It should be clear that through everything that has happened this season on Better Call Saul, Jimmy McGill still deeply cares for his brother and no matter how low he’s gone, he’s still hasn’t sunk so low as to watch him almost die across the street. It almost ends up ruining all of Jimmy’s scheming but his brother’s health ultimately means more to him. It’s why he decides to force him to get an MRI, despite his electro-magnetic sensitivity. Jimmy cares for Chuck but does Chuck feel the same way?
That’s ultimately the question I was left with by tonight’s episode, the final one of this season. At a base level, it’s clear that Chuck cares about Jimmy and truly believes that forcing him out of the law would be good for him. However, it’s become clear that there is a much deeper reason for all of this. Chuck resents his brother and his ability to win people to his side by sheer personality. Jimmy gets off from his deserved punishment because of his charm and Chuck sees himself as the only one able to see through the ruse and, therefore, the only one who can stop his brother.
To add to matters, Chuck has just suffered the most humiliating moment in his career and is convinced it was Jimmy’s doing. He’s right, of course, but everyone around him is telling him otherwise, even after everything that happened at the copy shop. This puts Chuck in a bad place and leads directly into his actions in the final scene.
On the surface, the final scene shows us how far Chuck has slipped. He can’t blame his brother for his actions without proof so he resorts to boxing himself in his house and lining the place with foil. Naturally, this eats away at Jimmy, especially with the news that Chuck has resigned from HHM, and it leads to him telling Chuck about his trick. Chuck is shocked but as Jimmy leaves the room Chuck fumbles for a tape recorder revealing the entire thing to be a ruse.
Earlier in this season, Jimmy confronted his brother and begged for him to “crawl around in the dirt with me.” Chuck bawked at the idea but it’s ultimately what happens here, he can phrase it anyway he wants but Chuck conned the conman by taking advantage of his feeling. That’s low, arguably, lower than Jimmy went but to Chuck this is all fair. It’s similar to what compels him to neglect telling Jimmy about their mother’s final words being his name in the flashback that opens the episode. It equal parts spite and due justice in Chuck’s mind. He resents his mother calling out the name of the brother who left to go get food, the brother who always leaves. It’s also due justice, Jimmy missed the moment due to his need for food and Chuck feels no need to fill him in.
Elsewhere, Mike prepares to take out Hector by tracking Nacho and the crew to a small cabin in the desert where they plan to kill and bury the driver who Mike stole from. The scene of Mike, far in the distance, seeing the events only through his scope and waiting for his shot manages to be tense and climatic despite almost nothing happening in it. Nacho seems to block his shot every chance he gets and eventually, Mike is forced to flee when his car horn goes off in the distance. What he finds there is a simple note, “don’t.” Who left that note and what it means will have to wait til next year though.
Better Call Saul chose to go smaller with it’s second season by putting it’s main character in situations that couldn’t be immediately taken care of but it also chose to expand on the other cast to further deepen it’s world. I find myself caring not just for Jimmy and Mike but for Kim and Chuck and Nacho (sort of) and it’s a testament to the show that even if it felt like we weren’t moving anywhere it still left me fully engrossed in where it was eventually going.
Season 2: 10.0/10.0
Bits ‘n Pieces
- We finally get to see Jimmy’s commercial and while it comes at a time when Jimmy isn’t feeling particulrly great about himself it’s just as amazing as you’d expect.
- Shout out to Ernesto for being just a great guy, I hope we see more of him next season.
- Also put me down as a guy who is always excitied to see gun dealer, Jim Beaver make an appearance.
- “I miss the mailroom.”
Jesse Swanson is a would-be writer, podcaster and funny guy who covers TV shows of all shapes and sizes. You can find him on Twitter @JesseSwanson