Season Three, Episode Ten — “Lantern”
By Brandy Dykhuizen. In a finale full of heart attacks, fanned flames and massive payouts, the most surprising turn of events was one man’s sincere remorse.
Kim’s accident jolted Jimmy into unfamiliar territory, forcing him to take stock in his relationships and motivating him to make amends wherever necessary. For once, visions of dollar signs ceased to dance through Jimmy’s head, and his business decisions were made with Kim’s well-being in mind. Jimmy instinctively dropped everything to help Kim heal, even trying to cut her breakfast for her (though she drew the line there).
This selflessness stirred something larger in Jimmy – why stop with Kim? He felt partially culpable for her accident, as she was working so tirelessly to pick up his slack. Enter Jimmy’s odyssey to clean up his most recent messes. Like a twelve stepper making amends, Jimmy embarked on a mission to patch up his relationship with Chuck and fix the mess he made with Irene.
Perhaps predictably, things didn’t go quite as planned with Chuck. Recently crushed by Howard, Chuck passed the heartbreak torch onto Jimmy by telling him his apologies are pointless, as Jimmy never meant much to him to begin with. The problem with taking things out on Jimmy this time, however, is that his little brother is really the only audience Chuck has left. Without someone over whom to lord his arrogance, the empire of Charles McGill crumbles. He desperately requires a barometer by which to measure his greatness, and without a basis for comparison, the whole she-bang goes up in flames.
Still reeling from the fraternal slap in the face, Jimmy delivers a heartbreaking chair yoga monologue with the help of Erin from Davis & Main. Putting his entire elder law reputation on the line, Jimmy uncharacteristically sacrifices himself to set things right by Irene, and in a roundabout way, the other lawyers on the Sandpiper case.
Bob Odenkirk gave a typically stellar performance, wringing a plethora of restrained pathos out of a headset and 90s workout gear. I have to admit, I never in a million years thought the season finale would put Jimmy so far on the other side of Saul. But if Kim’s accident has the power to turn him into such a softie, what will his reaction be to Chuck’s melodramatic demise?
On the other side of Albuquerque, Nacho is still navigating the no-man’s land between Hector and his heart attack. He really lucked out this time, as he readied himself for war in full-on ambush mode, when Hector’s other stooges appeared in preparation for a clandestine meeting. Hector’s rage pulls the trigger for Nacho, who’s lucky break didn’t go entirely unnoticed.
In a subtle yet tremendously telling moment, Season Three closes with Nacho averting his eyes under a slow and careful look from Gus. As Chuck’s chapter draws to a close and Gus and Nacho are left standing alone, we should be able to expect more action from the darker side of Albuquerque next year.
“In the end, you’re going to hurt everyone around you.” – Chuck.
“I’m not good at building shit. I’m excellent at tearing it down.” – Jimmy
BEST MOMENT: After Howard turned the tables on Chuck, wiping the insufferable smugness off Chuck’s face by exhibiting what it’s really like to have HHM’s best interest in mind, Chuck makes his walk of atonement through the sea of law firm employees. As he heads out the door, he steps directly into the blazing sun, the glow swallowing him whole. This had the feel of foreshadowing, in a simple, head-towards-the-light kind of way, but also showed Chuck consumed by the electric glare once he stepped out of his realm of control. Typical Gould/Gilligan brilliance.
SEASON’S MVP: Michael McKean has really given us an object lesson in empathy this season. One minute we hate him for being manipulatively callous and cruel, the next minute we ache for him as he dissembles his entire house with a hammer, in search of a power source he cannot control. I suppose it’s possible he survives this attempt on his own life, but I think it’s time for such a powerful screen presence to bow out in order to make room for more Gus and Mike. A more suitable exit for such a silver-tongued devil couldn’t be had.
– Until next year, Mike. It’s a pity we didn’t get a chance to say “Goodbye.”
– Irene’s cats are named Felix and Oscar.
– Right before Hector and Nacho head into the upholstery store to chat with Papa, Nacho is framed getting out of the car with a STOP sign behind him, which I think brings the tally up to two excellent STOP sign-centric shots this season.
– Poor Papa Nacho. I hope Hector’s heart condition distracts him from bringing down the hammer too hard on the upholstery business.
– Francesca couldn’t even fake being interested in working for Kim and Jimmy again – I wonder how he’ll convince her to rejoin the ranks later.
– The opening credits with the “World’s Greatest Lawyer” mug crashing to the floor really could have been about any of them except Howard, this time.
10 out of 10
Season Three Score: 8.5 out of 10
Before: “Fall”, here.