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Topic: BETTER CALL SAUL, season 3 Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Rob Ocelot
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Joined: 07 December 2008
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Posted: 23 May 2017 at 4:56pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

It would be good if Jimmy were the bigger man, and returned Chuck's spite with kindness.

I think Jimmy did that for the better part of two years.  We had one, if not two times already in the series where Chuck admitted to Jimmy he was the one who nixxed any partnership opportunity he had at HHM (the "chimp with a machinegun" scene).  You can only take so much of that disappointment and abuse for so long.

Put another way: 

Chuck was 100% willing to rat on his brother to teach him a lesson.  He put the law before family.  While he's technically in the right, the minute you treat your familiars like they were a stranger you will lose them for good.  Chuck also leveraged his considerable goodwill among the legal community, which probably will make more problems for Jimmy down the line.  A pretty low move dragging outsiders into a family argument. 

When a member of your close family commits a crime -- a petty one, would you turn them in?  How about if it was a heinous crime like rape or murder?  Those are two extremes of a very large continuum and you may give two different answers.  Where does white collar fraud land in there?  I'm not saying what Jimmy did was excusable but Chuck really only pursued this because of a compulsion to always be right and a need to always be one rung of the ladder higher than Jimmy.

So when Jimmy has nothing to lose, he turns around and teaches Chuck a lesson about what his obsession is doing to both himself and his family.  Jimmy had repeatedly refused to have Chuck committed.   He chose family before the letter of the law and was not repaid in kind. 

 I'm sure Jimmy will eventually regret taking things too far.  The bigger question is, will Chuck have any of the same regrets?


Edited by Rob Ocelot on 23 May 2017 at 4:58pm
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Nelson Zeppilli
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Posted: 23 May 2017 at 5:54pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Wonderful episode again.

Some comments:

The many outfits Jimmy is wearing in this episode are a great way of conveying how he's at a point where he doesn't know who to be. He can't be James McGill the lawyer (from a legal stand-point but also in character, as is showing his failing tirade in front of the "little Hitler"). He can't be Slippin' Jimmy, as it would disappoint his girl. And his plan of becoming Saul Goodman the director is also falling flat. Frustrated, angry and in desperate need of money, who can he become? This is obviously the moment for Saul the bad guy to come to life.

It was nice to see Mike falling for the navy guy's wife but it also had a bitter-sweet taste of tragedy. We know she won't be there later on. And whatever happens between them can only end badly.

Also, I loved how the writers prepared us for the amazing last scene by having Kim similarily breaking up and showing her vulnerability in front of her friend at Mesa Verde. When Jimmy begins to cry (and damn was it moving), we expect the same kind of vibe which only adds to the power of the "twist".
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 23 May 2017 at 8:58pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

The tragic inevitability of Jimmy's transformation into Saul is what differentiates BCS from BREAKING BAD, I think. Walter White had an any number of ways and opportunities to get out of the meth business--as early as episode six, when Elliot and Gretchen Schwartz offered to pay for his cancer treatment, and he turned them down.

With Jimmy McGill, well, the universe keeps working against him. He's tried and tried to build himself up into a respectable and moral person. He's just trying to make an honest living and to do right by his loved ones. But, he keeps getting betrayed and beaten down. He really hasn't had the opportunities that Walt had to turn his life around, to CHOOSE to not go down the path of criminality. There's a terrible, tragic sense that Chuck's jealousy and resentment are what really pushed Jimmy down this path, in a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Yes, Jimmy is a conman at heart, but his heart was still in the right place, until Chuck broke it.

If BREAKING BAD was all about Walter White's totally voluntary transformation into a monster, then I'd say BETTER CALL SAUL is more about Jimmy McGill asking himself, "Who am I?", and trying out one ill-fitting identity after another. Even at the end(?) of the story, chronologically speaking, he's still hiding behind a false identity, and is suppressing his true self (out of necessity, since he's on the lam from the law). 

We're not quite there, yet, but it very much seems that Saul Goodman, the self-made "criminal" lawyer, IS his true self, his ego unleashed. The worst parts of himself, perhaps, but an honest version of Jimmy McGill, given the emotional damage and frustration he's suffered. Sort of like bullied and belittled Peter Parker becoming a self-involved jerk after gaining great power. Saul Goodman is Jimmy's McGill's "great power" and "they'll be sorry they laughed at me" identity, but without the lesson about great responsibility to balance it out.


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 23 May 2017 at 9:02pm
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Nelson Zeppilli
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Posted: 24 May 2017 at 3:52am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Well put, Greg. BB and BCS have in common that they both show the tragedy of their main protagonist transforming into his bad self but Walter revealing to be, in the end, evil at heart while Jimmy being, at his core, a very lovable guy.

However, as lovable as he can be, Jimmy was never a good guy. He was a conman and, presumably, didn't only stole from bad people (and even that wouldn't equal to being a good guy). But he did not commit his crimes because he was evil but rather out of weakness. And he tried very, very hard to overcome his flaws, out of love for Chuck and Kim, which makes his failure even more sad.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 24 May 2017 at 9:39pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Coincidentally, the question of whether or not Jimmy's destiny is the result of nature or nurture came up on the latest BCS Insider Podcast. The creators said that, while they have their own ideas about the matter, the show is very much about exploring that question. They might also even be surprised by the answer they end up with, if there can be a definitive answer.
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