The Gap Continues to Widen for Kim and Jimmy on ‘Better Call Saul’ (TV RECAP)

[rating=8.00] “Something Stupid”

Never before has so much nothing been so riveting.

Better Call Saul has always been masterful at doing a lot with a little, and “Something Stupid” showed that they crew is still at the top of their game. On the surface, little happened. But underneath that, beneath the seemingly calm waters of inaction, the river toils, threatening to bubble up and flood us all out of house and home.

Never is this exemplified more than in the episode’s opening, a powerful split screen montage, set to Lola Marsh’s cover of “Something Stupid,” that serves the dual purpose of pushing the series about 8 or 9 months into the future—bringing us within about 4 years of Breaking Bad—and showing us how far apart Jimmy and Kim are drifting. Their banalities of their lives are show in full, if quick, display as Kim succeeds with both Mesa Verde and as a public defender while Jimmy sinks deeper into his cell phone scheme.

What’s powerful though are the scenes where they’re together. The split screen doesn’t disappear; rather, they keep it right there, giving us no doubt that there’s something between the characters and their relationship. Try though they might, they just can’t make it into the same frame.

This makes her reaction later in the episode, when Jimmy comes crawling to Kim for help with Huell following his arrest for assaulting a police officer, understandable. She reacts to the news that not only is Jimmy making money by selling drop phones to the shady underbelly of Albuquerque for extra money, but that his hired goon (Huell) hit a cop over the head with a bag of sandwiches in a case of mistaken loyalty, not with anger but with resigned disappointment.

She almost seems to have been expecting something like this. At the very least, she doesn’t seem too surprised. “Of course you’re doing something shady,” she seems to say, holding his gaze. She agrees to do it, sure, but she is 1000% done with Jimmy’s bullshit, even if she’s not ready to admit it yet. This leads to one of the coldest moments in the entire series, when she not-so-subtly has her assistant shit the door in Jimmy’s face as she gets to work.

We know Kim to be a capable lawyer and formidable opponent—the series has done nothing but hammer this fact home throughout its run—but it’s frustrating seeing her stonewalled by the ADA, who refuses to listen to Kim or consider her offer of deals. This was a subtle nod to the unbalanced dispersal of justice facing so many in the modern era. Without using the word “racism,” the show takes a stance, giving us a look at what it looks like. No matter how many counter-argument Kim makes about the severity of the crime compared to other trials, the severity of priors, or anything, she’s stonewalled.

This sets Kim’s wheels a-turnin’. We don’t yet know the specifics of her plan—although we do get Jimmy’s somewhat ominous “You do your thing, I’ll do mine”—but she hasn’t looked this dead set on anything since…well, ever. Whatever she’s planning, it certainly takes what appears the be the entire contents of an office supply section to pull off, setting up one of the most bizarrely enthralling cliffhangers this, or any show, has ever managed.

Long term, however, we know that the tale of Kim and Jimmy has just about run its course, despite her seeming excitement at telling Jimmy that she found “another way.” On the plus side, it’s looking more and more likely that the show isn’t going to make us watch Kim die (although never bet on anything where Vince Gilligan is concerned; he has a way of subverting your expectations in the best possible ways). It looks as though they’re going to just continue drifting apart as Jimmy continues his transition into Saul.

That’s sad, of course, but we always knew it would happen, and it’s not as devastating as it could be. There’s still a chance that something terrible could happen to Kim, no doubt, but for now it looks as though she’s going to just drift off into the sunset. She deserves that much.

Still no sight of Nacho, even after the time jump. While Hector is busy recovering—a process, we learned, that was carefully stunted by Gus, who removed his doctor by enticing her with bigger and better things—and the meth lab is well under construction (even if the goings are slow), Nacho has faded away into the background, left the precarious position between Gus and the Salamancas. This makes three episodes without him, and the tension is getting high.

The teaser for next week did its job, teasing us with Nacho’s return. I doubt he’ll have much to celebrate, however. With all the machinations working, he couldn’t have fared well over the three quarters of a year he’s been missing from our narrative. And with only three episodes left until the end of the season, you can bet something tragic is waiting for us in the near future. I know I said not to put money on anything related to Gilligan, but if I were to bet on anything it would be that Nacho has something dangerous lurking just around the corner.

Better Call Saul airs Monday nights a 9/8 central on AMC.

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