Determining Kim’s Fate

We love the Kim Wexler character on Better Call Saul. She’s whip-smart, she’s a great lawyer, her heart is in the right place, she is about as loyal as you can be, and her ponytail is a nifty signature look. The main thing we don’t like about her character (aside from the fact that she has a dismal grasp of her lawyerly ethical obligations) is that she hasn’t recognized that Jimmy McGill is fatally flawed and that she would be much better off if she put her hair in that ponytail, packed her bags, and sprinted as far away from Alburquerque and Jimmy as she can get. Of course, that hasn’t happened.

One of the really interesting aspects of Better Call Saul is that it is a prequel. We therefore already know what happens to Saul in Breaking Bad, and we know what happens to Gustavo Fring and Mike, too. We even get occasional glimpses of Saul post-Breaking Bad, when he is in full hiding mode and working as the nebbishy manager of a cinnamon roll shop at a generic mall somewhere far from Albuquerque. But Kim, as well as some of the other Better Call Saul characters, didn’t show up in Breaking Bad. We already know what happened to several of them–including Jimmy’s brother–but the fate of Kim and her ponytail remains undetermined.

This creates a dynamic like you might see if you watched a car crash happen in slow motion. We know something bad is going to happen, we just don’t know what it is, and we can’t stop watching. And since this is the last season of Better Call Saul, we know that whatever is going to happen is going to happen soon. As a result, I feel like I should cover my face with my hands when I watch a new episode of the show, because there are only two choices for Kim: she gets killed as the inevitable result of Jimmy/Saul’s decision to become “a friend of the cartel,” or she finally wakes up after Jimmy takes another ill-considered wrong turn, recognizes that she has no future with this guy, and goes on to live a happy life somewhere else, where Jimmy can’t put her in danger any more. Either way, it’s not going to be pretty for Jimmy, and the loss of Kim helps to explain why he spiraled down into full Saul Goodman mode, with a gold toilet and the most garish, bad taste home decorations this side of Al Pacino’s mansion in Scarface.

Obviously, we hold out hope that Kim leaves and survives. I wonder if we’ll see a scene in the last episode where she meets up with Jimmy at that cinnamon bun shop, recognizes him–and then flatly rejects his attempt to get back together with her so salvage something from the miserable ruin he has made of his life.

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