In the “Better Call Saul” recap, Jimmy just can’t let go of a case and it comes at Kim’s expense while Mike sets his sights on Lalo Salamanca after going back to work for Gus…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
For all the great characters who have previously appeared on “Breaking Bad” and now shown up on “Better Call Saul,” it’s the ones who didn’t pop up on the original series that has so many viewers wondering what exactly happened to them. None are bigger than Kim Wexler and Nacho Varga — two very important characters throughout “Better Call Saul,” who never even get mentioned during all the seasons of “Breaking Bad.”
A lot of theories have been made about what happens to each of them.
In Nacho’s case, it almost feels inevitable that he’s not going to make it out alive after working for two very powerful drug dealers throughout the course of the show. Rarely to guys in this line of business make it to retirement much less live into their 40s.
When it comes to Kim, the questions and answers about her future aren’t as obvious.
Because she was never mentioned during “Breaking Bad,” many believe that Kim will be sacrificed at the altar of Jimmy’s transformation into Saul Goodman. It’s a solid theory considering all the ways Kim has watched her moral compass spin out of control as she watches Jimmy connive his way through almost every facet of his life — not to mention their damaged relationship. Then again, what if Kim just can’t quit Jimmy and the reason why we never saw her mentioned during “Breaking Bad” was because he finally learned that he can’t keep mixing his personal life with his business.
Is it possible that Jimmy realized that in order to keep Kim by his side that he needed to define where Saul Goodman ended when business hours were over and Jimmy McGill began once he got back home? Is there a chance that the reason why Jimmy is so utterly depressed while working as a manager at a Cinnabon outlet in Nebraska isn’t as much about how much he misses his former life as Walter White’s silent partner but perhaps because he had to leave the love of his life behind?
These are all questions that still need to be answered but the fact that the latest episode of “Better Call Saul” ended with a half-proposal rather than a break up seems to lend at least some weight to the idea that Kim didn’t go away during “Breaking Bad” — she just never appeared.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of “Better Call Saul” titled “Wexler V. Goodman”…
After Kim drafted Jimmy into her fight to help a man named Everett Acker keep his home while her clients at Mesa Verde bank tried to kick him out, she begins to realize that the efforts might be going too far. She hoped Jimmy’s ability to straddle the legal line in service of his clients might help convince Mesa Verde that this was a battle no longer worth winning and they would sign off on a new location for their call center while allowing Mr. Acker to keep his home.
Unfortunately despite Jimmy’s best efforts, Mesa Verde president Kevin Wachtell not only shut down the idea of moving locations but he’s more determined than ever to evict Mr. Acker and build on the land the bank already purchased.
In a last ditch effort to stop him, Jimmy hired a private investigator to dig into Kevin while he began plotting a commercial that would make all sorts of unsubstantiated claims against Mesa Verde that would likely torch their reputation with the local community. But just as Jimmy is about to wrap up filming, Kim comes to visit him at his set — the nail salon that houses his office in the back room — and tells him that it all needs to stop.
Kim got into a shouting match with her boss after Rich Schweikart stopped just short of accusing her of colluding with Jimmy in order to stop Mesa Verde from moving on Mr. Acker’s home. With her job on the line, Kim decided enough is enough — the battle is lost and Jimmy needs to help Mr. Acker come to a settlement to give up his home.
Reluctantly, Jimmy agrees before tearing down the film shoot for the faux commercial that he planned to use against Mesa Verde.
The next day, Jimmy helps a pair of prostitutes get out of charges in court before they offer to pay him a retainer with something other than money. He politely declines but then decides to hire the girls for another job instead.
At a high-end restaurant across town, Howard Hamlin is sitting down to lunch with Cliff Main — the head of the firm that once hired Jimmy to work a high profile lawsuit only to have that relationship go down in flames. Just as they are about to order, Jimmy’s prostitute clients storm into the restaurant and accuse Howard of owing them money.
Howard is aghast as the sight of these two prostitutes shouting at him in the middle of a crowded restaurant while he’s surrounded by colleagues. Outside, Jimmy is watching it all unfold as he laughs and does a play-by-play of what he’s imagining must be happening in this conversation.
As he once again gets one over on Howard — a recurring theme this season — Jimmy has an epiphany about a job well done.
The next day, Kim and Rich along with the Mesa Verde leadership team prepare for a sit down with Jimmy to hash out the details for a deal that will finally get Mr. Acker to leave his home so the bank can being building their call center.
When Jimmy finally arrives, he’s asked for the number that it will take to settle with Mr. Acker so all of this can be put behind them.
He answers: $4 million.
Everyone is stunned at the figure but none more than Kim Wexler, who knew going into this meeting that it was time for Jimmy to wave the white flag so she could keep her job and allow Mesa Verde to move forward with their plans.
Before Kevin, Kim and the rest of the Mesa Verde team can react, Jimmy proceeds to tell them why his $4 million figure isn’t all that unreasonable.
First off, Jimmy plays the spot that he shot with his student video team played against the backdrop of an old Mesa Verde commercial starring Kevin’s father, who founded the bank. All throughout the video, Jimmy has his community theater actors claim Mesa Verde had wronged them with everything from fraud to black mold to a teller exposing himself behind the counter. It’s all wildly unsubstantiated accusations but Jimmy knows if even one of these commercials hit the airwaves, Mesa Verde’s reputation will take a massive hit in the community.
Kevin Wachtell knows it, too.
Jimmy then caps off his presentation with a photo of a man on horseback set against a shadow of a cactus. It’s the same framed picture that Kim spotted on Kevin’s wall when Jimmy’s private investigator provided them with photos from throughout his house. She knew something connected to that photo could get Mesa Verde into trouble and now Jimmy is using that as leverage.
It seems Kevin purchased that image from a local photographer but he then used that image as the logo for Mesa Verde banks — and he never paid the woman who took the photo for licensing rights. Jimmy is prepared to sue the bank in order to get the photographer paid.
The entire Mesa Verde team explodes but after realizing that this entire situation was going to end up as a public relations disaster, Kevin meets privately with Jimmy to hash out a deal. Mesa Verde will pay $45,000 to Everett Acker for his pain and suffering while allowing him to keep his home. The bank will also give $200,000 to the photographer who took the image that has been used as Mesa Verde’s logo for the past few decades.
In return, Jimmy will make sure those commercials and subsequent lawsuits never see the inside of a courtroom.
Reluctantly, Kevin shakes Jimmy’s hand as the two come to an agreement but at what cost when it comes to Kim?
The Big Payback
When Gus arrives to receive the latest intel from Nacho Varga, he brings along Mike Ehrmantraut, who has agreed to return to his employ. Nacho immediately locks eyes on Mike after they’ve crossed paths numerous times throughout the course of this show — most notably when Mike set up Tuco Salamanca to go to prison, which in turn brought his uncle Hector to town to deal with the problem.
Nacho now realizes that Mike is the “Michael” that Lalo Salamanca had been obsessing about when he tracked the fixer on the day he was forced to execute Werner Ziegler for escaping Gus’ compound in order to rendezvous with his wife.
Nacho tells Gus that Lalo is planning a multi-tiered attack to bring him down. He’s going to use Krazy 8 as an informant to tell the DEA about all of Gus’ dealers to get them arrested and he’s even going to go after Gus’ restaurants by poisoning the food to make his customers sick. The end goal is to cripple Gus’ operation and make the cartel finally cut him free after he’s no longer useful to them.
Gus orders his men to hire new dealers, who will then get arrested without alerting Lalo what’s going on. More than anything, Gus wants his people protected. Second, Gus tells Nacho that he’s now reporting directly to Mike — anything he says goes and Nacho is to follow Mike’s every order.
After leaving the meeting, Nacho wonders if Mike knows the kind of person he’s working with these days. For all his warnings, Mike tells Nacho that he’s in the same situation because they both chose to be there.
That’s when Nacho tells Mike about Gus’ threat against his father, which is the real reason why he’s doing his every bidding. Mike promises to look into that situation for Nacho once Lalo Salamanca has been neutralized.
Mike gets to work on than plan by first visiting a local bookstore where he introduces himself as a private investigator to the clerk, who happens to be the witness in the Travelwire murder where an agent was killed. Travelwire was the location where Werner Ziegler got money from his wife and it’s the same place that Mike began tracking him down.
Lalo eventually made his way to that same Travelwire but when the desk clerk refused to help, he shot him dead and took what he wanted. In the aftermath of that murder, Albuquerque police have been searching for the assailant but there was only one witness and her recollection didn’t offer authorities enough information.
So Mike does his best to jog her memory by showing her photos and all but convincing her that she saw a 1970 Monte Carlo — the same card that belongs to Lalo Salamanca. He then visits the local precinct where Mike pretends to be a hard-boiled cop to scare a low-level assistant into handing over a file to Detective Tim Roberts.
You might remember Detective Roberts from “Breaking Bad” — a former colleague of Hank Schrader, who helps look for a missing Walter White in season 2 and gets Marie out of trouble when she’s caught stealing from people’s homes.
In this instance, Detective Roberts receives the file from Mike with a police report inside from a person who reported a 1970 Monte Carlo that crashed into him at a toll booth gate on the same day as the Travelwire murder. Remember when Mike realized that he was being tailed, he made his escape through the gated entrance but then jammed up the ticket machine to delay Lalo from following him. A frustrated Lalo ended up plowing through the car in front of him in order to give chase to find Mike.
Detective Roberts realizes the make and model of car from this police report matches the new information they just received from the book store clerk, who suddenly had a better memory about the vehicle she saw outside the Travelwire store on the day a person was shot and killed inside.
That’s enough information for Detective Roberts to issue a BOLO on the car — and the very next day as Lalo Salamanca is driving down the street, a cop pulls him over. Before Lalo has a chance to react, a fleet of cop cars descend upon him after they identified the possibly assailant in this unsolved murder.
A job well done by Mike as he not only helped stop Lalo’s plans against Gus but now he’s put the newest Salamanca transport directly in the crosshairs of the Albuquerque Police.
Maybe We Get Married
At the start of this episode we get a glimpse into Kim Wexler’s childhood as a junior high version stands outside her school with a cello just waiting for her mother to arrive to give her a ride home. Kim has spoken before about the struggles she faced as a child, especially moving house to house as her mother was always trying to stay just one step ahead of an eviction notice.
In this instance, Kim’s mother shows up late after having a couple of drinks. Kim smells the alcohol from the car and asks her mother if she’s been drinking. When she denies having more than one beer, Kim knows her mother is lying and she defiantly says that she’ll walk the three miles home as opposed to hopping into a car with a drunk driver.
From an early age, Kim has been betrayed by the people who were supposed to love her most and this situation has continued to perpetuate itself into adulthood — the latest instanced is Jimmy backstabbing her at the Mesa Verde meeting.
As she returns home, Jimmy is relaxing on the couch playing “Smoke on the Water,” which was a favorite tune he shared with his former con-artist pal Marco before he died.
Kim is silent at first before finally exploding on Jimmy for making her look like a fool in front of her boss and clients as he blew apart the deal they struck in order to serve his own needs. She’s always known that Jimmy was a grifter — Kim just never expected to be on the wrong end of one of his cons but this has happened before and now it’s happening again.
The way this all happened, Kim can’t take Jimmy at his word no matter how many times he promises this will never happen again.
“I don’t believe you. You don’t believe yourself. It is a lie. You lie. I lie. This has to end! I cannot keep living like this!”
~ Kim Wexler
The explosive tone of the conversation makes it appear that Kim is ready to walk out on Jimmy and this will be the beginning of the end of their relationship, which would then explain her absence from “Breaking Bad.”
Instead, Kim finishes her tirade aimed at Jimmy by telling him that they either need to break up and go their separate ways or maybe they just need to get married.
As the scene fades to black, we’re once again left with that same question about Kim’s future because what appeared to be the final crack in an already fractured relationship quickly transformed into a half-proposal that might end in a marriage. With a season and a half to go before “Better Call Saul” concludes, it’s tough to imagine that Kim is going anywhere just yet and perhaps she never leaves Jimmy but ultimately takes his name and becomes Kim Wexler-McGill
“Better Call Saul” returns next Monday night at 9 p.m. ET with a brand new episode on AMC.