It’s finally happened. In this week’s Better Call Saul episode, the morally dubious yet affable lawyer Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) completed his transformation into the unapologetic sleaze-bag we all know from Breaking Bad. McGill is dead. Long live Saul Goodman. Most surprising of all, though, was how heartbreaking it proved.
McGill’s legal partner, Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), is gone too – maybe not for good given there are four episodes left but she and Jimmy have permanently parted ways, poor Howard Hamlin’s execution the final straw. There is no calm after the storm of episode one that left Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton) dead, Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) victorious and Howard (Patrick Fabian) buried under the superlab. Kim has always been the moral conscience of Better Call Saul – a ‘good person’ comparatively. She was an ethical lawyer, a loyal friend and wife but the lies, the body count – it was too much.
Unexpectedly, Jimmy and Kim barely feature in the first half of ‘Fun and Games’. Instead we get the fallout from Gus’ killing of Lalo. He meets with Don Eladio to face Hector’s charges of treachery against the cartel. The result goes in Gus’ favour and Hector is put out to pasture, waiting to take his true revenge in (spoilers) season five of Breaking Bad.
Gus wins again and for the first time on-screen, he relaxes. It’s an unspoken truth of the show that Gus is gay and here he flirts with a charming silver-haired sommelier. It’s remarkable to witness this side of Gus – enjoying himself – but he knows all too well from what Don Eladio did to his former partner Max that there is no room for love in this game. Gus makes a sad exit instead.
Jimmy and Kim attend Howard’s wake and are clearly the two least comfortable people in the room, responsible for his death as they are. Howard’s wife Cheryl is distraught, having never suspected her husband had a drug problem (he didn’t, the entire thing was made up by Jimmy and Kim) and Kim is forced to tell one lie too many when she informs the widow she walked in on Howard snorting lines in his office. It’s necessary to keep up the cover story but too cruel for Kim. In a parking garage not long after, she gives Jimmy a goodbye kiss and drives away.
Subsequently resigning from the New Mexico State Bar and realising how unforgivable her actions have become, Kim walks away from Jimmy even after he confesses his feelings for her. It’s a devastating moment because much of their duplicity and scheming was inspired by love. Kim is smart enough to know this, packing her things and leaving before anyone else gets hurt. She’s crying and we’re crying too.
The show then jumps forward a year. Jimmy has exchanged his love of Kim for that of a sex worker and her apartment for the gaudy mansion we saw being picked apart by the FBI in the cold open at the beginning of the series. Jimmy has seen off his brother and conquered law firm Hamlin, Hamlin and McGill – and with Kim gone, he has nothing left to live for so becomes Saul. We knew it was coming. We even thought it was what we wanted, but now we’re not so sure.
Most WTF moment: a sudden, silent split
The row to end all rows. What’s most devastating about Jimmy and Kim’s breakup is just how little anger is displayed in the scene, just heartbreak and grief and sadness at love gone wrong.
This week’s biggest question: where do we go from here?
Lalo is gone. Jimmy and Kim are no more. Gus is free to build his superlab in peace. Everything is set up for Breaking Bad yet we still have four episodes to go and the time-jump at the end of this episode raises more questions than it gives answers for. For once, it’s impossible to guess at what happens next.
- “I was just having too much fun” – Kim self-loathingly spits at Jimmy during their breakup
- “Hate… just a little bit” – Don Eladio smirks at Gus, knowing the chicken man can never put the past behind him
- “I love you too but so what” – Kim says to Jimmy, but love is not enough