Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Better Call Kim

In last night's new Better Call Saul the MVP was definitely Kim. But the nice new episode had other good scenes having to do with Jimmy though all the drug dealing business still feels like a screensaver.

Spoilers after the screenshot

I can't get myself invested in the Nacho (Michael Mando) plot. I appreciate all the trouble the show goes to to establish his father as this guy who can't countenance his son's business and the attempt at quiet tension in that garage scene where the old man refuses the ill-gotten cash without a word. There's ambition there leaping out of the water but it just falls back in the drink. I guess the actors are okay, the sound design is pretty boring. Maybe it's the latter that leads to the flat feeling of so many scenes of people just hanging around. Though primarily I'd say it's that the characters aren't complex enough.

They suffer by comparison to the Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) plot. The scene where he interviews at the Neff company--nice Double Indemnity reference--is dazzling, first with Jimmy demonstrating his not surprising knowledge of copiers, then in the subtle dialogue where he manoeuvres around discussing why he stopped being a lawyer to make it sound like a really good thing. When the guy says, "What happened?" the response we might expect is, "I'm prohibited from practising for a period but I can assure you my character is . . ." etc, etc. Instead, Jimmy deliberately mischaracterises the motive of the question in a plausible way--he acts like the guy's asking because he doesn't know how useful a lawyer could be in sales. I believed every moment of it, too: Bob Odenkirk sold Jimmy's salesmanship perfectly. And I believed when he sabotaged himself at the end with a misapplication of righteousness.

It's almost like his brother possessed him, a deranged moment of conscience, where Jimmy was right at what he had to know was the wrong time. It's a moment that makes clear the moral tightrope Jimmy compulsively walks, the kind of self flagellation that'll make his inevitable turn feel very credible.

But as I said, this episode goes to Kim (Rhea Seehorn), and not just because I'm impressed her sling matches her blouse. Her confrontation with Howard (Patrick Fabian) was great for two character revelations--of course she's right about Howard, it was selfish of him to tell Jimmy about Chuck's suicide at that moment, but Howard himself probably was unaware of how selfish he was being. He clearly feels even worse than he did before.

The other great revelation in the scene is in how much it shows Kim really loves Jimmy. She is so keyed into him, accurately understanding his feelings and willing to cast his motives in the best possible light, she has no hesitation in going passionately to bat for him.

And this leads to one of the best kisses I've seen on television. When the two are sitting down to watch White Heat neither of them brings up the meeting. But from how they look at each other we know they're both thinking about it. The mildly plaintive look on Jimmy's face is met with just exactly the reassurance he needs in Kim's--we can see, with all the dialogue being about the remote control and Jaws 3D, he knows she went to bat for him and she knows he needed it and they're both aware of just how far she's willing to go to be supportive of him. It's a brilliant, intensely sweet scene. It makes the anxiety of wondering what happened to Kim between now and Breaking Bad all the more poignant, too.

Twitter Sonnet #1144

Remembered cola fills another glass.
Ascending bubbles break another roof.
Descending droppers feed an empty class.
Enlisting void asserts a logic hoof.
A yellow town was buried 'neath the gold.
Refreshments came at cost of salty wells.
Increasing ages never do get old.
A desert spring's but one of many tells.
Inside a cellar stockings fume for ink.
Beside reflections solid matter stood.
Across a line of light's a solar link.
The smaller maybe serves the greater good.
Misplaced and silent kept behind the shield.
Belief in single crops reduced the yield.

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