This Better Call Saul review contains spoilers.
Better Call Saul Season 5 Episode 6
“Emotion like that, you can’t fake it.”
“No, you can’t.”
Without trust, a relationship can’t survive. You can try to talk through issues, make concessions and commitments, and even demonstrate through action your willingness to change, but without the trust that the intention will hold, it’s all meaningless. Kim knows this the hard way. We see in a flashback in the “Wexler v. Goodman” cold open that Kim has experience being in a co-dependent relationship where she couldn’t trust the other person. Kim knew there would be difficulties being in a committed relationship with Jimmy McGill; she had no clue what she was in for once Saul Goodman entered the picture. Instead of being in on the con, she’s being conned right alongside everyone else, and even Jimmy can’t admit it will be the last time.
Jimmy thinks he was doing a noble thing. Jimmy McGill heard his girlfriend ask him point blank to stop his efforts, accept a deal for Mr. Acker, and put the whole Mesa Verde scheme behind them. However, Saul Goodman knew the play was beautiful. He knew between the PR Nightmare class action settlement commercials and the copyright infringement claim that he had Mesa Verde by the cojones. At one point, Jimmy knew that perhaps there was too much at stake for Kim to keep going down this path, but Saul could smell the kill was close and figured he could spare Kim the scrutiny by leaving her in the dark. Saul could get the win and Jimmy could be the good guy that helped Mr. Acker, what Kim wanted in the first place.
It never occurs to Jimmy that he’s making Kim a mark, that he’s playing her just as much as he’s duping everyone else. It doesn’t matter that he’s going to get the original photographer of the Mesa Verde logo the credit that she deserves, or that Mr. Acker will keep his home and the money that Mesa Verde was set to pay him; he made Kim the fool and broke her trust. She couldn’t faker her outrage in their meeting because it wasn’t fake – Viktor left Giselle behind. Kim knows in that moment that this is a point of no return and that she should leave while the memory of their relationship isn’t tainted, but seeing the end of a relationship that you hold dear can make you act in strange, illogical ways. Maybe Kim thinks that perhaps by binding herself to Jimmy McGill, it will keep her out of Saul Goodman’s crosshairs again. She proposes they get hitched, like putting a Band-aid on a bullet wound.
Meanwhile, Mike is back in Gus’ corner and seems to be settled into his role as fixer. First order of business is stopping Lalo from doing any more damage to Fring’s business. Nacho fills Gus’ crew in on Lalo’s many plans to derail the operation. After Gus leaves, Nacho incredulously wonders why Mike would align himself with someone like that, and it’s a fair question. Though last week laid the ground work for Gus to woo Mike back to his side, it didn’t seem enticing enough that Mike would just slip into the role of righthand man right away. Mike fires back that Nacho is in the same corner, but Nacho tells him that its only out of necessity, out of fear for his father’s life. Mike appears to offer to help Nacho just as soon as Lalo has been dealt with.
After earning a coerced testimony under false pretenses (using his standard alias Dave Clark) and utilizing his background as a cop to plant some hit and run files, Mike is able to convince the ABQ police that Lalo’s car was the one involved in the TravelWire murder from last season. It’s great to see Mike back doing what he does best, even if it’s in service of Gus Fring. It all seems way too neat and tidy of a way to dispatch of such a formidable villain. Lalo will likely need the help of a lawyer, and where oh where will he find a good one…
While things got pretty heavy for Kim and Jimmy at the end of the episode, this was mostly a fun installment of Better Call Saul. Not only do we get to see Mike and Jimmy both in top-notch form, using their skill sets to the best of their abilities, we also got the lighthearted next step in Jimmy’s war against affable dimwit Howard Hamlin. Out to lunch with a returning Clifford Main, Jimmy sends two prostitutes that he helped out legally to accost Howard for missing payment. The series is so deft at switching from life-or-death suspense, to lighthearted romp, to emotionally fraught relationship drama all in the span of an episode. Just like Jimmy or Mike in this episode, Better Call Saul is operating at peak performance right now, and there’s nothing else quite as good currently on television.