Better Call Saul’s Giancarlo Esposito exposes hidden meaning in Kim Wexler’s dark turn

Better Call Saul: Trailer for final season of Breaking Bad spin-off

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As well as portraying terrifying cocaine distributor Gus Fring in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, TV and film star Giancarlo Esposito has also made his talents known as a director in the latest episode of the AMC prequel series. For a pivotal moment for Kim Wexler (played by Rhea Seehorn) in episode six, Axe and Grind, Giancarlo looked back at Vince Gilligan’s work on the original series to drive home her turn to darkness.

Kim, the wife of lawyer and fraudster Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), is set to take a drastic turn in the remaining episodes of Better Call Saul.

After starting the series following the whims of her husband, she has since become an essential driving force behind Saul’s schemes with the cartel.

Unfortunately, their latest plan to discredit Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian) blew up in their face with just one episode left of the first half of the final season.

Saul calls Kim in a panic when he realises their staged photos of a New Mexico judge contain a critical error, and she makes a sharp U-turn to drive back to Albuquerque.

Giancarlo has since explained how his direction and a lucky break with the weather helped highlight Kim’s silent rage within the scene.

“Vince did it in Walter and Gus in the desert. That was all a wide shot,” he recalled. “The whole scene is completely wide, and they’re having this whole conversation. It’s mind-blowing.

“And the moment I go to snatch that hood, bam! We’re on Walter. That’s visual storytelling that I thought was magnificent.

“I always made a note of how the clouds moved. If you ever watched that episode again, you’ve got to see how the clouds move. I was blown away, because the clouds move in concert.”

The actor and director’s visual choices for the sequence can be traced way back to an iconic confrontation between Gus and Walter White (Bryan Cranston) in the original series.

As Kim drives back to reconvene with her husband, Giancarlo unintentionally mirrored Breaking Bad’s stark use of dark clouds to pinpoint another dramatic shift for Saul’s partner in crime.

“I felt like, ‘Oh, I got it!’” he told TV Guide. “I didn’t get anything, nature got it, the clouds change.”

Giancarlo revealed he made several attempts to get the sequence just right until the conditions quite literally aligned during filming.

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“I shot it five, ten different ways to Sunday,” he recalled.

“In front of the car, had a crane, had to come back out for the passenger side, from her side, looking at the passenger side as she’s driving.”

However, the shots didn’t quite fall into place until Rhea suddenly came across a patch of bad weather overhead.

“That’s when I got it. All of a sudden, she drove right into a dark cloud,” Giancarlo continued.

“She drove into it, which determined and set her frame of mind for me, as an audience member and a viewer.

“So how did I do it? I just started to think, you’ve got to be loose, you’ve got to talk, you’ve got to share, and then things happen in the moment.”

Thanks to the Breaking Bad veteran’s keen eye and patience to let the scene unfold, some otherwise mundane shots of Kim’s journey home were transformed into yet another stellar example of the show’s ingenious visual storytelling.

Better Call Saul season 6 continues Mondays on AMC and the following Tuesday on Netflix.

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