With all apologies to you big Rogers and Hammerstein fans, I had no idea to what the title of this week’s Better Call Saul, “Bali Ha’i,” was in reference. Even after listening to Jimmy serenade an obviously still in love with him Kim, I had to look up why it was worthy of its billing. I’m glad I did though, because it helped give some context to what was, admittedly, probably the weakest episode of the season.
Bali Ha’i isn’t a place you can reach. You can see it on the horizon, and you’re sure it’s wonderful, but it’s not an island to which you can actually go. Considering Jimmy’s total unease with the legitimate life he’s leading, and Kim’s unhappiness at the lack of progress with her job, reaching a place of true happiness seems like nothing more than a false hope for both right now.
Jimmy understands all the reasons this job is great for him—they just happen to be why he detests everything about it. He’s not comfortable with it, and like a coffee mug that can’t fit a holder, he doesn’t fit this life. Kim has always been the opposite of Jimmy, hard-working, honest, no shortcuts, and where has it gotten her? In fact, she seems at her happiest joining with Jimmy in his cons, as once again they got a free night out by duping a (deserving) sap.
We’ve been waiting for Jimmy to blow this whole thing up, and it’s coming (goodbye stupid tiny cup holder!), but Kim’s unhappiness with her life (outside of her relationship with Jimmy) might be even more interesting at the moment because we have no idea where her story is going. She might take the new job, but it seems like she wants to succeed at Hamlin, Hamlin, & McGill, so neither choice is really what she wants.
They weren’t the only two struggling to find happiness though, but when it comes to Mike’s story this season it sometimes feels like he’s on his own show. With him having no choice but to say the gun was his, we might finally see him and Jimmy come together again—but for now they are still far apart.
Which brings us to The Cousins.
I think I’m going to upset some of you, but I don’t think I disliked any Breaking Bad characters more than them, so while I expected them to show up I wasn’t exactly thrilled about it. Then they threatened to kill an innocent little girl and at least I had a legitimate plot-related reason to hate them all over again.
I’ve written about watching Mike’s transformation into an eventual hitman for Gus Fring, and realizing exactly what kind of world and people he has gotten himself mixed up with, the kind where children are fair game, might be a turning point. This could be where he learns a lesson he will one day share: no half-measures.
Now just a couple of final thoughts as I debate where to hang this 10,000 dollar check…
- This season has really been a character study, one that I’ve enjoyed immensely, but this week felt a little slow even for a slow season. I expect the pace to pick up considerably in the last four weeks—especially with Jimmy looking ready to burn it all down.
- TV and movies have always told us that crime cartels live by a certain code, where “civilians” are off-limits, but that has always seemed like a strangely romanticized falsehood. So naturally, it was nice to see criminals behaving like actual criminals, and not some idolized version of them.
- Jimmy’s babysitter might be the most unlikable character on the show, and I mean that as a huge compliment.
- How did Jimmy live with his coffee mug not fitting in the holder for as long as he did? That’s a problem you address immediately, but normally by buying a new travel mug, not damaging the car you don’t actually own.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Tell us in the comments below.