Tweetable Takeaway: An excruciating betrayal rocks Jimmy’s world in #BetterCallSaul.
Airtime: Monday at 10 PM on AMC
By: Jeff Iblings, Contributor
Better Call Saul delivered one of the most brutal hours of television I’ve ever seen. This episode has haunted me since I watched it Monday night. It sticks with me and invades my thoughts. I can’t shake how tragically it played out. It was like a Shakespearean drama or Greek tragedy. Even though I saw this coming, it still hit me hard while It unfolded.
It is no shock that Chuck isn’t very enthused about Jimmy’s decision to become a lawyer. In the flashback where Jimmy springs the news on Chuck that he’s passed the bar, the lack of excitement drips off of every word out of Chuck’s mouth. It’s all he can do to even congratulate him, so when Jimmy talked about joining the firm we already knew what the outcome would be.
Things have changed though. Jimmy has worked up a case that any major law firm would give their left nut for, and he did it all with hard work and determination. This wasn’t Slipping Jimmy. This was Jimmy McGill. He actually cares about the people he represents, and doesn’t want to see them being screwed by Sandpiper. It took a lot of digging for him to get enough information to piece together what was going on, and with a little help from Chuck, he turned it all into a behemoth of a lawsuit.
This is the kind of lawsuit that careers are built upon. This is the lawsuit that Jimmy’s career should have been built on were it not for a much stronger force conspiring against him. Hamlin has come off as an absolute dick this entire season, but we see who’s really pulling the strings. Hamlin’s a mere puppet, but the handiwork of the puppeteer reveals itself to be none other than Jimmy’s own brother Chuck. Perhaps Hamlin isn’t really a bad guy at all. It’s reasonable to assume that if he had his own way, Hamlin might actually hire Jimmy to join the firm. When a case of this magnitude is brought to you on silver platter, why wouldn’t you hire the person that just brought you tens of millions of dollars gift-wrapped?
No, the real sinister element at play here is Chuck. A betrayal of this stature can never be forgiven. It’s even more troubling since Jimmy has been acting as Chuck’s caretaker for the last 18 months, waiting on him hand and foot to help him. When Chuck came aboard the case, it actually seemed to ease his mental agitation. His mental illness abated enough for him to wander outside little by little. It seemed like working with Jimmy kick started a healing process for him. This is why it was so hard to watch him screw over Jimmy.
The scene where Jimmy confronts Chuck is excruciating to watch. The sadness and anger playing on Jimmy’s face while he paints Chuck into a corner is intense. You can actually see Chuck squirm while Jimmy details a plan about how Chuck could make Hamlin hire him at HHM if he really wanted to. Then he drops the bomb on Chuck. He knows. Jimmy’s heart is already broken at this point, and all he wants is an explanation. What he gets from Chuck are harsh words.
Chuck tells him he’s not a real lawyer, and his law degree is a joke. He despises that Jimmy see’s the two of them as peers. Since the law is sacred, there’s no place in it for Jimmy, because to Chuck he will always be Slipping Jimmy. People don’t change. For Chuck seeing Slipping Jimmy with a law degree is as dangerous as giving a machine-gun to chimpanzee. Ouch! The problem in knowing where Jimmy ends up is that Chuck is sort of right. But the troubling question is, would Jimmy become Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad if it were not for his brother betraying him? There’s the problem of the series.
Outside of the revelation of Jimmy’s betrayal by Chuck, there’s a really nice sequence with Mike. Now that he has a granddaughter to protect and take care of, he uses his skill set to try and build up a nest egg to take care of her. This is why we find him in a parking garage with two other thugs waiting for a protection job for a nerdy fella every bit as awkward as the future Walter White. Of the three, Mike is the least likely looking guy of the bunch to be of much use, but he shows off why he’s so dangerous when he downs the big talking idiot next to him and takes all of his weapons.
The real highlight is after the nerdy guy does his deal with Nacho, when he and Mike talk in the van. Mike calls him a criminal, and the man takes offense saying he’s not a bad guy. “I didn’t say you were a bad guy, I said you were a criminal.” To Mike you can be on whatever side of the law you happen to find yourself, but if you keep your word you will never be a bad guy.
- The big reveal of Chuck’s long term opposition to Jimmy being a lawyer, and the refusal of HHM to hire him after bringing in this whopper of a case really could have been the season 1 cliffhanger. I’m curious what the next episode has in store. It really comes down to how Jimmy reacts to this betrayal.
- Hamlin told Kim the truth, and she in turn tried to get Jimmy to take the deal without spilling the beans about why. Now that this whole thing has blown up, how will it affect Jimmy and Kim’s relationship?
- We see Mike at the beginning of his criminal activity as he tries to build a nest egg for his granddaughter. We know how this ends up, but how do he and Jimmy become regular partners?
- Watching Man Mountain run away from Mike after he took away all of the other guy’s guns made me laugh my ass off.
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.