SO smart.
posted by tiny frying pan at 6:09 AM on July 20 [8 favorites]

(Also he has experience seeing someone shot in front of him and dealing with the accompanying PTSD - from that showdown in the desert over the huge bag of cash)
posted by tiny frying pan at 7:04 AM on July 20 [2 favorites]

I can't believe Kim exits the story so cleanly. Even if she totally gives up the lawyer life and becomes florist in Maine. We know there's a curiously interconnected web of deaths and disappearances, up to and including her former husband, that go back to before his Saul Goodman days. Once Fring and Salamanca go out in a blast, and Goodman turns up missing, Howard's widow, if nobody else, will start getting a bad itch to look hard into Kim's connection. Even everyone who was willing to write off Howard's disappearance as an addiction hole, will start wondering about the Goodman connection, and the last people who saw Howard alive.

Unless she, too, can't be found.
posted by 2N2222 at 8:06 AM on July 20 [1 favorite]

How would Howard's widow have Fring and Salamanca on her radar? I'm curious...
posted by tiny frying pan at 8:37 AM on July 20 [3 favorites]

I think the track record going back to Breaking Bad indicates that no one who gets involved can ever choose when they get out. Like, they can choose to get out and to sacrifice something to do so, but it doesn’t mean their consequences are done with them.
posted by snofoam at 8:38 AM on July 20 [1 favorite]

That said, Kim getting out for now and then only paying some additional price in the Gene era would be a possibility.
posted by snofoam at 8:39 AM on July 20 [3 favorites]

I don't think that Howard's widow will go after Kim because of Saul disappearing; at this point in time, Saul is very clearly a criminal lawyer, and the average person would probably assume that Kim got disgusted with his whole shtick and split, since her public reputation is still clean, and that whatever shenanigans he got up to after that were strictly his business. Whoever Saul is still running from in Gene mode, though, might have a mind to see if Kim might know anything about his current whereabouts, and hopefully she's got the vacuum repair guy's card. (I don't know who that would be, except for the feds, since
by the end of BB anyone else who would know about Jimmy/Saul's involvement with Gus and/or Walter would seem to be dead.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:13 AM on July 20 [2 favorites]

Francesca would know.
posted by rhymedirective at 11:49 AM on July 20 [2 favorites]

Maybe we get a Kim Wexler spinoff now ;-)
posted by oneirodynia at 2:38 PM on July 20 [5 favorites]

An interesting little thing I picked up on during a rewatch, in the court scene when Kim says she has passed on the case to another lawyer, the name she gives is Paige Novick, her friend from Mesa Verde.
posted by guiseroom at 2:59 PM on July 20 [6 favorites]

Kim returning to sweep Jimmy out of his Nebraska life would basically be the Johnny Dangerously ending.
posted by condour75 at 6:14 PM on July 20 [1 favorite]

The only thing that I remember from Johnny Dangerously was the gangster who presaged the altered swearing from The Good Place with mangled cussing such as "farging icehole." What was the ending?
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:40 PM on July 20 [2 favorites]

This is fun: the photos from Howard's memorial service were lifted directly from Patrick Fabian's Instagram.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:29 PM on July 20 [20 favorites]

I liked how we saw Kim do the thing she always does one more time which is realize the right thing to do then put her head down & get it done, alone. (Kim walking home with her viola, Kim working hard to gin up her own client out of the basement of HHM)

The scene of her smoking on the balcony was really striking to me the 2nd time I watched it. She looked so real, and so *young*. I thought, you're going to be ok Kim.
posted by bleep at 6:58 AM on July 21 [4 favorites]

I think she was attracted to Jimmy & his whole thing because she is a workhorse & it feels good to run free, do what feels right to you & worry about the consequences later. That feeling is straight up intoxicating for someone who had to parent themselves pretty much.
posted by bleep at 7:14 AM on July 21 [6 favorites]

A really interesting angle for a show that thinks a lot about addiction and the myriad varieties of it and how peoples lives get so tangled in it.
posted by bleep at 8:13 AM on July 21

Also, today I watched the episode of Breaking Bad "Better Call Saul" and I think Saul's day we see starting here is supposed to do be the same morning he meets Badger who has just been picked up with Walt's blue stuff.
posted by bleep at 8:21 AM on July 21 [5 favorites]

What's the time-jump between Kim's departure and the final scene of Jimmy in full-on Saul Goodman mode? I'm thinking at least a year or two. As soon as she kissed him in the parking garage, I thought "she's leaving him - that was goodbye."

I think the vacuum cleaner guy's card will be important at some point - she clearly picked it up when going through the little address book.

(Also he has experience seeing someone shot in front of him and dealing with the accompanying PTSD - from that showdown in the desert over the huge bag of cash)

Jimmy even gave Kim the same advice that he received from Mike, about realizing one day that you haven't thought about it, and knowing that you'd be able to forget.
posted by jquinby at 9:02 AM on July 21 [2 favorites]

What's the time-jump between Kim's departure and the final scene of Jimmy in full-on Saul Goodman mode? I'm thinking at least a year or two.

According to the Breaking Bad wiki this episodes takes place from June 25, 2004-February 11, 2005. Not sure where they're getting these dates from, though, nor am I sure that that 7 months is really enough time for this dramatic of a shift, but maybe, I guess.
posted by rhymedirective at 9:09 AM on July 21 [1 favorite]

Also, today I watched the episode of Breaking Bad "Better Call Saul" and I think Saul's day we see starting here is supposed to do be the same morning he meets Badger who has just been picked up with Walt's blue stuff.

It's not--we're still about 3 years out from the events of BB--Saul's car registration expires in November 2005 and BB starts in September 2008.
posted by rhymedirective at 9:12 AM on July 21 [4 favorites]

I just thought because he was talking about the public masturbator to Francesca in both episodes. Guess they have a lot of public masturbators.
posted by bleep at 9:19 AM on July 21 [1 favorite]

Yeah, he's wearing a different suit in his first appearance in BB, but the ambiance in the waiting room at his office is so perfectly duplicated that I re-watched that scene more than once, seeing if Cranston was doing his cameo yet.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:28 AM on July 21 [4 favorites]

rhymedirective said:
we're still about 3 years out from the events of BB--Saul's car registration expires in November 2005 and BB starts in September 2008.

I wonder if we'll get some Saul stuff building up to Breaking Bad or if, as with the flash-forward, we'll be asked to take it as read that Saul's life is just a blur of cynicism and desperate self-indulgence and jump straight to Walter White.

At the very least, the show should give us a sense of why he'd jump on board a big project like Walter's meth dealing, or whether he has a lot of other irons in the fire.

More broadly, I still don't feel we have a basis for the loose working relationship Saul has with Mike in Breaking Bad. At this point, Mike surely sees Saul as old, finished business. And Saul has little reason to see Mike as "his" P.I., when Breaking Bad had him surprised at the idea that Mike was really working for someone else all along.

We should probably also get to see Saul buying -- or scamming for? -- the vet's book of contacts.
posted by kewb at 11:56 AM on July 21 [1 favorite]

If it's really a gap of 3 years they could give us a whole season of Mike & Saul adventures if they wanted to. There's lots of time for things to develop sounds like.
posted by bleep at 12:17 PM on July 21

BB Saul is definitely aware that Mike is connected to Gus, if not that Mike directly works for Gus; Mike is the "guy who knows a guy" that Saul uses to get Walt an introduction.

It's Walt who later gets the "my boss; our boss" surprise from Mike.

Also: the "guy who knows a guy" introduction is Mike's first appearance in BB. Saul describing him as "my PI" comes later; his moonlighting for Saul on Walt-related stuff is probably Gus keeping an eye on his investment, no?

All that said though: does BCS Saul know specifically of Gus yet? Kim met Gus, Jimmy hasn't, and I don't think he knows yet that Gus is cartel-connected? So far Jimmy's involvement with the cartel has been only with the various Salamancas I think?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:16 PM on July 21

Jimmy ran across Gus back in Season 3 (I had to look at the episode lists) - MIke sent him into Pollos Hermanos to see if he could track down some cash that was dropped there. Gus sort of turned up, and Jimmy left. Chances are good that Jimmy knows about Gus, but as to how much - the full cartel connections - that I dunno.

Gus immediately figured out what was going on, but his focus was on Mike during that period.
posted by jquinby at 1:33 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]

Kim met Gus, Jimmy hasn't

Oh dear, I wonder if that explains what happens to Kim that she's absent from Breaking Bad. It can't be good for her, what she knows.
posted by Nelson at 1:49 PM on July 21

Or maybe she ends up as a lawyer for Madrigal Electromotive?
posted by borsboom at 1:53 PM on July 21

Kim didn't meet Gus, did she? Maybe I forgot but I thought all she saw was his doppelganger.
posted by tiny frying pan at 2:20 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]

I want to know how Saul got that inflatable Statue of Liberty from the Kettlemans. Or, whether he just copied their schtick the same way he copied Howard's.
posted by abraxasaxarba at 2:33 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]

In the previous episode Kim thought she met a person whose physical description matched Gus. The real Gus, for good reasons of security, did not interrogate her directly. Kim would have concluded that the person she was sent to kill was very professionally guarded - by Mike- and that her arrival was likely some kind of diversion move on Lalo’s part: so she knows there is a cartel bigwig who looks like Gus’s body double -she knows his story is tied in with Lalo’s death and she knows where he lives. Plus she is the wife of Lalo’s one time attorney. That is quite a dangerous level of knowledge, in fact.
posted by rongorongo at 2:59 PM on July 21 [2 favorites]

Gus seems to have a thing for ultra-competent white people. He reaches out to them when he needs them for something. The waiter reminded me of how Gus seemed to appreciate Gale's whole nerdy vibe.
posted by bleep at 3:35 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]

As the show winds down I find that I want to savor more time with certain characters and Gus is one of them, so much because of his incarnation by Giancarlo Esposito. So I savored the slow moments of Gus's flirtation, just as Gus enjoyed his wine.

Gus gets just a couple of hours of sunlight through open shutters in this episode. We see him looking into Eladio's pool, remembering his murdered lover. Then, back home, he opens the living room shutters since for now he need not fear the Salamancas. Finally, he visits the bar, where he gets a little relaxed exchange with a handsome, like-minded guy who, if Gus were younger and less bolted into the frame he's chosen, might become his lover.

Then the waiter mentions a taste of iron or blood in the wine. Close up on Gus tasting the wine. Waiter departs shortly thereafter. And then you can see Gus closing up shop on the possibility of connection.

Too rigid for love? Maybe, but I think that in the context of this episode it has more to do with the leaden moral weight of what his life has become since Max's death. The mention of the blood flavor in the wine seals that deal.

We see both Kim and Mike trying to make similar turnarounds or rapprochements in this episode, with varying degrees of success: Kim is the only one who has a real shot at it.

I think this is Gus's last moment in the sun, so to speak, and the last time he'll be even remotely open to authentic connection.

They talk about the flirtation a bit on the latest Better Call Saul podcast episode.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 11:57 PM on July 21 [6 favorites]

I want to know how Saul got that inflatable Statue of Liberty from the Kettlemans.

According to the podcast, they're surprisingly difficult to find - I think that there's only been one in the series, both on top of Saul's place and at the Kettlemans'. It's likely he gave them money in exchange for the inflatable. If there's one thing he doesn't lack, it's money.

I was impressed by how deftly they conveyed that Saul's life is divided between work and oblivion and nothing else.
posted by Grangousier at 3:45 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]

I only watched it once but the working gal in Saul’s bed seemed clothed and just crashing for the night? Maybe he’s got a rotation he works through to have a warm body to sleep next to.
posted by tilde at 3:58 AM on July 22

I too thought the public masturbator line was deliberate, to signify that we were now in the BB timeline, and precisely which day in the timeline it was. But it sounds like that’s not the case and it was just a callback.
They didn’t discuss this section at all on the podcast which I was disappointed about. But perhaps that indicates it would have been potentially spoilery to add any clarifications.

I am really looking forward to these next episodes (and gutted the final one airs when I’m on holiday so won’t see it until September).
posted by chill at 5:46 AM on July 23

It makes sense to me that Kim would decide to walk away and not look back, but I don't believe Jimmy would never try to figure out where she went. So I am hopeful we find out something about her new life in these last few episodes.
posted by the primroses were over at 7:27 PM on July 24

This is kind of what 2N2222 is saying I think, but given that Jimmy is eventually exposed in a big enough way that he feels a need to flee, it seems quite plausible that a lot of his past barely-got-away-with-it shenanigans will come under new scrutiny, which definitely might threaten Kim as well. Kim, in this episode, doesn't know about the meaning of the vacuum repair service, and presumably her leaving Jimmy is just that - her, as herself, moving away. I wonder if, as he can see the approaching storm, Jimmy will feel a need to protect her, so that the next time he gets in touch with her isn't as Gene, but right before - if he'll reach out to her and say, "hey, all our secrets are going to come out, maybe you need to disappear too," or something like that...

Predictions aside, I really love this episode. The power of the BB/BCS universe for me is how it draws you in with exhilerating suspense, so that you buy into the bloody "eye-for-an-eye" logic of action films, and then suddenly pulls back to force you to see how empty and foolish that logic is, so full of lies and delusions and weaknesses parading as strengths. Or maybe what's great about it is it never lets you think that it's completely decided - that it is sympathetic, or even in love enough with its villains and their awful behavior that the moral stakes are always like a distant tune that swells to the foreground pretty regularly, but never takes complete control of the emotional soundtrack. But when it swells, it's gutting.
posted by nightcoast at 10:59 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]

AntonJacksonTV has made some interesting BCS videos. Here he speculates about whether Gus might have had some involvement with the demise of Tuco in the BB timeline - given his video recorded message to Don Eladio via Lalo - "before Hectors goes he will know that I buried every single one of you [Salamancas].
posted by rongorongo at 5:08 AM on July 25

man, nacho's dads lines were DEVASTATING.
posted by lalochezia at 6:48 PM on August 2 [1 favorite]

The only thing that I remember from Johnny Dangerously was the gangster who presaged the altered swearing from The Good Place with mangled cussing such as "farging icehole."
I would like to direct this to the distinguished members of the panel: You lousy cork-soakers. You have violated my farging rights. Dis somanumbatching country was founded so that the liberties of common patriotic citizens like me could not be taken away by a bunch of fargin iceholes... like yourselves.

Dutch: They made it for him special. It's an .88 Magnum.
Danny Vermin: It shoots through schools.

Also also:

"You shouldn't grab me, Johnny. My mother grabbed me once...once."
posted by kirkaracha at 8:10 PM on August 4 [1 favorite]

I was wondering if they'd have somebody argue that Howard's wife not knowing about his addiction was expected since they were estranged, but it seems it wasn't used.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 10:26 AM on August 30

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