November 30, 2023

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Better Call Saul “Pimento”

Season One, Episode NIne.

Hey, it’s Colin Robinson!

OK, it’s really actor-comedian Mark Proksch as the world’s nerdiest drug dealer, hiring Mike to do some bodyguard work.  It’s a good subplot, and while Proksch isn’t playing What We Do in the Shadows‘s hilarious energy vampire, he sure does seem like the kind of guy who could drain the energy out of people just by being a bit dull.

But that’s not what I want to talk about right now.

So, I have been curious why exactly Jimmy hates Howard, and my best guess has been that Howard had blocked Jimmy’s attempts to get ahead in his career.  What little I’ve seen of all that suggests as much.  Howard was the one who denied Jimmy a chance to be a lawyer at HHM.

The thing is…what if it wasn’t Howard?

OK, true confessions time:  it’s really hard not to know anything about a show that was this big while it was on the air years after the fact.  I don’t know everything and have been pretty good at avoiding spoilers for the most part, but some things did seep through here and there.  The fact is I knew there was some inkling of a conflict between the McGill brothers, with Chuck being one of Jimmy’s biggest obstacles to becoming, well, whatever he becomes.  I even had a really vague idea what that was, namely that Chuck doesn’t approve of the way Jimmy does things as a lawyer.  The flashbacks only offered a hint of that, namely the one where Chuck got Jimmy out of prison.

But this is the episode where Jimmy figures all that out, and Chuck’s true feelings for the brother that has been trying to do the right thing, not slide into his old con man ways, and basically make something of himself come out.  Chuck believes, rightfully, that he and Jimmy can’t work the nursing home case on their own and should take it to HHM.  Jimmy doesn’t want to, but he swallows his pride and goes to Howard–with Chuck who gets a standing ovation when he walks in the door–to see about working the case together.  HHM will take the case but not Jimmy.  Even though Jimmy did the legwork finding the case and all, they’ll give him a financial stake and send him on his way, something Jimmy is not willing to do, but he will acquiesces in the end after Kim intervenes.

I mean, Kim asked Howard why he hates Jimmy, and while Howard doesn’t say anything on screen…has there ever been any indication that Howard hates Jimmy?  Jimmy hates Howard for sure.  But Jimmy was also willing to work with Howard from time to time, and he seemed to mostly interact with Howard for the sake of Chuck. Howard on his end never seemed to show actual animosity towards Jimmy.  Point is, it looks like Howard basically hit Kim with something really hard, enough that she won’t share it, and enough for Jimmy to wonder why the cell phone he left outside in Chuck’s mailbox is out of power.

Yeah, in a moment that makes perfect sense, it was never Howard that blocked Jimmy.  It was Chuck.  Chuck, the guy who more or less needed Jimmy’s help getting supplies.  Chuck, the guy who helped Jimmy clean up his act.  Chuck is, for lack of a better term, a law snob.  He doesn’t believe people can change, he doesn’t respect Jimmy’s law school alma mater, and he doesn’t respect the way Jimmy handles his law career.

So, every time Howard blocked Jimmy, it was actually Chuck who was blocking Jimmy.

The scene, showing Jimmy’s heartache at learning the one man he thought was in his corner was the exact opposite, and the way Chuck goes from slightly befuddled man with some serious health issues (at least of a mental variety) to this hardass who berates his brother for trying to make something of himself, it was the sort of scene that makes a show like this great.  I know where Jimmy will end up.  It’s in the series’s title.  Chuck isn’t exactly wrong that Jimmy won’t change.

But what if the reason Jimmy didn’t change was because Chuck never believed Jimmy would do any better than the HHM mailroom?

See?  Law snob.

And this is only season one?  Man, this show is soooooooooo good.