Better Call Saul season 5 might’ve just dropped a hint as to why Kim Wexler doesn’t appear in Breaking Bad. Saul Goodman’s origin story has rapidly caught up to the events of Breaking Bad and the spinoff’s most recent offering, “The Guy For This,” saw the return of Dean Norris as Hank Schrader and Steven Quezada as Gomez, the two DEA agents who doggedly pursued Walt throughout Breaking Bad. Hank’s return and the arrest of Krazy-8 is the biggest sign yet that the two shows are close to converging, but there remains an elephant in the room, becoming more prominent with each episode: the presence of Kim Wexler.
Played by the vastly underappreciated Rhea Seehorn, Kim has been a friend, confidante, ally and lover to Jimmy McGill since Better Call Saul‘s first episode. Kim has provided Jimmy’s support and motivation, as well as a much-needed moral compass, but the duo have also pulled some scams together during later seasons, and Jimmy’s mischief has certainly left an influence on Kim. Despite their obvious closeness, Kim doesn’t only not appear in Breaking Bad, but Jimmy doesn’t even mention her. Consequently, Kim’s fate has become a hot topic of discussion in Better Call Saul circles, and the character must either die, leave, or be kept completely secret by Jimmy for her own protection.
Better Call Saul season 5’s “The Guy For This” was another big episode for Kim, as she was forced to abandon her pro bono cases to attend a Mesa Verde dispute. Tasked with talking down Mr Acker, a man refusing to sell his property to Kim’s employers for development, Kim berates the crusty old-timer for not obeying the law, for ignoring a court ruling in Mesa Verde’s favor and for not adhering to the terms of his lease. Kim continues to chastise Mr. Acker, affirming that the law is not to be bent or treated lightly, and she loses her trademark cool during the tirade. It’s clear that this scene is actually Kim offloading her feelings pver Jimmy’s Saul Goodman venture, and Mr. Acker is merely unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of that resentment. In another parallel to her relationship with Jimmy, Kim later goes back to try and help Acker with leaving his house, but she ultimately makes things worse.
Better Call Saul‘s Mr. Acker plot demonstrates a conflict that has plagued Seehorn’s character for some time and offers a spin on the usual “head or heart” dilemma. Kim is torn between her unyielding respect for legislation – the world she dedicates her career to – and a slight jealousy of Jimmy’s freedom to bend the rules if the end result justifies doing so (or to ensure a cult Breaking Bad favorite such as Huell walks free.) In Better Call Saul season 5, Jimmy has finally made his choice, embracing illegality – it’s surely only a matter of time until Kim must do the same, and this could be her way out of the Breaking Bad world.
The quiet disapproval Kim shows towards “Saul Goodman” and her outburst towards Mr. Acker appears to be a prelude towards Kim walking out on Jimmy in a later Better Call Saul episode. Kim might’ve indulged her adventurous side a little with Jimmy, but everything the audience knows about the character suggests she would choose the absolutism of the law if forced to make a decision, and the more Jimmy morphs into Saul Goodman, the less likely Kim is to stay with him. In many ways, losing Kim because she can no longer stand his moral flexibility would be the final stage of Jimmy’s transformation.
However, her exchange with Mr. Acker might actually hint towards a darker end for Kim Wexler. As seen with the immovable old-timer, Kim can’t help but empathize. For all her preaching of the law’s importance, Kim can’t leave Acker alone and tries to remedy the situation, just as she did earlier this season by immorally lying to a client to put them off going to trial. If Kim discovers the true depths of criminality Jimmy has plunged to in recent times, she may be tempted to try and save him also, and fight to remove the poor, ever-unfortunate Jimmy from the murky drug underworld. Kim’s absence in Breaking Bad might be proof that she does not succeed.