Jimmy and Chuck — Better Call Saul Season 3 recap
Chuck, knowing that a tape made without consent of both parties is not admissible in court, plots to allow Jimmy to find out about the tape. Jimmy storms over to Chuck’s house, breaks down the door (Chuck had the locks changed after the document-altering incident so Jimmy no longer has a key), and attempts to take the tape and destroy it. Unbeknownst to Jimmy, Howard Hamlin and a private detective are hiding in Chuck’s study and hear every word. Now a case can be made against Jimmy for breaking and entering and attempting to destroy evidence. Jimmy is actually arrested, and the stage is set for a court case to decide whether Jimmy should be disbarred.
Jimmy arranges for Huell Babineaux, another character who will be familiar to Breaking Bad fans, to bump into Chuck on the way into the court house and slip a fully-charged cell phone battery into Chuck’s pocket. In the courtroom, all electronic devices are removed and the lights are turned off, in accommodation of Chuck’s condition. After Chuck describes his condition and he explains that being in close proximity to a battery would cause him great pain, Jimmy reveals the presence of the battery in his pocket, which has now been there for over an hour. This proves that Chuck’s condition is really a mental illness and his word and opinion are discredited. This episode, entitled Chicanery, was nominated for a couple of Emmys and is well worth watching if you never saw it.
The outcome of this dramatic court scene is as follows: Jimmy is not disbarred, but he has to stop practicing law for a year. Chuck’s name and reputation have greatly suffered and Howard has to convince all of the firm’s clients to remain with the firm. The firm’s malpractice insurance premiums are significantly increased, as they see Chuck as a bad risk. Howard suggests that Chuck retire, and this infuriates Chuck.
Chuck threatens to sue the firm. Howard meets with Chuck privately and hands him a check for $3 million, saying it’s the first of several payments from Howard’s personal savings to buy out Chuck’s interest in the firm. Chuck, who lives rather simply, has never been interested in money; his reputation as a great attorney is the most important thing to him, and he’s crushed by these developments.
Meanwhile, Jimmy has had a crisis of conscience and visits Chuck to make an attempt at an apology. He doesn’t actually use that word, and he makes it clear he thinks they were both at fault, but he clearly wants to make amends. Chuck uses the only thing he still has that will wound his brother: he says Jimmy never really mattered to him. Jimmy, who has only ever wanted to be like his brother, is crushed.
Between the career developments and his secret guilt over how he treated Jimmy, Chuck is having a major relapse. He gets up in the night and turns off the main breaker, plunging the house back into darkness. But this turns out not to be enough. He’s convinced there’s still electricity flowing somewhere, and this is confirmed by a visit to the electric meter which is still turning. He calls the power company but they can’t come for over a week. He starts destroying walls, looking for the offending cable, and eventually goes outside and smashes the electric meter. The last scene of the episode shows him in a catatonic state, sitting in his desk chair, repeatedly kicking the desk in a rather spastic, almost involuntary way. The desk is stacked haphazardly with papers and books, on top of which sits a gas lantern. Eventually, the lantern falls off and then we see a view of the outside of the house, where we can see flames start to fill the room.
If you want to go further than just reading this Better Call Saul season 3 recap, I’d recommend watching two episodes from season 3: episode 5, Chicanery, and episode 10, Lantern.