You know, I never thought I’d get an origin story for Don Hector’s bell, but I did. I rather liked it too. It gives weight to a weird detail from Breaking Bad that I never really questioned before. It even fits the character.
But for now…let’s talk more Kim and Jimmy.
One thing that Better Call Saul has done so well is basically establish what a great team Jimmy McGill and Kim Wexler made. But let’s face it: Kim is way out of Jimmy’s league. I’ve thought so more or less from episode one. Jimmy McGill should get down on his knees routinely and thanks whatever higher power he believes in that Kim actually loves his goofy ass. Sure, this is Jimmy McGill. Whatever good thing he has going for him, it’s bound to take a hit thanks to a half-thought-out decision he makes at some point. He’s pretty darn lucky Kim hasn’t dumped him a couple times by now.
That comes really close to happening this episode.
See, Kim did want to pull another con, but it’s mostly one that is maybe more or less harmless, a change to a bank layout submitted to Texas that, due to some harried action and some literal spilled milk, she’s able to replace the original plans with the state for new plans without going through the approval and processing fees again. It’s clever, fun, and arguably no one got hurt so much as Kim saved her bank clients some time and money. And yes, Jimmy is quick to point that out when Kim suggests they only pull scams to do good in the world. That gets him a dirty look, but I never said Kim was perfect.
But yes, even as the season winds down, and even as Mike finds trouble in the least likely of the German workers, and even as Gus begins the see Lalo Salamanca hanging around in a way that is just as threatening as Gus’s own manner while having the exact opposite demeanor, it’s still Kim and Jimmy’s less high stakes drama that interests me.
To be clear: the stakes between Jimmy and Kim are just as high as they can be on a personal level, but there’s nothing going on there that might get someone killed.
So, when Jimmy’s attempts to get re-instated to the state bar fail despite his own best and utterly sincere efforts, all because he doesn’t even acknowledge Chuck’s death or whatever role Chuck played in Jimmy’s own life, Kim does as she always does and rushes right over to see him. Jimmy, for his part, does something he has never done before and verbally expresses his many insecurities over his relationship with Kim in the most insulting way possible. I have said Kim is out of Jimmy’s league. That’s more or less a joke. Jimmy says it, more or less, and it means so much more here as he may actually think that, and since Chuck was a good lawyer who held resentment for Jimmy’s less-than-straight-shootin’-ways, naturally he assumes Kim feels the same way.
She doesn’t, man. Jimmy you may ruin the best thing in your life over all this.
Now, fights between couples happen in fiction all the time. Sometimes the couple makes up as they do here. Other times, maybe not. But it’s always the best-written and best-acted fights that hit the hardest, made more so if the audience has that feeling like they know and genuinely like both parties in this sort of situation. Sure, it’s easy when the audience doesn’t like one side or the other, but when both are likeable characters that the audience has grown attached to, and when the relationship has been slowly and steadily built up over the past 39 or so episodes, well…it just hits harder. I don’t want to see these two split, and while I get Jimmy’s insecurities and self-destructive ways, he’s wrong here.
And yet…Kim will still help him by episode’s end. Maybe these two will still separate at the end. Jimmy is still self-destructive after all. But it won’t be happening just yet.
Oh, for the record: the nastiest, rawest fight that hit me the hardest between two likable fictional characters came when Ethan Hawk and Julie Delphy really went at it in the third and (I am assuming) final installment of Richard Linklater’s Before trology, Before Midnight. That one was brutal, man.