Airtime: Mondays at 10PM on AMC
Episode: Season 2, Episode 10 (S02E10)
Tweetable Takeaway: Chuck out slips Jimmy on the season finale of #BetterCallSaul
The season finale of BETTER CALL SAUL brings Chuck and Jimmy’s sibling rivalry up to the top notch, while pushing and pulling you between sympathy for both of them. It’s a psychological battle, and also reinforces the idea that whenever Jimmy tries to do something good, it blows up in his face.
The teaser really says everything you need to know about Chuck and Jimmy’s relationship. At first it seems like Jimmy sits in the hospital watching over Jimmy, but it’s revealed Chuck is next to him. We’ve flashed back to the McGill’s watching over their mother at her final moments. Jimmy is hungry, and wants to leave to grab some food. She’s been hanging on for three days, and he doesn’t expect her to die in the next ten minutes, but Chuck refuses to go. While Jimmy is gone, Chuck breaks down sobbing. His mother comes to momentarily, and her dying words are “Jimmy”. This emotional slap in the face is just another of the incidents Chuck has catalogued and fuels his jealousy. When Jimmy asks if she said anything before she died, Chuck tells him no.
The rivalry between these two is an awkward one. Chuck has/had everything, a wife, a career, and a position of standing in the legal and actual community. Jimmy on the other hand has had nothing but his charm and wit, and yet people are drawn to Jimmy more than they are to Chuck. There’s a deep jealousy there, and in Chuck’s mind he could do no wrong and never got the attention Jimmy did for doing no right. Even though Chuck cleans up mess after mess for Jimmy, their parents seemed to love Jimmy more. So though he says he loves his brother, he does everything in his power to keep him down, and expose Jimmy for the charlatan he is.
No one can argue Chuck is the reason Jimmy has turned out the way he has. Hell, even Kim told Chuck he’s responsible for making Slippin’ Jimmy more slippery. All Jimmy may have needed to turn the corner and become the honest person we all know he could be, was a little love and encouragement from Chuck. But since Chuck was always so withholding, Jimmy had to try harder and harder for any bit of his attention. Because of this, he cut corners and took the easy way out. Doing things the hard but right way got him nowhere. The real kick in the pants was Jimmy’s realization that instead of just being indifferent about Jimmy’s accomplishments, Chuck was actively working against Jimmy to keep him down.
This eventually leads us to the point where Jimmy ingeniously ruins Mesa Verde for Chuck. The retribution was a long time coming, and once Chuck involved Kim and her business, there was nothing Jimmy wouldn’t do to give Chuck his comeuppance. He can mess with Jimmy all he wants, but involving the person Jimmy loves the most is a line too far. Which brings us to Jimmy doctoring the Mesa Verde files, and his attempt to cover it all up.
Look, Chuck is a genius. He figured out everything Jimmy did, pieced it together like Columbo actually, but was no match for Jimmy’s cunning and ability to sell a lie … until now. I honestly thought Chuck might have hit his head so hard he died, but that’s not the case. Jimmy seems to always do the right thing in the end, and so he runs over from his hiding spot in the shadows to rescue Chuck. Jimmy has basically given Chuck the proof of what he’s done. The only thing that obfuscates the truth, is that Ernesto lies to Chuck and tells him he’d called Jimmy earlier because he’d grown worried about Chuck’s behavior. Chuck ends up in the hospital, with some major head injuries, but will be all right. The real problem is his reaction to all of the electricity in the hospital, and how he goes catatonic after a CT scan. When he wakes up Jimmy is there to take care of him again, as he’s always done since Chuck’s condition began.
The brilliant thing is how Chuck outsmarts and out slips Jimmy himself. I’m not sure if Howard is in on it, or if Chuck just uses Howard as a pawn in his endgame, but the way Chuck pulls one over on Jimmy is incredible. Under the guise of quitting the law and retiring from HHM, he draws a worried Jimmy over to his house, where he’s set everything up to look like he’s finally lost all of his marbles. The place is covered wall to ceiling in astronaut blankets and aluminum foil. He feigns fear of losing his marbles, and laments how he’s made a terrible clerical error on the Mesa Verde account and then can’t forgive himself for blaming it all on Jimmy. He’s playing Jimmy like a violin, and Jimmy falls for it. He feels so bad about what he’s done that he confesses everything to Chuck to make him feel better. It’s exactly what Chuck knew he’d do. When Chuck tells him “You do realize you confessed to a felony?” Jimmy replies, “I guess, but you feel better right? Besides, it’s your word against mine.” The problem is Jimmy doesn’t know Chuck risked his electrical allergy to hide a tape recorder in the room. He now has the evidence to have Jimmy disbarred.
Mike on the other hand is about to take Hector out with a sniper rifle. He’s got it all planned, has practiced to have the shot down, but things don’t go as he’s hoped. He’s up on a perch in the mountains looking down on Hector’s hideout where they’re executing the Popsicle truck driver. When Mike has a clear shot of Hector, Nacho stands in the way obscuring a clean shot. It’s fine, he’ll take another when they come back out of the shack, but the horn of his car goes off ruining everything. Mike heads back, and finds a stick wedged between the seat and the steering wheel to keep the horn going, and a note on the windshield that says “Don’t”.
Who put the not on Mike’s car? Who’s watching out for Mike, and what do they want? Is this the end for Jimmy McGill as a lawyer? Is the reason he becomes Saul Goodman because he can no longer practice law in New Mexico under his real name because of something Chuck does? We’ll have to wait until next season to find out.
For six months out of the year Jeff is holed up in his home with nothing to do but shovel snow, watch television, write, and dream of warmer climates. Twitter: @OfSoundnVision
Jeff Iblings | Contributor