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Recap / Better Call Saul S 3 E 10 Lantern

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"In the end, you’re gonna hurt everyone around you."
Chuck McGill

In happier times, a teenage Chuck reads ''The Adventures of Mabel'' to a young Jimmy in a tent in their backyard. Chuck stops and reassures a frightened Jimmy that Mabel will be alright; let Chuck continue, and he'll see. When he begins reading again, the camera zooms in on their gas lantern, hissing as the screen fills with light...

In 2003, a worried Jimmy visits Kim in the hospital after her accident. They drive back to the crash site so that Jimmy can pick up the scattered Gatwood Oil documents.

Chuck returns to HHM, smugly proclaiming that the lawsuit threatening to bankrupt HHM can go away if they settle their disputes with a handshake. Howard isn't budging; he slams Chuck for putting his vendetta with Jimmy ahead of the firm's best interest and threatening to sue to prevent his retirement when his breakdown brought more burdens to HHM. He hands Chuck a check for $3 million, the first of three installments, paid for by loans and his own finances.

"You won."

Howard leads Chuck to the front lobby of HHM, where the staff have gathered to commemorate Chuck's retirement. In a daze, Chuck gets patted on the back and shakes hands with the janitor as he leaves. Howard leaves, his false smile dropping from his face, when Chuck is at the door.

At Kim's apartment, Jimmy tends to her needs while frankly telling her that he plans to move out and sublet his half of Wexler-McGill: "I don't give a shit about the office." He also claims that doctoring the Mesa Verde files was what caused her to overwork, but she rejects his apology; she feels guilty that her decision to drive while drowsy may have put people in danger. Jimmy promises that he will fix things.

Nacho takes Hector and Arturo to the upholstery shop. While Nacho is giving a tour to explain how he will convert it for illicit business, a bored Hector goes up to Nacho's father, Manuel. He chummily lays drug money on the front counter, although he is taken aback when Manuel tells him to leave his shop. Nacho whispers in his ear to think of their family in Mexico that Hector could use to get to him. Manuel sadly takes the drug money. Nacho reassures Hector that he'll teach his dad to accept being used as a front, but Hector testily replies that he doesn't trust him.

Francesca delivers get-well gifts from Kim's clients, commenting that the road where she crashed is infamous for being deadly and she is lucky to be alive. Kim ponders this as Francesca tells her that they might be able to stay within the deadline for Gatwood Oil if they work hard. Kim responds by telling her to cancel her appointment with Gatwood and postpone her Mesa Verde work; they're going to Blockbuster Video to rent DVDs.

Jimmy puts his cellphone in Chuck's mailbox and grounds himself - for no reason, it would seem, as Chuck has reinstalled all of his electronic appliances. Jimmy tells Chuck that he regrets how he handled their feud and would like to make peace with the only family he's got. Chuck rejects Jimmy's intentions, insisting that his regrets have no use to anyone as he will pathologically keep hurting people no matter how he feels about them. He would respect Jimmy much more if he felt no guilt for what he did, he states; their separation suits Chuck just fine. Chuck decides to put Jimmy's mind at ease:

"...the truth is, you've never mattered all that much to me."

Jimmy quietly leaves, devastated. That night, Chuck tosses and turns in his sleep. He updates his treatment journal, but stops before he writes down his mood; he turns off everything in his circuit breaker before returning to bed, alone and in pain.

Jimmy drops by Irene with cake and balloons to celebrate the settlement, but Irene sadly tells him that it wouldn't be worth it without her friends. Jimmy's attempt to smooth things over with Irene's friends at the mall hits a wall when his pleas for forgiveness increases their estimation of him, not Irene.

Chuck angrily calls the power company, as the power meter continues to tick even when he has shut everything off. He flips switches on and off, removes light bulbs, unplugs his appliances: no use. He can't find the electrical source. Chuck calls Dr. Cruz's office to cancel his appointment before unplugging the phone and stashing it out of reach. He stumbles around his living room as he hears the applause from before ringing in his ears...

Under a major relapse of his EHS delusion, Chuck believes he can directly feel the rogue source. He runs his hands across the walls, bashing a hole in his drywall with a hammer or prying off stone and tile with a chisel whenever he feels a likely spot. He grows more maniacal as time passes, culminating in him tearing into the wall behind his bookcase with a crowbar, finally pulling out some wire that seemed to be causing the problem. However, he discovers that the power meter is still turning. Enraged, Chuck smashes his power box with a bat to make it stop.

Nacho sits in his van outside the upholstery shop with a gun in his lap; he will not give Hector the chance to hurt his family. He sprints over when Hector enters the shop alone, but hastily puts the gun away when Arturo arrives. Arturo is happy to see that Nacho got his message and makes sure that Nacho is armed. Hector walks out, warning: "They're coming."

A car pulls up to the waiting Salamanca gang. Gus steps out along with Juan Bolsa, who explains his presence: Eladio wanted him to tell Hector in-person that from now on, the "chicken trucks" would be their only distribution route. He also orders him to settle his feud with Gus, which sets Hector off; he demands proper compensation for his history with the cartel, becoming more disrespectful as he rants. Juan's calming responses fail to reach him before he suffers chest pains, eventually collapsing when he takes Nacho's spiked pills.

Gus springs into action, telling Arturo to call 911, Bolsa to leave and for his part, begin chest compressions on Hector. Nacho picks up the bottle Hector dropped and swaps out the pills in the confusion. An ambulance arrives and loads Hector in with everyone but Nacho and Gus gone. Gus pays close attention to Nacho handing Hector's pills to a paramedic, then eyes him suspiciously as the ambulance pulls away...

Jimmy joins "Relaxathon 2003" with Kim, discussing Kim's relationship with Atticus Finch and how he failed to repair Irene's relationships. "I'm excellent at tearing shit down," he explains, but he struggles to build trust back up again. "Play to your strengths," Kim quips, as they settle down to watch To Kill a Mockingbird. Suddenly, Jimmy sits up; "I know what I have to do. It's just I really, really don't want to do it," he groans, but he's figured out a way to make things right with Irene.

The next day, Jimmy leads Irene's chair yoga group when Erin Brill arrives, asking to meet Jimmy outside. She takes Jimmy to task for lying to his clients to get settlement money, which not Jimmy only confirms, but claims he is justified as the Sandpiper residents are all gullible and soon to die. Jimmy returns only to find that he left his mic on, leaking their conversation to the seniors. "Shame on you," cries Rose; Irene is united with her friends once again. Jimmy meets with Erin outside to compliment her on her acting; it was all a ploy to discredit Jimmy so that Irene's friends would gravitate towards her again. Erin responds that she meant every word she said, which Jimmy weakly accepts.

Jimmy and Kim move out of Wexler-McGill, apologizing to Francesca for laying her off. She responds that the MVD took her back, so she won't be unemployed for long. She hugs Kim and gives an awkward farewell to Jimmy, who promises that they will hire her again if they restart their practice. Jimmy throws out his rolodex, believing that he's burnt his bridges with his elder law clientele. Kim fishes it out for him: "You never know." They look around the office they will never see again before Kim kisses Jimmy on his chin, walking out together.

That night, Chuck's lawn is covered with all of his appliances. Inside, the house has been torn apart: the electrical outlets are gone, there are much larger holes in the walls (some of which pierce through to the other side) and his books are all over the floor of his living room. Chuck, covered in a space blanket, kicks his coffee table where a gas lantern sits perilously atop a pile of magazines. His expression is blank and broken, his actions listless. As he kicks, the lantern moves closer and closer to the edge. When it finally tips over onto his books, the house catches fire with him inside.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: It's a little strange that the meeting between Hector and Bolsa has both characters speaking English, when everyone present speaks Spanish and most of them have Spanish as their first language. Mark Margolis, the actor who plays Hector, can't actually speak Spanish and has all his lines in the language given to him phonetically, something that is very obvious to any natural Spanish speaker who watches him deliver said lines, so it was probably done in English so he could give a more effective and dramatic performance during his breakdown.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Chuck was an asshole who only descended further on his Jerk with a Heart of Jerk trajectory, even in this episode, but the scenes depicting his mental breakdown can make you pity him somewhat when he kills himself.
  • All for Nothing:
    • Nacho sabotaged Hector's pills to induce a heart-attack or other crippling condition to get rid of Hector for his father's safety. When it didn't work in time, it led to his father discovering the truth about his criminal activities and getting dragged into cartel business by this episode. It drives Nacho to try to gun Hector down himself, but he's fortunately stopped before he does anything more brazen.
    • The reason why Nacho went through such lengths above was because Hector wanted a new front business for his own distribution network, inquiring about the upholstery shop Nacho's father runs. After the hassle both of them went through, Bolsa and Gus show up to firmly shut Hector's plans down.
  • The Atoner:
    • Kim feels guilty about overworking herself and falling asleep at the wheel, because she could have easily killed someone else as well as herself when she crashed.
    • Jimmy is feeling really bad about Irene, to the point of foregoing early settlement of Sandpiper and trashing his elder law reputation just to make things right again for her.
    • When meeting up with Erin in the parking lot after his gambit payed off, he thanks her. She states that she meant everything she said to him over forcing Irene to settle. Jimmy agrees with her.
  • Batman Gambit: The Sandpiper residents react exactly as Jimmy predicted when they "overhear" his argument with Erin Brill and find out he was behind Irene's suffering, and they make amends with her.
  • Benevolent Boss: Howard. When faced with the choice of either keeping Chuck on at HHM or buying him out (which would bankrupt the firm), Howard decides to pay him off out of his own pocket, in order to save HHM and spare its hundreds of employees from unemployment.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Gus keeps saying "don't die, you bastard" as he tries reanimating Hector, as he is not done with him by a long shot.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Subverted. The episode builds up to this by showing the characters having to give up things that are dear to them, but also coming out as stronger people. Kim almost died, but she realizes that she was killing herself with work and needs to step back a bit. Jimmy had to give up his legal practice and most of his clients, but he realized how much Kim really meant to him and he fixed some of the damage he did to other people. Howard lost a mentor and is probably in debt, but he is finally out of Chuck's shadow and is free to run HHM as he sees fit. Chuck lost his law firm and alienated everyone in his life, but his health has improved and he walked away with $9 million. Then Chuck has a relapse and ends up killing himself in the final scene, which sharply veers the episode into a Downer Ending.
  • Blatant Lies: Chuck's final words to Jimmy, that Jimmy never mattered all that much to him, are this when you remember all the things he did to Jimmy the past few seasons and why he did them. Unfortunately, Jimmy is too hurt by these words to call him out on this.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Erin Brill, calling Jimmy out for real while also being part of Jimmy's atonement scheme.
    • Juan Bolsa too, making it clear to Hector that what Don Eladio wants, Don Eladio gets. He had been seen in a flashback earlier in the season, but this is his first appearance in the "present" of the series.
  • Call-Back:
    • Chuck's presence at HHM is once again celebrated with everyone gathering in the lobby and applauding him, something that Howard almost certainly remembers.
    • Chuck taking apart his house to search for the electrical source recalls Mike taking apart his car to search for the bug planted there.
    • Hector once again scrambles for his pills when his heart problems flare up after receiving bad news. Once again, Nacho picks up spilled pills without anyone noticing (except maybe Gus).
  • Celebrity Paradox: Among the DVDs visible in the Blockbuster scene are Beverly Hills Ninja, which starred Odenkirk collaborator Chris Farley, and A Knight's Tale, which co-starred Laura Fraser (Lydia).
  • Cliffhanger: The only real cliffhangers present is in the aftermath of Hector's heart attack (as Gus's body language implies that he knows Nacho is somehow responsible) and where Jimmy decides to go after giving up his half of the building he leased with Kim. It's also left an open question how Jimmy (and Kim) will react to the circumstances of Chuck's suicide, since Jimmy set off the chain of events which led to it by tipping off the insurance company about Chuck's mental problems.
  • Comically Small Bribe: Relatively speaking. When trying to get on good terms with Nacho's father, Hector puts about a thousand dollars down on his counter. To Nacho's father, a blue collar man who owns an upholstery shop, a thousand dollars is fairly significant, but after seeing Hector think nothing of paying Mike fifty thousand dollars to change his testimony against Tuco, it seems rather pathetic. Becomes even worse in hindsight, when Hector's cousin is able to casually come up with seven million dollars for bail about a year later. Of course, Manuel Varga being the kind of person that he is, Hector could have put a billion dollars down on the counter and it wouldn't have made a difference.
  • Dark Lord on Life Support: Hector looks in really bad shape after collapsing from his empty pills, and this appears to have been the incident that caused his stroke.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Consider the events of the two previous seasons from Chuck's perspective. First, his brother Jimmy – who cut corners and manipulated people all his life while Chuck made his success through hard work – tricks him into making a clerical error that costs his firm a client. He embarks on a scheme to expose Jimmy's fraud, only for Jimmy to out-gambit him in court and ruin his reputation with his ex-wife, his law partner, and the legal community. Then Howard tries to force Chuck into retirement over the insurance issue, and Chuck finds that he can't bully Howard into letting him stay in his own firm. Chuck gets one final Kick the Dog session with Jimmy, but with him gone and no one else to control, he has little else to do than to throw himself back into his EHS delusion. He becomes so obsessed with finding hidden sources of electricity that he undergoes a severe Sanity Slippage as he tears his house apart.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Howard points out that all he did was suggest that Chuck retiring would be in the best interest of the firm. Howard is being a bit generous to himself by calling it a "mild suggestion" (indeed, when Chuck resisted, he asked "What if it's not a suggestion?"), but his empathy and concern were apparent, and he did nothing else that would warrant Chuck jumping straight to the nuclear option. Howard is deeply hurt that Chuck chose to threaten their lives' work to get his way rather than trying to talk it out first.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After he and his firm had been humiliated by Jimmy and Kim's display at the Bar Association hearing, doing damage control all season as a result of said embarrassment, facing increased insurance rates from Jimmy's secret sabotage, and following Chuck's threatening to sue the firm, Howard refuses to play Chuck's game and lets him "win" by inducing Chuck's retirement out of his own pocket.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Much like Jimmy predicted, Chuck died alone. But not at the hospital, suffering from his illness as a result of one of Hamlin's employees disregarding it. Instead, it's at his home, suffering from his illness as he kicks over a gas lantern to burn the house down.
    • As soon as Hector collapses, Gus desperately tries to resuscitate him, with only the audience aware of the paralyzed state Hector is destined to be left in.
  • Driven to Suicide: By Chuck's perspective, Jimmy has mostly gotten away with screwing him over while all of his friends turned against him to the point where he's been forced into retirement, and he feels so hopeless that he decides to kill himself.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?:
    • Howard is deeply hurt that after years of working together and Howard being a loyal partner to Chuck, Chuck would treat him like a disloyal upstart and threaten to destroy the firm if he does not get his way. Howard feels that he deserves Chuck's respect and instead Chuck treats him like an unruly child that needs to be put in its place.
      Howard: Seventeen years. Eighteen in July, actually. All those years we built this place together. And all that time I've supported you. Looked up to you, deferred to you. Because I always thought you had the best interests of the firm in mind.
      Chuck: I have!
      Howard: Mnh. You did. For a long time. But you've let personal vendettas turn your focus away from what's best for HHM. You've put your needs first. To our detriment.
      Chuck: I don't think that's accurate.
      Howard: And the moment that I mildly suggest, with empathy and concern, that maybe it's time for you to consider retirement... the first instinct you have is to sue me?! To sue the firm? Well, I...I-I don't even know. I-In what world is that anything but the deepest betrayal of everything we worked so hard to accomplish? In what world is that anything but the deepest betrayal of our friendship?
      Chuck: Howard, I could argue that you're the one who betrayed me–
      Howard: That's bullshit! And you know it.
    • Hector views Don Eladio's decision to give transportation responsibilities to Gus this way, calling it "...treat[ing] us like dogs", even though Juan Bolsa insists that's not the case.
  • Dying Alone: Chuck is overwhelmed by his condition and dies alone after cutting contact with those in his career and his own brother, just as Jimmy predicted in "Sunk Costs".
  • Engineered Public Confession: In an unusual example, Jimmy engineers his own confession, by 'accidentally' allowing his confession to be caught on a hot mic.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The whole third season has left subtle clues foreshadowing Chuck's final act, often by making the gas lantern take center stage:
      • "Mabel": As Chuck and Jimmy took the foil off from Chuck's house walls, the two recounted childhood memories, which included Jimmy's nightlight of an off-brand Daffy Duck, which was said to get hot enough to make Jimmy think it could burn their house down. Additionally, the title refers to The Adventures of Mabel, a book Chuck read to Jimmy when they were children. The author, Harry Thurston Peck, committed suicide following professional disgrace.note 
      • "Witness": The lantern is prominently seen as Chuck and his private investigator wait inside the house for Jimmy to steal the confession tape, and Jimmy threatens to burn the house down when grilling Chuck on the location of a possible second tape.
      • "Sunk Costs": While he is waiting for the police to take him into custody, Jimmy predicts that Chuck will alienate everyone he knows and die alone after being overwhelmed by his EHS.
      • "Sabrosito": Mike is hired by Jimmy and Kim to take photos of Chuck's house to present to Rebecca. One of these photos is of the lantern sitting atop a bunch of newspapers, which Jimmy takes special note of when they meet at the diner to make the exchange.
      • "Chicanery": Jimmy presents said photo during his bar hearing.
      • To round out the reference from "Mabel", the flashback at the beginning of the episode has the camera zoom in on a lantern as Chuck reads The Adventures of Mabel to Jimmy.
      • Just the fact that the episodes that he was getting better in were "Slip" and "Fall".
      • Even way back in "Alpine Shepherd Boy" from Season 1, the doctor expressed concern to Jimmy that Chuck would eventually burn down his house with the way he was living.
    • On a different note, when Hector stands at the counter of the upholstery shop, notice the object directly in front of his right hand: a bell.
      • While waiting for Bolsa and Gus to arrive (and right before he collapses), Hector's lips start pressing together, in much the same way he would appear in his "later" appearances.
    • "I could've killed somebody." "Yeah; yourself." Though it's not Kim that takes her own life.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Chuck's journal indicates he took Clonazepam and Quetiapine the night before he burns down his house. Clonazepam alone has been linked to suicide in depressed people (like for example if you've just been forcibly cashiered out of your legal partnership) and together with Quetiapine can impair judgment. Possible knock-ons include tearing your house apart looking for a rogue electrical component, then burning it down along with yourself by kicking over a lantern.
    • Looking at the "Pain Intensity" column also revealed his perceived pain multiplied by 8 from his previous entry to after his confrontation with Jimmy.
    • Also of note is on his journal entry we see a column listing for "Emotional State", which every entry lists "Average", except for one. After dealing with the fallout of being bought out from his firm and then having to suffer with a visit from Jimmy, he makes an entry at 3:22 pm. His emotional state at that point: "Irritated."
  • Game Changer: This episode marks major changes for the cast.
    • Jimmy undoes the manipulation he did on Irene and her friends, restoring her friendships at the cost of torching his own reputation among old folks. With this, not only is Sandpiper's case going to continue being a concern, but Jimmy's hope of practicing Elder Law is gone with the loss of his client base.
    • Kim decides to stop taxing herself with so much work while Jimmy makes sure Sandpiper doesn't settle, meaning they won't be financially secure enough to keep the office for their Wexler & McGill practice.
    • The Salamanca family is further forced to rely on Gus' LPH trucks despite Hector's efforts, and Nacho's sabotaging the pills finally works, giving Gus more reach in the north side of the border. Unfortunately for Nacho, Gus is far too eagle-eyed to not suspect something...
  • Gone Horribly Right: In the previous episode, Jimmy had sowed seeds of distrust amongst Irene's close friends in order to convince her to settle the Sandpiper case to get both their (and Jimmy's) money back. However, Jimmy's manipulations unfortunately ended up making Irene's friends' resentment very permanent, leaving Irene miserable and confused. Jimmy can't bear to let Irene live the rest of her life alone and unloved, so he willingly destroys his reputation to get Irene back with her friends.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: An unusual example since most of the show's deaths are graphically depicted. A Driven to Suicide Chuck kicks over a lantern and sits back waiting to be immolated. The lantern sets the paper it lies on alight. Cut to the exterior of his house, as the fire becomes visible in the windows, and the rest can be implied.
  • Honor Before Reason: Nacho's father seems to know how dangerous and powerful the Salamancas are, particularly Hector, but still can't bring himself to even pretend to show him any respect when he arrives to check out his shop. He coldly tells him to get out when Hector tries to offer him money, and even after Nacho reminds him that his actions might be putting the Varga's extended family in danger, can barely manage to even pick the money up or say so much as a word to Hector. Manuel's death at the hands of Hector after this seems so imminent, Nacho comes very close to shooting Hector in an attempt to prevent it (which would almost certainly get the entire cartel to start gunning for Nacho).
  • Hope Spot: Things seemed to be going well for Chuck's health in "Slip" and "Fall", but by the end of the episode Chuck cuts the power to his house, uses white gas lanterns for light, wraps himself up in a space blanket, and eventually is Driven to Suicide.
  • How Dare You Die on Me!: As Gus is performing CPR on Hector, he (albeit in Spanish) yells "Don't die on me, you bastard!"
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm...: After Jimmy compares Kim to Atticus Finch, she dismisses him by pointing out how instead of fighting for the little guy, she's using her lawyer skills to help expand Mesa Verde.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: Jimmy pretends to only "realize" that the microphone was still on when he grabs it out of his pocket.
  • It's All My Fault: Kim takes full credit for the actions that led to her car accident, stating that she was the one who made those decisions.
  • Kick the Dog: After giving another "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Jimmy during their last encounter, Chuck caps things off by saying that he never really cared about his younger brother.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Instead of giving Chuck a retirement party, Howard loudly announces to his employees that Chuck is retiring, prompting loud applauding and flashy cell phone photos as Chuck is subtly led out of the building.
  • Meaningful Look: After the ambulance takes Hector away, Gus looks over at Nacho, who's unaware that Gus is looking at him, with a serious look on his face, indicating that he has a feeling that Nacho was responsible for Hector's heart attack.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • After the accident, Kim realizes how serious it was for her to drive without sleep, and that her actions could have killed somebody.
    • It takes Kim's situation (and, in particular, her admitting that she is at fault for her own actions) to make Jimmy try to make things right with Irene and try one last time to patch things up with Chuck.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Nacho's father knows what his son is up to and is under threat by his criminal life, Hector suffers a nearly-fatal stroke, and Chuck commits suicide after his forced retirement and driving Jimmy away for good.
  • Nothing Personal: Juan Bolsa tries to tell Hector the minimizing of his role in the cartel isn't this, but Hector has none of that.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: When Hector collapses, Gus is really serious about keeping him alive –- after all, the revenge comes to a premature and unsatisfying conclusion if Hector dies there and then.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • Howard calls bullshit when Chuck tries to put the blame on him for his desperate lawsuit, saying Howard was the one betraying him.
    • After Hector collapses following his angry outburst, Gus starts performing CPR on Hector while yelling at him in Spanish. When translated to English, he's yelling "Don't die on me, bastard!" Gus clearly is not going to lose his chance at revenge and let Hector die peacefully, as future events will prove to be true.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Jimmy throws himself under the bus to make up for the cruel scam he did to Irene, turning the burnt bridges onto him.
    • Hamlin puts himself in debt to save hundreds of HHM employees from losing their jobs.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Howard to Chuck, specifically referencing the straight jump to suing.
    • Hector tells Juan Bolsa exactly what he thinks of Juan and Don Eladio.
    • Erin lays into Jimmy for his greed and abuse of his clients. The argument is staged, of course, but Erin clarifies afterward that she meant every word.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Invoked by Howard; Chuck gets millions of dollars for his spot at HHM in response to his threaten to sue them. While his intention was to force the firm to keep him around under the threat of lawsuits, with his spot cashed out, Chuck has no choice but to retire.
  • Reveal Shot:
    • Just like in "Klick" from the previous season, only panning out to reveal a perfectly normal house with all the lights on.
    • And then you have the last scene of the episode, which starts outside Chuck's home at night... with all of his lamps thrown across the yard.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Manuel Varga is not happy to see Hector Salamanca in his store. Hector assumes he can easily win him over with a bribe, and puts about a thousand dollars down in front of him. Manuel still tells him to leave, and only takes the money when Nacho suggests that Hector might go after their family if he feels disrespected. He stashes the money in a box, completely uninterested in spending it, and gives it back to Nacho at his first opportunity.
  • Shout-Out: Chuck totally succumbing to his delusions which lead to him wrecking his house and every appliance, and then ending his own life, matches Harry Caul's breakdown into his paranoia in The Conversation, which leads to Caul obsessively searching and smashing absolutely every single one of his possessions and furnishings and then tearing apart every inch of his home to find the bugs or surveillance devices he believes are around him.
  • Stepford Smiler: Hamlin is among those smiling and applauding for Chuck as he leaves, only to drop the act and walk away upon seeing Chuck reach the exit. Chuck himself also tries to carry his walk out of HHM's building with as much grace as he can, knowing the retirement was not his decision.
  • Stupid Crooks: Hector can't seriously have thought saying no to Juan Bolsa (and by extension, Don Eladio) would end well -– ironically Nacho may well have saved Hector's life by arranging a heart attack and removing the need for a cartel assassin. And Nacho was lucky that Hector's other two goons turned up as late as they did and didn't see Nacho gunning for Hector.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: Jimmy manages to get the other Sandpiper residents to like Irene again at the cost of his own reputation, Kim is recovering from her car accident, Howard manages to force Chuck out while still saving the firm, and Nacho successfully put Hector in the paralyzed state we knew was coming. Overall, the characters have all gone through challenges and become better people for it. Then, Chuck retreats into his EHS delusion, tears his house apart, and finally kicks his lantern over and burns himself alive.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Nacho is following Hector, planning to kill him, when Arturo shows up. Fortunately for him, it turns out Arturo had left a message telling Nacho to meet him there, and Nacho has the presence of mind to roll with it.
  • Take a Third Option: Chuck gambles that faced with the choice of a costly and embarrassing lawsuit or a cash-out that would bankrupt HHM, Howard would have to buckle and just let him back with minimal fuss. Instead, Howard buys Chuck's shares in HHM personally rather than have them go back to the firm for redistribution. Chuck didn't anticipate that Howard would mortgage himself to his eyeballs before allowing HHM to collapse or be bullied.
  • Title Drop: Non-verbal example: the lantern which appears in the flashback and which Chuck kicks over to burn down his own house.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: Defied; part of the shock of Chuck's suicide in the final scene is that, in the lead up to this episode, there was no hint that someone was actually going to die.note 
  • Trailers Always Lie: It shouldn't really come as a surprise that Chuck offering to settle with Howard via a handshake was a bit light on truth — he was basically saying "drop the forced retirement and I'll drop the lawsuit".
  • Trash the Set: Chuck tears his house apart to try and find any rogue source of electricity and then kicks over a gas lamp, starting a fire. To a lesser extent, Jimmy's half of his and Kim's office is emptied, with one final shot of the wall Jimmy had painted, before he leaves the place, probably for good.
  • Unexpected Character: Although it makes sense, given it involves the Sandpiper settlement, seeing Erin appear to help out Jimmy's scheme kinda of came out of left field.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • After Juan Bolsa shows up to firmly remind Hector that he's under orders to use Gus's distribution network, Hector completely loses it and goes on a rant as to how their empire was "built with Salamanca money and blood," leading to his suffering a stroke.
    • Chuck finally getting kicked out of HHM and completely severing ties with Jimmy drive him over the deep end with his EHS delusion, and he tears the walls of his house to pieces looking for hidden electrical wiring. It ends with Chuck kicking over the titular gas lantern and allowing himself to be burned alive.
  • Wham Episode: Nacho's plan against Hector finally succeeds, most likely meaning this is the last time we'll see Hector in good health. Chuck also goes into a downward spiral after being forced to leave HHM, firmly shutting his brother down with the worst parting words possible, eventually leading to his suicide.
  • Zero-Approval Gambit: After all but securing the million dollar payout from the Sandpiper case, Jimmy finds that he can't quite live with himself after seeing how his actions have made all of Irene's friends hate her despite his attempts to smooth things over naturally. So he arranges for Irene and her former friends to 'accidentally' overhear him admit his entire con, immediately repairing the ruined relationships, even though it significantly delays his million dollar payday and ruins his relationship with those same seniors. The latter point is actually a big deal to him as well, since his law practice had mostly been working with elders and he had planned on returning to them after his suspension was up.


Video Example(s):


Chuck McGill

Chuck sets his house on fire with no one else around but him inside.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / DyingAlone

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