When AMC announced that they would be spinning off their beloved drama Breaking Bad, some fans thought they would be getting a similarly action-packed show leading directly up to the events of that series. Instead, what they got from Better Call Saul was a deliberately-paced character study about one man's evolution from wannabe do-good attorney to scumbag defender of the guilty. And, just when viewers were settling into that rhythm, Better Call Saul surprised us all by being just as much about grizzled fixer Mike Ehrmantraut as it is about hapless Jimmy McGill. And, now, in Season 2, the show has surprised us all once again; suddenly, Better Call Saul is just as much about Kim Wexler as it is about either of its main men — and the writers couldn't have made a better decision.
Since Season 1, Kim has grown from supporting character and objection of affection for Jimmy into a fully-realized, three-dimensional co-lead of the series — and undoubtedly the most complex female character that creator Vince Gilligan has conjured in his Breaking Bad universe to date. Over the past few episode, Kim has stealthily emerged into main character status, getting just as much — if not more — screen time as her male co-stars… and her complex arc has been fascinating to watch.
Kim may not have been fighting for her career or pulling an elaborate con this week, but her storyline in Monday's episode, "Inflatable," was every bit as exciting as those drama-filled hours, as the determined lawyer finally decided to stop catering to her male superiors and strike out on her own. Although Jimmy had encouraged her last week to leave Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill and accept the offer at Schweikart's firm instead, this week he came to her with a different idea: Go into business with him as Wexler & McGill, Partners at Law.
Jimmy told Kim that she didn't need to trade in unappreciative Howard Hamlin for what essentially amounts just another Howard (a name she mistakenly refers to Mr. Schweikart by to his face). Kim realized Jimmy was right; but Jimmy was likely unprepared for how right she found him, since she he helped her realize that she didn't need to be working under any man — including Jimmy! And so Kim turned down two offers this week, one from Schweikart's firm and the other from Jimmy, preferring to strike out on her own and set up shop as a solo practitioner.
At the end of the episode, she did approach a disappointed Jimmy with a compromise: While they would each set up their own separate practice where they could be free to practice the law in their own distinct styles, they could share office space and resources and thus still work closely alongside one another. Although this wasn't Jimmy's ideal scenario, it's exciting to see Kim embrace her independence and not settle for anything other than what she wants.
We also got a bit of backstory on Kim that helps to explain her unstoppable drive. It turns out that she's not a New Mexico native, but rather hails from an anonymous small town somewhere near the Kansas/Nebraska border. She fled the Midwest to escape her likely fate of living out her days working at the Hinky Dinky (the local grocery store). So she went to law school, got her degree, and started working in the mail room at HHM, clawing her way up the ladder for 10 years because she always wanted "something more."
It's important to note that the episode ends with Kim's proposal to Jimmy. We don't actually see the plan come to fruition — or even see Kim submit her letter of resignation to HHM — so those plans could still conceivably change. But for now, it's exciting to think about Kim out there taking charge of her own destiny.
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