Better Call Saul season 5 episode 7 review: Up in flames

Michael Mando as Nacho Varga - Better Call Saul _ Season 5, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television
Michael Mando as Nacho Varga - Better Call Saul _ Season 5, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television /

Mike and Saul step even further to the dark side, Kim and Jimmy tie the knot, and Gus helps Nacho burn down Los Pollos Hermanos in Better Call Saul’s “JMM.”

As multiple cast and crewmembers have teased, the final few episodes of Better Call Saul season 5 will be putting the pedal to the metal, and not letting up until the season’s end — and “JMM” makes it very clear that the show is fully intent on keeping that promise.

Hot on the tail of last week’s bombshell that Kimmy wants to marry Jimmy, “JMM” wastes no time in getting to their marriage — although it’s not quite the fairytale wedding most girls dream of. Admittedly, Kim isn’t the type for ballgowns and massive bridal showers, but her and Jimmy’s wedding is about as bureaucratic and unromantic as it gets.

While Huell (guest star Lavell Crawford) does try to spice up the ceremony a little bit, Kim and Jimmy both make it very clear that this is a purely legal affair, nothing more, nothing less. As we learn, Kim and Jimmy being married will give the two of them martial privilege, which means that Kim cannot be compelled to testify against Jimmy in court, and he is thus free to tell her about all of his wrongdoings and misdeeds without fear of jeopardizing her career.

From a legal standpoint, it’s the right call, but it’s also a little tragic seeing the two of them get married in such a matter-of-fact way. Both Rhea Seehorn and Bob Odenkirk are incredible at saying everything Kim and Jimmy are thinking with just their eyes and their body language — and for a moment, it’s difficult to tell whether they’re on the verge of tears from joy or sadness.

Their vows are brief and flavorless, but there’s a look in each of their eyes that says they really do care about each other, and that, in another world, this would be a real wedding. However, we’re stuck in the tragic reality that Jimmy’s created for himself, and no sooner do they step out of the courtroom then Jimmy gets a call from Nacho: He has a new client, Lalo Salamanca.

Lalo, who was picked up in last week’s episode, is being tried on multiple charges, none of which seem likely to budge without a little outside intervention. Jimmy is obviously hesitant to work with Lalo at first, but he’s lured in by the prospect of becoming a “friend of the cartel” —  and as Lalo puts it, the JMM on his briefcase could stand for “just make money.”

Jimmy agrees to represent him, and with a little help from Mike, he is able to get Lalo out on bond, set at the tiny sum of seven million dollars. Although the money doesn’t seem like much of a problem to Lalo, it seems like it will be for Jimmy: He’s the one being sent to fetch it, and if the trailer for next week’s episode “Bagman” is any indication, it’ll be a bloody affair.

Also getting his hands dirty is Nacho, who is now verbal about the fact that he very much wants out of the cartel. He says as much to Mike, in a conversation where he also reveals that Lalo (from prison) ordered him to burn down Los Pollos Hermanos. In a surprising turn of events, however, Gus seems fairly gung-ho about the idea, and assists Nacho with vandalizing the restaurant and setting it ablaze.

The scene where they’re preparing to burn it down screams with the contrast between the two of them: While Gus is cool and collected about twisting the right gas nozzles and setting things up to burn just so, Nacho is shattering plates and hurling vending machines to the ground. To us, it looked like he finally got a way to vent all of the pent-up stress he’s been dealing with lately.

With Los Pollos successfully burnt to the ground, Nacho stays in good standing with Lalo, but it’s not quite clear why Gus would be so willing to sabotage one of his own restaurants. However, there’s one big question mark surrounding Gus that does become a little more clear: his intentions with Lalo.

In an interaction with Lydia and one of the madrigal higher-ups, Gus reveals that, if Lalo dies north of the border, the cartel will immediately blame Gus, which will incite an all-out war. Going forward, this could mean that, if Lalo is going to die, it’ll happen in Mexico, which adds an interesting layer considering how rarely the show leaves Albuqurque.

Nacho and Gus may have been part of the most literally explosive scene, but the episode ends with an explosion of a different variety: Jimmy lays in (yet again) on Howard when the latter asks him about the job offer. It’s a spectacular piece of acting by Bob Odenkirk, who simultaneously channels the mourning brother Jimmy and the manipulative, vindictive conman Saul.

Jimmy gives Howard a thorough dressing-down complete with screaming, finger-pointing, and claims of lighting shooting out of hands — a spectacular show of how the writers (and actors) deftly balance comedy and tragedy. It’s a stellar scene, and it leaves us feeling worse than ever for Howard, who seems to constantly be in the wrong place at the wrong time when it comes to being on the receiving end of all of Jimmy’s pent-up issues.

Looking forward to next week, we’re pretty worried — although about who, we don’t know yet. The trailer featured the interior of a car soaked with blood, and Vince Gilligan will be taking the director’s chair, which means no good can come for our beloved characters.

For now, however, we’re content to linger in the seamlessly interwoven genius that was “JMM”, which brought Jimmy’s professional and personal life closer together than ever before, while also setting up some serious repercussions for the rest of the cast.

Next. Better Call Saul season 5 episode 6 review: A proposal & an arrest. dark

What did you think of this week’s episode of Better Call Saul? Whose blood do you think is on the interior of the car in next weeks’ teaser? Sound off in the comments below!