Better Call Saul season 3 episode 9 review – Fall
The review contains spoilers.
If last week we saw Jimmy ‘slip’, this week marks his ‘fall’. And that doesn’t even mean a fall from grace, or a fall from power. The fall that we see this week is a moral one, with Jimmy wasting away any hints of fairness and decency that he might have had.
We have seen him con rich snobby people, business owners, coworkers, family and fellow legal people before, and we laughed and admired his wit and skill, perhaps even rooted for him at times. But seeing Jimmy play an innocent, old woman by alienating her from her only friends as a means to his own end was pretty much watching him getting stripped of the last strands of morality.
It is difficult to root for him afterwards, and I get reminded of the end of Breaking Bad‘s season 4, when Walter White poisons a kid to save his own ass. In a show that mirrors its predecessor in so many ways, in these cases we get to look at the reflection of the darkest, most twisted traits of their respective protagonists’ personalities. Lest we forget – these are not good people, and they both gradually plunge into the depths of immorality in their own special ways.
As we all know, anger leads to the dark side, and it was indeed anger and desperation that drove Jimmy to ruin an elderly woman’s social life. His pride and happiness over the deed is cut short, however, and fittingly so – Kim is too immersed in her own hard work to pay Jimmy enough attention and join him in his celebration. The show reminds us that while what Jimmy did is exceptionally clever, it does not give permission to root for him – the narrative does not celebrate the con as much as Jimmy himself would like to, and the bottle of Zafiro Añejo, previously seen poisoning the Juarez cartel in Breaking Bad, suggests to us that Jimmy might very well soon find himself drinking poison in a metaphorical sense.
And with that, it seems to be clear that the show has long shifted its focus of the character that the audience should root for – it may have been Jimmy some time ago, but now we see that Kim, or Mike, or even Nacho are much more sympathetic and root-worthy. While Jimmy is naturally still the main focus of the show, we’re not here to watch him succeed anymore. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Speaking of Kim… poor Kim. The scene in the middle of the episode reminds us how good Kim is at taking care of business by herself, whether it’s work-related things, or something as mundane as getting a car out of the sand. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be a Gilligan show if it didn’t foreshadow something, and we find out what that is at the end of the episode, when she crashes her car.
Very clever editing right there, as the scene seemingly prepares you for a crash and you begin to expect it before it actually happens; what you don’t expect is the sudden cut from the shot of Kim driving the car to another, just post-crash, as she bumps against the air bag, blood on her face. Now what this means for her is hard to say – luckily she doesn’t seem to be too heavily injured. Perhaps it will serve as a warning for her to take it slow and to reconsider what she’s doing. Or perhaps it will relate to Jimmy somehow. Anything’s possible, as the series finale is almost upon us.
We also see Mike make baby steps towards working for Gus, and making a deal with Lydia, which is a first for both of them. There is a tiny degree of heartbreak going on there, as we know what fate awaits both of the characters. Kind of makes you want to yell “don’t do it!” at the screen. Meanwhile, Nacho fails to kill Hector (as expected), and the finale might see him suffer the consequences of that.
Overall, the penultimate episode of the third season makes Jimmy into Saul in all but name, and we are left to ponder where the finale will take us, as it’s bound to be pretty damn explosive… metaphorically or otherwise.
Image credit: AMC