While Bob Odenkirk’s performance on Better Call Saul as Saul Goodman and his alter egos, Jimmy McGill, and Gene Takovic was nothing short of perfection, the work of his partner in crime, Rhea Seehorn is an equally, if not more, impressive achievement. That is saying a lot. Even if viewers did not realize it at first, the character was a critical part of Jimmy to Saul transformation story. In the early goings of the series, Seehorn’s character filled the role of Jimmy McGill’s friend, confidant, smoke break partner and often his moral compass. As season’s passed she proved to me a much more intricate part of his life and transformation, and the series as a whole.
Seehorn’s portrayal of Kim is as layered as they come, one delivers more subtle yet no less captivating transformation from a character we think we know into one whose decisions reveal a side of her we could hardly expect after episode one. By the time Kim shoots her finger-guns at Saul, a seemingly simple gesture, viewers knew she too was ‘breaking bad.’ It sent a shiver down my spine, because I watched it like a slow motion car wreck, almost as if in denial that this is who she could be. The seeds were planted right in front of our eyes, slowly took root, and now are growing at an unstoppable rate.
To avoid spoiling too much for anyone who has not watched I will keep things vague since I truly feel the series is a masterpiece. There is not expiration date on spoiling something so well written, acted and produced.
With that said, what follows next in season six is devastating television on so many levels. Much of it lies on the level of gravitas found in Seehorn’s performance – it is unmatchable. The sheer depth of emotion in her bus scene alone in episode twelve, ‘Waterworks,’ is worthy of recognition alone. But that scene, no how masterfully acted, means much less without the tour de force performance surround it – one she provides from the very first episode right to her last cigarette in the finale. Most series are hopefully to successfully deliver a character study with a satisfying arc, Better Call Saul delivered two.
Since this is the last time I will have the opportunity to champion Better Call Saul, let me get on my soap box for a moment and say that the idea this incredible Vince Gilligan series has to date yet to win a single Emmy is a travesty. Hopefully one that we can all put behind us with some much deserved recognition. Off my soap box.
No matter what awards gold the series takes home, there is nothing that can take away from the monumental achievement that all involved have left on screen. Rhea’s stellar work is just one vital piece in this complex puzzle. That speaks volumes for the series as a whole, especially when you hear the level of thought and passion Seehorn commits into building and portraying Kim Wexler.
Rhea sat down to speak with Awards Radar about all that goes into her performance as Kim Wexler. It is an enthralling conversation that, for the first time ever, briefly almost had me cry mid-interview. It was not because of anything sad or upsetting, I was just bowled over by the level of care and contemplation she injects into the character. Watch the full interview below. Included is an excerpt – just a small glimpse of our engrossing 19-minute conversation (below).
On if Kim was changed by Saul or if it was pert of her all along;
“I don’t think he brought up anything in her that was not already there. But I think that they both ignited things in each other. That’s what she’s saying, when they break up is that there’s some ignition point that’s going on between the two of them, that can be used for good and could be used for evil, and they went down the wrong path. I think that’s one of the interesting questions that the whole series asks is, What’s learned behavior versus what’s innate behavior? And who are you? It’s impossible to unravel who you are, independent of every relationship you’ve had are independent of your past or independent of your your family as or your upbringing. It’s not possible to figure out, ‘well, what’s my true self?’ So that question fascinated me the whole time. And I think it was very easy early on, for people to say, Jimmy is just bringing her down. But it wasn’t. It wasn’t that – and there were times where they raise each other up. And there’s times where she was not a good influence.”
Be sure to watch all of my Better Call Saul-related interviews on Awards Radar: Bryan Cranston, Giancarlo Esposito, Patrick Fabian, Michelle MacLaren, Thomas Schnauz and more to come.