There were a lot of emotions being flown around in Better Call Saul Season 5 Episode 6, "Wexler v. Goodman."
I’m not really sure how to feel after watching it, and that makes it a difficult episode to critique because a lot of this episode’s success depends on the consequences of the actions that took place here.
Gus, Mike, Lalo, and Nacho’s storyline felt almost obligatory. There was nothing wrong with it nor anything particularly special; it just moved those pieces further along.
The strongest aspect of this storyline was Mike’s manipulation of the woman who works at the library.
Normally it’s fun to watch Mike do undercover work, and it sort of was here as well, but this series takes such a realistic view at the darkness pervading these characters that it feels wrong that Mike used this woman to further his own gains.
She was clearly uncomfortable, and only helped Mike based off of a lie.
But Mike proceeded and got what he wanted.
Mike is falling further past the realm of redemption, despite having stopped to pick up some books for his granddaughter along the way.
Mike acted superior with Nacho by telling him that he warned Nacho about going after Hector but didn’t seem to realize that Nacho was issuing his own warning about working with Gus.
You know who you're working for, right?Nacho (to Mike)
Nacho has a much healthier perspective on his place within the world than Mike does. Nacho knows that he's made some poor choices, but doesn't seem to excuse his behavior in the same way as Mike.
Part of this is that Nacho really doesn't have a choice, as his father's life is on the line. Mike might still be able to walk away, and continually chooses not to.
Mike isn’t above these criminals, and I like when the show reminds us of that.
Of course, the main meat of “Wexler v. Goodman” was Kim and Saul.
I’m completely comfortable referring to him as Saul for the rest of this review because it was made abundantly clear who we are dealing with now.
Saul Goodman has arrived, and he’s here to stay.
Saul can’t get enough of scheming. He was disappointed when Kim decided not to go through with the Acker plan, so he took his scheming elsewhere.
Poor Howard. Saul got a high from torturing the poor man and immediately decided to chase the next one.
Based on his dialogue in the final scene, I’m not sure if Saul was planning to go ahead with the Acker scheme before he set up Howard, but it seems that Saul decided that afterward.
Either way, though, he’s clearly deriving more out of life through Saul Goodman than he can with Kim Wexler.
So he went against her, believing she’ll once again forgive him and it’ll all be fine.
Maybe she could forgive Jimmy, but what about Saul?
Part of the success of the series has been the way the show has taken the arrival of Saul from an exciting endeavor to a dreadful one, and this episode masterfully capitalized on that by perverting almost every emotion it tried to illicit.
The montage of Saul and the film crew filming the commercials was once again energized by the upbeat music and humorous dialogue, matched by quick cuts and zany characters. It’s the flashy side of Saul Goodman that’s fun to watch.
But that joy was stripped away when we saw that final product presented to Kevin. There’s a true sleaziness to the move; there is no entertaining score or fun dialogue.
There's no way to prove anything.Saul
It didn’t feel good to witness Saul Goodman do his work.
The true genius of this scene is also the perfect example of the difference between plot and story.
If Kim wasn’t there, the entire scene could play out almost exactly the same. Kevin would get just as upset, and Saul would twist it further.
We don’t care about Kevin, though, and so in that case, we might actually have enjoyed watching Saul Goodman start up his schemes.
With Kim in the audience, it changes the story of the scene. It’s a gross betrayal of Kim's trust, and she is clearly seething at what is happening.
We didn’t feel good about what we saw because Kim didn’t. We got angry because Kim got angry.
And the story forms out of this conflict.
The episode perverted the outburst at the end of the episode as well. The stage was set for an explosive breakup, and the words started pouring out of Kim.
Maybe we get married.Kim
But then she proposed, which turned the entire scene on its head.
I don’t know why Kim would ever propose to marry Jimmy. From my perspective, it makes no sense (yet), and if we hadn’t had that opening scene, I might have even felt it was a twist just for twist’s sake.
That opening scene, though, clearly provided an intent. I know that the writers have a reason for Kim’s proposal because we’ve been shown that even at a young age, Kim knew when to walk away from a potential train wreck when she saw one.
So why doesn’t she walk away here? What’s keeping her with Jimmy?
I don’t know! And because the entire story of this episode revolves around the culmination of this conflict, it’s hard to judge its merits as a story because we don’t have the follow-through yet.
As for entertainment value, this may be the most entertaining episode of Better Call Saul Season 5 yet.
There’s an excellent montage, undercover Mike, silly schemes, big schemes, and justified emotional devastation, plus the full-blown arrival of Saul Goodman.
But why did Kim propose marriage? If anyone has any ideas, please share them. And don’t forget to catch up and watch Better Call Saul online!
Tommy Czerpak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.