Season Two, Episode Five — “Rebecca”
By Brandy Dykhuizen. Jimmy may be relatively scarce in “Rebecca,” but he remains the driving force behind most of the episode’s action. From being at fault for sending Kim into the doc review dungeons to being the ego wound that causes Howard to draw his peevishness out to such great lengths, Jimmy proves that no one is quite safe from his fast-talking snare. As the primary thorn in HHM’s side, he presses on in the background with his new goal: getting Kim out of the basement. Blaming Chuck, blaming Howard and never blaming himself, Kim will not accept his assistance, at least until he can man up and admit that he is the actual problem.
As that won’t happen for quite some time, we get an episode primarily focused on Kim Wexler, and the all-for-naught battle she wages with HHM to get back in her own office, rather than having to run around corridors and make phone calls from stairwells, parking garages, smoke breaks, and, tragically, even toilet seats.
WHAT WORKED: The introduction of Erin ushers in a bit of an angel-on-the-shoulder comedy routine for Jimmy (he can provide his own devil without assistance). The crazy is palpable in Erin’s eyes, and while she was likely sent to catch him in the act of a fireable offence, her own moral compass is so autistically rigid that she cannot allow him to follow through with anything incriminating. Her knee-jerk reaction is to edit his behaviors and delete his follies as they arise, to create a draft of Jimmy that is more aligned with the HHM style.
WHAT DIDN’T: I thought we could have learned a little more about Rebecca; while we see that she and Chuck were happily married, and her enjoyment of Jimmy’s jokes served to highlight Chuck’s resentment at the efficacy of his brother’s BS, I didn’t see much foreshadowing or implications other than Chuck had a wife before he developed his allergy to electricity.
Jimmy: “Chuck is behind this.” Kim: “No. YOU are behind this.”
“Goddamn pixie ninja!” – Jimmy, on his babysitter Erin’s way of sneaking into his office before him.
“What don’t you understand about finessing?!” – Jimmy, to Erin.
Rebecca: “Yo-Yo Ma came to our wedding.” Jimmy: “Right on, man!” Jimmy obviously had no clue who that is.
BEST MOMENT: The scene between Chuck and Kim was very telling, working to tease out characteristics of both individuals that we haven’t encountered as clearly before. Being knocked around has made Kim much more sure of herself, and she gets straight down to business with Chuck and asks, “Do I have a future in this firm?” The Kim of previous episodes would not have been so direct to a senior partner, but she has recently proven that she’s talented enough to bring high-stakes accounts into the firm. She also realizes that she simply doesn’t have much to lose anymore, since her tireless work to crawl out of doc review has not been met with praise.
Chuck, on the other hand, responds by weaving some allegorical tale about his martyred father, who Jimmy nailed to the cross with his drawn-out embezzlement. While the truth undoubtedly lies within this story, we get the feeling that Chuck enjoys embellishing rather than enlightening, and that he is not as by-the-books as he would like everyone to believe. While he continues to paint a picture of good guys vs. bad guys and evade a direct response, he only succeeds in highlighting that Kim is the only character who consistently does the right thing, whereas everyone else simply yammers on about it.
EPISODE’S MVP: We got to see a deeper dimension of Kim in “Rebecca”, one in which she is no longer bouncing her thoughts off of Jimmy, or processing the events that led up to her current predicament, but is standing alone. A little more confident and a lot more jaded, Kim is rounding out to be every bit as strong and principled as she projected from the start. She serves as a foil to the entire law firm, not just to Jimmy.
– When Jimmy encounters his old courtroom nemesis Bill in the bathroom, we see more of Jimmy’s complete lack of materialism. Bill is practically falling over Jimmy with envy, and Jimmy’s face is plastered with disgust. So what is Jimmy’s motivation, anyways? Not power, not fancy cars…probably not even Kim. What is it that drives him to be so…Jimmy?
– We see Hector Salamanca’s introduction to Mike’s world. Beseeching Mike to claim ownership of Tuco’s gun and thus shortening the sentence, the Salamancas prove a hard tribe to escape. Mike may have believed he thought of everything, but this is one angle left unapproached. Perhaps Mike will help us learn why Hector is wheelchair-bound in Breaking Bad.
7.5 out of 10
Next: “Bali Ha’i”, soon.
Before: “Gloves Off”, here.