The following contains spoilers for seasons 1-3 of Better Call Saul.
Better Call Saul set out to tell the story of how con-man turned small-time lawyer Jimmy McGill became Breaking Bad’s Saul Goodman and, in doing so, introduced us to a cast characters that Jimmy would inevitably screw over, win back with his charms, and then screw over again. The most compelling and heartbreaking of these toxic relationships was the one between Jimmy and his perpetually ill brother Chuck (Michael McKean), which came to end in the season three finale when Chuck kills himself. The latest video from ScreenPrism takes a look back at Chuck McGill’s fall from grace and questions how much Jimmy had to do with his brother’s death.
At the outset of the series, we’re introduced to Chuck as a housebound former attorney who’s convinced he’s suffering from electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Jimmy has been forced into the role of caretaker and, despite his efforts to help Chuck, is often screwed over by his older brother, who refuses to believe in him. As an audience, we’re sympathetic to Jimmy. Yes, he’s made mistakes, but doesn’t he deserve a second chance?
As the series goes on, however, we begin to see through a number of flashbacks that Chuck’s psychosomatic illness may have its roots in his long-simmering hatred of his younger brother, who, despite repeated transgressions, has always been seen as the favorite. So far, the show has convinced us to root for Jimmy and, at many points, to root against Chuck. But what if, as ScreenPrism puts it, “we came into the story at a misleading point?” Chuck’s final confrontation with Jimmy and his tragic suicide force us to look back at the actions of our title character, who himself admits to being better at tearing things down than building anything up. Chuck urging his brother to embrace this part of his personality rather than pretend he’s better than it seems to be the first major push towards Jimmy going full Saul Goodman.
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