Better Call Saul: Season 3 – Episode 5 REVIEW

Better call saul chicanery lead

Every character in Better Call Saul has a choice to make, whether it’s the choice to act or to not act. The writers are careful to demonstrate this. Chuck definitely could have chosen not to testify against Jimmy, as Howard offered: “It’s a solid case.” Chuck didn’t have to be there, and if he hadn’t been then Jimmy’s plan would have fallen apart. But Jimmy knew his brother would testify because he knows how his brother works, just as Chuck knows how Jimmy works. It’s perpetual one-upmanship, and Jimmy punches twice this episode: first, with Rebecca, and second, with Huell slipping the battery into Chuck’s breast pocket.

Rebecca’s appearance isn’t all too different than it has been during any flashbacks, and it’s a surprising detail. Her hair is the same length and her outfit is similar. Other characters seem to change subtly through their hairstyles and makeup, but, with Rebecca, it’s as if no time has passed at all since her and Chuck’s separation. This episode doesn’t clear up any confusion on what the catalyst was for their split. It’s clear that in the flashback he’s still wearing his wedding ring and isn’t sure if he should remove it or not for when she pays a visit. And when Rebecca arrives at the court room per Jimmy’s invitation, she seems frustrated by Chuck’s unwillingness to be helped. She obviously wants to be there for her ex-husband. So who left who? Perhaps, their careers simply didn’t align and put a strain on their relationship. She’s off on tour frequently and he’s absorbed in the law above anything else. All speculation best saved for next week’s episode, as Rebecca says she’ll be staying in town for a couple days.

Now for Jimmy’s second punch: Huell slipping the battery into Chuck’s breast pocket. For Breaking Bad fans, seeing Huell run into Chuck on the staircase was a clever implication on what to expect. Huell’s pickpocketing played an integral role in Breaking Bad more than once, and this was a nice introduction to his character for Better Call Saul. Season three is wasting no time in preparing us for Saul Goodman’s entrance, letting us know it’s just around the corner.

But let’s rewind back to the beginning of ‘Chicanery’ with the idea of Choice. In the flashback, Jimmy said he’d tell Rebecca about the electromagnetic hypersensitivity if Chuck didn’t, and Chuck insisted on not telling her. Jimmy obeyed. Those were two choices: Chuck not telling Rebecca and Jimmy not telling Rebecca. Those were two choices that wound up affecting the future where both brothers were going head-to-head in a courtroom — remember in the flashback, how Rebecca expressed her amazement with Chuck that Jimmy had become a lawyer? This episode gave the audience instant gratification, demonstrating cause and effect attached to a single character: Rebecca. And what it should be signaling in our heads is this: if Rebecca narrowly escaped this brotherly entanglement, what will happen to Kim?

Right after the teaser, we see Kim wrapping up her deal with Mesa Verde. She tells them about the allegations Jimmy is facing, and she’s asked if this will affect Mesa Verde at all. Kim takes a moment to feign confidence and say that everything will be fine. But we know better. We’ve seen the future. We’ve seen the past-past. Now we’re seeing the present-past, and we know that when somebody backs Jimmy into a corner he’ll think of a way out — in that way, he’s not too different from a Walter White. Chuck is right in what he says about Jimmy in that courtroom. Jimmy has a way of doing some terrible things in a way that’s almost noble. Can Kim narrowly escape this brotherly entanglement before the next five episodes wrap?


Last-minute observations

Better Call Saul chicanery– That last long camera take of Chuck losing it in the courtroom. Heartbreaking and masterful. Nothing more could be said except that it hurt just as badly as it was fun to watch.

– Soon as Jimmy whispered something about a delayed flight and then started stalling with Kim, I said to my fiancée, “I bet it’s Rebecca. Why else would they show her in the teaser?” That felt real good soon as she walked in. But I also felt bad for both Rebecca and Chuck because I knew that neither of them would escape that room without feeling some ugly things.

– No Mike this week. Not even a glimpse. But it’s suggested that the vet introduced Jimmy to Huell. Now where’s Bill Burr? So it seems that we have another spin-off show around the corner: Better Get the Vet.

– For those who purposefully don’t watch the teasers for next week’s episode, SPOILERS AHEAD. Alright, so we heard Kim say the name, “Saul Goodman.” I’m betting Jimmy writes it down for some reason, maybe uses it as a fake name to pass a document by somewhere. There’s no way he creates a new law persona by the sixth episode.

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