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Spoilers ahead for the season finale of AMC's Better Call Saul.
Season 3 of Better Call Saul has been a particularly exciting one, as the ties between Breaking Bad and its spinoff become stronger. But besides to the welcome addition of characters like Gus Fring and Hector Salamanca, the season also helped flesh out original characters like Jimmy's brother Chuck. The explosive season finale saw Chuck once again suffering from a bout of mental instability, and the episode ended with with Jimmy's brother in an apparent suicide attempt, knocking over a lantern in order to blow up his increasingly Grey Gardens-ish house with him in it. But we didn't actually see Chuck die, so what's the deal with this ending?
I will say that we try to avoid something that we call 'schmuck bait.' Which, to us --- the term means making it look like something really big happened to get people to keep watching, and then as soon as they keep watching you take it off the table. So it looks like your main character is dead and then it turns out immediately that they're not. That's schmuck bait. So we try not to do that. We try to play fair with the audience, and I think it's --- what you see is what you get. This is a guy that's in this house that's filled with these lanterns with flammable fuel. And he's got stacks of newspaper and books all around him. So, really, it doesn't look too good.
Well, this certainly seems cut and dry. Let's break down exactly what Peter Gould is telling us.
One of the rules of modern TV production is that if a character's death isn't shown on screen, then they're probably not actually gone. You can particularly see this with other AMC shows like Fear The Walking Dead, which recently brought back a presumed character after nearly a full season of hiatus. But because we didn't actually see him go up in flames (similar to Chuck's ending), many smart fans didn't take his "death" seriously. And while the situation may be very similar in Better Call Saul, Peter Gould seems to think it would be illogical for Chuck to somehow survive in his fire hazard filled home.
I also have to laugh at Peter Gould's apparent disdain for "schmuck bait". I have to think that this statement is targeted toward The Walking Dead, in particular Glenn's fake death in Season 6. We all knew the pizza boy probably wasn't dead, so his eventual revival via dumpster hiding was a let down for the fandom. Shots fired, Gould.
Better Call Saul will likely be back for Season 4 sometime next year. In the meantime you can catch up on the series through Netflix and On Demand, and be sure to check out our summer premiere list to plan your next binge watch.