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A Noteworthy Detail About Kim Has Come Full Circle In Better Call Saul

AMC's critically-acclaimed crime drama "Better Call Saul" would not work without Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn). When co-creators Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan were developing a spin-off and prequel series starring "Breaking Bad" fan favorite Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), they created Kim as one of several brand-new characters who did not appear in the parent series. Gilligan told Vulture in 2020 that while he and Gould initially pitched Kim as a potential love interest for Jimmy McGill, they understood little else about her character when the series first entered production. But as most "Better Call Saul" fans could tell you, Kim has developed significantly as a character since that initial kernel of an idea.

This production team famously creates walloping storylines, compelling characters, and heart-pounding dramatic moments from scratch, and they didn't miss with Kim. Between detailed writing that plunges Kim into the depths of Albuquerque's corporate law offices and Seehorn's nuanced performance, Kim's journey has made her one of the show's most popular characters — especially as fans wonder what might happen that results in her absence from Saul's life in the "Breaking Bad" years.

By Season 6, Kim is not just Saul Goodman's wife and advocate — she has grown into Saul's partner in the scams and cons they habitually run to advance their own interests, prove a point, or simply have a little fun. After all, Kim pointedly takes a lead in their plot to ruin Howard Hamlin's (Patrick Fabian) life. And with a well-placed flashback scene, one Season 6 episode gave viewers an important detail that helps illuminate what makes Kim tick.

Better Call Saul revealed the poignant origins of Kim's signature jewelry

The "Better Call Saul" Season 6 episode "Axe and Grind" opens with a flashback in which a teenage Kim (Katie Beth Hall) is apprehended for shoplifting jewelry. Kim's mom (Beth Hoyt) arrives and scolds her daughter, but Mrs. Wexler flips a switch afterward and instead praises Kim for stealing. Mrs. Wexler even rewards Kim by giving her the jewelry that Kim attempted to steal in the first place. What's important to note here is the jewelry in question are the same exact pieces Kim wears throughout "Better Call Saul."

The show's flashbacks to Kim's childhood — the Season 5 episode "Wexler v. Goodman" showcases a drunk Mrs. Wexler's too-little-too-late attempt to pick up Kim from school — suggest that Kim grew up in a less-than-comfortable home environment. In a recent interview with Variety, "Axe and Grind" director Giancarlo Esposito — who otherwise plays Gustavo Fring on the show — called the episode's flashback sequence a reflection of Kim's entire life and who she grows into as an adult. 

"[Kim] was probably satisfied with being chided by her mother for doing something wrong, needed that parenting direction and then is blown away when her mother comes out and goes, 'Look what I got for you,'" he said.  

Esposito also noted that he thinks that childhood moment is intrinsically related to Kim's decision to abandon her major professional opportunity in order to help Saul pull their "D-Day" scam off on Howard. It's possible that the flashback is meant to show the onset of Kim's own criminal tendencies; she knows the behavior is objectively wrong, but she does not believe she will actually face any repercussions.