"Better Call Saul": Cast Members Weigh In On Their Characters' Lives Post-Chuck

AMC, Aug. 6, 9/8c

By Lori Acken

Suffice it to say that much more than just Chuck and his house went up in flames when Better Call Saul sent its third season out in a literal blaze of, well, horror via the elder McGill’s suicide. So did any hope that one more season of affable Jimmy McGill might pass before he goes full-blown Saul Goodman, the shameless shyster we first met in Breaking Bad.

Humiliated and jobless, Chuck (Michael McKean) spent his final words on Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk), offering a cruel assessment of his baby brother’s inability to do anything but damage, complete with the suggestion that Jimmy succumb fully to his lesser angels and capped by a merciless zinger that sealed Jimmy’s fate: “You’ve never mattered all that much to me.” Hours later, Chuck kicked over a lantern and torched himself alive.

With Chuck’s words ringing in his ears, and only his beloved Kim (Rhea Seehorn) left to tether him to his better nature, Jimmy faces a stark, family free reality. “We literally begin the next morning after Chuck’s burned his house down,” Odenkirk reveals of Monday night’s Season 4 premiere. “Jimmy feels like he was swindled. The world held up this paragon of virtue called Chuck McGill to him, and he tried to live up to this person, and in the end, that person said, ‘You never mattered anyways.’ [Jimmy’s] done with trying to live up to virtuous exemplars. He’s done with trying to please anyone.”

Except maybe his longtime love Kim, whose own existential crisis was gaining traction as the tragedy occurred. “Kim is sharing this season equally with Jimmy, if not eclipsing him a bit, because she matters in the choices he makes and how he becomes Saul,” Odenkirk says. “She’s the last person that he has to live right for and to do right for. In order for him to become Saul, there has to be some circumstance that makes him think that he can do that either beside her or without her.”

As for Chuck’s HHM partner Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian), Odenkirk says, “[Howard] cracks pretty hard in light of Chuck killing himself, so the relationship between Jimmy and Howard is very complex.”

Even as Jimmy speeds ever closer to his Saul identity, Odenkirk says we’ll also learn more about another of Jimmy’s future personas in Season 4 “Gene — the character that Saul becomes after the events of Breaking Bad, the guy hiding in Cinnabon — his story starts to pick up.”

As do the illicit activities of Nacho (Michael Mando), Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) and their complex crime operation, abetted by the arrival of Breaking Bad’s mysterious and unseen Lalo, whom Saul clearly knew and feared.

“So much great stuff happening!” Odenkirk crows. “We’re getting closer to the Breaking Bad world. Maybe even touching it like a hot wire!”