This post contains spoilers from Better Call Saul episode 606, “Axe and Grind.”
“If I exorcise my devils, then my angels may leave too, and when they leave they’re so hard to find.” —Tom Waits
This episode is principally about Kim and her conflicted self, as indicated by the cold open. At first, we think we’re learning one lesson about her (ah, she rebelled against her authoritarian mother by defiantly breaking the rules!) but instead we learn another (oh shit, her mother was a Jimmy-style con artist, and Kim herself is caught between her own A-student angels and scammer devils!!!).
In the present-day timeline, Kim’s angels are represented by Cliff Main, who wants to sponsor her for a new initiative by the do-gooding Jackson Mercer Foundation. This is Kim’s actual dream, and her shady campaign against Howard is ironically the thing that could make it happen. Knowing how much it means to her, Jimmy is happy to let her focus on making a good impression while he does the dirty work of storming the proverbial Omaha Beach. But the plan gets scrambled when he accidentally crosses paths with the new Sandpiper judge and realizes he has a huge cast on his arm—
But I’m getting ahead of myself a little bit.
This episode may not have provided any kind of closure, but it at least brought us closer to understanding the contours of Kim and Jimmy’s plan. We know they have hired Joey Dixon and his merry band of film students to stage a black and white photograph of Jimmy paying off the judge, as portrayed by an overeager thespian. We can deduce that this photograph is intended to look just like the ones Howard’s private eye has been snapping of Jimmy, and that Jimmy wanted Howard to see him withdrawing $20,000 in cash. We also know that, with the help of Dr. Caldera the crooked veterinarian, Jimmy has personally tested out a black-market drug that amps you up and turns your pupils into black holes. We can deduce that this drug is intended for Howard, to simulate his alleged cocaine habit.
We know that Jimmy got Francesca to steal the dial-in credentials for the big Sandpiper plaintiffs conference call. We can deduce that Jimmy plans to crash that call and stir up some kind of chaos. And we know that Kim and Jimmy set up an impromptu merlot-fest on the lawn outside Howard’s law firm, which is presumably where the in-person portion of the call will take place.
So … I’m honestly terrible at formulating theories about TV plots, but it seems like maybe the plan is to provoke Howard into falsely accusing the judge of taking a bribe from Jimmy during the Sandpiper conference call, while simultaneously spiking Howard’s coffee so that when Cliff asks him what the hell has gotten into him, Howard looks and acts like a man who is nose-deep in the devil’s dandruff, thereby causing Cliff to announce that they’ll accept the settlement deal on the table?
Something like that?
Except the photos don’t work anymore, because of the cast. So Kim must have some even crazier solution in mind, which in turn seems likely to put her at even graver risk. (Remember, last week we pointed out that she and Jimmy currently have a sadistic drug lord and an enraged litigator chasing after them.) At this point, the only reason not to think that Kim is barreling toward a personal extinction event is the fact that it’s almost too obvious she is.