Better Call Saul 2×07 ‘Inflatible’: Sources of control

BCS 2x07 Cover

How do you exercise control over your life? Is it a matter of detaching yourself from the systems that control you? But how do you even do that? How are you able to identity the things that are controlling you in order to separate yourself from them? This line of inquiry can go on and on, to the point where the answers become bleaker and bleaker. Because we can remain hopeful, and we can find new avenues with which to pursue freedom, but the reality of our powerlessness will continue to make itself aware to us. And, to a degree, we simply have to accept it.

BCS 2x07-1

Source: AMC

Better Call Saul (along with Breaking Bad) begs a certain question: What happens when we can’t let go of how powerless we are, when we decide to fight tirelessly to remedy that? The answer to that question is, admittedly, very bleak, and is a sad reminder of how trapped we really are, but there’s also an element of hope that comes with merely asking the question. Here, in “Inflatable”, we see Jimmy at his happiest, which is whenever he is wreaking havoc and creating mayhem. He wants to be fired from Davis & Main so that he can keep his bonus check and still move on and gain his freedom, so he acts like a lunatic around the office, spraying people with fresh juice from the new office juicer, not flushing the toilet, playing the bagpipes in the office. And he eventually does gain his freedom, able to flail about like the tube man in the parking lot. But that tube man is still connected to the ground. And when Jimmy realizes the repercussions of his actions, when he realizes that he doesn’t get to work with Kim like he wanted, he starts to see how he’ll always be connected to the power structures around him.

BCS 2x07-2

Source: AMC

It’s a matter of what we’re willing to be connected to. Mike is torn between being connected to Hector Salamanca through claiming ownership of the gun and being connected to Stacey through letting her take his money to buy a nice home. One way or the other, he’s attached to something that is using him. He doesn’t completely own up to the gun being his, but he does change his statement, to the point that the detectives look legitimately concerned for his safety. And there’s nothing that Mike hates more than others taking care of him. He’s a provider, and his giving in to Hector gives him the ability to provide for Stacey. Stacey is using him, to a degree, but Mike doesn’t seem to mind because of what he gets out of that relationship, the satisfaction that comes from being able to give to those he cares about. That satisfaction is from something that is still controlling him, the pain that comes from the loss of his son, but it’s a less painful control for him.

Source: AMC

Source: AMC

Kim is also feeling the pressure of control, how she sees her job at HH&M as something that is starting to constrict her growth as an individual and as a lawyer. But it’s more than that. She gets her interview with Schweikart and it goes brilliantly, but she can’t shake the feeling that Schweikart is just HH&M with a different name. Somebody is still controlling her, making it so that she can’t achieve the potential that she wants for herself. So she throws it away, but makes sure not to completely attach herself to Jimmy. Working with him but not as partners makes it so that she is somewhere independent, somewhat able to work on her own. She sees Jimmy as a source of control, someone who is kind of unpredictable, and that unnerves her. But it’s possible that Jimmy is controlling her anyway, that this desire for freedom only exists because of Jimmy’s influence. Sometimes the control that is exerted over us happens completely without our knowledge, even if we think we’re on top of it.

Better Call Saul is essentially about how we’re all connected to some structure that is willing to take from us, to the point that it detracts from our well-being. It’s about how people trade one system for another, only to realize how similar both systems are. Jimmy, Kim, and Mike are all trying to find some sense of control and clarity in their lives, but the more they struggle, the more they run into some new problem. And the ending informs how we view all of this. We know what happens to Jimmy and Mike as their struggling sinks them into the deepest of holes. But does that mean that we should stop struggling, that we should stop trying to find contentment in the world? That’s really a question that only you can answer yourself.

What did you think of “Inflatible”? Where do you think the season is going? Let me know in the comments!

Michael St. Charles

is just a Michigan State University grad who loves a good story. If he’s not off teaching the young ones how to solve quadratic functions or to write an expository essay, he’s watching old-school HBO shows, indie horror movies, or he’s playing Resident Evil 4.

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  • George Liapes

    Sorry my post is later than usual, but I missed this episode when it first aired so I just watched it.

    I was laughing my ass off during the montage with jimmy sabotaging himself and I’m really interested to see where the business with Jimmy and Kim is going. The whole “exes” working together never worked out in other tv shows you know but it may be more destructive on this show.

    The storyline with mike seems to be building up, judging by the preview and the promo of the next one. Can’t wait to see how Jimmy’s business goes and what will happen to Chuck (if you didn’t see the promo, I don’t want to spoil it)

    • Michael St. Charles

      No big deal, I’m always late because I’m so busy, haha. I really like how Kim is her own character, how she values her professional life as her primary concern while Jimmy (even though he’s important to her) is really her secondary concern. She might be my favorite character on the show right now.

      I’ve got a good feeling about the end of the season. I think they’re going to end very strong, just like they did with “Marco”, which might be my favorite episode of the show.

      Be sure to check out my Walking Dead finale review when I have that up. I don’t know how much you like spoilers (I love looking up TWD spoilers, haha), but the audio for the (supposed) final 11 minutes of the finale has leaked. Check it out if you want. It’s really something.

  • George Liapes

    I don’t really like spoilers, even though I sometimes come upon them by accident, thanks anyway though. Can’t wait!