Chuck McGill was one of the most hated characters on Better Call Saul. But while he treated his brother Jimmy poorly, Chuck had redeeming qualities.
When a Breaking Bad prequel was first announced, fans were skeptical. Would it live up to its predecessor? Well, it appears to have surpassed expectations. No single season of Better Call Saul has a score of less than 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. The latest season sits at 99%.
Even though their interactions ended in the third season due to a tragedy, part of what made Better Call Saul good is the rivalry between the main character Jimmy McGill, aka Saul Goodman, and his older brother, Chuck. The latter was always viewed as evil and unreasonable, but was this the case? Here are the arguments for why Chuck was the perfect brother and for why he’s as evil as fans think.
Perfect: Got Jimmy Out Of Prison
While Chuck worked hard and founded the law firm Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill, Jimmy settled for being a scam artist in Cicero, Illinois. He was soon nicknamed “Slippin’ Jimmy” due to his prowess at conning unsuspecting citizens.
The chickens soon came home to roost, and Jimmy was arrested. Facing several years behind bars, Chuck worked his law magic and got his brother out of prison on the condition that he moved with him to Albuquerque.
Evil: Hated The Fact The Jimmy Was Their Mother’s Favorite Child
Chuck was totally jealous of Jimmy when he really shouldn’t have been. He was more successful than Jimmy in almost every way. However, the thing that irked Chuck the most was that their late mother loved the stubborn Jimmy more than him.
When their mother was on her death bed, she called out Jimmy’s name. And when Chuck told her that it was he who was present in the room and not Jimmy, she still called out Jimmy’s name again. After she died, Jimmy asked Chuck whether she had said anything before she stopped breathing and Chuck lied that she said nothing.
Perfect: Gave Jimmy His First Proper Job
In order to prevent Jimmy from slipping back into his old ways, Chuck gave him an entry-level job as a mailroom clerk at HHM, the prestigious law firm that he and George Hamlin built from the ground up. It is at HHM that Jimmy met his future wife, Kim.
It is also at HHM that Jimmy bought his Suzuki Esteem and got the inspiration to become a lawyer. However, Chuck later expressed regret for helping him since he realized his little brother still wanted to take the easy way out. He wasn’t committing obvious crimes but he was still as devious as he used to be.
Evil: Pretended To Be Happy For Jimmy When He Became A Lawyer
Nothing bothered Chuck more than the fact that his conman brother had decided to leave his mailroom clerk job to become a lawyer. Chuck felt that law was a clean and decent profession that only belonged to those that had worked hard for it.
When Jimmy was about to be admitted to the bar, Chuck pretended to support him by vouching for him before the bar committee. He also took part in Jimmy’s celebrations reluctantly while deep down, he hated his brother for following in his footsteps.
Perfect: The Family’s Success Story
Every family needs a successful sibling, someone that the rest can look up to and be inspired by to do better. In the McGill family, that person was Chuck. He not only becomes an attorney but also starts his own law firm. That’s enough to make the whole family proud.
Jimmy gets inspired to become a lawyer by both Chuck and Kim’s achievements. Jimmy figures: “If my brother can do it, so can I.” It’s a shame that their parents loved Jimmy more instead of Chuck, who had literally done everything right.
Evil: Stopped HHM From Hiring Jimmy
Jimmy was quickly proving himself to be a brilliant lawyer. He knew how to reach potential clients that no else had thought of before. He almost became a senior attorney at the firm but Chuck sabotaged his chances.
Jimmy couldn’t understand why the firm was reluctant to take him in, and even blamed Howard for this. Later on, Jimmy learned that it was his own brother Chuck who didn’t want him there. This was an especially deep wound because Jimmy had really taken good care of Chuck when he was ill.
Perfect: He Was Right All Along
Apart from the jealousy, Chuck sees the danger in Jimmy practicing law,.He knows that Jimmy will continue to cut corners, cross ethical lines, and eventually become a crooked lawyer. Even though Chuck behaved in morally questionable ways to prove his point, he is right.
Jimmy used people so many times and solved cases in the most unorthodox and sometimes illegal methods. He even hurt his elderly clients who had developed great trust him. Eventually, he’d become Saul Goodman, the shady lawyer with connections to drug dealers. And at the end of Breaking Bad, he lost it all and went into hiding to protect his own life.
Evil: Blatantly Told Jimmy That He Never Meant That Much To Him
Hating someone and keeping it to yourself is normal. Telling them that you hate them straight to their face is a whole other form of monstrosity. In the Season 3 finale “Lantern,” Jimmy goes to visit Chuck, whose health appears to have greatly improved.
Chuck is reluctant to let Jimmy into the house and when his younger brother is finally inside, Chuck delivers the most brutal of statements: “I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but the truth is, you’ve never mattered all that much to me.” Come on, Chuck! You don’t say that family.
Perfect: Brought The Best Out Of Jimmy
Jimmy might not be a straight arrow, but he is fierce, ambitious, and smart. All this is thanks to Chuck. Just as villains bring the best out of heroes, Chuck brought the best out of Jimmy. His many efforts to suppress Jimmy’s rise made the younger McGill become even smarter by devising creative ways to come out on top.
If it weren’t for Chuck’s hatred, Jimmy would probably still be working at HHM or Davis & Main. We’d never have seen him picking up $7 million for Lalo or linking Walt with Gus Fring. Where’s the fun in that?
Evil: Never Appreciated The Sacrifices Jimmy Made
What makes Chuck a total jerk is that he continued hating Jimmy despite the fact that Jimmy was the only one who spared a few hours every day to take care of him when his condition worsened. Chuck was informed by doctors that he had a mental health condition, but he believed he suffered from electromagnetic sensitivity.
Jimmy would often make sure Chuck got what he needed, including daily newspapers and food. He’d also show up even when they had argued. Despite all this, Chuck tried to get Jimmy disbarred for malpractice. However, Jimmy managed to defend himself properly during the hearing and only got a one-year suspension.
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