‘Better Call Saul’: Jimmy’s Outburst at Howard Proved He’s More Like His Brother Chuck Than Anyone Realized
[Spoiler Alert: Spoilers ahead for Better Call Saul, Season 5, Episode 7]
Amazingly, Jimmy and Kim’s quickie courthouse wedding wasn’t even the most talked-about scene of the latest episode, even if Huell’s efforts to make it more romantic did add a dose of sweetness. Most fans had figured out that this unlikely pair was going to get hitched for legal reasons after Kim’s shocking proposal at the end of episode 6. And of course they love each other — even if that love is doomed.
No, the most dramatic moment wasn’t the explosion at Los Pollos Hermanos or Lydia casually suggesting a prison shanking for Lalo. It was the moment Jimmy lost his cool on Howard at the courthouse.
But perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Jimmy’s tirade is how reminiscent it is of his deceased brother Chuck.
Jimmy finally flipped out on Howard
Fans have been aware for some time that Jimmy despises Howard, though Howard doesn’t seem to understand that obvious fact. Howard takes Jimmy to lunch and offers him a job then continues pestering him to accept the offer even as Jimmy keeps brushing him off.
Ultimately, it’s Howard’s calm, unflappable demeanor and their shared history that forces Jimmy to flip out in public. The line that really sent him over the edge is when Howard says, “Jimmy, I’m sorry you’re in pain.”
Jimmy’s tirade goes off the rails
“You’re sorry. You’re sorry?” Jimmy replies. “You kill my brother and you say you’re sorry. Let me tell you something, the job offer, it didn’t upset me. It amused me. Big job at the illustrious HHM — a chance to play at the palace. Little old me?”
“You have no idea what’s going on,” Jimmy continues, pointing in Howard’s face and getting louder. “You’re a teensy, tiny man in a teensy, weensy little bubble… you look down on me, you pity me? You know why I didn’t take the job, Howard? Because it’s too small! I don’t care about it! It’s nothing to me. It’s a bacterium. I travel in worlds you can’t even imagine. You can’t conceive of what I’m capable of — I’m so far beyond you, I’m like a god in human clothing. Lightning bolts shoot from my fingertips!”
Fans immediately connect Jimmy’s outburst with his brother, Chuck
Jimmy yelling at Howard resembles Walter White’s assertion of dominance in the classic monologue where he proclaims, “I am the one who knocks,” to Skyler in Breaking Bad. But it’s probably more accurate to compare his meltdown to his older brother Chuck in Season 3, Episode 5, “Chicanery.”
In that episode, Chuck testifies in a hearing and gets tricked into making his electromagnetic hypersensitivity look fake. Once Chuck realizes Jimmy fooled him, he launches into a personal, vindictive tirade against his brother that clearly proves there’s a feud between Jimmy and Chuck.
Jimmy and Chuck have similar reactions to those two outbursts. At the conclusion, both look surprised to have lost their temper and attempt to recalibrate by straightening their ties and returning to themselves. And both regret the words they said in passion.
Jimmy and Chuck never got along while Chuck was still alive. But it’s obvious that these two brothers have a lot in common.