Better Call Saul S03E10: “Lantern”

The season finale upends nearly everything the preceding episodes built up, but does so in an organic way that doesn’t force the 180 degree changes. It also leaves a more questions than answers and sets up some interesting scenarios for the next season. Spoilers follow.

Kim’s all banged up from her accident and Jimmy goes into full doting mode, helping her not only with her physical recovery but going out to try and grab as many of her scattered documents as he can from the New Mexico wilderness. It’s a turnaround from their slowly fragmenting relationship and one of the very few positive developments this episode. The two lose their office which is a shame because that wall of glass made for some really visually poignant moments this season. Also, Kim finally decides to quit being a workaholic and goes into full relax mode, binge-watching as one could only do in 2003.

Also a shame we have to see Francesca take a hiatus; in this episode especially she proves that she’s probably the best secretary in Albuquerque.

Another reversal: Jimmy wrecks his relationship with every senior in town and essentially ends his career in elder law when he selflessly reveals his scheme from the previous episode in his quintessentially flashy manner. His recent trend of slippin’ towards Saul halted a bit as he did something that would only hinder his career but help others. He might be Goodman but he’s not a bad man. Not yet anyway.

A visit to his brother reveals that Chuck is basically cured of his fake electricity allergy and doing alright, at least in the public eye. Chuck then drops a bomb on Jimmy in the form of: “You never really mattered that much to me anyway”. It’s another drastic flip from the mellowed out Chuck we’ve seen in the past few episodes, but it was brought on by this:

Chuck is lashing out in his quietly passive-aggressive way after being fired from HHM. Howard finally pulls the plug and offers to pay Chuck damages out of his own pocket, which is the ultimate checkmate as Chuck can’t do anything about it. Howard’s been painted as an antagonist for the duration of the show but honestly the poor guy is just trying to run a firm and those ruffian McGill bros keep on causing him headaches.

Speaking of headaches, Chuck’s electricity sensitivity returns. The stress of losing his job and cutting Jimmy out of his life is too much for him to handle and he goes on a rampage virtually destroying his home as he tries to rid himself of every bit of electricity running through it.

Meanwhile, Don Hector sets up shop in Nacho’s father’s business and Papa Nacho is not happy, which makes Don Hector unhappy (see: that face up there). Salamanca visits at night for an undisclosed reason and Nacho is ready to pop a cap in him when Hector’s other goons come by, followed by Juan Bolsa. There’s a brief argument and then Hector has another episode and collapses…and is saved by Gus.

Are we in the age of Ding-Ding yet? Looks like Nacho’s fake pills did their job, and Gus knows. This subplot is left totally open though, so Nacho’s definitely back for season 4, which is another surprise.

The episode ends on an extremely bleak note as Chuck lays dazed and haggard, slowly kicking a lantern off a table. With nothing left to live for he sets his house ablaze in an attempt on his own life. Whether he makes it out or not is up to Vince Gilligan and company, but this might be the sad end for the older McGill brother and another catalyst for Jimmy’s turn to corruption.