Review of Better Call Saul Season 3 – Chicanery; Can You Handle The Truth?!

The show has taken a courtroom drama turn as the legal issues between the brothers are finally threshed out and all in one episode as well. While there had been 3 episodes from the time Chuck managed to tape a confession from Jimmy, this episode closes the issue of Chuck’s attempt to get Jimmy disbarred once and for all.

Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) pulls off the con of his life. He gets Chuck (Michael Mckean) to confess on record in his own disbarment hearing not only that his ailment is imaginary, he also admits his hate for Jimmy in a raving, incoherent performance (not to mention potentially Emmy award winning) that will damage Chuck so much his own disbarment may be in order.

And it does not stop there. Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian) in an earlier scene tries to convince Chuck that his appearance in the courtroom was unnecessary, mentioning that it was his responsibility to care for sensitive papers and that their being in Chuck’s house instead of staying in company offices may negatively impact the firm’s reputation. Needless to say it has done exactly that and this may strain their partnership as well.

Then finally Jimmy invites Chuck’s ex – wife Rebecca to the hearing in a calculated move to shake Chuck as much as he can. While Chuck shrugs this tactic off initially it obviously works to break him when the word ‘schizophrenia’ was tossed in the air, possibly embarrassing him in front of her. He feels he has to regain lost face but eventually falls for Jimmy’s trap and launches into his incomprehensible rant that pushes him off the edge.

Finally this is a testament to Jimmy’s prowess in the courtroom, delivering a performance about as good as Tom Cruises’. What he did demanded exact timing, choreography and a perfection of execution that is beyond theater, and on top of that all predicated on the potential that Chuck will blow his top. While delicious to watch throughout this scene is actually the one that reminds me most that this is a TV show after all. Any of a thousand little things could have happened that would have thrown a wrench in the proceedings.

What if Chuck had felt chill at the time? What if he had taken tea or a pill to relax, or done something of the sort considering how important this was to him and that he didn’t want his condition to be an issue? What if Rebecca’s appearance soothed instead of disturbed him? What if the judges did not provide the leeway Kim worked on earlier to allow Jimmy the opening to rile Chuck up later? What if one of them was just having a bad day and decided he didn’t like the look of him regardless of Chuck’s rant? Any of these could have gotten in the way of Chuck’s losing it, but Jimmy stuck it out and it worked in his stead.

So what now?

If there’s anything we have all learned from watching any of Vince Gilligan‘s shows it is that if it appears calm it is because a storm is coming. Today he has given everyone a break and made us feel good. Jimmy’s superior, self righteous SOB of a brother had it coming and it has come in spades. His ass has been so solidly kicked he not only did not achieve his goal he might even be disbarred himself and not to mention losing the respect of his peers and maybe even his own partnership.

Everything’s great now. Jimmy and Kim can go back working on their little successful firm. Unless something comes up. And something always does.

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