Better Call Saul Review: “Chicanery” Has Jimmy and Chuck Going Head-To-Head

Does Chuck have any affection towards Jimmy? We know that he didn’t want him to go to jail, but he did want him to lose his law license. He already revealed that ‘Slippin Jimmy’ with a law degree was too dangerous for this world, but did that really mean he truly hated his brother? That question and more were finally answered in a very grounded and unexpectedly great episode.

Leave it to Better Call Saul to take what should have been a slow, boring, law procedural and turn it into an amazing night of television and one of the standout episodes of the series thus far. Last week’s episode focused more on Gus and Mike and showed little of Jimmy, Kim, and Chuck. The brief moment we have with their storyline showed Jimmy and Kim being excited that Chuck would be playing the incriminating tape of Jimmy in the upcoming bar hearing. Why was this a good thing? Wouldn’t playing that tape incriminate Jimmy and get his license to practice law revoked?

Those questions weren’t answered until the very end the episode, but that didn’t take away from the captivating episode. The opener gave us another glimpse of the past with a dinner between Jimmy, Chuck, and Rebecca, Chuck’s ex-wife. The scene begins with Jimmy helping Chuck remove all the electronics in the house and coming up with a con to get Rebecca to stay for a romantic dinner. At one point, Chuck asks Jimmy if he should keep his wedding ring on, signaling that he and Rebecca are divorced. The reason for the flashback isn’t just to show more of Jimmy and Chuck’s relationship before everything happened at HHM, but also to show that Chuck never revealed his condition to Rebecca. Chuck would rather have Rebecca think he’s a jerk than to reveal that there is something wrong with him.

The flashback provided a great reintroduction to Rebecca who is brought back into the world of the McGill brothers as Jimmy invites her to the bar hearing to “be there for Chuck.” Chuck immediately knows that Jimmy is up to something. The only reason he would get Rebecca involved would be to throw Chuck off and distract him from his testimony against Jimmy. Rebecca’s presence comes into play later in the episode and does exactly what Chuck said it would.

The moments during the hearing were a masterclass in acting, as Kim (Rhea Seehorn) and Hamlin (Patrick Fabian) had a phenomenal scene together. You can see Kim’s anger and resentment towards Hamlin with every word she spoke. Hamlin remains cool calm and collected. Patrick Fabian hasn’t had a lot to do this season, but every scene he has been in has been memorable. Their scene was a nice warm up for the scene between Jimmy and Chuck that culminated in what will sure to be the performance that gives Michael McKean multiple award nominations.

Earlier in the episode, Jimmy visits the Veterinarian (Mike’s go-to guy when you need to get your hands on something) and leads us to one of the best Breaking Bad cameos to date. Huell Babineaux (Lavell Crawford) helped plant Jimmy cell phone battery in Chuck’s coat pocket, which led the revelation that Chuck’s disease is not real and it is all in his head. Jimmy proving this in front of Rebecca and Hamlin broke Chuck and sent him on a tirade that proved how much he actually hated his brother. Writing about Michael McKean’s performance won’t do it justice, I recommend watching this episode immediately because it truly was one of the best of the series.

Chicanery Rating: 10/10

Al Mannarino is the associate editor and photographer for Pop Break. He is also host of the News Over Brews Podcast, Loot Care Unboxed, Backstage Break, and the producer of Behind the Brews. He graduated Rowan University with a degree in Radio/TV/Film & History. When he isn’t writing he is either trying to build his own TARDIS or taking a nap. Follow him on Twitter: @almannarino. His photo website is: http://alfredmannarino.com

1 COMMENT

  1. Great review of a great episode – possibly the best of the series so far. I often feel that “Better Call Saul,” for as entertaining as it usually is, doesn’t know what kind of show it wants to be, but this focused, back-to-basics episode was a triumph of writing and acting. Bravo, Michael McKean.

Comments are closed.