Last week left us with an incredible cliffhanger. Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) and Kim (Rhea Seehorn) found themselves in a relationship defining fight. The results of that fight were left to the audience’s imagination. This week, we get the answer, but “Better Call Saul” is far from finished. While Lalo (Tony Dalton) seemed sidelined, he proves as efficient as ever. Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) is equally ruthless. Once again defined by tight writing and emotional payoffs, Melissa Bernstein directs the throat-clearing “JMM.”
Jimmy and Kim sit on a bench, discussing their new arrangement. The negotiation comes off as intense and transactional, but the emotion still finds its way through the cracks. Jimmy and Kim are getting married. Huell (Lavell Crawford) arrives to serve as a witness and the simple ceremony takes place at the courthouse. Afterward, Nacho (Michael Mando) calls to tell Saul/Jimmy he has a new client. Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton) needs a lawyer. When Lalo and Saul speak, Lalo will not accept a deal or go to trial. He needs to be out on bail, and if Saul comes through, he’ll be considered “a friend of the cartel.”
Kim goes from the wedding ceremony into a meeting with Mesa Verde. Kevin (Rex Linn) seems disinterested but tells Kim and her team that they’ll schedule a future meeting. Frustrated by the response, Kim returns to Kevin’s office and dresses him down. While Kim made mistakes, Kevin did not listen to her advice. Kim does not care if Kevin accepts her as his attorney, but he needs to listen. Impressed by her fight, Kevin agrees to keep Kim on board.
Jimmy and Kim return home and celebrate their wedding night. Before they get too far along, Jimmy lets Kim know about his new client. Kim is uncomfortable with the fact that Jimmy might become a cartel lawyer. She admits she’s happy Jimmy told her, while he wonders if the money will make it worth the risk.
From jail, Lalo orders his team to burn down a Pollos Hermanos. Nacho (Michael Mando) tells Mike (Jonathan Banks) about Lalo’s order, but the two of them argue. Nacho’s only hope is to get his father away from the cartels, but Mike cannot help until the war is over.
In Houston, Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) attends a meeting regarding the restaurant’s corporate structure. Afterward, he meets with his investors, who also have a stake in his illegal affairs. Fring assures them he has everything under control. Later, Nacho and Fring burn down a Pollos Hermanos to maintain Nacho’s cover.
Mike calls Jimmy/Saul to push him onto Lalo’s case. Even Fring needs Lalo out of jail to take suspicion off his organization. Saul reluctantly agrees, and using Mike’s evidence, he gets Lalo’s bail set at $7 million. Lalo shrugs the number off but tells Saul he will have to pick up the cash himself. Before leaving the courthouse, Saul runs into Howard (Patrick Fabian). Howard offers Saul a job one more time, but when he’s ignored, Howard withdraws the offer and walks away. Saul follows Howard, screaming at him the entire way out the door and they part ways.
Thoughts on the Episode
Throughout “JMM,” Saul passes by a half dozen moments where he can change his future. He does not have to take Lalo’s case the moment Nacho calls. He does not have to tell Kim. If Jimmy accepted Howard’s job offer, he would never work for drug runners. Jimmy’s weakness has always been his pride. The acronym JMM, Just Make Money, could very easily be the motto for Saul’s professional life. Yet in this case, it feels like his tragic flaw.
The cartel stories heat up this week, moving toward a dangerous conclusion. Lalo brought an unstable element to the show and forces reactions from other characters. Nacho bears the brunt of this heat, endangering himself as a traitor to the Salamancas and a business liability to Fring. Each week, Nacho’s ability to escape from this story unharmed seems to diminish.
Rhea Seehorn turns in another Emmy highlight tape in “JMM,” despite taking a backseat. There is no question she deserves an Emmy nomination for another emotional and sweet turn. Seehorn brings every ounce of love into a marvelous marriage scene. She also conveys the fear and anxiety of someone who marries an unreliable and risk-taking man when confronted with the cartel news. From the beginning to the end of the episode, Seehorn tells the story. She deserves to be in consideration for the Emmy win, and a nomination needs to happen.