On ‘Better Call Saul,’ A McGill Brother Goes Down

For the past eight episodes, a cold war has been brewing between Jimmy and Chuck. Even while the two McGill brothers remained stubbornly cordial to each other's faces, they actively worked to undermine each other behind one another's backs. After Chuck sabotaged Kim's efforts to secure Mesa Verde as a client at her new solo law firm, Jimmy retaliated by subtly altering all of Chuck's Mesa Verde files. In this week's episode of AMC's Better Call Saul , we witnessed the fallout from that act — and it exploded the McGills' cold war into a very, very hot one indeed.

Although Jimmy transposing two of the numbers in the address of Mesa Verde's proposed expansion may seem like a very minor detail, Chuck's apparent lack of attention to detail ended up screwing over his client majorly. It turns out that the Banking Board had had inspections done at the wrong address, meaning Mesa Verde would have to wait six weeks for a new inspection to be done and a new meeting with the Board to be scheduled, delaying the expansion and greatly inconveniencing the bank. So, just like Jimmy had hoped, they decided to leave Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill once and for all and officially hire Kim to represent them.

This was a huge coup for Kim — but one that Chuck immediately tried to undercut. On the pretense of handing over his Mesa Verde files to her, Chuck summoned Kim to his home to confront her with the truth: that Jimmy had sabotaged Chuck to steal his client. (This tense standoff, a nearly ten-minute-long scene in one room between three characters, was by far the standout moment of Season 2 so far.) Although Chuck was completely right about Jimmy's sabotage, Kim refused to believe him, telling Chuck that he simply must have made a mistake, and told the elder McGill that she felt sorry for him: Jimmy had devoted his life to taking care of Chuck, but Chuck had never once believed in his little brother or his potential as a lawyer.

At least, it seemed like Kim didn't believe him. But in an unexpected Lady Macbeth-ian move, it turned out that Kim knew Chuck was right… and she encouraged Jimmy to dispose of any evidence of his wrongdoing before Chuck could find it. And so Jimmy high-tailed it to the xerox store, where he paid the employee to erase the security tapes and tell Chuck that he had never been there. Sure enough, Chuck arrived soon after with a photo of Jimmy and, true to his word, the employee denied having ever seen him before.

But in the episode's final moments, Chuck's electromagnetic hypersensitivity took its toll. After pushing himself to attend multiple meetings with Mesa Verde and now this trip to the electronics-filled xerox store, it was finally too much for Chuck. He passed out, hitting his head on the sharp corner of a counter in a truly gasp-worthy moment. As Chuck lay prone on the floor with the employee and Chuck's assistant too shocked to call for help, Jimmy watched from outside, faced with an impossible choice: call 911 and reveal his part in the xeroxing scheme, or cement his cover-up by leaving Chuck to his fate?

This decision is truly a battle for Jimmy's soul. Will he really risk his brother dying just so he won't get in trouble? Or will he make a selfless decision for once and expose himself in order to help Chuck? Sadly, knowing where Jimmy ends up in Breaking Bad, I feel like the answer to this question is a foregone conclusion. But maybe the Season 2 finale of Better Call Saul will surprise us all.

Images: Ursula Coyote/AMC (3)