The newest episode of Better Call Saul, Axe and Grind, is out now. Let’s talk about it. Episode 6 starts off with a look at young Kim’s childhood. Just this past week I was talking with a friend about how, if not for the incredible performance by Rhea Seehorn, Kim going along with Saul and all his schemes could easily have rang untrue. The cold open shows her getting caught shop lifting and her mother coming to bail her out. It was all a con. This way of life Kim has chosen to live with Saul has roots stemming from her upbringing. I didn’t need this peak into her formative years but I really loved how it fleshed out the character even more. Also, I couldn’t help but notice the license plates on her mothers car were from Nebraska. The same place we’ve seen Saul post Breaking Bad living out his life managing a Cinnabon. More on that later.
After the title cards roll, we finally get a glimpse into Howard’s home life. In a way, he’s just as meticulous and deliberate as Gus. His look and appearance are incredibly purposeful and calculated. Just him getting ready for work tells us so much about his character. We then meet his wife. It isn’t outright said but they seem to be dealing with some sort of separation. This scene of them in the morning told me he still has feelings for her but she no longer reciprocates. She is not rude to him but her actions and responses to his obvious attempts to connect with her tell me all I need to know. It’s an interesting juxtaposition to see this man who tries so hard to portray a person who has it all together yet beneath the facade of recently buffed shoes and impeccably tailored suits lies a broken relationship at home.
Kim then gets a visit from Cliff Main who informs gives her some good news regarding her legitimate career. When she shares this with Saul she notes that the next step to further this opportunity falls on ‘D-Day’. The day that their plan apparently finally comes to fruition. Saul is very supportive and reassures her it isn’t a problem but she seems a bit uneasy.
Next, we check in with Lalo who is still doing detective work in Germany. He shows up at the home of one of Werner’s workers while he is chopping wood. The man is immediately suspicious and runs. Lalo pursues, gun in hand. He chases him into an old barn where the pursued initially gets the drop on him. He cracks him in the ribs with the non business end of his axe. The German starts asking questions as Lalo is seemingly incapacitated but it’s a playing possum situation. Lalo goes to hand him a card but has a razor blade on the other side. He swipes his face and disarms him while using the axe on his leg. Lalo did not use the same side of said axe. We are left with Lalo giving the man his belt so as not to bleed to death and informing him that he has some questions. That’s the last we see of him in this episode so we will have to wait until next week to see what he learns.
Back with Saul, he coerces Francesca into making a call to Howard’s office pretending to be the daughter of one of their clients in the Sandpiper case. She gets them to give her the details on a specific call related to the case. Again, we do not fully know the reason for this or its place in the overall plan but it is obviously another piece of the puzzle. It’s fun to see her so apprehensive in dealing with Saul and his schemes when during Breaking Bad she comes off as completely jaded and unfazed by his nefarious dealings.
After a touching scene with Mike that shows the love he has for his granddaughter, we arrive at ‘D-Day’. Saul is at a liquor store buying some celebratory libations, the same bottle Gus uses to poison the cartel in Breaking bad, when he happens to see the Judge from the Sandpiper case in line. He notices he has a broken arm which screws up some photos they had taken that were supposed to be of him. This derails their plan, apparently. Saul tells Kim who is on her way to her meeting. He wants to call it off for another day. She isn’t having that. Kim defiantly tells him, ‘it happens today’ then pulls a u-turn to head back.
I really loved this episode. It gave us some character development for people I didn’t even know I wanted and still moved things forward. This final season is 13 episodes and split into two parts. The midseason finale is next week, followed by a 6 week gap before returning for the last 6 episodes. We will presumably get some more details on Saul and Kim’s plan as well as more Lalo but I am fully prepared for a cliffhanger ending that makes us long for a time machine. I’ll be back next week to run through the inevitable mayhem. Cannot wait.
Written by Josh Hansen