This sublime series moves into even more lush and dramatic territory. James McGill, having set his course close to the wind in the first season, and given way to weakness in trying to cheer up his sanctimonious and wily brother Charles in season two, gets what might appear to be a fatal comeuppance here. But like a cockroach, Jimmy is a survivor. He has nouse, drive, and a good sense of weak spots in an opposing case – one tiny flaw lets him down; his total, unethical focus on outcome at the expense of process (getting an outcome according to process, i.e., law and ethics, being the essence of legal practice). He’s a bit like Elmer Gantry – a rogue who, it turns out, really cares.
The story ascends to high farce in the form of Jimmy’s struggles with Chuck’s obsession to get him disbarred, a process that profoundly wounds them both, in different ways. Meanwhile, there’s a darker and more dangerous side story, involving corrupt ex-cop Mike and his dealings with the loathsome Hector Salamanca, and the enigmatic Gus Fring.
Everyone in the cast hits their straps in this season – Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill, with his manic highs and lows; his deeply disturbed and vengeful brother Chuck (Michael McKean); Jimmy’s long-suffering, highly-competent worrier of a partner, Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn); Jonathan Banks as the phlegmatic, oddly moral Mike Ehrmantraut; Mark Margolis as Hector; Giancarlo Esposito as the cold and calculating Gus; Patrick Fabian as the bumptious Howard Hamlin, and Michael Mando as Nacho Varga. We leave the show with all of these characters up in the air, Chuck most of all, abandoned, alone and inhabiting a world of pain, almost entirely self-created. A fourth series has been commissioned, and we can’t wait for it.