Better Call Saul!
Season 4 of Better Call Saul starts Monday, August 6th. Since AMC is showing a preview of the next season of The Walking Dead on Sunday, AMC chose to run a Walking Dead marathon all day, so there’s no Better Call Saul marathon to refresh your memory or fill in what you may have missed. If you’re a little vague on what happened last season, here’s a Better Call Saul season 3 recap.
I’ll cover the major plot points from season 3 of Better Call Saul and also a quick summary of important plot points from earlier seasons.
Quick Summary of Seasons 1 and 2 of Better Call Saul
Better Call Saul is, primarily, the story of how Jimmy McGill becomes Saul Goodman, the lawyer whose clients included Walter White in AMC’s show, Breaking Bad. Along the way we’re seeing a lot of familiar characters from Breaking Bad, most notably Mike Ehrmantraut and Gus Fring. Though this article is mean to be a Better Call Saul season 3 recap, here’s a very quick summary of plot points from the first two seasons involving Jimmy, Chuck and Kim that will be relevant in seasons 3 and 4.
At the start, Jimmy McGill is somewhat of a ne’er-do-well, but he seems to have a good heart. The younger brother of Charles McGill, Esquire, his secret goal in life is to be a lawyer like his brother. Chuck is a founding partner in the large law firm, Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill, and is acknowledged by his colleges to be one of the great legal minds in the city, if not the country.
He also has a “condition” that he describes as an extreme sensitivity to electricity, but which has been proven to really be a mental illness. As a result, he lives in a home where the power is turned off. He can’t go out; he has groceries brought to him, and ice to keep them cold. During the first season, he’s on medical leave of absence from the law firm.
Jimmy worked in the mailroom at HH&M and at the same time got his law degree via correspondence course, and passed the New Mexico bar exam. This was before Chuck’s illness, and Chuck was less than enthusiastic upon hearing the news. Jimmy had hoped, maybe assumed, that HH&M would hire him as a lawyer, but they didn’t — using the excuse of nepotism, despite the fact that the two Hamlins were father and son (the father now deceased, the son being Howard Hamlin, a man slightly younger than Chuck who is almost inexplicably supportive of Chuck despite his illness).
Another employee of HH&M is Kim Wexler, Jimmy’s romantic interest. In season 2, Jimmy asks her to be a law partner, wanting the two of them to form a practice together. Instead, Kim, worried about Jimmy’s sometimes not-completely-above-board antics, proposes they share an office and staff while legally each practicing law as a sole proprietor. They rent a former dental office, renovate it and hire Francesca Liddy, a less-jaded version of the character who is Saul Goodman’s receptionist in Breaking Bad, as office manager.
Kim left HH&M to start her own practice largely because Mesa Verde, a local bank that is a client of HH&M, agreed to retain Kim as their attorney. Chuck managed to convince the folks at Mesa Verde to stay with HH&M. Careful viewers will realize that Chuck secretly doesn’t want Jimmy to succeed as a lawyer, whether it’s at HH&M or elsewhere, nor does he even want anyone remotely associated with Jimmy to succeed. The meeting with the bankers causes exposure to electricity and takes its toll on Chuck and he collapses.
Jimmy spends the night at Chuck’s house, while Chuck is in a catatonic state. Chuck’s home office is filled with boxes of legal files related to a zoning board appeal on behalf of Mesa Verde for approval to open a branch in Scottsdale, Arizona. Jimmy hunts through the files and finds every paper with the address of the proposed bank branch on it. He runs out to an all-night copy shop and doctors the papers, transposing two digits of the street address. The result of this is that the filing Chuck writes up requests the branch location with an erroneous address. When they get before the court, they learn that this will delay the approval by as much as 6 weeks. Chuck is humiliated and confused — how could he have made such a mistake? The Mesa Verde folks have had it and reconsider their choice to hire Kim as their attorney.
Later Chuck figures out what Jimmy did and tells Kim. Kim supports Jimmy in front of Chuck, and then chews Jimmy out once they get outside. She strongly disapproves of his methods (which constitute a felony), but I think she’s secretly flattered he’d do something like this to further her career. Chuck plots revenge. The first step of that is to trick Jimmy into confessing, while every word is picked up by a hidden tape recorder. Jimmy never suspects Chuck would operate such a device. Chuck was willing to endure the pain to nail his brother, so great is his anger. At the end of season 2, we, the viewers, know about the tape but Jimmy doesn’t.
One other thing we learn in season 2 that reveals a lot about Chuck McGill: a flashback shows the brothers sitting in their mother’s hospital room. The mother is in a coma, and they’ve been waiting for days for her to either wake up or die. Jimmy decides to get food, and while he’s gone, Mom wakes up and — to Chuck’s dismay — asks for Jimmy, not once but twice. Then she dies. Chuck allows the hospital staff to take her body to the morgue. Jimmy comes back with subs for both of them and Chuck is sitting in a waiting room; Mom’s room is empty. Jimmy asks if their mother said anything before she died and Chuck lies and says no.