Better Call Saul avoided cheap drama in favor of setting up a larger story in "Inflatable."

The suits are back, baby.

“Inflatable” will go down as one of the more forgettable Better Call Saul episodes, almost entirely because it felt like it should have been a payoff, but instead becomes a setup. Kim gets an offer from Schweikhart and Copley and Jimmy gets fired from Davis & Maine, both pretty hefty situations that are almost breezed over, however hilariously. Still, the show continues to be all the better for these choices, favoring narrative efficiency over cheap drama, even if it means sacrificing an episode to prevent these moments in the future.

This “breezing over” of important events is highlighted by an excellent montage that lays the seeds for Saul Goodman. Look, we all knew Jimmy wasn’t going to last at Davis & Maine, right from the beginning. This snappy, colorful montage did an excellent job of being efficient and hilarious (keep trying Jimmy, those bagpipes will sing for you one day). He ultimately gets what he wants and is fired by a very confused Clifford.

Even though we knew Jimmy had no future at his most recent firm, I didn’t expect Kim to drop her newest offer so quickly. Her interview went extremely well, and getting a glimpse at her extensive resignation letter is something I can’t wait to see given to Howard. The show is so excellent at bypassing an episode or two of drama, of her wallowing in her new position until she realizes that S&C is just another HHM. In that simple moment of her mistaking Rich for Howard, we’re spared an unnecessary amount of time spent telling us what we already know.

better call saul 202e07 inflatable review

What makes this show so satisfying is the complete transparency in which both the writers and characters operate in. On one side of the spectrum, we all generally know how the story of Jimmy McGill plays out, which makes this show the epitome of enjoying the ride, not just the destination. On the other side, each character is so clear in their reasoning and thought process. Kim knows why Jimmy took the job at Davis & Maine, and she doesn’t delude herself when he comes to her with offers of partnership. Jimmy, too, is honest with her, telling her the point of starting his own practice is so he can finally be his “colorful” self. This transparency and narrative efficiency is what makes the show avoid the frustrating pitfalls of lesser television.

This honesty with Kim is also extremely important to the character of Jimmy McGill and Saul Goodman. I don’t think we’ve ever seen him be so open and direct with anyone, unless he was trying to talk Walt out of something in Breaking Bad. Everything with Jimmy is a facade, whether he’s running a scam, or going behind someone’s back to do things his way (even if his way is actually the right way). With his own practice, he can be exactly the kind of person he wants to be, and it’s exciting that Kim is not only still willing to entertain him, but accepts this side of him, so long as it understandably doesn’t interfere with her own profession. These characters have gone through the motions enough, and we know where each of them stand. Now it’s time to get to the heart of what their relationship is all about.

Was “Inflatable” a peak moment for the show? In many ways it was. Even though Jimmy getting fired and Kim having an out from HHM felt like they should have been bigger moments, the show instead ops to use it to lay the foundation for more to come. I’m curious to see how quickly Kim and Jimmy will setup their new firm (separate practice, same roof), and what Jimmy’s ultimate response to her proposition will actually be. Again, Better Call Saul was never about the destination in the same way Breaking Bad was, but if we’re going to get there through colorful montages and logical, well thought out characters, I’m definitely enjoying the ride.

Odds & Ends:

  • The open with Jimmy working in his dad’s store was almost heartbreaking. Seeing him not only get ripped off, but to be so earnest in trying to help the grifter definitely hurts. It makes sense why Jimmy tends to target the high-profile Alpha-male types with big egos instead of just any poor chum.
  • As predicted, Jimmy helped Mike change his testimony. This didn’t play as big a part as I expected, but I’ve never seen Mike in this kind of position before and it’s both terrifying and frustrating to see him trapped like this.

STEVE IS GOING TO SEE MAIDEN TONIGHT. UP THE IRONS ON TWITTER. 

Steve Dixon

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