It's Complicated: Jimmy and Kim's Doomed Better Call Saul Relationship

The unconventional couple seems headed for a surprisingly conventional end.
  • Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn in Better Call Saul. (AMC)
    Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn in Better Call Saul. (AMC)

    For fans of Better Call Saul, it's long been a foregone conclusion that Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) and Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) will eventually part ways, since she wasn't in Breaking Bad, and doesn’t appear to return to his orbit in Better Call Saul's Cinnabon-centered flash forwards.

    Of course, without confirmation that she’s out of his life completely, there’s still a chance that she and Jimmy/Saul/Gene persevere, but it seems unlikely. As for what becomes of her, that's long been a source of speculation. Series co-creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould have a history of bringing their characters to spectacular (and often heartbreaking) ends. Now that we know that next year's Season 6 will be the series' last, the question of what becomes of Kim is front and center. That said, if the first three episodes of Season 5 are any indication, it's looking like Jimmy and Kim's relationship may come to a more conventional conclusion. Namely, a breakup stemming from two people who've steadily grown apart.

    While there have been times in the past where it seemed like Kim would break up with Jimmy because she was fed up with his less than ethical choices, in Season 5 she seems to be coming to the slow realization that the person she’s been with for years is no longer the person she fell in love with.

    When the couple is house hunting in Episode 2 of this season, something that Jimmy presents as aspirational, she starts out skeptical before dropping her guard and having fun with the idea for a minute. But then reality comes back to her, and she visibly deflates at the idea of ever being able to share a home with Jimmy. To her, it’s clearly not a realistic outcome.

    It’s moments like this, played with heartbreaking subtly by Seehorn, that would seem to reveal the true writing on the wall. In Episode 3, Kim and Jimmy are unwinding with some beers on their balcony, recounting what has been a long day for both, but instead of being able to celebrate their respective wins, or listen earnestly to each other’s updates, the conversation has no air in it. Kim can barely muster enthusiasm about Jimmy’s “success.” It’s not the rapport of a happy couple.

    There's a lot weighing on Kim. Its clear that she sees a part of Jimmy in herself. At different points in the series, it's seemed like she shares his skewed sense of ethos, or at least derives some thrill out of being a part of the con. Conversely, with Kim as his conscience, Jimmy has attempted to lead a life on the straight and narrow. But neither of these paths seem to be a great fit for the other, and they both seem to be realizing it. Jimmy has fully embraced his inner Saul Goodman, and although Kim secretly undertook in a mini-con of her own, by the end of the third episode, she's so stressed out that she’s throwing full beer bottles off the balcony without comment.

    Jimmy follows her lead and throws a few bottles of his own until they both jovially leave the balcony, having almost been caught. It's nice to see them share a laugh, but even their lighter moments this season haven’t felt like a healthy couple enjoying themselves; they’ve felt like brief reprieves from a crushing sense of inescapable doom.

    Gilligan and Gould aren't known for making predictable decisions, but more and more it's feeling like the more powerful end to Jimmy and Kim's relationship may end up being the most normal one.

    At the moment, neither Kim nor Jimmy are the people they used to be, but there’s just enough love and memories to keep them hanging on for a while longer, not wanting to pull the trigger on a true breakup. But just like their viewing audience, in their heart of hearts, they seem to know what's coming.

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    Whitney McIntosh has written about television, sports, and pop culture since 2012. For sometimes-intelligent thoughts on all of these, you can follow her on Twitter

    TOPICS: Better Call Saul, AMC, Bob Odenkirk, Peter Gould, Rhea Seehorn, Vince Gilligan