December 6, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Better Call Saul “Mabel”

Season Three, Episode One.

So, it occurs to me as I sit down to write this third season premier write-up that, in many ways, Chuck isn’t exactly wrong about Jimmy.  I’ve seen Breaking Bad.  I know a lot of people will get hurt in a scheme that Jimmy will be connected to.

However, Chuck may be a little responsible for it as well if his role in Jimmy’s life didn’t push Jimmy a certain way.

If there’s a theme to this episode, it might be one of guilt.  Jimmy doesn’t feel guilty about what he did, even as Chuck got him on tape admitting to a felony, but there is a moment where, under a series of accusations from an Air Force officer he tricked in an earlier episode while putting his TV commercial together, that he feels like this man was berating him the same way Chuck does and even momentarily seems to respond as if the guy is Chuck.

But earlier, Jimmy stops and tells Kim that, for the merest of moments, he felt like he and Chuck were talking to each other like it was the old days when the two were (presumably) close and it felt nice.  Then Chuck became Chuck again, and that was the end of that.  It’s clear to me that Jimmy really misses whatever comradery and familial affection he had with his older brother.  Jimmy really looked up to Chuck and perhaps the reason he went into the law was to be more like Chuck, and then Chuck more or less prevented that because Chuck can’t see Jimmy as anything other than that con man that he was at one point and may or may not be trying to get away from.

True, Jimmy can only really do things the Jimmy way, but he really wanted a relationship with Chuck.  Chuck, meanwhile, only wanted one under his own conditions.

Meanwhile, there’s Chuck, and does he feel bad about anything?  Does he see his own culpability in Jimmy’s being where he is?  No.  He does have his tape.  He plays it for Howard, and both men basically know it’s inadmissible in court.  He sets it up for Ernesto to hear part of it.  And that Ernesto thing…yeah, that was the sort of thing Jimmy would do.  Chuck really is Jimmy’s brother with more polish.

How about Mike?  Does he feel guilty?  What for?  He spends the episode figuring out how someone knew he was trying to take out a crime boss with a sniper rifle and sets a trap to find the guy himself.

No, oddly enough, the only one feeling guilty seems to be Kim, blanching while chatting with a bank rep and being more obsessive with proofreading paperwork than she probably should.  Kim, who probably hasn’t done anything wrong, is the one showing signs of guilt.  Scheming, exasperation, and stubborn determination, that’s what the men seem to be experiencing.  Kim feels guilty.  And she’s probably the most innocent person in the bunch.