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Forums » Other TV Shows » Better Call Saul Season 3 Episode 5: Chicanery

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  • Fluids
    Community Member
    335 Posts

    Better Call Saul Season 3 Episode 5: Chicanery Link to this post

    Quick Summary:

    * Jimmy stalls at his hearing until Rebecca arrives.

    * Chuck allows her to be at the hearing.

    * Jimmy pays a man to plant his cell phone battery in Chuck's inner jacket pocket.

    * Chuck delivers an outburst at his cross examination.

    * Jimmy shows to the court that Chuck didn't have any reactions to the battery that was in his pocket for nearly two hours. This calls into question Chuck's mental state.

    * The outcome is unknown, however it appears Jimmy's license is intact and it's questionable whether Chuck can practice law any more.

    Overall thoughts:

    I thought for the most part this was another solid episode. I gave it a 68 on Robin's scale.


    * Jimmy asking Rebecca to come to trial outside of a subpoena was expected, however the impact she brought to Chuck's outburst was amazing. You can see Chuck felt absolutely humiliated when his sickness and his motives were truly outted and the way he looked at her after he realized he lost control and her look back at him was priceless.

    * I love the potential consequences of Jimmy's plan with the battery against Chuck during his disbarment hearings. It flows so naturally to me. It's every brother for himself and by hammering on Chuck's credibility Jimmy's made it potentially into a situation where the board may disbar Chuck rather than him. Although the whole thing was cleverly set up so that in the beginning of the proceedings I thought that wasn't possible. Clearly Jimmy knows his brother better than Chuck knows him.

    * Chuck's temper tantrum was very well written and acted. It's definitely Chuck's biggest mistake to record; his massive ego ties together: thinking he can outsmart his brother; doing things by the book ; without cutting corners; and pounds into the trial an air of superiority and hatred for Jimmy in the right places. It felt to me at the end of the episode that Chuck felt the unfairness life dealt to allow Jimmy to thrive could be corrected by using the law to right a wrong and it blew up in his face.

    * I definitely felt like Jimmy was thinking on his feet in this episode. His lie to convince the Judges that he lied to humor his brother due to his condition expertly foils Chuck's lie to play up his condition to 'provoke an admission of adverse interest' out of Jimmy. This is written so well it's believable to me that Jimmy's ego never would have allowed him to think he would be in this situation when he doctored the papers to get Kim the Mesa Verde account. In that way, he is cut from the same cloth as Chuck as Chuck displays the same ego surprise at his own with his outburst.

    * It feels like Jimmy truly loves his brother and realized long ago that Chuck is mentally unstable and it was only a matter of time before Chuck had to call it quits with the law.

    * Chuck plays off of that brotherly love in his entrapment activities and doesn't appear to love his brother unless he's disciplining his brother for a lifetime of wrongdoing (in his eyes.)

    * I think all of this shows enormous thought to character complexity with multiple characters is something I rarely feel I see with TV shows.


    * Jimmy showed pictures of Chuck's place in court during his cross examination of Chuck. Do we honestly believe Chuck's legal team would have allowed those as exhibits in court? Especially with the lines Jimmy has been treading on with Chuck's condition? They repeatedly brought up that it was disbarment hearing for Jimmy; not a trial about Chuck and his ability to serve as a lawyer. What relevance would make those pictures of pulled out wires, a camp stove and a lantern that Mike took admissible to court? Wouldn't also Chuck put together that the pictures were taken without his consent by Mike (faking to be his door repairman) and that Jimmy was setting him up? Why wouldn't Chuck be asking who took those pictures? I don't think he would just say it was okay to admit them as evidence over using the pictures as evidence that Jimmy took pictures of his property without his consent right?


    * Was Jimmy's plan with Chuck that elaborate to the point of generating a threat to getting Chuck disbarred? Or was it just extensive enough to eliminate the threat of disbarment for himself and the risk to Chuck is a potential unplanned repercussion?

    * I suppose planting a battery on Chuck isn't a crime; neither is putting the battery in the phone during the court session. That being said, how does what Jimmy did with the battery affect the outcome of his disbarment?

    * I wonder what Kim was expecting out of Rebecca? She is nothing like Chuck.

    Show Threads:

  • Aaronic
    Community Member
    64 Posts

    Re: Better Call Saul Season 3 Episode 5: Chicanery Link to this post

    I thought this episode was incredible. Now I will admit to a bit of bias since I am a massive sucker for courtroom drama, but I thought this was high quality anyways. While It was nice to bring back the Breaking Bad feeling in the previous episode, Better Call Saul has always been strongest when focused on Jimmy, and this episode is no exception. I give this an 84 out of 100, it was incredibly impressive to me.

    Part of what made this so good for me was the fact that it was the big, satisfying climax to Jimmy and Chuck's storyline which had been built up for a while now. Being able to get that big catharsis is what took this episode rom good to amazing for me. I ended the episode feeling incredibly satisfied emotionally and that is enough.

    The tension was present throughout the entire episode, which was great. I was at the edge of my seat trying to figure out where the story would go and how exactly Jimmy would defeat Chuck, since it was obvious that Chuck would not be successful. I'll talk about that in more detail below, but for now I want to highlight how excellent the episode built up to that final outburst from Chuck. Jimmy played his brother so masterfully and I somehow didn't notice how well Jimmy did here until the very end. Even though I had a good idea of what would happen in this episode, the slow build up and increasing tension kept me in the dark for long enough for the final reveal to be surprising. I knew from the start that Jimmy did not hand in his phone and I thought that would be his trump card and I eagerly waited to see him use it against Chuck. But I was so fixated on that being right that I didn't expect the battery to be in Chuck's pocket the entire time, making that reveal a legitimate surprise.

    And better yet after the reveal that Chuck had a battery in his suit the entire time the show got even better. After coming so close to victory, Chuck snaps as soon as it is taken away from me and explodes in an amazing release of all the frustrations he has had with Jimmy over the years. Michael McKean plays the scene to perfection and it delivers quite the blow as we know that this will cost Chuck dearly in the end. And after those telling looks from everyone else at end Chuck knows it too, and that final shot is marvelous as it makes Chuck seem so small and defeated after all of that. Add on the irony that Chuck was actually correct for majority of what he said and that final explosion from him really packs a punch and ends the episode on the perfect note.

    The small details in the entire drama were great as usual. I really loved seeing Kim stand up to Howard's claims of nepotism and more to fight for Jimmy, showing just how great of a lawyer she is as well. Also, the addition of Rebecca was wonderful and it played well into building up Chuck's overconfidence which is what made Jimmy's plan ultimately work.

    Other notes:

    -Huell returns! I was ecstatic to see him back on the screen and I really enjoyed that cameo. I hardly recognized him at first since Lavell Crawford had lost a lot of weight, but I knew it was him as soon as I saw his face.

    -No signs of Mike, Gus or Hector this week but I really did not miss them because of how great this was.

    -Paige and Kevin are still sticking with Kim, but I wonder if they will last? It may just be a way to lower our guard for something more tragic for Kim down the road.

    -Howard clearly cares about HHM's reputation so I'm sure that he won't put up with Chuck's vendetta against Jimmy anymore. If Chuck wants to continue the war, I think he will be fighting a lone battle.

    -That opening scene was great. It effectively brought Rebecca back to our memory in a nice sequence to remind us of not only her but of Chuck's ability to con which is not so different from Jimmy's. It was nice to see a mention of transposed numbers in that lie that Chuck made in the flashback. A nice bit of irony compared to the transposed 1216 to 1261.

    -Some nice comedy in the scene with Caldera and Jimmy. It makes sense that he is one of Jimmy's connections that we hear a lot about from Breaking Bad. I like that Huell was hired for his "light touch" which would of course then go to snag Jesse's ricin and his weed.

    -I had a couple minor issues but they were definitely beaten out by the excellence of the rest of the episode. The biggest being that the episode was mostly predictable, but that wasn't much of a problem in the end. Additionally, I wasn't a fun of the usage of the pictures either, considering the manner of which they were taken by Mike and their overall value. But again, it was a minor thing in the face of a much bigger episode.

    Overall, I thought this was tense, focused and emotional which is everything I would have wanted out of this. I am very impressed by the storytelling of this episode.

  • Fluids
    Community Member
    335 Posts

    Re: Better Call Saul Season 3 Episode 5: Chicanery Link to this post

    Great comments as always Aaronic. They made me go back and reevaluate my scoring and realize what I wrote about the episode doesn't quite represent the score. I have upped it to a 79. The use of the buildup over the shows establishing the relationship between Jimmy and Chuck and their background and all the interactions so far reaches a nexus in this episode. It's a great example I think of how great writers use everything in the present and everything that has been mentioned serves some type of meaningful purpose (as much as what is shown visually in each frame the directors have shot.)

  • Ben
    Community Member
    66 Posts

    Re: Better Call Saul Season 3 Episode 5: Chicanery Link to this post

    Season 3 of BCS is starting to remind me of season 3 of Breaking Bad; a few slow episodes that cause touch the edge (thin edge) of my patience followed by amazing payoff/resolution.

    This episode could have easily served as a season finale; the climax of the brother battle. The formula of an episode this season has been tweaked in interesting ways, with the Mike and Saul plots shifting in focus with one another.

    There are a number of directions the story can go in now, but I'm predicting perhaps some sort of Chuck-Howard conflict approaching. Given how Howard has punished Kim in the past, I wonder if Chuck's failure will sour Howard's opinions of him.

    The only gripe I have with Chicanery is that it was a little predictable, because we have been for the most part been kept "in the light" as far as Jimmy/Kim's plan was concerned. I'm not suggesting I wasn't surprised here and there, but there is an argument with television for both withholding and displaying information for the sake of suspense.

    Score: 76 + 1 Huell Cameo = 77

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