Title: Better Call Saul: “Chicanery”
Air Date: May 8st, 2017
Genre: Drama, Crime-Thriller
Better Call Saul’s brilliance lies in its subtlety and patience. “Chicanery” is easily the best episode of this season, and it’s as a result of everything that came before it.
For the first time in a long time, and the first time this season, the entire episode is devoted to Jimmy’s story arc. I love Mike’s storyline and I think it has amazing scenes and builds up, but sometimes they can take away from the pace and timing of the story being told about our main character.
Everything that took place in this episode was there for a reason, even if it wasn’t plain to see at first. Rebecca has been a key part to the not only Chucks current state – as they reference later – but to the complicated nature of the relationship between the two Mcgill brothers.
Better Call Saul has consistently done a fantastic job of garnering sympathy for Chuck, despite everything that is currently going on between him and Jimmy, as well as his condescending and smug attitude at times. It’s not the first time they’ve shown Chuck reacting to an electromagnetic pulse and giving perspective on how he feels via camera work and sound, but this one was one of the harder to watch given the situation.
The whole thing is wrapped up in a nice painful bow even before Chuck throws the phone and doesn’t admit to his condition. Like a lot of Better Call Saul – being that it is a prequel – we as the audience already knew that Chuck and Rebecca are divorced, but seeing scenes like this and Jimmy’s role in them substantiates just how bad current situation and relationship are at the current point in Better Call Saul.
Not only is Jimmy helping Chuck lie, even offering him the advice that “From personal experience, the bigger the lie, the harder it can be to dig out,” you can see how happy he is for Chuck when their conversation is going well and how troubled he is when he hears the phone ring.
The show, don’t tell approach to all of this, and everything they’ve shown in previous episodes made everything that occurred leading up to and during the trial that much more satisfying and simultaneously tragic.
There are so many things done in this episode that lead up to it, that it feels more like a math equation than the climax to a television plot line. First, there is the given insight into Chuck practicing his lines for the court, stating “I love my brother” and what not in different ways, and writing them off because it wouldn’t sound sincere to the court. Thus making all the statements he’s said in previous episodes feel just as insincere.
Then there’s all the planning and misdirection on Kim and Jimmy’s part. Flying Rebecca in, sending her the photo’s, using the photos in court and all after Chuck’s defense of play acting allowed jimmy to make his mental health relevant, allowing him to use evidence. All on the surface made to seem like it was, in reality, Jimmy’s main plan to have Chuck breakdown.
But the return of the greatest character of all time – HUEL’S BACK BABY – spelled otherwise, but not before even more misdirection. Despite everything Chuck says to confirm he harbors a grudge against Jimmy for everything he did when he was young, especially stealing from his father’s business, the scene is still hard to watch. The solemn look on everyone’s face, and Chucks attempt to compose himself after breaking down, again, despite all he’s done to our beloved main character, made me feel for Chuck.
On a side note, considering how Chuck took getting a single number wrong for the Mesa Verde file, the fallout from this might not only explain why the older Mcgill brother isn’t in Breaking Bad, it may also put jimmy over the edge, depending on what Chuck does.
Breaking Bad can keep its drug trade and murder drama as a means of enticing viewers, it’s episodes like Chicanery that support my statement that Better Call Saul is the better of the two shows.
Did you catch last night’s episode of Better Call Saul? If so, what did you think? What scene or scenes did you like the most? What are your predictions for season 3? Be sure to let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to check back each week for the lead-up and coverage of the shows next episode immediately after it airs on AMC at 10 PM EST.
- Return of Huel
- Focus on the Mcgills
- Nothing for this episode