Better Call Saul Season 3 finale reaction: Lantern

Jimmy and Kim attempt to mend their lives and Nacho’s plan finally comes to fruition. Finally, Better Call Saul Season 3 leaves us with a dark moment to wallow in.

Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) and Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) in Episode 10 Photo by Michele K. Short/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

The episode begins with Kim recovering from the injuries she suffered in a near fatal car accident at the conclusion of Fall. With her workload and sleeping habits causing the incident, Jimmy lovingly takes care of Kim and even collects her caseload paperwork at the scene of the crash. Jimmy’s face throughout ordeal conveys a man who blames himself that Kim had to work harder and take on a new client to stay on top of the overhead of the new office.

Kim not only appreciates Jimmy’s care, but realizes that she has been putting work first lately. She also realizes that she easily could’ve killed someone or even herself. Later, when a client calls, she almost goes back into her usual work routine. Instead, with her mortality in mind, she decides to take a step back and has Francesca push back all her meetings and hands off her new lucrative client as well. With time off, Kim is able to focus on her mental state and get some much-needed relaxation. It was quite humorous to see Kim in “Blockbuster and Chill mode” (Seriously, I thought Blockbusters were defunct before the millennium).

Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) and Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) in Episode 10 Photo by Michele K. Short/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

Meanwhile, at HHM, the boardroom of lawyers is at a standstill with Chuck’s declaration of (legal) war. Chuck uses his usual tactics to take control of the boardroom, noting that the lawsuit will be drawn out, expensive and above all, embarrassing. Howard barely bats an eye at this familiar ploy. He hands Chuck a buyout check out of his personal funds and bids him farewell in front of the entire company. Howard is exhausted over Chuck’s mental illness and his obsessive nature over anyone who wrongs him. Honestly, I’m surprised it took him this long to see the light.

Jimmy, after almost losing Kim, is reminded of another loved one and attempts to mend fences with Chuck. Jimmy is unaware that Chuck has been ousted from HHM and is shocked to discover that Chuck is living with active appliances and electronics. Unfortunately, after Jimmy states that he should have handled things differently, Chuck isn’t’ having any of it. After hearing Jimmy spills his emotions regarding the state of their relationship, Chuck rips into Jimmy in a similar fashion to the courtroom scene back in my personal favorite episode this season, Chicanery. Only this time, it’s not pent-up frustration and his slow delivery of each line shows that this was thought out and deliberate. He delivers his final hateful line to his little brother:

I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but the truth is…you’ve never mattered all that much to me.

Michael McKean, who expertly plays Chuck, skillfully delivers it as if it was a throwaway line. Jimmy literally has no words and can only walk out of that house before he does something he regrets. Or perhaps Jimmy has finally given up on Chuck. After he emotionally takes down Jimmy, Chuck removes the last remaining person that cared for him, and possibly the last person who gave him purpose. Chuck has nothing left to fix; he can only live. Unfortunately, Chuck’s mind refuses to rest. He obsessively rips apart his home looking for that last remaining piece of electricity that he can still feel. In his anger and frustration, he eventually breaks his walls open and destroys his meter reader

The Cartel plot line hits its apex in the finale. Gus has finally taken complete control of the transportation of product and Hector is not happy about it. He goes into a tirade about how the Salamancas built the Cartel and now they’ve been replaced. His anger sends him into possible cardiac arrest thus forcing a very foreseen moment. Gus provides Hector with CPR while Nacho smartly switches the pills back to the originals. Gus can’t allow Hector to die under his watch, not to mention his biggest reason, he wants to do the deed himself. With Hector (somewhat) out-of-the-way, I wonder what this means for Nacho’s relationships with his father and the cartel.

Gustavo “Gus” Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) in Episode 10 Photo by Michele K. Short/Sony Pictures Television/AMC

The final moments in the hour gives the episode its name. Chuck’s home is destroyed, he can’t sleep, he’s without friends, he’s without family and it is officially his lowest point in the series. Chuck, glassy-eyed, continually kicks the table in front of him, the consistent thud is the only sound in the scene. Chuck barely blinks when the lantern that sits on the table falls. From outside, a fire is shown engulfing the living room. The suicide prevention PSA and phone number that follows the episode puts to rest any notion that this was accidental.

Chuck McGill isn’t one of my favorite people, but he’s definitely my favorite to watch and witnessing Mckean methodically act his way through Chuck’s many emotions and breakdowns was privilege to watch. I will definitely miss the character and look forward to how the rest of the characters will react to this death.

Final Thoughts

I’m glad that Jimmy attempted to mend fences with Chuck, but unfortunately, Chuck’s last words will resonate with him forever. It’s probably a defining moment for his transition into Saul Goodman. Jimmy McGill no longer has any family ties holding him down, doubting his abilities…or standing in the way of his Breaking Bad narrative. He’s still a good person at heart though, and the fact that he went out of his way to fix Irene’s friendships serves to prove that. That being said, his moral compass still stands in the way of officially declaring him Breaking Bad’s Saul Goodman.

Elsewhere, Kim Wexler is looking to embrace life…despite living in an era before Netflix’s invention. Nacho’s character has come far along this season, and I’m excited to see how he will continue to cover his tracks from the rest of the cartel. I believe it’s almost a guarantee that Gus is already suspecting that he’s working against the Salamancas. Next season will have the cartel plot line escalating with Mike officially working for Gus. Jimmy will be dealing with a traumatic loss and Kim will have to be there for a distraught Jimmy now whilst taking a break from the law. Better Call Saul Season 4 can’t come soon enough!