Better Call Saul Episode 9 – Jimmy’s supervillain origin story is nearly complete

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Better Call Saul Episode 9 – entitled “Fun and Games” – adds depth to Gus Fring’s character, but it’s Jimmy and Kim who take center stage, with the fallout from their recent drama catapulting the show into the Breaking Bad era.

Kim Wexler’s fate has been a question central to Better Call Saul since the character went from supporting player to co-protagonist early in proceedings. Would she be killed? Or maybe sent to prison? With Kim nowhere to be seen during Breaking Bad, chances are the outcome wouldn’t be good.

“Fun and Games” has maybe answered that question, and while Kim’s fate is less dramatic than we might have feared, it’s no less upsetting. Alright, maybe a bit.

As ever, Rhea Seehorn delivers a powerhouse performance throughout these emotionally charged scenes. And as per usual, Bob Odenkirk matches her beat-for-beat.

The Real Gus Fring

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Giancarlo Esposito as Gus Fring.

The episode’s early sequences concern Gus however. Fring meets with Don Eladio due to some doubt about his involvement in the attempted murder of Lalo. And when Gus survives this tense encounter, he heads to a restaurant, where he seems to have a connection with the maître d’.

But having just stood over the watery grave of a previous (perceived) love interest – Max Arciniega – Fring seems to think better of this flirtation, so rather than swap stories, and maybe more, he heads for home.

It’s a small scene, where little is said beyond a discussion of wine, but there’s lots going on beneath the surface. The interaction letting us see a little of the real Gus. Which is fascinating.

Kim Wexler lives to fight another day

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Rhea Seehorn delivers a heartbreaking performance as Kim Wexler.

Trauma from the events of Episode 7 and 8 – where Howard was murdered, and Jimmy and Kim taken hostage – loomed large over this hour. To continue the lie about their connection to his death, Kim tells Howard’s wife a tall tale about his drug addiction.

It’s a prime example of how brutal the couple are when it comes to the con, with Jimmy setting the mark up, and Kim knocking them down. The lie comes easy to Kim; easier than she’s comfortable with, and causes her to do some serious soul-searching.

It all comes to a head back at the apartment – now cleansed of both Howard’s body and blood. Jimmy learns that Kim is done being an attorney. And as he tries to talk her out of the decision, realizes she’s also done with him – her bags packed; their life together over.

Jimmy is devastated, and continues to do what Jimmy McGill does best – talk. But Kim responds by stating they are bad for each other, and telling Jimmy “Apart we’re OK, but together, we’re poison.”

Ultimately, there’s nothing he can do, with this being one occasion where Jimmy is powerless. As the apartment, the job, and the relationship are now reminders of Howard’s terrible, pointless, tragic death. And the only way forward for Kim is to escape them all.

Back to Saul Goodman’s future

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Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill/SaulGoodman.

The episode then leaves a broken Jimmy McGill in the BCS era, and flashes forward to Saul Goodman in the Breaking Bad era. And it’s both exhilarating and heartbreaking to be back with the character in his more villainous form.

Goodman wakes up in his gaudy mansion, a sex worker lying next to him. He picks out clothes from his gaudy wardrobe, and works on his terrible combover. Saul then makes a call about his Xanax guy, pulls into his car park, sticks a disabled sign in his car, and enters the office we know so well from the original series.

“Let justice be done, though the heavens fall” he states, and the episode fades out. His supervillain story very nearly complete.

Will the rest of this final series unfold here? We do know that Walter White and Jessie Pinkman appear in several scenes, so that might be the case. Which would be a thrilling way to cap off a series that always does the unexpected.

Is Kim’s fate sealed?

Equally, is that the last we’ve seen of Kim? If she does survive Better Call Saul – and the signs are good at this point – there’s nothing stopping the character from popping up during this time-jump, to reconnect with Jimmy, or read him the riot act, or even rekindle their romance.

But if she doesn’t, and if that really was the end for Kim, it comes with some relief that she made it away from Jimmy McGill physically – if not mentally – unscathed. As Kim Wekler – and by proxy Rhea Seehorn – have been the beating heart of Better Call Saul. And one of the key reasons the show has been a worthy successor to Breaking Bad.

Better Call Saul’s last season airs on AMC in the States, and on Netflix in the UK.

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