For a few episodes this series was more Better Lull Saul than anything else. The plot, already pretty lax, took a sharp turn down Digression Alley to concentrate on supporting characters Kim Wexler, Mike Ehrmantraut, and Chuck McGill. It was successful, twofold, in fact. Those characters needed more substance and it helped pad the extremely coy awakening of Jimmy’s Saul persona. It’s not so much that the transition is unwieldy, Jimmy and Saul are literally and figuratively the same person, it’s more that the impetus for this change hasn’t been established yet. It’s a small morph but a big leap; why would a guy to go from likeable elder law attorney to full-on scofflaw practitioner? We’re about to find out! The open to “Inflatable” is one of the best scenes of the series this far. We’re sent back to August 1973 and a young Jimmy pretending to sweep the floors of his father’s store while spinning through a Playboy (props to the BCS’s prop department for supplying accurate covers for the mag rack, including Superman #266!).  A man comes into the McGill mercantile and deals Jimmy’s dad, Chuck Sr., a story about a broken down car and a kid waiting for their medicine. Peeking around the corner Jimmy immediately indentifies that the well-dressed man is likely a “grifter” and tries to warn his pops. As Chuck Jr. implied a few episodes back; this guy is simply unable to see the scam. Jimmy’s father implies he’d rather give money to a conman than possibly let a child go without and hands the beggar double what he was asking for in the first place. Jim’s dad then starts to fumble around the store looking for a part to help fix the scammer’s car. Jimmy mans the register while the schemer buys two cartons of Kools. The swindler pulls $8 out of wad of various bills and gives Jimmy some advice on the nature of the world: You’re either a wolf or a sheep. “Figure out which one you’re gonna be.” The man leaves and after a few seconds of rumination lil’ Jimmy removes the $8 from the register as King Harvest’s “Dancing in the Moonlight” plays in the background. The transformation has begun. A good bit of story is packed into this pallid scene. Brother Chuck’s anecdote to Kim about how Jimmy torpedoed their father’s business is given credence, and seeing Chuck Sr. fidget around like a goof whilst being taken advantage of lays a foundation as to why Jimmy is unable to completely shut down his shady ways. We’re snapped back to present day Albuquerque where Mike, palm thoroughly greased, is all set to absolve Tuco of the gun charge. With Jimmy as his representation, they put forth in the plainest terms that the gun is not Tuco’s. Whose is it? Who knows? Maybe a bird dropped it into Tuco’s hand or something, suggests Jimmy. The D.A. is not happy, and even goes as far as to ask if Mike has been intimidated and/or bribed. Mike remains typically silent but you can tell the situation puts a rock in the pit of his stomach. After the meeting Jimmy lets him know that he also had a run in with Tuco and doesn’t blame him for lying to the police. This seems to anger Mike even more. Much later in the episode, we see Mike scoping out the Salamanca meet-up spot (some type of grocery store or restaurant) from a distance. Mike’s role is reduced and so we get a healthy serving of Jimmy. Finally. What they say is true; hunger really is the best sauce. Without ever really alerting the viewer, Jimmy decides he’s quitting the Davis & Main gig and begins to draft a letter of resignation. Secretary Omar calmly reminds Jimmy of all the perks he’s giving up, including that sweet signing bonus. In not doing his due diligence, Jimmy failed to notice that in order to keep the money he’s contractually obligated to stay in the position for one year. The dread on Jimmy McGill’s face looks like a pimple ready to pop. He’s trapped, and for the first time in awhile the script provides a sense of doom for the main character. Ah, but Jimmy is a problem-solver. He’s a guy that will set the pitch on fire instead of losing the match. Sitting in traffic he sees one of those brightly colored inflatable tube men that flail in the wind and figures out to solve his work problem: be more of an ass! Better Call Saul is the king of montages and it offers one of its best in what could be the first outward emergence of the Saul persona. Jimmy goes full jackass. He buys a rainbow rack of suits featuring every shade possible. He stops flushing at work under the guise of environmentalism. He starts playing the bagpipes in the middle of the workday. He becomes That Guy in the office, trying to be fired for reasons that probably wouldn’t fall under the contract. Understandably, there is only so much an employer can take and Clifford Main terminates Jimmy in an act of surrender. You actually feel bad for the guy; Cliff that is, as he expresses to Jimmy the honest attempt to help him ease into the job. Jimmy relents a bit and tells his former boss he thinks he’s an alright guy. Clifford justly retorts that he thinks Jimmy’s an asshole. Elsewhere, Kim drafts her own resignation letter to HHM and it’s at least two paragraphs too long. Jimmy pops in and asks for her to join him in the conference room for a pseudo-presentation. He hands her a card with “WM” on it, and no, it doesn’t stand for Wolf Man. The proposal is that instead of her basically working the same job at Schweikart & Cokley the two form Wexler-McGill and take a go at being their own bosses. Kim is flattered but asks Jimmy if he’s going to remain “colorful,” a word I could not help but think of during his montage of annoyance. At first he starts a lie to seal the deal, his natural instinct, but then after thumbing the Marco ring he reverses and admits that he’s going to keep it 100, as the kids say (well, not in 2002). He tells her he wants to strengthen their bond, but she reminds him their bond is already strong, and politely declines. Jimmy is bummed, but you know he’ll get over it. A bit later Kim has her formal interview with Schweikart & Cokley and our buddy Rick Schweikart hooks the audience up by asking a great probing interview question about her personal origin. We’ve heard nearly nothing from Kim in this regard, only small contextual clues implying there exists a place she’d rather not go back to. She discloses that she’s from a small town, one too small to name, somewhere either in Kansas or Nebraska. From there she provides a story similar to one I’ve heard more than few of times: the place I came from offered no opportunity, and if I stayed there I would have become nothing. When Rick asks what Kim specifically wanted she replies: “More.” I’ve commented previously that all the characters, save Kim, suffer from a tragically human instinct to improve their station even in the face of danger or ruin. It seems this infliction has caught up to her as well causing me to believe the concept of hubris will be a big thematic lynchpin moving forward. Upon leaving the interview Kim accidentally calls her new boss Howard, emphasizing the “lateral move” aspect of her this prospective change. She then takes in a smoke on the parking garage roof, likely thinking that “more” doesn’t line up with moving from HHM to S&C. As Kim mulls, Saul hauls. He brings all his stuff, including his cocobolo desk, back to the nail salon with the help of Omar. Once he settles in, Jimmy then records a new voicemail message for his law firm, this time using his real voice instead of Terry’s voice from Run Ronny Run. The next day Kim shows up just as Jimmy’s filmmaker friends are leaving (he doesn’t want to hear a single word about permits!). She counters the law firm offer with a modified arrangement — One facility, separate practices. The peanut butter and chocolate are not to mix. Kim wants to be more than she is, but does also doesn’t want to be attached to a law partner who frequently, joyfully even, skirts the law. “Inflatable” ends with Jimmy staring at both the “W” and the “M,” his business card torn asunder, with a ponderous look on his face. Last year the show started nebulous but strong, then meandered far too much and recovered triumphantly at the end with strong character moments. Second Two is following a similar path and is a little ahead of schedule. The building up of Kim Wexler looks to be purposeful and will help define Jimmy in a significant way. I’m getting a little tired of Mike’s journey; it’s like the back-up story in a comic series, but at least he shared some screen time with the main character in this episode. We only have a couple episodes left until the finale and Jimmy’s colors are beginning to show a shiny luster: will he supernova into Saul soon? Better Call Saul 2.07 "Inflatable" Jamil's Rating4.0Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.