November 28, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Better Call Saul “Smoke”

Season Four, Episode One.

Well, Chuck’s dead.  Jimmy’s greatest nemesis is no more.

That could be a problem.

As I see it, and Jimmy’s general depression for most of this episode suggests something to me that could be a major issue down the road:  without Chuck, Jimmy has no one to either impress or defy.  Chuck was that guy, the disapproving or stonefaced big brother Jimmy initially aspired to be and then later went out of his way to get back at because, well, the feeling wasn’t mutual.  Without that sort of direction, could Jimmy possibly, I dunno, get into more trouble?

On the surface, Jimmy without Chuck was basically Slippin’ Jimmy the con man.  Given the chance (by Chuck’s intervention) to turn over a new leaf, he decided to try and follow in his big brother’s footsteps.  True, he did it in his own way, but he was trying.  For Chuck, that wasn’t enough.  Whether it was because of Jimmy’s style or just a general distaste for Jimmy going back years, Chuck could not or would not approve of Jimmy McGill, Attorney at Law.

How different would the world had been if Chuck hadn’t thought Jimmy’s alma mater was somehow not a “real” law school?  Oh, and nice detail that Jimmy has a sweatshirt of said school.

Instead, pretty much everything Jimmy was doing was because of Chuck.  He was taking care of Chuck, trying to impress Chuck with his legal skills, and when that proved to be worthless, he completely turned on his brother.  Jimmy’s not a monster.  He still made an effort to make things up to Chuck, but by then it was too late.  Chuck had his own problems, many of them related to Jimmy–arguably the first three seasons of Better Call Saul are about the dark symbiotic relationship between Jimmy and Chuck McGill–but as Chuck is dead, that could leave Jimmy adrift.  And since Kim already seems to be on Jimmy’s side, she’s not really the sort of adversary that Jimmy needs to keep himself on track.  Who else can fill that role?

Howard?  He’s blaming himself for Chuck’s death.  Jimmy is inclined to let him.

Mike?  He’s actually acting like a security consultant and not just one on paper while his stolen money is laundered.

Nacho?  He barely knows Jimmy and has his own problems following Don Hector’s stroke and Gus Fring’s attention.

No, Jimmy needed Chuck to be a better person in a weird sort of way, and without Chuck, Jimmy may only go to a much darker place.

That may be why the “Gene” segment seemed to take up so much time this episode.  Jimmy’s darkness is going to be a lot more prominent going forward.