NAILED – 9/10.
For a show that has often been described as slow, this week’s episode of BCS proved to be an exercise in intensity. In fact the tension has been steadily mounting for weeks and it feels like something is set to blow in next week’s finale. Last week I made three predictions; two turned out to be right and one turned out to be vastly wrong. I foolishly stated that Mike was far too pragmatic to wage a vendetta against Hector. Normally that would be true, but Hector threatened Mike’s granddaughter and Mike has proven that he holds a bloody grudge when it comes to his family. After monitoring Hector’s trafficking operation, Mike stikes with cold precision, robbing Hector’s truck and making off with $250,000 in a perfectly executed heist.
The fact that he did it without killing the driver was the only clue Nacho needed to work out the identity of the bandit. He confronts Mike and is astounded to discover how easily he was able to take down their operation. He is even more alarmed when he realises that this wasn’t about the money for Mike, he did it to put Hector in the crosshairs of the police. However Mike has a cold realisation of his own when Nacho informs him that an innocent bystander discovered the hogtied driver rather than the police. He released the driver and was then rewarded for his kindness with a bullet to the brain. Mike may walk a line, but he still has a moral code and he now has the blood of an innocent on his hands.
But Mike isn’t the only one with blood on his hands. I predicted that Jimmy’s manipulation of the Messa Verde files would not only lead to Chuck’s downfall, but also tarnish Kim by association. Both these predictions came true as Chuck very publically crashed and burned during a deposition with the banking board. Chuck suffers from a mental illness, but rather than getting him the help he needs those closest to him choose to enable him. While Chuck’s condition seems to have improved lately, he soon begins to unravel when he is challenged over the incorrect data in Jimmy’s forged documents. The whole thing pans out as Jimmy intended and the bank chooses to leave HHM in favour of Kim.
Chuck is an intelligent man and it doesn’t take him long to put together the pieces of the puzzle, just as it doesn’t take Kim long to come to her own conclusions when Chuck summons her to his home. She listens to Jimmy argue with his brother before jumping to her lover’s defence, criticising Chuck for his constant judgement of Jimmy and his refusal to accept his “mistake”. Kim is complicit by her actions, she may not have played a part in Jimmy’s sabotage but by accepting her share of the spoils she has been tainted by his deeds. Even worse, Kim is astute enough to have seen that Chuck was spiralling but she chose to play him for her own ends. In one fell swoop Jimmy manages to destroy his brother’s reputation and sully the morals of the only good person he knows.
Despite his mental condition Chuck is still a formidable adversary, as Kim quite rightly points out to Jimmy, subtly encouraging him to be sure that he hasn’t left any loose ends. There aren’t that many 24 hour copy shops within close distance of Chuck’s house and Jimmy arrives at the scene of his crime just in time to see Chuck’s assistant driving away. Jimmy bribes the clerk and gets him to erase the CCTV footage, so that when the assistant returns with Chuck there is no evidence that Jimmy was ever there. This frustrates Chuck, whose condition rapidly begins to deteriorate and he collapses, cracking his skull on the counter. Jimmy watches on in horror from across the street, unable to help his brother for fear of implicating himself.
This was a brilliantly crafted piece of television that built on two seasons worth of character development with great impact. Both Mike and Jimmy have reached the point of no return, both men now have blood on their hands. Regardless of whatever loose moral codes they have lived by up to this point, the rules have now changed. Saul Goodman is emerging from his chrysalis, while part of this may be an amusing con man in brightly coloured suits; the other side of the coin is a morally ambiguous shark that has no regard for anyone but himself. Saul has always been there, bubbling under the surface, and it seems as though the only things stopping him from completely devouring Jimmy were his relationships with Chuck and Kim.
Is Chuck dead? We will have to wait and see, but if Jimmy is willing to watch his brother die just to save his own neck then there is truly no hope for him. Similarly could Kim live with her guilt over Chuck’s fate? It seems unlikely, and the loss of both Kim and Chuck would be the final nail in the coffin of Jimmy McGill. Just as Jimmy is racing towards his destiny, so too is Mike. He clearly isn’t done with Hector, which is causing almost fatal levels of tension between him and Nacho. All of this seems to point towards the imminent arrival of Gus Fring, a man who bears his own grudge against Hector and would more than benefit from his downfall. We know how far these characters are willing to go, the only question is; when will they realise it for themselves.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- Chuck’s mental deterioration was fantastically realised on screen, the electronic currents felt almost like a predator hunting him down from the distance. With such rich dialogue it can often be easy to ignore how visually stunning BCS actually is.
- Nacho has proven in the past that he is willing to make people go away when they become a problem for him. Mike is becoming a problem for him; perhaps Nacho will make the mistake of taking the old man on in the finale.
- Jimmy trying to convince a bemused headmistress that they were shooting a documentary about Rupert Holmes at her school may have rivalled his pie lover story for sheer lunacy.