November 29, 2023

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Better Call Saul “Axe And Grind”

Season Six, Episode Six

Oh hey, Giancarlo Esposito apparently made his directorial debut with this episode.  And no sign of Gus Fring anywhere.

Good episode, too.

Oh, at this point, every episode is a good episode.  I just dig this show after all. But it is more of a character study, and while Lalo’s finding a German worker to interrogate has the sort of violence that this universe can sometimes dish out, it is still a look at what makes these people tick.  What does Mike worry about?  When he’s “working” for Gus, how does he keep in touch with his family?  I hadn’t seen them in a while, but Mike does contact them in a way that is both sad and sweet at the same time.

But here’s something:  the episode opens with another flashback to Kim’s childhood.  Young Kim had been caught shoplifting, and her mother comes to get her, but Mama Wexler manages to talk her daughter out of trouble while swiping a pair of earrings for her daughter anyway.  The woman seems to be reading the riot act to her daughter, but in the end, she laughs it off and seems to be fine with Kim’s actions.  Or, at the least, she’s not upset because, well, Mama Wexler managed to talk them both out of it.  This is the second time Mrs. Wexler has appeared in a flashback, and the previous time she just seemed a bit abusive.  Here, well, she’s fine with her daughter’s illegal activities.

You know, when this started, I thought Jimmy’s presence made Kim “break bad,” but the more I see of Kim, the more it’s pretty obvious that Kim was kinda bad to begin with.  I think it’s safe to say Jimmy makes her worse, but this whole thing with bringing Howard down sure does seem like it’s more Kim’s driving the bus here.  This episode shows Kim ditching a prestigious luncheon in Santa Fe to come fix a problem with the next step in the scam when Jimmy thinks it may be time to abort and regroup, well…why?

Why is Kim now the reckless one?

I mean, I get that it’s happening, and I can even see why.  And Jimmy’s coercion of Francesca to do something the woman is clearly uncomfortable with doesn’t exactly make Jimmy look very good, but this seems like Kim’s the one that could eventually lead to, well, whatever it is that is going to drive these two apart since I sure don’t see Kim in the flashforward scenes.