Warning: spoilers for the season-two premiere below.
“Better Call Saul” might be the best dramatic show currently running on television, but it’s also impossible to classify.
It’s a noir story focused on lawyers, a workplace comedy, and a beautiful, sun-baked, New Mexico-set meditation about life, morality, and love.
In those latter categories especially, there’s Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler, who started as a mysterious friend and colleague of Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk). Now on season two, we still don’t know much about Kim, except that she worked in the mailroom of law firm Hamlin & McGill with Jimmy long ago, before becoming a lawyer there herself, while he still struggles to prove himself.
But by season two, which premiered Monday night on AMC, we’ve seen how close Jimmy and Kim really are as confidants. There’s very little about the normally closed-off Jimmy that she doesn’t know. And on the new season’s premiere, we finally see the relationship turn romantic, in a scene in which the two sleep together after pulling off a con on a man in a hotel where Jimmy is staying.
“They delve a lot deeper into Kim’s life, Kim’s story, and Kim’s relationship with Jimmy. Because they are the very smart writers that they are – Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould and our entire staff of writers and executive producers – she very much has her own life,” Seehorn recently told Business Insider of the more central role Kim has on season two.
“Kim is her own thing with her own trajectory, but it doesn’t diminish how important and pivotal this relationship is with Jimmy. And they go a lot more into that this season – where it came from, what it’s about, where it’s going.”
While Kim might seem unknowable to many viewers, Seehorn argues that comes with the character’s guarded, pragmatic personality, but she very much does have her own inner life, however hidden.
“It never felt peripheral or ancillary to the men around her. It felt like a choice. She plays her cards much closer to her chest, and in some ways, flipping that stereotype was also fun as an actor – that it’s the men around me who are emotionally reactive and quick to blather on about stuff,” said the actress, who’s a veteran of TV, from “Whitney” to “House of Lies.”
As Kim gets closer to Jimmy, we can expect a “shift” in how they act with each other, Seehorn says, though it’s unclear what form that will take at the moment. While Kim is more straight and narrow, the characters have both learned a lot from each other.
“There’s attraction and repulsion in taking off your masks with each other and getting to know that and what you can accept and what can’t you accept,” Seehorn said.
And as for the sex scene, which some fans were surely hoping to see, Seehorn says she was “surprised,” but she bought it.
“I was like, ‘Oh, we’re pulling that Band-Aid off that fast. Okay,'” she said. “[The writers] assume their fans are so intelligent, so it’s never patronizing. You’re never like, ‘Ugh, yeah, we already saw that a million times before.’ There are twists and turns and unexpected things that happen, but they never feel overly clever or inauthentic to the character.”
As different as “Better Call Saul” is from its beloved predecessor, “Breaking Bad,” one thing fans have come to learn from both is that revelations come about carefully, and while you may not know where things are going, in the end everything fits together just so.
“I think the pace that Peter and Vince write, I personally trust it. There’s no fat on it. When it takes an internal turn, it’s necessary and illuminating to the why Jimmy becomes Saul. It’s not so much anymore when he’s like, ‘Screw this, I’m going to be Saul,’ but there are bigger, broad, more complex questions of if Jimmy’s still existing in Saul. Is Saul a mask he puts on when he needs to?” Seehorn said. “You do get some questions answered and some things revealed, but every time they answer or reveal one question, they raise two more, which is the thrill ride that I think people have come to love.”