BETTER CALL SAUL Review: “Lantern”

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The finale of ends on a powerful note, as Jimmy and Chuck come to accept who and what they really are. Nacho’s plans for Hector finally come to fruition, but has he been found out for his role in Hector’s incident?

This season of Better Call Saul has been a journey in which Jimmy comes to accept who he really is after fighting desperately for two seasons to be the person he wishes he was, only to run into constant interference. It’s clear the door on Jimmy has already begun to close, and Saul’s is beginning to open up. That’s not to say there’s all bad inside of Jimmy. He’s still capable of doing the right thing, even if it damages his reputation. In the aftermath of Kim’s accident he’s reassessing what’s important to him. It’s opened his eyes into how fragile things are. He nearly lost her, and he doesn’t want to lose his brother too, which is why he shows up to apologize to Chuck.

Chuck is far too proud, which is something we’ve known since the very beginning of the show. Howard has been by his side from day one of his mental affliction, and besides Jimmy, has been there to take care of him. Chuck has tested Howard’s patience though, and no matter what Chuck did, Howard had his back. So when it was clear it may be in the best interest of both Chuck and the firm that Chuck pull back from his work there, he suggested retirement in the most thoughtful way he could. It’s a hard pill for anyone to swallow that they’ve somehow outgrown their use, or should switch their focus, and it’s especially hard to deliver that news to anyone. Howard looked up to Chuck, almost saw him as an older brother or a father figure, so it was difficult to come to the realization Chuck was doing more damage for HHM than good. Chuck’s reaction to Howard’s suggestion was to sue HHM, and it felt like a stab in the back or a betrayal to Howard. How could it not? He’s done nothing but try to help Chuck. Instead of the reconciliation Chuck hopes for, Howard scrapes together the money from his personal account and loans to buy Chuck out, sending him off with a warm farewell from the entire firm, and then turning his back on Chuck from here on out.

The reaction Chuck has to this is interesting, especially given the fact Jimmy comes over later to reconcile with him. Chuck voices an opinion about Jimmy that describes his himself over the last three seasons too “In the end, you’re going to hurt everyone around you. You can’t help it, so stop apologizing and accept it.” Chuck has done the very same thing to Howard, Jimmy, Kim, Rebecca, and everyone else in his life who would stick by his side to help him through this mental affliction that is ruining his life. Sure Jimmy’s nature is to unwittingly ruin everything around him, but Chuck alienates the last connection he has on purpose, and soon he’ll be all alone with his manic aversion to electricity rearing its ugly head again.

Kim’s accident was also a wake up call to herself, since she overworked to the point where she could have killed someone. She knows how close she’s come to burning out, and instead of pushing forward and working through the pain of her recovery for a new client, she decides to hand him off to a friendly firm and recover. The office is gone, they’re going to find a sublet for it, and she’ll work from home as a one-client law firm once she’s healed. Mesa Verde and Jimmy seem to be the life she’s chosen now, and through her healing she and Jimmy have grown even closer. We know she’s not around for Breaking Bad, but what happens to break them apart before that show begins? Is it possible Jimmy (as Gene) will find her at the end of the series to reconcile with her and all of the dumb stuff he’s done? I could live with an ending like that.

Don Hector visits Nacho’s father’s business and it does not go well. His father asks Hector to leave, which makes Nacho play defense with Hector to try and convince him his father will come around given time. Hector doesn’t trust Nacho’s dad, and it worries Nacho. It appears Nacho has followed Hector to kill him, but instead he’s caught up in a meeting with Don Eladio’s man and Gus. Don Eladio wants Gus to be the only person bringing drugs across the border, and it outrages Hector. He goes on a tirade about all his family has done for Eladio only to be disrespected, but then has a heart issue, takes the fake medicine Nacho put in his pills, and collapses. Gus and Nacho stay behind to wait for an ambulance. As Gus does CPR and Nacho picks up the spilled pills and bottle and replaces them with the originals. Gus seems to know something is up. Will Nacho be found out?

Jimmy takes Chuck’s words to heart, especially after finding out Irene’s friends are still giving her the cold shoulder even after the settlement has gone through. He’s ruined her life, and her friendships, and the only way he can fix them, after numerous attempts to reconcile them, is to inadvertently tell the truth by making himself look bad. With the help of Erin Brill from his old law firm, he playacts an argument for the seniors wearing a hot mic he pretends to not know is still on. He completely ruins his own reputation, as he should for what he did, to make amends. He knows he’s going to have to drastically change his business once he gets his law license back. Is this how he becomes Saul Goodman?

There’s something Chuck says to Jimmy that kills their relationship forever, “I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but the truth is you’ve never mattered all that much to me.” These simple words isolate Chuck from any outside help going forward, and soon he’s slipped into his old ways, turning off all of the electricity in the house, and removing all of the light bulbs. The problem is the electrical meter still moves and for the life of him he can’t understand why. He tears his house apart, smashes walls, pulls out copper wiring, litters his back yard with electrical appliances, and still can’t find the source making the meter move. He smashes the electrical meter with a baseball bat, and just like that all of the progress he’s made in the last weeks is down the drain. In the last scene of the finale we see a despondent Chuck in wrecked house, kicking at a table with a kerosene lamp on it until the lamp falls off the table. An establishing shot of the flames overtaking the house is shown before the credits. He’s committed suicide, and now we know why Chuck isn’t in the picture in Breaking Bad. You have to feel bad for the man. No matter how terribly he treated his brother, no one should die alone like that. It’s a harsh and tragic ending of a brotherly feud. How will it affect Jimmy though?
TB-TV-Grade-A-Season 3, Episode 10 (S03E10)
Better Call Saul airs Mondays at 10PM on

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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.
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  1. Pingback: Better Call Saul Review: “Smoke” – Of Sound And Vision

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