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Better Call Saul – S3E5 – Chicanery
In “Chicanery,” the emotionally taxing fifth episode of Better Call Saul’s third season, the conflict that has been brewing between brothers Chuck and Jimmy McGill since they were children finally comes to a boil. But this is more than just sibling rivalry, this is a serious legal matter. At stake is Jimmy’s law license and possibly his freedom, and Chuck is feeling a bit full of himself as he enters into the proceedings. He has Jimmy’s extremely self-incriminating words on tape. He has a signed confession stating that Jimmy broke into his house and destroyed his property. It couldn’t seem simpler.
But that fails to account for Chuck’s immense ego and sense of wounded pride. Against Howard’s objections, he insists on taking the stand as a witness against his brother and to provide the proper context for the tape, which he demands be played before the committee. Chuck’s hubris and resentment places him in a situation he could have avoided, leaving Jimmy and Kim to benefit from it.
And benefit they do, as Chuck is driven, while on the stand, to greater and great heights of annoyance at and disappointment in Jimmy, who pulls some fairly nasty tricks, such as bringing in Chuck’s estranged ex-wife to rattle him, and secretly planting a phone battery on Chuck to prove the psychosomatic nature of his Electromagnetic Hyper-Sensitivity. In the end, Jimmy and Kim’s gambit works, and Chuck unravels on the stand, letting loose a litany of complaints about Jimmy that, taken together, sound like the ramblings of a madman.
Even though Chuck is not the person on trial, his mental state is relevant to the claims he makes against his brother. We end the episode with his credibility seemingly in tatters.