[For Better Call Saul “Inflatable” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
Inflatable. Mike and Jimmy work together to keep the peace when Mike’s hand is forced and his frustration shows.
Once again Kim steals the show in the episode “Inflatable” and wins our hearts all over again. Mainly we’re happy because she teaches us an important lesson. One of the greatest challenges in life can be balancing independence and asking for help when we need it. It can be tough but Kim forges a new path for herself and manages to create this balance in the process. Of course, Jimmy’s going places too… but we knew that already from the show title. It’s not called “Better Call Jimmy McGill at David & Main,” after all. But Jimmy is our hero and we weren’t sure what role Kim really played until now. She’s Yoda. Kim’s a sage and Zen Master too; teaching every last one of us how to go after what we really want. A tubular windsock gets more airtime than Mike in this one but we’re still left with a sense of dread from the few onscreen minutes he has.
It begins as child Jimmy flips through a Playboy magazine at the back of his father’s deli while a customer cons his dad. Jimmy tries to warn his father but the man won’t hear of it. When his father goes to the back room, the grifter buys two cartons of Kools from Jimmy with the money his dad just forked over for his “sick child.” The grifter tells Jimmy, “There are wolves and sheep in this world. Figure out which one you’re gonna be”. After he leaves Jimmy opens the cash register and pockets eight dollars – not a sheep.
Then we’re taken to modern day Jimmy representing Mike at the courthouse. Jimmy amends Mike’s former statement that it was Tuco’s gun used in his assault. The DA asks how the gun could’ve had only Tuco’s prints on it and Jimmy defends the silent Mike with lots of creative possibilities. Then the DA asks Mike if he was threatened or paid off and the duo take their leave. Afterward Jimmy tells Mike he did the right thing because Tuco’s nuts. Jimmy doesn’t even want to charge him for it but Mike’s annoyed rather than grateful and demands Jimmy bill him then makes him take a different elevator.
Jimmy dictates a resignation letter for Davis & Main to his assistant, Omar. But then Omar explains that he’ll have to give the bonus money back if he quits or is fired for cause before a full year at D&M. So, Jimmy promptly retracts his resignation. He drives to Albuquerque and on the way becomes entranced by a tubular windsock man dancing in the wind outside a car dealership. The colorful nylon guy makes Jimmy smile and he’s inspired by it. Then we see a glorious montage of colorful Jimmy letting his freak flag fly in an attempt to get fired without cause. The best of his antics is playing bagpipe at the office to “blow off steam and deal with stress”. This serves as the last straw for Clifford Main and thus Jimmy is finally let go (but not for cause) so he can keep his bonus.
Then we see Kim composing her resignation letter to HHM when Jimmy interrupts. He makes her an alternative offer, Wexler McGill – their own firm. With his bonus Jimmy can offer her the same deal as S&C but also make her a partner the very next day rather than in two years. It’s a gamble, yes but she’s gambling on herself and they both know that’s a good bet. Kim asks if he’s going to play it straight as a lawyer if they do this and at first Jimmy says yes but then he says he’s gotta do it as himself, colorful. She asks why he wants her and Jimmy says he needs her. Then Kim says he’s got her, just not as a law partner.
Next we see Kaylee’s mom showing Mike the new house she wants in a great neighborhood with good schools. It’s nice but she’s worried that it’s a lot of money. Mike tells her that he’ll cover “whatever the cost” so she thanks him with a hug he can’t return because he’s Mike and made of ancient redwood. Then we see Mike pull up across from the ice cream shop where he met with Hector, Tuco’s uncle. He’s far enough away to not be seen but can watch the comings and goings of the place from his stakeout position. The wheels turn inside Mike as he sits in the silent, dark car; watching the juice place and giving us no indication of his plan.
Then Kim eases through her final interview at S&C where they asking about how she ended up here. “I guess I just wanted something more,” she says. Afterward on the roof Kim has a smoke and looks at the card Jimmy mocked up for their firm together, Wexler McGill with cutout ‘W’ and ‘M’. She rips apart the big M and W straight down the middle and looks at the two pieces separated. Then Kim goes to Jimmy’s “office” and tells him she’s decided not to take the job at S&C. He’s right that they should start a solo practice. Kim has a proposal, though; separate firms under one roof. They aren’t partners but rather solo practitioners… together; not Wexler McGill, but Wexler and McGill. They can support each other but also each have their own firm and cases, all under one roof. Jimmy says he doesn’t know what to say. Kim replies, “Say yes”.
So, Kim has thus found a way to make it all work with them out on their own and Jimmy has us excited to see his imminent shenanigans. The real tension and dread now lies with Mike. As always, he’s got a plan and we’ve got no idea what it is other than that it clearly involves Hector and likely getting vengeance along with a lot of money. All three of these characters are breaking new ground, Mike for his granddaughter, and the dynamic duo in pursuit of their independent lawyerly dreams. It feels like Saul Goodman’s creation lies imminent and probably arises out of the criminal world we know he’s soon destined to join. Given the parallels between Mike and Jimmy, it’s likely Mike’s the keymaster that locks this connection between Jimmy and criminality into place. So, the real mystery lies in what role Kim will play. But yes, we’re also wondering what the heck Mike’s got planned for Hector.