The opening scene of Better Call Saul Season 5 Episode 7, “JMM” was an excellent example of how to deliver exposition.
The explanation of why Kim would suddenly decide to marry Jimmy is a difficult one to explain to the audience.
A realistic depiction of their discussion over the decision would likely be a long one filled with confusion and reiteration, and yet the reasoning to this proposal has to be conveyed to the audience.
What “JMM” did is use its preexisting characters to deliver the exposition in a fun, believable way. Kim and Jimmy needed a witness for their courthouse marriage, so they brought Huell along.
Huell was the perfect choice for this role, as he knows Jimmy and Kim, supports them, and is innocent enough to want to enjoy the romantic side but still enough of a criminal to want to swipe the rings.
This created a scene that was both logical and enjoyable as we could laugh at Huell’s curiosity and romance tactics while receiving the necessary reasoning behind the union.
Excellent use of character to deliver exposition.
The explanation itself seemed logical, though Kim’s complete loss of anger left me a little disoriented. Now I almost feel that her rage at Jimmy was her fulfilling how she’s “supposed” to act, despite possibly having been completely into it.
She did seem interested in Saul’s chance to become a cartel guy.
Kim’s actions are making it clear that she’s enabling Jimmy to become Saul. Kim isn’t the last tie to Jimmy McGill, but actually another bridge to Saul Goodman.
Do you want to be a friend of the cartel?Kim
The possibilities this opens up for her future are exciting. I’m not saying or implying that she secretly ends up working with Saul behind the scenes or that she supports who Saul Goodman becomes, just that she isn’t holding Saul back in any capacity.
Which at this point is allowing Saul to become.
Kim’s fascination with cons and schemes has been present throughout the series, so it’s not out of character for her to be into Saul’s machinations, but she’s always erred on the side of “relatively” harmless cons.
Whether it be a con against a jerk wall street bro or a scheme to get the mostly harmless Huell out of prison, Kim’s schemes have, for the most part, left little physical or emotional damage in their wake.
So I’m not quite on board with Kim’s recent turn into more devastating schemes. The plot against Kevin was intense; it was potentially career ruining for him and at best was going to cause great distress to him.
It’s not that I don’t believe Kim could get to this point, I’m just not quite able to track her journey here yet. Maybe her mindset will be revealed more fully, but compared to what we saw at the end of “JMM,” I feel Kim could use some extra attention to discover why she’s thinking the way she is.
Because that final scene was excellent. It was one of my personal favorite scenes of the series to date, and it perfectly encapsulates what’s driving Jimmy and why he’s going to continue to pound his conscience into the ground.
When Jimmy was attempting to get Lalo out on bail, he kept looking over to the victim’s family. He was clearly conflicted about what he was doing, and he continued to watch them out in the hallway.
Howard, though, set Jimmy off, and it’s made clear that Jimmy’s desire to prove himself better than Howard, better than Chuck, better than everyone, is going to push him to do things that no one else can do.
Things that only Saul can do.
Jimmy’s drive to prove himself is overriding any guilt that he holds, and with Kim’s enabling meaning that he doesn’t have to try to please her and the pressure Lalo is exerting on him excusing his behavior, the recipe is in place for Jimmy to reach the point of no return.
I’m really enjoying Jimmy and Kim’s storylines this season. Time to rant about Gus.
Maybe I’m biased from seeing Gus on Breaking Bad, but I find it difficult to invest in most of his scenes. Unlike Mike or Jimmy, Gus is largely the same in the Better Call Saul timeline as he is in Breaking Bad.
There is no real arc happening with Gus on Better Call Saul; he’s just Gus from Breaking Bad. Gus walking away from the explosion of his restaurant was nowhere near as badass as when he walks out into gunfire in Breaking Bad, arms spread wide and inviting the bullets.
That moment on Breaking Bad is filled with intrigue, prompting us with questions as well as insight into how Gus’ mind works.
Walking away from this explosion didn’t do that. We already know how Gus operates. He’s smooth, patient, ruthless, and calculating.
He also knows how to seem like a kind chicken man, premiering new products at meetings. We know that, too. We know that from Better Call Saul alone without even including how much we know that from Breaking Bad.
I praised Better Call Saul Season 5 Episode 5, “Dedicado a Max” for finally giving us a reason why Gus is so interested in Mike. I stand by that and believe Mike and Gus’ relationship still has the potential to grow.
They are two stoic men who don’t show much emotion, though, so compared to the sparks that flew between an annoyed Mike and a pants-less Jimmy, they’re interactions are plain and relatively predictable.
Nacho is also done a disservice by the focus on Gus. Nacho is in a great position filled with storyline potential, though it’s a terrible position for him as a character.
I'm done. I want out.Nacho
Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Nacho is desperately trying to escape the criminal life. Unfortunately, we spend just as much time watching Gus assure everyone that his operation is going to run just fine.
I don’t care about Gus’ operation. There is little emotional investment in Gus compared to Mike and Nacho, so I am endlessly confused as to why there has been so much focus on him outside of the fact that he’s from Breaking Bad.
If Gus were an original character to Better Call Saul, would I feel differently? Maybe, but I don’t think so.
His character on Better Call Saul is stagnant, and while there is nothing inherently wrong with a static character, they tend to be best used when they are forcing other characters to develop around them.
Part of why Gus works so well on Breaking Bad is because he is an obstacle for Walt to overcome, and he is a deep enough character that his specific traits provide specific threats to Walt, with his faults being his undoing.
On Better Call Saul Gus is no longer an antagonist. He works alongside Mike and while he has Nacho in a bind, Nacho’s beef is with the crime world in general and not specifically with Gus.
I'm better now.Mike
I love Gus as a character, I just don’t feel Better Call Saul is bringing anything new out of him.
From a Jimmy and Kim perspective, this is a very strong outing, but the Gus scenes drag the episode down a bit.
That final scene, though, was remarkable. It was pure character drama with the perfect combination of subtleness and explicitness.
Jimmy, I'm sorry you're in pain.Howard
And infinitely more powerful than the explosion walk-off.
Am I wrong about Gus? If I am, tell me why so I can enjoy this show even more! How long do you think Kim and Jimmy’s marriage will last? Keep up with the show and watch Better Call Saul online!
Tommy Czerpak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.