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‘Better Call Saul’ Recap: “Lantern”

Cameron Lee ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Spoiler Alert: This recap contains spoilers for season 3 episode 10 of Better Call Saul

As previously stated in the recap for the premiere of this season, Better Call Saul at its core is a tragedy. Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) is a tragic figure not because of what he does in the show but because we know what happens to him in end. He becomes the very person that Chuck (Michael McKean) always knew he was deep down. This finale felt more like a Breaking Bad episode in terms of tone and content: it was dark, often heartbreaking, and mesmerizing all the way through.

We begin with a quick flashback of a young Jimmy being read to by a young Chuck. The camera slowly moves closer to the bright light of a nearby lantern and the scene cuts to black. Back in the present, Jimmy rushes to the hospital after Kim’s (Rhea Seehorn) car accident and finds her with a broken arm. She is discharged from the hospital and is taken back to their apartment by Jimmy. Kim wakes up to find Jimmy making her breakfast; their chemistry has always been a highlight of the show, but this scene wouldn’t have the same impact it does without it. Jimmy feels responsible for the accident and for all of Kim’s struggles recently. Jimmy and Kim agree to break the lease on their office and move on. Kim cancels all of appointments for the week and goes out with Francesca to rent a bunch of DVDs from Blockbuster (I forgot this was a period piece).

Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn in ‘Better Call Saul’. Photo courtesy of AMC.

Meanwhile, Howard (Patrick Fabian) forces Chuck out of HHM by personally paying him millions of dollars out of his own pocket. Howard simply tells Chuck, “You’ve won,” and solemnly walks Chuck out to a cheering crowd of employees who greet him on his way to his taxi. Jimmy goes to make amends with Chuck, but this leads to perhaps the most heartbreaking conversation this show has ever written (and that’s saying a lot). Chuck completely destroys Jimmy telling him, “In the end, you’re going to hurt everyone around you. You can’t help it. So stop apologizing and accept it, embrace it. Frankly, I’d have more respect for you if you did.” Jimmy tries to argue with Chuck to no avail before Chuck finally tells him, “I don’t want to hurt your feelings. But the truth is, you’ve never mattered all that much to me.” Jimmy quietly leaves Chuck’s house not knowing that this would be the last conversation he will ever have with his brother. It’s such a tragic yet appropriate way to end their troubled relationship this way.

Jimmy tries to cheer Irene up but is unsuccessful. He tries to convince Irene’s friends to start over with her but again is unsuccessful in his attempts in fact it only makes Irene’s friends like Jimmy more than Irene. Fearing he’s about to ruin a poor old woman’s life, he devises a plan to make things right again. While teaching the senior citizens’ yoga class Jimmy “accidentally” leaves his microphone on and admits to manipulating his clients when talking to his young competitor, the lawyer Erin. This gives Irene her friends back and also cancels the settlement deal; it also leaves everyone hating Jimmy.

Meanwhile Nacho’s (Michael Mando) plan to kill Hector kind of works. During a meeting with Gus (Giancarlo Esposito), Hector loses his cool and takes more of his pills which leads to him having a heart attack. While everyone is trying to save Hector Nacho picks up all the poison pills and switches it with the real pills.

In the end, Chuck’s illnesses starts to act up again and he starts to tear down his entire house in search of a wire. The montage that goes with this scene is difficult to watch and is perhaps the best montage this show has produced. Jimmy and Kim move out of their office and admire their mural one last time before they drive off together. Later that night, Chuck, now a broken man, with books and papers all around him, kicks a lantern over, setting his house ablaze and ending his life.

So much pain and darkness flows through this finale that it was often difficult to watch at points. Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould should be proud for this season as it was by far their best season and a remarkable piece of television.

Episode Grade: A

Season Grade: A  

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