'Better Call Saul' Season 5 Episode 7 Review: In his race to the top, will Jimmy forget the graves he's digging?
Spoilers for 'Better Call Saul' Season 5 Episode 7 'JMM'
In the early phases of the episode, during a meeting with Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) and Rich (Dennis Boutsikaris) about the consequences of the disastrous eviction case, Kevin looks at Kim straight in the eye and out of the blue, asserts Jimmy McGill aka Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) can do a lot better. The rest of the episode pretty much resonates with the same sentiments as we see Jimmy make one drastically impulsive decision after the other, without a care for the aftermath or consequences. This makes one wonder just why he needs to do whatever he is doing when he is capable of so much better.
Jimmy comes up in Kim and Kevin's conversation when she fires some pretty valid shots as her client, telling him they had warned him to withdraw the eviction notice and had even asked him to settle. Just as Seehorn can be seen channeling all of her fierce conviction into Kim trying to assert her dominance, Kevin cuts her off bringing Jimmy into the conversation to casually put it out there that he is meant for more. It's not all that easy to see Kevin in an antagonizing light in this scenario. Regardless of his intent, he hardly ever spews irrelevant facts and this is definitely not one of the slip-ups.
From that moment onward, Jimmy's trajectory on the episode holds a mirror to Kevin's comments about him. First, he is asked to represent Lalo by none other than Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks). In his attempt to help Nacho get out of the cartel mess, Mike reaches out to Jimmy and encourages him to take up Lalo's case, defending him for the newly slammed murder charges on the new Salamanca, after Mike framed Lalo.
Jimmy was clearly supposed to ruin Lalo's situation with the arrest by pretending to help him. He would pay Mike back and Nacho would be out of this dual game of a mess between Lalo and Gus Fring too. But instead, Jimmy chooses to actually consider Lalo's threats masked with benefits: become friends with the cartel in exchange for bail on a murder charge.
Later in the night, as Jimmy and Kim undress to have sex, he can barely focus on what's happening because of the proposition consuming his headspace. He even tells Kim about it, coming clean that he didn't want to spill it all to her, but implying that given her last blow up, he would rather she knew it all.
Of course, Odenkirk masks Jimmy's fear of confrontation with a sheer vulnerability, leaving us fixated on how he is ready to open his new world with all its indiscretions to Kim, to let her in. The episode is all very defensively written for Jimmy, no matter which way one looks at it, but the one person who is the most incapable of seeing it is Jimmy himself.
Kevin's opinions about Jimmy being capable of better resonates as smug defiance in the titular Saul Goodman. He knows he is meant for more but not necessarily idealistic more. Jimmy wants to be on the top and it doesn't matter how he gets their anymore or how he acquires the wins in the process. He is ready for a brush with danger and the law once again, and on his way to whatever dysfunctional glory he ends up with as Gene, the Cinnabon guy, he doesn't care how hurt or outraged he leaves people.
Luckily, offering some respite in all of this is Jonathan Banks' cuddly bear grandpa moments from Mike as he makes amends with his daughter and works on rehabilitating his relationship with his precious granddaughter. It's a striking contrast with the way he takes care of business for Nacho and the sinister plans he comes up with to incriminate Lalo. In his own, signature Mike Ehrmantraut way, he ends up babysitting both his granddaughter and Nacho, and no matter how twisted the Salamancas can get, it's safe to say the fandom thrives for little Mike wins like these.
'Better Call Saul' Season 5 airs on Mondays at 9pm only on AMC.