As Better Call Saul ends its third season, is it possible that Kim Wexler is taking a page from the future Saul Goodman’s book?
[This post contains spoilers for the third season finale of Better Call Saul.]
Kim Wexler is my professional role model. Rhea Seehorn’s Better Call Saul character is smart, poised, funny, and has an unwavering nonsense-detector. Oh, and she’s an excellent lawyer. For most of BCS‘ three-season run, Kim has been the character with the strongest moral compass. (Chuck’s self-aggrandizement of his dedication to the law doesn’t count.) However, a seemingly throwaway conversation between Kim and Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) in “Lantern,” the season 3 finale, suggests that maybe Ms. Wexler is starting to take a page from the future Saul Goodman’s book.
As she tries to decide whether to watch Atticus Finch fight for justice in To Kill a Mockingbird for the second time in a day, Kim asks Jimmy a pretty innocuous question: “So, no luck with Mrs. Landry?”
Suddenly, my whole understanding of Kim changed.
As I watched Jimmy drive a wedge between Mrs. Landry and her friends at Sandpiper in last week’s “Fall,” I assumed he was hiding his scheming from Kim. After all, she did tell him in season 2’s “Cobbler” that she can’t be privy to the ethically shady things he does. Kim loves Jimmy but can’t — couldn’t? — abide by his tendency to flout the rules. Yet she knows all about the most reprehensible thing (arguably) Jimmy has done to date. What’s more, she doesn’t take Jimmy to task for exploiting an elderly woman for a pay-day. Kim doesn’t even seem that bothered by the situation; she might as well be asking Jimmy if Mrs. Landry finally filed some paperwork.
At this point, I have to wonder just how aware Kim is of her longterm boyfriend’s other morally murky dealings. Obviously, Kim was in on Jimmy’s plan to plant a charged battery on Chuck during the Bar hearing. I chalked that up to attorney-client privilege. And Kim does occasionally like to go out as “Giselle” and help “Viktor” fleece rich jerks. I chalked that up to Kim being awesome.
But does Kim know that Jimmy vindictively sold Chuck out to his insurance company? Does she know that Jimmy trespassed onto a military base for the “production value”? Does she know that, just for fun, Jimmy helps Mike spy on drug kingpin Gus Fring? More importantly: does she care?
At the beginning of season 2, Jimmy told Kim, “I’ve been doing the ‘right thing’ for all these years now and where has it gotten me? Nowhere.” Kim scoffed at this declaration at the time but maybe she’s beginning to agree — this season has been tough on her. She feels guilty about how things went with Chuck at the trial, saying, “As far as I’m concerned all we did was tear down a sick man.” She works hard to make sure the firm survives Jimmy’s suspension. She barely sleeps. And she gets into a bad, scary car accident. Kim is great at her job and all it gets her is a broken arm and facial lacerations.
Who could blame her for washing her hands of the law for a while so she can watch Mockingbird and Monty Python with Jimmy?
“I’m not good at building s–t, you know?” Jimmy tells Kim during their game-changing conversation about Mrs. Landry. “I’m excellent at tearing it down.”
If her attitude in “Lantern” is any indication, Kim seems to be excellent at deciding when to step back and watch it hit the fan.