fans of You better call Saulit is predecessor debated: Did Walter White really spend all five seasons of this show kicking ass, or did he just finally find his way to his true self? Perhaps this question, given the nuance Saul spun for her, may apply to Kim, who just wants to do good but is willing to do not-so-good things to achieve it. In the flashback opening for “Axe And Grind,” we find out what really powers Kim. She, yes has an ax to grind, and we can consider Howard Hamlin a victim of his long-sharpened blade.
In a callback to Kim’s teenage years, her mother picks her up from the store’s office, where the manager caught her shoplifting jewelry. It’s not expensive loot — although it does cost more than an ’80s teenage allowance ($35.53, with tax, to be exact) — and Kim doesn’t seem particularly keen on owning it. the accessories. She’s shaken from being caught – her foot shaking in her white trainers, a move that would become a signature when grown-up Kim in high heels gets nervous – and his mother expands on the thick rebuke.
This punishment of her daughter pleases Kim’s mother to the store owner, and the Wexler women leave the establishment. with nothing but the promise that Kim won’t be a repeat offender. Well, that and the jewelry set. Kim’s mother stole it from the office and, tickled by the petty crime, gives it to Kim once they’re in the car. Turns out she’s not mad at Kim at all. She is impressed. “I didn’t know you had it in you,” her mother said. When her daughter is puzzled, she adds, “Relax, you got away with it!”
And that’s young Kim Wexler’s takeaway. As she walks home in silence, a look of disappointment on her face, Kim determines that being mean didn’t get her the attention she needed. This made her want what she claimed by her actions. And if a straight student can’t win affection and attention with good or bad behavior, they must chart their own course, driven by self-reliance and hard work. In another flashback, this one at “Wexler vs. Goodman” (Season 5, Episode 6), Kim is so determined to follow this philosophy that she carries a cello on her back for three miles on a cold Nebraska night to avoid driving home with her possibly inebriated , late to pick up her mother.
That same spirit took her from Nebraska to Albuquerque and landed her a job in HHM’s mailroom. Her restlessness led the firm to loan her money for law school, followed by a position as a lawyer at HHM when she passed the bar. She continued to work hard, under the partners’ radar, until her association with former mailroom colleague-turned-lawyer Jimmy landed her a spot on Howard’s shit list. He entrusted him with thankless missions; she bounced back from hours of working on her contact list (remember those post-its stuck all over the HHM stair windows?), working her way back into Howard’s good graces when she landed the mega -Mesa Verde client via her friend Paige. But it also intensified her resentment towards Howard.
She resents his arrogance, his condescension, his blindness to the depth of his intelligence, his knowledge, his skills as a lawyer. He even underestimates how bad Kim can be. After hearing from Cliff that Kim was with him when he saw Fake Howard (Jimmy) kicking a prostitute out of his Jaguar, Howard immediately assumed that Jimmy was behind the ruse. It never occurred to her that Kim was involved, let alone that she organized much of it.
In other words, Howard didn’t know, still doesn’t know, that Kim has it in her. As to why it took Kim so long to let those resentments turn into something so sinister, we’re not sure. We only know bits and pieces of his past, especially in the pre-Albuquerque years. Maybe she left Nebraska for New Mexico to create new opportunities; maybe she wanted to leave that young Kim behind.
And perhaps his commitment to advocacy work, his raison d’etre, allows him to indulge his more ruthless and selfish side. After spending years with Howard miscalculating and undervaluing her, her nastiness, in her mind, calls for a drastic (but justifiable) refund, which now involves medications and a rectal thermometer for animals from veterinarian Dr. Caldera, an actor who impersonated Judge Casamira. . Despite Jimmy’s panic over Casamira’s broken arm, Kim’s tougher stuff kicks in. “It’s happening today,” she tells him and turns her car toward Albuquerque. Even if it means she’ll ruin her chances of being included on Cliff’s new justice reform council, the one she was on her way to Santa Fe to fight for, Kim has within her the guts to lead through. well his plan. One of them, at least.
In the more literal counterpart to Kim’s story, Lalo tracks down Casper, one of Werner Ziegler’s loyal construction workers. All Lalo wants is information on what Gus is up to so he can prove to Don Eladio that the Salamancas, not Gustavo Fring, are worthy of running the cartel show north of the border. That Lalo is a little too happy with Caspar’s foot could make this plan a little more difficult at the moment.
It’s not wise to underestimate either of them, Kim or Lalo. One of them went bankrupt a long time ago, maybe even born bad. As for Kim, she could gradually find her true nature.
- The little black book of Dr. Caldera! We now know the source of Mike’s Men’s Rolodex (didn’t it strike you as odd that Mike had so many resources in Albuquerque, while living in Philadelphia until the early BCS timeline?), Saul’s many resources in breaking Bad, and Ed the “vacuum cleaner repairman”. How and when do we think the book fell into Saul’s hands?
- Kim takes note of Ed’s business card when she and Jimmy flip through Caldera’s book. There’s been so much talk about the possibility that Kim was killed before Saul ends. What if something bad happened and she moved on to a new life, thanks to Ed?
- Saul Star Giancarlo Esposito made his TV series directorial debut with “Axe And Grind,” and one of my favorite shots of the season so far is when Jimmy sends Kim to Santa Fe to meet him. people at the Jackson-Mercer Foundation, and in the background is a view of two crossed wires, appearing to make an X above Kim and Jimmy’s apartment. I guess it could be a simple coincidence, or it could mean there are more problems to come at Casa McGill.
- Will Jimmy ever come back to buy that bottle of Zafiro Añejo, or is the bottle cap we saw at the opening of the season premiere the cap on the bottle that Jimmy and Kim charged to “KEN WINS” in “Switch” (season 2, episode 1)?
- Mike basically created a low-key version of Gus’ lair so he could make sure Kaylee and Stacey were safe. Also, kudos to episode writer Ariel Levine for giving Mike a fart joke to share with Kaylee. The man deserved it.
- Maybe we’ll find out in next week’s mid-season finale (titled “Plan And Execution”), maybe we’ll find out before the series finale, or maybe we’ll just have to use our imaginations, but after seeing how beautifully and tastefully Francesca decorated Saul’s office—so much casting-I’m dying to see what happens to get to the mall where we know it is breaking Bad. It broke my heart when Francesca had to watch Saul’s clients stump out their cigarettes on the furniture and take a walk around Saul’s office.
- Kim’s mom is a lover of great ’80s music, from Rick Springfield’s “Affair Of The Heart,” to playing in her car in “Wexler v. Goodman,” to newly elected Rock Hall of Famer Duran Duran’s “The Reflex.” play when she and “Kimmie” get in the car in “Axe And Grind”.
- Was Howard’s latte, the one he so meticulously prepares, for his wife Cheryl just the saddest hot drink ever? When he hands it to her, with a peace sign drawn on it, and she barely glances at it and throws it in a travel mug without noticing her effort? Hard, Cheryl! Is she just bored with him, like Chuck’s wife seemed with their relationship? Or is there more? Howard makes a point of telling her about Jimmy’s other shenanigans and emphasizes that he’ll deal with it, “no matter what.” There’s an intense sadness about Howard that continues to make me worry about him, and he’s a character I didn’t particularly worry about before this season.
- If something terrible, like definitely terrible, happened to Howard as a result of actions she and Jimmy took, could Kim handle it? Did she go so far down a different path from the Kim Wexler we initially met that she would be able to handle that level of guilt (or even feel that level of guilt)?