Better Call Saul JMM review

This week on Better Call Saul:

  • Kim and Jimmy get hitched!
  • Lalo gets bail!
  • Mike gets to work!
  • Saul Goodman comes out to play (and yell)!

Kim

Last week’s Better Call Saul ended with a whopper: Kim “proposing” marriage to Jimmy. This week’s episode, “JMM”, proves that wasn’t just a lark. Nor was it something the season would build up to. Because we check in with Jimmy and Kim the very next day after their big blow-up, and wouldn’t you know it, they’re down at the courthouse getting hitched.

It’s not exactly the happiest of weddings…but it’s not all bad, either. Before they head in to exchange vows, Kim and Jimmy go over some fine print details – just like the lawyers that they are. Yes, Kim and Jimmy are a couple. And yes, they’re romantically involved. But this isn’t exactly a marriage built on romance. Instead, as Jimmy explains to Huell – who was nice enough to be a witness to the marriage – Jimmy and Kim are tying the knot for legal reasons. If Kim is married to Jimmy, and Jimmy gets in trouble for one of his schemes, his wife can’t legally testify against him.

There’s something cold and mercenary about this, and it made me feel melancholy. But at the last minute, things perk up a bit. Yes, Kim is marrying Jimmy out of necessity, but she still has feelings for him. And while they might not have the most breathtaking of wedding ceremonies, there’s genuine happiness on Kim’s face, and the way Rhea Seehorn chuckles once or twice at the absurdity of it all warmed my heart up a bit.

So now Kim’s a married woman, and she’s ready to get right back to work. First thing’s first: Setting things right with Kevin at Mesa Verde. At first, after an apology meeting, it seems like Kim’s days with Mesa Verde are over. But, undaunted, she heads right back into the office and reads Kevin the riot act. As she explains, he ignored all of her legal advice, and that’s part of the reason things went so poorly. And Kevin respects that, and is ready to get back to work as well. Score one for Kim Wexler-McGill-Goodman.

Mike, Nacho, and Gus

Lalo is in jail – but he’s still causing trouble. He wants Nacho to burn down Los Pollos Hermanos, and Nacho has to comply for the time being. That means Mike has to help get Lalo out on bail by undoing all the hard private detective work he did. It also means Gus has to allow his restaurant to be destroyed – and sure enough, it is.

Nacho and Gus do the deed together, with Nacho wrecking the joint before Gus sets up an explosive contraption that uses a frozen chicken as a detonator (yes, really).

As for Mike, he’s back in control of himself, and he has a level-headed explanation for why he’s decided to work with Gus. As he tells his daughter-in-law, “I decided to play the cards I was dealt.” No use fighting it anymore. Mike is a full-time criminal. Although he’s still capable of good deeds – and Nacho wants one of those good deeds from Mike to help get out of the business, and take his father along with him, to safety. I’m sure Mike will cook something up, but I doubt it’s going to be simple. Or easy.

Jimmy (and Saul)

Technically, Jimmy has been Saul Goodman all season. He had his name changed to practice law, and he had fully embraced his ambulance-chasing nature. But there was still a glimmer of normalcy there. And perhaps a sense to rationalize everything. Yes, Jimmy wasn’t exactly playing by the rules, but rules were made to be broken – right?

So when Jimmy ends up being forced into defending Lalo, he’s hesitant at first. And he’s also hesitant when Lalo tells him that if he helps, he’ll be a friend of the cartel. Meaning he’s going to be making a lot of money. The money clearly appeals to Jimmy, but when Kim asks: “Do you want to be a friend of the cartel?”, Jimmy responds in the negative.

Yet he struggles all through this episode. And that struggle goes to dark places when the family of Fred Whalen, the poor sap Lalo killed, shows up in court. Jimmy looks at these mourning, weeping people, and he has an almost out of body experience – a situation that’s illustrated with a quick cut that first shows Jimmy sitting down and then has him suddenly on his feet, even though we never saw him stand up. But Jimmy does his duty, works his Saul magic, and manages to get Lalo out on bail.

But it’s the following scene where Saul Goodman rears his ugly head. Still perturbed by Fred Whalen’s grieving family, Jimmy runs into Howard in the courthouse hall. Howard first inquires about the job offer, then makes it known he’s fully aware that Jimmy is the one who has been targeting him – smashing his cars with bowling balls, sending hookers to ruin his lunch.

“I’m sorry you’re in pain,” Howard says, and these words are like some sort of magic spell that summons forth Saul Goodman – the real Saul Goodman that we met in Breaking Bad – from the inner darkness of Jimmy’s heart. Jimmy, er, make that Saul, explodes at Howard, literally chasing him from the building, ranting and screaming, blaming Howard for Chuck’s death, and saying ominous things like, “You can’t conceive what I’m capable of! I’m like a god! Lightning bolts shoot from my fingertips!”

It’s downright scary to watch. There’s a tinge of humor in the moment, since it’s Bob Odenkirk delivering this rant, and because some of the things he’s saying are very over the top. But there’s such genuine rage, and fury, and hatred, in the delivery that I found it to be immensely disturbing. Jimmy may have been using the Saul Goodman name all season, but he hasn’t really been Saul Goodman until this exact moment. And it’s terrifying.

Sidebar

  • Some familiar Breaking Bad faces pop-up this week to meet with Gus: Lydia Rodarte-Quayle and Peter Schuler, the head of Madrigal Electromotive, the parent company of Los Pollos Hermanos. They’re both anxious for Gus to get back to work on his underground meth lab now that Lalo is in jail.
  • I’d like a spin-off about Huell’s friend who runs a bed and breakfast in Roswell. I can only assume (and hope) the B&B is UFO-themed.
  • “I’m casual yet luxurious!” – Kim Wexler.
  • This season continues to make me feel really bad for Howard. Patrick Fabian really sells Howard’s humiliation as he tries to get away from Jimmy’s ranting and raving.
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