The latest episode of Better Call Saul brings us another step closer to the end, as Lalo closes in and Kim’s past is explored. 

Better Call Saul is a legal crime drama starring Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman, an attorney with a penchant for running schemes and bending the law to fit his needs. Rhea Seehorn plays Kim Wexler, Jimmy’s wife and fellow lawyer. Though Kim likes to focus on helping the little guy, often providing pro bono work to the disenfranchised, she has become embroiled in a revenge plot with Jimmy against Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian) of Hamlin Hamlin Mcgill, a massive law firm which formerly employed Jimmy and Kim. 

BETTER CALL SAUL: SAUL AND KIM’S RELATIONSHIP IS NOT ALL THAT IT SEEMS

Better Call Saul: Season 6 Episode 6 Review: Giancarlo Esposito Directs "Axe To Grind" With Finesse  - The Illuminerdi

Saul Goodman’s endeavors have earned him some connections with the Cartel, including Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) and the Salamanca family. Though Hector Salamanca is currently of little use as a leader, due to his poor health, he still maintains some degree of power. He knows that Lalo Salamanca (current head of the family) has survived Fring’s assassination attempt and is plotting his revenge, something he revealed to Gustavo through simple eye contact.

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Tina Parker stars as Francesca Liddy, Saul Goodman’s secretary. She makes the lobby to their new office look splendid with her interior decor skills, only for Saul’s clients to absolutely trashy. Breaking Bad fans will quickly recognize that the cushy, pristine lobby seen here is a far cry from the same grimey lobby which she will work in the coming years. Additionally, Saul pushes her into helping him with him and Kim’s Sandpiper-HHM settlement scheme, something she’s clearly uncomfortable with. Jimmy takes, he uses, and he makes her feel bad for questioning him because of his position of authority as her employer. 

BETTER CALL SAUL: GIANCARLO ESPOSITO STEPS INTO THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR

Better Call Saul: Season 6 Episode 6 Review: Giancarlo Esposito Directs "Axe To Grind" With Finesse  - The Illuminerdi

His relationship with Kim takes on a new, unexpectedly sinister turn through scenes of Kim Wexler’s youth. We find her being interrogated by some mall security for stealing jewelry. Her mother comes in, scolds her, and leaves without paying, despite trying to leave the business owner with what little she had. After exiting the premises, we learn that this was all a scam being run by Kim’s mom in order to steal, and that Kim was nothing more than her mother’s pawn.

From a young age, Kim grew accustomed to working in illegal schemes that she knew were unethical and felt conflicted about because her family pushed her to do them. Even though Jimmy/Saul is doing his best to try and give Kim complete autonomy and independence, total free will in their relationship, one has to consider the influence he has on her given the new context of her past with her mom. These cracks in their seemingly positive relationship are doomed to spread, because Kim is nowhere to be seen in Breaking Bad. 

BETTER CALL SAUL: ONLY ONE MORE EPISODE BEFORE MIDSEASON BREAK

Better Call Saul: Season 6 Episode 6 Review: Giancarlo Esposito Directs "Axe To Grind" With Finesse  - The Illuminerdi

This episode was directed by Giancarlo Esposito, and not only did he do an incredible job expanding only the Jimmy-Kim dynamic, he also brought an uniquely terrifying energy to Lalo’s scenes. Lalo is in search of the men who worked on Gustavo Fring’s underground lab, because they can point him to secrets he can use to destroy his worst enemy. This journey takes him into brutal conflict with one of the construction workers, a man twice Lalo’s size. Their bloody, extraordinarily tense duel only came to pass after the most stressful bit of stalking the Breaking Bad franchise has ever seen. This violent, hair-raising scene made my heart yearn for a slasher movie directed by Giancarlo Esposito. 

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This was one of my favorite installments of not only Better Call Saul season 6, but of the entire expanded Breaking Bad franchise. The plot to take down HHM has been thrown eskew, and Kim’s reaction to that problem is sure to make for a fascinating midseason finale next week, but it’s going to have a hard time topping this. 

Better Call Saul season 6 poster

What did you think of Better Call Saul: Season 6, Episode 6, “Axe To Grind”? What are you predictions for the end of Better Call Saul? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media.

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