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‘Better Call Saul’ on AMC: Season 6 Review

One of the most haunting moments in Better Call Saul isn’t a death, a cutting remark, or an ethically dubious legal argument. It’s a look. In one of the final scenes of Season 5’s finale, Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) asks his girlfriend and moral compass Kim (Rhea Seehorn) if she’s serious about taking down a fellow lawyer. In response, Kim mimics Saul Goodman’s iconic finger guns. Jimmy looks on in horror as he processes the weight of that gesture.

Based the two episodes that were provided to critics, it seems that horror is destined to continue. So far, Better Call Saul Season 6 belongs to Kim Wexler. And watching her moral fall is just as painful for us as it is for Jimmy.

It used to be clear which lines Kim wouldn’t cross. If Jimmy was a crook with a heart of gold, then Kim was his inverse, a perfectly poised angel with a nearly undetectable dark streak. Over the years that darkness has crept up time and time again as she’s helped Jimmy hustle random men or conned her own clients for the “greater good.” But there was always a stopping point for Kim, a legal strategy that was too cruel or dishonest for her to touch. After dealing with the Salamanca cartel, her boyfriend’s near death, and Jimmy’s new and flashy persona, Season 6 opens with a Kim who has been changed. The lines that once seemed so clear for this character have been erased. What’s left is a brilliant and vicious lawyer who may be Jimmy’s only true ally or his deadliest rival.

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill, Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler in Better Call Saul
Photo: AMC

It’s thrilling to watch this side of Kim unfold, partially because it’s so deserved. No matter how much attention Seehorn has received for her portrayal of Kim, it’s never been enough. Anyone starring alongside a performer as energetic as Bob Odenkirk is always in danger of disappearing into his shadow; that risk is tripled when you’re talking about Odenkirk in his best role to date. That has never been a risk for Seehorn, an actor who is able to infuse the smallest of smiles with the full weight of an emotional breakdown or a desperate scheme. From the first episode Jimmy and Kim have always felt like a team, her the behind-the-scenes manager and him the talent. It’s gratifying to see her finally take the lead.

It’s also a shift that gives Better Call Saul a deeply ominous quality. In its first two episodes, Season 6 doesn’t feel like a finale. It feels like just another twisting saga in Vince Gilligan’s corrupt world. That pacing choice practically screams the question: Why wasn’t Kim in Breaking Bad? If this season is business as usual, what happened to Kim in the four years between now and Breaking Bad’s first episode that led to her being erased from Jimmy’s life? Whatever the answer, it’s not good.

For so long, Better Call Saul has basked in the tragic arcs of its men. We’ve seen Jimmy’s metamorphosis from conflicted brother to cartoonish conman, Mike’s (Jonathan Banks) change from grieving father to the embodiment of what he hates, and Nacho’s (Michael Mando) rise from his childish ambitions of running a cartel to actually do the dirty work the job requires. Those stories are still there, and they’re still masterful. Of course they are; this is Better Call Saul we’re talking about. But looming over all of them, at least initially, is Kim and her morally compromised finger guns.

The first two episodes of Better Call Saul Season 6 will premiere on Monday, April 18, 2022, on AMC and AMC+ starting at 9/8c p.m.

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