This third season of Better Call Saul just kept getting better and better and it did so by eschewing popular demand and finding pathos in the most unexpected ways…
As ever, I’ll be running through a quick recap of events so I can concentrate more fully on two key scenes involving Juimmy’s brother, Charles McGill.
While the finalé, titled “Lantern” did bring some of those plot points together, it definitely did not wrap them in a neat little bow. For Kim Wexler was left questioning her very existence and trying desperately to rekindle the fight-the-good-fight and change-the-world-lawyer in her with repeat viewings of the best lawyer of them all (and best shot in Maycomb county) Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird. Will it work?
Jimmy might be a scoundrel but here he proved he is nothing but heart. Soon-to-be “criminal lawyer” Saul Goodman would rather than see Irene Landry liked by her friends than get his hands on his $1.16 million Sandpiper paycheck.
Don Hector did not kill Nacho’s father as I expected but did have the heart-attack that would put him in his wheelchair. It was Gus Fring that administered CPR and saved his life, so perhaps this is why Hector hates Fring so much by the time we get to the Breaking Bad era.
For a character that was the glue that held the series together, linking Jimmy to the world of Los Pollos Hermanos and the Mexican the drug cartel, Mike Ehrmantraut was noticably absent from Genifer Hutchinson’s blisteringly paced script.
But it was Chuck’s story that really hit an unexpected home run.
After being ushered out of HHM by Howard with a rousing ovation made me delight in shadenfreude, Jimmy tried to heal old wounds. It was here that Chuck opined on having no regrets before distancing himself from Jimmy, delivering the devastating news that he just never felt that much for his little brother with one last hug.
Charles McGill may be my most hated character on television but the five minute montage of Chuck searching for the one source of electricity that was still getting into his house was heart-breaking.
As he took ever larger steps and tools, from unscrewing lightbulbs to attacking plasterboard and tiles with a sledgehammer, the terrible truth dawned; Chuck wasn’t really searching for electricity.
He was searching for his soul.
A way to undo the regrets he swore he didn’t have.
Just as the fly in the meth lab was the perfect metaphor to demonstrate there was no way for Walter White to un-murder Jesse’s girlfriend, Charles demolishing his own house showed he had gone too far down this path – with nothing to live for, he would allow his disease (or rather, dis-ease) to fully take hold of his ego. There was no way back…
The final scene took me a minute or so to work out that the thud-thud-thudding was Charles McGill kicking his gas lantern onto the floor to start a fire and potentially take his own life.
The fact that it was the same gas lantern – the light from which he used to read to young Jimmy – his only source of light and Charles’ last hope tore us all to shreds.
Better Call Saul was meant to ping pong our allegience and sympathy between ailing, menatlly ill Charles and scoundrel Jimmy but I never felt anything for the elder brother except hate. Until now. And that’s the beauty of the series.
Hate Chuck as I do, in those chilling last moments and in that final shot, as the flames licked the interior of Charles’ ruined home, I have never felt more devastated watching Better Call Saul.
Long may it continue.
AMC hasn’t announced if there will be a fourth season of Better Call Saul coming in 2018 but they better had or they will regret it.