Better Call Saul season 5 is set to premiere on AMC at some point in 2020 and yet we are still living in a world where Rhea Seehorn does not have an Emmy nomination for playing Kim Wexler. How is this possible?
If you’re to look around the television landscape, it’s easy to cite competition. Truth is, there are dozens of worthy people and because of that, you can easily make the case for countless snubs year after year. Yet, not getting an Emmy nod four years in is more than just a disappointment, especially when you consider the unforgettable work Seehorn has put in as the character.
The greater Breaking Bad universe is full of characters illustrated in reality — many of them have problems that so many of us can relate to. Yet, Kim still feels like one of the easiest to connect to. We’re talking about someone who has worked hard, is ambitious, but still wants to at least try to do things the right way — at least to a certain extent. She has much more of a moral code than Jimmy; she’s flawed, but she’s flawed in the way so many of us are.
Unfortunately for her, she’s also finding herself constantly in a delicate position. Her relationship with Jimmy felt like it was on the verge of sinking into quicksand for much of season 4, her own legal career needed a specific direction, and she also had to figure out how to maintain what important relationships she still had. She put a good bit of faith in Jimmy because she cared for him, but also because she saw him at his best. That, in some ways, is what makes her story so heartbreaking. She knew what he was capable of, and it hits her the hardest when he veers the opposite way and starts to swim in the muck.
Kim is a woman of some patience, great nuance, and an exceptional fighting spirit filled with determination. Seehorn brings all of that to the role — she has since the beginning, but she knows how to build up these emotions across a given scene. She can be matter-of-fact as Kim one moment and then intense the next, depending on the scene partner and the specifics of the writing. She plays well into her situation, burning the candle at both ends and trying hard to help someone who is often uninterested in helping themselves. She’s a rubber band being slowly pulled until the snap happens by Jimmy, but she finds a way to keep pressing onward. She has to. She needs to.
Much of Seehorn’s performance is an exercise in restraint — trying to find a way to be this helpful, determined person while also containing these sharks swimming around in her head. They circle and circle while she searches for an outlet, a way to express her innermost thoughts when no venue seems present. Her relationship and relatability flourishes with the audience because of that, though it may not help the character herself. Season 4 may actually be Kim’s most accessible season — while we do not necessarily know all that much about her backstory save for some specific facts, we still feel that connection with her. She’s grounded in such a universal place that feels like we’ve all treaded that same ground.
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Will this be Rhea’s year?
It’s hard to predict anything with the Emmys, but we know that the body of work is there for her in season 4, as is the larger reputation of Better Call Saul and the writing team led by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould. Hopefully, this is enough to at least get the Academy’s attention this time and correct a wrong that’s been out there for years on end. (Even with the long hiatus until season 5, the good news is that it will, hopefully, still premiere within the 2020 Emmys window — they shouldn’t miss another year as long as season 5 premieres before June 2020).
Do you want to see Rhea Seehorn get a nomination for Better Call Saul season 4? Be sure to share in the comments! (Photo: AMC.)