Better Call Saul Season 3 Episode 5 Review: Chicanery

at .

Chuck's grand plan for revenge against Jimmy blew up in his face, but there were no happy faces at the end.

On a somber, heartbreaking Better Call Saul Season 3 Episode 5,

Jimmy's plan to discredit Chuck worked like a charm, but the price everyone paid to get to the truth was very high.

Jimmy Listens to Testimony - Better Call Saul Season 3 Episode 5

We got a very important piece of the puzzle at the beginning with a flashback of Chuck trying to reconcile with his ex, Rebecca.

Jimmy, always the dutiful brother, did everything he could to help Chuck pull the wool over Rebecca's eyes but was betrayed by a cell phone call.

It was another example of Jimmy's good heart on display, as well as the slimy dishonesty of Chuck.

Jimmy: Chuck, you sure this is the right play? I mean, in my experience, the bigger the lie, the harder it can be to dig out.
Chuck: I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

The lies flowed from Chuck's forked tongue with such ease; it was a marvel to witness.

THAT'S why people hate lawyers so much!

We knew it would fail, and when it did, Jimmy again tried to make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t, only to have Chuck go ballistic. 

Jimmy: You gotta do something. You can't let her leave like this. Just tell her what's going on.
Chuck: No. No.
Jimmy: She'll understand. Would you rather she think you're a raging prick than know the truth?
Chuck: No.
Jimmy: Look, if you won't tell her then I will.
Chuck: No no no! You will not tell her. You WILL not tell her!

The dynamic between the two is very sad, but probably not that uncommon. Sibling hate is often the most vicious hate there is. 

Years and years of feeling slighted, old resentments, and imagined offenses fester and eventually boil over.

In Chuck's case, his superior attitude toward Jimmy has only gotten worse over the years, with Jimmy's law career being the final straw.

Chuck Getting ready - Better Call Saul Season 3 Episode 5

The smug, obnoxious tone Chuck oozes makes him a Grade-A asshole, and Michael McKean does a masterful job at giving layers to such an unlikable character. 

He is definitely mentally ill, but his intellect fuels the denial of his mental condition, which grudgingly wins over the skeptical friends and family in his orbit, including Jimmy.

I have no doubt Jimmy knows deep down that Chuck is crazy, but the duty to his brother is at the center of his enabling behavior. 

Chuck is about to Testify - Better Call Saul Season 3 Episode 5

Chuck, in turn, uses that against him, hoping the tape will be the final straw in finally putting Jimmy in his place. 

Chuck's noble pronouncements about upholding the grand reputation of the law as his reason for taking Jimmy down is well calculated to make it look like he is a good man put in a bad situation.

Let justice be done, though the heavens fall.


Well, that's total B.S.

Much more likely, his irrational need to oppress Jimmy displays a deep-seated inferiority complex. 

In a prior episode, a flashback perfectly presented the complex during their Mother's death.

On her deathbed, Chuck by her side, she used her last words as a plea to see Jimmy, ignoring Chuck. Jimmy came back and asked Chuck if she'd had any last words. Chuck lied and told Jimmy she said nothing.

That is probably the single defining moment in their relationship. Chuck's abject hatred for Jimmy launched to new heights that day, with its apex occurring at the disbarment proceedings. 

Jimmy on Cross Examination - Better Call Saul Season 3 Episode 5

Jimmy's plan was brilliant, but he knew it would cause irreparable pain to all involved. 

Bob Odenkirk was amazing here, showing the personal disgust at what he had to do to his brother in order to save his bacon. 

He does so much with his eyes or an ironic smirk conveying so much more than any dialog. The final 20 minutes was a master class by Odenkirk and McKean. 

Jimmy: It comes down to this. In order to understand what I was thinking, you need to see Chuck through my eyes. You need to know if I believed that tape was evidence. And I say it was evidence of only one thing: my brother hates me. He claims that he lied to me to get me to tell the truth and I'm telling you, I lied to my brother to make him feel better. Which of us you believe depends on how we all understand the mind of Charles McGill.

Kim set the table with her cross-examination of Howard, sticking the needle in about nepotism at Hamlin, Hamlin, and McGill.

His rage was just under the surface, and it was thrilling to see. 

Kim Soothes Her Clients - Better Call Saul Season 3 Episode 5

Kim then laid the first brick in the foundation to discredit Chuck.

Kim: Did Jimmy know his brother was the one who prevented you from hiring him?
Howard: No. He did not.

The stink eye Howard gave Kim as he exited the stand meant yet another relationship was blown up because of the ultimately, unnecessary vendetta. 

Jimmy bringing Rebecca into the courtroom was a cold move. Chuck was right in a way: Jimmy brought her there to unnerve Chuck, and despite his denials, it surely did rattle his cage. 

But Jimmy also knew Chuck's hubris and arrogance would lead him to ask her to stay, playing right into Jimmy's plan.

Jimmy used her as a pawn, knowing full well her relationship with Chuck would be damaged beyond repair if his scheme worked.

Kim: You know, she's going to hate you when this is over.
Jimmy: Yep.

The final five minutes were tense and heartbreaking.

Jimmy played Chuck like a fiddle, leading him to his admission that he would feel the tiniest electrical disturbance anywhere near him.

Then Jimmy dropped the hammer:

Chuck: God, Jimmy! Don't you know by now this is real? I feel this: it's a physical response to stimuli, it's not a quirk. What do I have to do to prove it to you?
Jimmy: I don't know, Chuck. Could you reach into your breast pocket and tell me what's there?
Chuck: What now?
Jimmy: Can you tell the court what that was?
Chuck: A battery.

The obligatory Breaking Bad call back, one I've been anxiously awaiting, was next: the return of Huell Babineaux!

Everyone's favorite sleepy henchman is back, and now we know how they came into each other's lives.

The last time we saw Huell on Breaking Bad, he was in custody at a D.E.A. safe house. We never found out what happened to him.

Losses and Gains - Better Call Saul

Jimmy went to Mike's contact, the vet Caldera, looking for some nefarious help with his plan.

Jimmy: I'm looking for someone with a light touch. I'm not talking about some teenager taking a five finger discount of string cheese at the local Stop and Shop. I need: highly skilled, high end, discreet. A real pro.
Caldera: You gotta fit him in a tight space?
Jimmy: I don't think so.
Caldera: I got just the guy, then.

We knew Huell was a pretty good pickpocket on Breaking Bad since he lifted the ricin cigarette from Jesse, even though Saul once said Huell had "fingers like hot dogs." 

Who knew he was a world-class thief? It was yet another instance of Vince Gilligan's attention to detail in service to his die-hard fans. 

I am very glad to have him on the show. Welcome back, big man!

The hook was set, and once Chuck pulled the battery out of his jacket pocket, the game was over, but not before we got a brilliant meltdown, courtesy of McKean.

Chuck: You think this is bad? This, this chicanery? He's done worse. That billboard: are you telling me that a man just happens to fall like that? No, he orchestrated it. Jimmy. He defecated through a sunroof, and I saved him. I shouldn't have. I took him into my own firm. What was I thinking? He'll never change. He'll never change. Ever since he was nine, always the same. Couldn't keep his hands out of the cash drawer. But not our Jimmy - couldn't be precious Jimmy! Stealing them blind, and HE gets to be a lawyer? What a sick joke! I should have stopped him when I had the chance. And you, you have to stop him!

Chuck devolved to an angry, petulant child in the space of two minutes. Gone forever was the smart, smug, slick, superior asshole.

All the years of inferiority were finally laid bare. The festering wound erupted, and all the vicious bile spewed forth.

The close up of Chuck's face, in full wild-eyed rant, was brilliant.

Only when he looked away at the board did he realize what he had done, but it was too late. 

The anguish on the faces of Rebecca, Howard, Kim, and the board was hard to look at, but Jimmy's sheer disgust at what he just did to his brother hit me in the pit of my stomach. 

We don't know the decision of the board yet, but it's pretty much a sure thing disbarment is off the table. Will Jimmy get suspended? Probably.

Will Chuck continue his vendetta against his brother? My guess is yes. 

All of the relationships on the show have been dealt a blow from this one event. Where they go from here is anyone's guess.

But the sad decline of Jimmy McGill just sped up, and I have a bad feeling the pace will increase. His relationship with his brother was one of the few things in his life that kept him in check. That's gone.

I loved this episode: it took all of Jimmy's relationships (other than Mike) and blew them up.

Kim and Jimmy ready for Battle - Better Call Saul Season 3 Episode 5

Will this create a wedge between Jimmy and Kim? I know she's got his back, but at some point, it must wear on her.

That's my take: give me yours. Where do you think it goes from here? Is this the last we see of Chuck? Does this essentially end that story arc? And what's next for Jimmy and Kim? And are you as excited to see the return of Huell as I am?

Of course, you can watch Better Call Saul online anytime, right here on TV Fanatic!

Chicanery Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
  • 5.0 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (18 Votes)
Show Comments
Tags: ,

Better Call Saul Season 3 Episode 5 Quotes

Jimmy: You gotta do something. You can't let her leave like this. Just tell her what's going on.
Chuck: No. No.
Jimmy: She'll understand. Would you rather she think you're a raging prick than know the truth?
Chuck: No.
Jimmy: Look, if you won't tell her then I will.
Chuck: No no no! You will not tell her. You WILL not tell her!

Jimmy: Chuck, you sure this is the right play? I mean, in my experience, the bigger the lie, the harder it can be to dig out.
Chuck: I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.