As the penultimate episode of Better Call Saul's maiden season, Better Call Saul Season 1 Episode 9 just set up a bit of a game changer in terms of how these characters we've gotten to know will be working together moving forward.
For starters, Chuck and Jimmy McGill? Yeah, they're not the happy brothers Jimmy seems to think they are and now the gloves are off.
When we watched Jimmy announce his good news about passing the bar to Chuck in the flashback portion of Better Call Saul Season 1 Episode 8, it was pretty clear that Chuck would turn out to be the one behind Jimmy being unhirable at HHM. The reasoning, however, is a little more complicated than Chuck lets on.
While Chuck fears his baby brother would revert to his Slippin' Jimmy ways and sully the good McGill name if given a stage as prestigious as one at HHM, what really motivates his refusal to help Jimmy get a job is jealousy.
Chuck is jealous of Jimmy's affable nature and easygoing personality. He dislikes the fact that while he's had to work hard to become a successful lawyer, Jimmy went to night school online to earn the same degree. Chuck would never admit to said jealousy at this point, but that's definitely part of what's driving him to hold Jimmy back.
Chuck is a fan of following the directions. Jimmy is a fan of taking shortcuts. In the end, both men arrive at the same destination, but that's not the point for Chuck. "Work smarter, not harder" does not exist in Chuck's lexicon. He believes in being thorough.
That's not necessarily a bad quality to have and probably one Jimmy could stand to cultivate, but it bothers Chuck that things come so easily to Jimmy. Things except success and camaraderie, that is.
Success is hard for Jimmy because he's always going to be fighting the demons of his past, which threaten to turn him back into Slippin' Jimmy. It's a battle we've witnessed over the course of Better Call Saul Season 1 and a war which we know Jimmy McGill will ultimately lose, giving way for his alter ego Saul Goodman to come out and play.
And Chuck isn't the only one fighting jealousy.
Jimmy wants to be a successful attorney because he's spent his life looking at his brother as the pinnacle of success. He was in awe of the reception Chuck received upon walking into HHM and knows that sort of thing will likely never happen for him. Even when he was playing a con man, Jimmy respected Chuck. It was Chuck's final chance while Jimmy was in jail which prompted Jimmy to change his ways. He did that to please his brother (which is another reason Slippin' Jimmy/Saul Goodman will return).
All of that plays into Mike's speech to "Pryce" about good criminals and bad people.
Jimmy McGill is a good criminal. That doesn't mean he's good at being a criminal, but he's a criminal with heart. He doesn't want to see people get hurt. As we know all too well, he won't always be able to stop that. As he gets deeper and deeper into things, the men who would do him (or others) harm get increasingly more deadly than Ignacio Varga.
The entire exchange between Jimmy and Chuck was perfectly played. Jimmy knew going into the conversation that Chuck was the one who tanked his chances at getting a job, but he needed to hear his brother say it. He needed to know why. He got his why and Chuck lost his lifeline, the one person who genuinely cared about him getting better.
Where do the brothers go from here? Their separate ways, most likely. Chuck will return to HHM, no doubt emboldened by his recent outings. Jimmy, it looks like, is going to Chicago on Better Call Saul Season 1 Episode 10. How long will he stay? What kind of man will he be when he returns to Albuquerque?
I eagerly await those answers, even if getting them means our season is over.
What did you think of "Pimento"? Did you know Chuck would be the one who kept Jimmy from getting hired? Sound off in the comments below and remember to watch Better Call Saul online!
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.