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Better Call Saul (season 3)

The third season of the American television drama series Better Call Saul premiered on April 10, 2017, and concluded on June 19, 2017. The ten-episode season was broadcast on Monday nights in the United States on AMC. A spin-off of Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul was created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, both of whom also worked on Breaking Bad.

Better Call Saul (season 3)
Better Call Saul Season 3.jpg
Region 1 home media cover art
Starring
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes10
Release
Original networkAMC
Original releaseApril 10 (2017-04-10) –
June 19, 2017 (2017-06-19)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 2
Next →
Season 4
List of Better Call Saul episodes

The third season immediately follows the events of the second season, which take place in late 2002. The year is 2003 by the third season's conclusion. Bob Odenkirk reprises his role as Jimmy McGill, a lawyer who is engaged in a feud with his lawyer brother Chuck (Michael McKean), who believes Jimmy is unfit and unqualified to be a lawyer and plots to have him disbarred from the practice. Jonathan Banks also reprises his role as Mike Ehrmantraut, who is in partnership with Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), while Nacho Varga (Michael Mando) is plotting to murder their rival, Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis).

The third season of Better Call Saul received critical acclaim from critics. It received eight nominations for the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series.

ProductionEdit

CastingEdit

This season of Better Call Saul features the return of several of the original Breaking Bad cast members, most notably Giancarlo Esposito (Gus Fring), who returned in the second episode "Witness".[1] In a Q&A with AMC, Esposito expressed excitement on his return into the Breaking Bad universe, saying,

"I'm extremely excited. I'm over the moon. I love this family of filmmakers a great deal. I know Better Call Saul is a little bit of a different show than Breaking Bad was and I love the success it's had. It has such wonderful talent in the show. Bob Odenkirk is just stellar. Obviously the opportunity to tell some of the backstory of Gus and how he rose to power and how he came to be is always something I've wanted to explore in a very subtle way in the right venue." He also distinguished Better Call Saul's version of Gus from Breaking Bad's version, describing his character as "a little fresher, a little less jaded. The time period alone takes us to a time where his look may be little bit different. I wanted him to be little more hopeful, a little more energetic, maybe not as definitive in some of his actions because he's a Gus that we've never met before."[2]

All of the main cast members return for this season. Bob Odenkirk returns as Jimmy McGill, Jonathan Banks returns as Mike Ehrmantraut, Rhea Seehorn returns as Kim Wexler, Patrick Fabian returns as Howard Hamlin, Michael Mando returns as Nacho Varga, and Michael McKean returns as Chuck McGill, Jimmy's elder brother. This was the first season of Better Call Saul to feature Giancarlo Esposito as a member of the main cast.

FilmingEdit

Better Call Saul is set and filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the same location as its predecessor.[3]

In the first scene from the season's first episode, Jimmy is using his Gene Takovic alias while working at a Cinnabon in a shopping mall in Omaha, Nebraska. The Cinnabon scenes in Better Call Saul are set in Omaha, but filmed at the Cottonwood Mall in Albuquerque, New Mexico.[4]

Cast and charactersEdit

Bob Odenkirk (Jimmy McGill), Jonathan Banks (Mike Ehrmantraut), and Rhea Seehorn (Kim Wexler)
Patrick Fabian (Howard Hamlin), Michael Mando (Nacho Varga), and Giancarlo Esposito (Gus Fring)
Michael McKean (Chuck McGill)

MainEdit

RecurringEdit

  • Mark Margolis as Hector Salamanca, Tuco's uncle and the leader of the Salamanca drug ring.
  • Jeremiah Bitsui as Victor, Gus's henchman, reprising his role from Breaking Bad.
  • Kerry Condon as Stacey Ehrmantraut, Mike's widowed daughter-in-law and the mother of Kaylee Ehrmantraut.
  • Tina Parker as Francesca Liddy, Saul's secretary, reprising her role from Breaking Bad.
  • Omar Maskati as Omar, Jimmy's assistant at Davis & Main.
  • Vincent Fuentes as Arturo, a criminal associate of Hector Salamanca.
  • Rex Linn as Kevin Wachtell, chairman of Mesa Verde Bank and Trust and a client of HHM and Kim.
  • Cara Pifko as Paige Novick, senior legal counsel for Mesa Verde Bank and Trust and a friend of Kim.
  • Ann Cusack as Rebecca Bois, Chuck's ex-wife.
  • Tamara Tunie as Anita, a support group member.
  • Manuel Uriza as Ximenez Lecerda, an associate of Hector Salamanca.
  • Josh Fadem as Camera Guy, a film student who helps Jimmy on various projects.
  • Hayley Holmes as Drama Girl, a film student who helps Jimmy on various projects.
  • Brandon K. Hampton as Ernesto, Chuck's assistant who works at HHM.
  • Jean Effron as Irene, an elderly client of Jimmy McGill overcharged by Sandpiper Crossing.
  • Joe DeRosa as Dr. Caldera, a veterinarian who serves as Mike's liaison to the criminal underworld.
  • Juan Carlos Cantu as Manuel Varga, Nacho's father who is the owner of a car restoration shop.

Guest starsEdit

EpisodesEdit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
(millions)
211"Mabel"Vince GilliganVince Gilligan & Peter GouldApril 10, 2017 (2017-04-10)1.81[7]
In a flash-forward, "Gene" points out to security a shoplifter hiding in a photo booth, but yells at him to stay silent and obtain counsel. In 2003, Jimmy helps Chuck remove foil from his walls and reminiscences over a children's book they read together, but Chuck promises consequences for the fraud that humiliated him. Chuck plays Jimmy's confession to Howard, who says it has no legal value, but Chuck insists it has a use. Chuck later asks Ernesto to change the player's batteries and Ernesto hears the confession, but Chuck swears him to secrecy. Determined to discover how someone knew his location and prevented him from killing Hector, Mike completely dismantles his station wagon until he finds a tracking device in the gas cap. Leaving the disassembled car at the salvage yard, he then finds the same type of device in his sedan. He obtains a similar one, replaces the tracker from his car with the new one, drains the battery of the one he took from his car, and stays up overnight. He sees someone replace his gas cap. The man, thinking he's picked up the tracker with the dead battery, is actually carrying the tracker Mike installed, which enables Mike to find out where he takes the tracker.
222"Witness"Vince GilliganThomas SchnauzApril 17, 2017 (2017-04-17)1.46[8]
Chuck meets with a private investigator. Mike follows the individuals who changed tracking devices on his car. They meet with a courier, who Mike tails until he stops at Los Pollos Hermanos. Mike asks Jimmy to watch the courier inside the restaurant. Jimmy notices nothing unusual and reports to Mike in Mike's car as Gus watches from a distance. Mike notices Victor leave, and follows him using a tracking device of his own. When the device is again stationary, Mike finds it with his gas cap and a cell phone in the middle of a remote stretch of road. The phone rings, and Mike picks it up to answer. Ernesto tells Kim he heard Jimmy's taped confession. Kim has Jimmy engage her as counsel to obtain attorney-client privilege and tells him about the tape. She tells Jimmy it is useless in court and wonders what Chuck is planning, so she suggests Jimmy wait for Chuck to make the first move. Jimmy angrily breaks in to Chuck's house and destroys the tape. Howard and the private investigator reveal themselves and tell Chuck they witnessed the crimes Jimmy committed, enabling Chuck to report him to the police.
233"Sunk Costs"John ShibanGennifer HutchisonApril 24, 2017 (2017-04-24)1.52[9]
Gus meets Mike, and they agree that Gus will stop tracking Mike and Mike will not kill Hector. Mike continues trying to attract police attention to Hector, and Gus does not object. Mike obtains a small amount of cocaine from Barry Goodman, stuffs it into the toe of a sneaker, and hangs the pair from a cable spanning the road where Hector's drivers stop to stash their guns before crossing the Mexican border. As they depart, Mike shoots the sneakers, causing cocaine to spill onto the truck. When the truck arrives at the border crossing, drug-sniffing dogs are alerted, and Hector's drivers are arrested. Jimmy is arrested for the break-in at Chuck's, pleads not guilty, and posts bail. The prosecutor informs Chuck that she takes the charges seriously and will press for jail time, but Chuck suggests a better solution than criminal prosecution. Jimmy tells Kim that Chuck's proposal includes Jimmy confessing to the break-in in exchange for probation and a diversion program that could wipe his record clean, but only if he submits his confession to the New Mexico Bar Association, which could result in disbarment. Kim convinces Jimmy to let her help him fight Chuck's plan.
244"Sabrosito"Thomas SchnauzJonathan GlatzerMay 1, 2017 (2017-05-01)1.56[10]
In a flashback scene, Hector delivers a cash tribute to Don Eladio, but is humiliated when Gus sends a significantly larger tribute via Juan Bolsa. In 2003, Hector demands Gus use his trucks to smuggle Hector's drugs. Gus seems to reluctantly agree, with Hector not realizing this is part of Gus's plan. Gus sends payment to Mike for his disruption of Hector's trucks, but Mike refuses to take the money. Jimmy hires Mike to pose as a handyman to repair Chuck's door to photograph the interior of Chuck's house and document his bizarre living conditions. Gus informs Mike that he's interested in hiring him, and Mike says he might be interested. Jimmy, Kim, Howard, Chuck, and the prosecutor meet to finalize Jimmy's confession, with Jimmy agreeing to have it reviewed by the bar association. Afterwards, Kim confronts Chuck and tells him she suspects he has a copy of the tape. Chuck confirms it and states that he plans to submit it as evidence at Jimmy's disciplinary hearing. Kim relays the information to Jimmy and reveals that having Chuck admit the existence of the second tape was part of their plan.
255"Chicanery"Daniel SackheimGordon SmithMay 8, 2017 (2017-05-08)1.76[11]
In a flashback scene, Chuck tries to win Rebecca back by inviting her to dinner at his house and works with Jimmy on a ruse to hide his EHS. Rebecca answers her cell phone, and Chuck knocks it out of her hand. He refuses to explain and forbids Jimmy from doing so, and Rebecca angrily departs. In 2003, Jimmy's hearing room prepares for Chuck by turning off the lights and removing all electronic devices. Rebecca arrives after Jimmy says Chuck needs her help, but Chuck believes it is a ploy to embarrass him. Jimmy stands near Chuck during cross-examination and asks how close an electronic device has to be before Chuck is affected. Suspecting a trick, Chuck correctly guesses that Jimmy has his cell phone in his pocket. Jimmy then reveals that Huell planted Jimmy's cell phone battery in Chuck's pocket, which Chuck carried for more than an hour without noticing. The bar association's counsel suggests that Chuck's mental illness shouldn't affect the proceedings, and the notion that his illness isn't real triggers an outburst from Chuck, who vents his frustrations about Jimmy. Chuck realizes too late that his tirade has shocked the entire room into silence.
266"Off Brand"Keith GordonAnn CherkisMay 15, 2017 (2017-05-15)1.72[12]
Hector compels Nacho to beat Domingo when his weekly payment is short, disillusioning Nacho. The bar association suspends Jimmy for a year, but does not disbar him. As Kim and Jimmy celebrate, Rebecca arrives and asks Jimmy to help her see Chuck, who will not answer his door, but Jimmy refuses. Howard visits Chuck and suggests he look to the future, and Chuck agrees. Nacho and Arturo pick up cocaine from Gus's warehouse and Nacho attempts to take six kilos instead of the expected five. Tyrus calls Gus, who orders Tyrus to give it to him. At the end of the call, Gus is revealed to be scouting a commercial laundry with Lydia. Hector wants Nacho's father's upholstery shop as a front for a new smuggling route, to which Nacho objects. Hector is informed that Tuco was in a prison fight that will extend his sentence and suffers an angina attack. He drops a nitroglycerin capsule, which Nacho steals. Jimmy attempts to recoup the money he spent in advance for TV commercials by filming advertisements for other businesses, in which he uses the alias Saul Goodman.
277"Expenses"Thomas SchnauzThomas SchnauzMay 22, 2017 (2017-05-22)1.65[13]
Jimmy tries unsuccessfully to sell the TV ad time for which he's already paid. Nacho approaches Daniel (Pryce) with the nitroglycerin capsule he stole from Hector and asks Daniel to obtain him empty, unsealed lookalikes. Paige gloats over Chuck's demise and praise's Kim's cross-examination, but Kim expresses regret for her actions. Mike helps with construction of the new church playground and receives help from other members of Stacey's support group. Daniel asks Mike to be his bodyguard at his planned meeting with Nacho, but Mike declines. After hearing Anita tell the support group about how her husband mysteriously disappeared while hiking years previously, Mike changes his mind and accompanies Daniel. Nacho tells Mike about Hector's plan to use Manuel's upholstery business as a drug front so the Salamancas can stop having their drugs smuggled in Gus's trucks, and Nacho's plan to stop Hector by replacing his nitroglycerin with ibuprofen in hopes of inducing a fatal heart attack. Mike advises Nacho that if Hector dies, Nacho should immediately take the placebos from Hector and replace them with the real medication, in order to minimize the chances that Hector's death will be recognized as murder and traced back to Nacho.
288"Slip"Adam BernsteinHeather MarionJune 5, 2017 (2017-06-05)1.63[14]
In a flashback scene, Jimmy and Marco recover Jimmy's coin collection from the remnants of the McGills' Cicero store and find one to use later in a con. Marco fondly reminisces about Jimmy's parents, but Jimmy criticizes his father as a "soft touch". In 2003, Chuck follows Dr. Cruz's advice for overcoming his EHS and he's able to walk outdoors and shop on his own. Jimmy's guitar store clients refuse to pay so he stages a slip and fall accident, which nets him enough to pay his half of the rent. While at lunch with Kevin and Paige, Kim encounters Howard and tries to repay the balance of her law school loan, but Howard refuses. Jimmy coerces his community service supervisor into giving him credit for hours worked while he rests his injured back and makes $700 by persuading the supervisor to allow another crew member, a drug dealer, to leave early and "see his sick child". Nacho switches Hector's nitro capsules with lookalikes containing ibuprofen. Mike locates the body of the Good Samaritan Hector killed and reports it to the police. Gus agrees to help Mike launder the remaining $200,000 he stole from Hector.
299"Fall"Minkie SpiroGordon SmithJune 12, 2017 (2017-06-12)1.47[15]
Jimmy gets an update on the Sandpiper case from Irene, the class representative, and finds that HHM and D&M have rejected a substantial settlement. He asks Howard why they will not accept, and Howard says they believe they can obtain more by waiting. Howard and Chuck meet with their insurance agent, who proposes substantially raising their malpractice premiums or having another senior attorney supervise Chuck. Chuck refuses and Howard says he'll force Chuck to retire. Chuck responds by suing for $8 million, the value of his share of HHM. Mike is contracted as a security consultant for Madrigal Electromotive, and the monthly payments enable him to launder his stolen money. While Jimmy is suspended, Kim takes on a second client to generate additional income and becomes exhausted from overwork. Nacho admits to his father that he works for Hector and begs him to follow Hector's orders, but Manuel orders Nacho to leave his house. Jimmy tricks Irene into believing that refusing the Sandpiper settlement is against her friends' wishes so she accepts, meaning Jimmy will receive his share – more than $1 million. Kim falls asleep while driving to a meeting with her new client and crashes into a boulder.
3010"Lantern"Peter GouldGennifer HutchisonJune 19, 2017 (2017-06-19)1.85[16]
In a childhood flashback scene, Chuck reads to Jimmy by lantern light. In 2003, Kim suffers a broken arm in the car accident and takes a leave of absence. Jimmy agrees to break their office lease so Kim can save money by working from home. Chuck is forced from HHM when Howard pays the first installment to buy out his share. Hector bribes Manuel to allow use of his business as a drug front and Manuel reluctantly accepts. Nacho intends to ambush Hector but is caught in a meeting between Hector, Gus, and Bolsa. Bolsa informs Hector that Eladio wants Salamanca drugs smuggled from Mexico in Gus's trucks to be a permanent arrangement. An enraged Hector suffers a stroke. Nacho replaces the fake capsules with Hector's real nitroglycerin, but Gus is suspicious. Jimmy tries making amends with Chuck, but Chuck refuses. Jimmy tries mending relations between Irene and her friends, but Irene's friends refuse. He arranges for them to overhear him admit tricking Irene into accepting the Sandpiper settlement, vindicating her and causing her to withdraw acceptance. Chuck's EHS symptoms re-emerge, he destroys his home's interior, and then intentionally knocks over a gas lantern, setting a fire.

Talking SaulEdit

Talking Saul is a live aftershow hosted by Chris Hardwick, which features guests discussing episodes of Better Call Saul. These episodes discuss the third-season premiere and finale episodes of Better Call Saul.

No.
overall
No. in
season
Episode discussedGuestsOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
(millions)
31"Mabel"Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Jonathan Banks, and Rhea SeehornApril 10, 2017 (2017-04-10)0.545[17]
42"Lantern"Peter Gould, Patrick Fabian, Michael Mando, and Michael McKean (via satellite)June 19, 2017 (2017-06-19)0.589[18]

ReceptionEdit

The third season of Better Call Saul, much like the previous two, received critical acclaim, particularly for the character development of Jimmy McGill, and McKean's performance as Chuck. On Rotten Tomatoes, the third season has an approval rating of 97% based on 35 reviews, with an average rating of 8.82/10. The site's critical consensus is, "Better Call Saul shows no signs of slipping in season 3, as the introduction of more familiar faces causes the inevitable transformation of its lead to pick up exciting speed."[19] On the review aggregator website Metacritic, the season has a score of 87 out of 100, based on 18 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[20]

Terri Schwartz of IGN gave the third season 9.1/10, giving praise to Jimmy's character development, stating, "Better Call Saul was better than it's ever been in Season 3."[21] Verne Gay of Newsday gave it an "A+" grade and wrote, "Based on the first two episodes, Saul is making a case that it could be even better than Breaking Bad."[22]

RatingsEdit

No. Title Air date Rating
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1 "Mabel" April 10, 2017 0.7 1.81[7] 1.0 2.25 1.7 4.06[23]
2 "Witness" April 17, 2017 0.5 1.46[8] 1.0 2.30 1.5 3.76[24]
3 "Sunk Costs" April 24, 2017 0.5 1.52[9] 0.9 1.95 1.4 3.47[25]
4 "Sabrosito" May 1, 2017 0.6 1.56[10] N/A N/A N/A N/A
5 "Chicanery" May 8, 2017 0.6 1.76[11] 1.0 2.41 1.6 4.16[26]
6 "Off Brand" May 15, 2017 0.6 1.72[12] 1.1 2.47 1.7 4.19[27]
7 "Expenses" May 22, 2017 0.7 1.65[13] 1.0 2.55 1.7 4.20[28]
8 "Slip" June 5, 2017 0.5 1.63[14] 1.1 2.45 1.6 4.09[29]
9 "Fall" June 12, 2017 0.5 1.47[15] 1.1 2.77 1.6 4.24[30]
10 "Lantern" June 19, 2017 0.6 1.85[16] 0.9 2.34 1.5 4.19[31]
Notes

Live +7 ratings were not available, so Live +3 ratings have been used instead.

AccoladesEdit

Ceremony Category Recipients Result
69th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards[32] Outstanding Music Supervision Thomas Golubić ("Sunk Costs") Nominated
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series Skip Macdonald ("Chicanery") Nominated
Kelley Dixon and Skip Macdonald ("Witness") Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour) Phillip W. Palmer, Larry Benjamin, Kevin Valentine ("Witness") Nominated
69th Primetime Emmy Awards[33][34] Outstanding Drama Series Better Call Saul Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Bob Odenkirk Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Jonathan Banks Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series Vince Gilligan ("Witness") Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Gordon Smith ("Chicanery") Nominated
75th Golden Globe Awards[35] Best Actor – Television Series Drama Bob Odenkirk Nominated
24th Screen Actors Guild Awards[36] Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series Bob Odenkirk Nominated
70th Writers Guild of America Awards[37] Drama Series Better Call Saul Nominated
Episodic Drama Gordon Smith ("Chicanery") Won
Heather Marion ("Slip") Nominated
22nd Satellite Awards[38] Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or TV Film Michael McKean Won
54th Cinema Audio Society Awards[39] Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Series – One Hour Phillip W. Palmer, Larry B. Benjamin, Kevin Valentine, Matt Hovland and David Michael Torres ("Lantern") Nominated
44th Saturn Awards[40] Best Action-Thriller Television Series Better Call Saul Won
Best Supporting Actor on Television Michael McKean Won
Best Supporting Actress on Television Rhea Seehorn Won

PlotEdit

Chuck's fateEdit

Jimmy tries to make amends with his brother Chuck in the season 3 finale, "Lantern", but Chuck coldly cuts ties with Jimmy, telling him that "he never really mattered all that much to him." After forcing Jimmy away, Chuck's EHS symptoms begin to re-emerge, and he becomes obsessed with disabling all electronic devices in his home to the point of tearing walls open to remove the wiring. He eventually reaches a breaking point and knocks the gas lantern over, setting fire to his house, while he is still inside. After this scene there was much speculation as to what happened to Chuck after the fire started. Showrunner Peter Gould said, "I don't want to define anything more than what's on screen".[41] Michael McKean, who played Chuck, told Vulture: "I got a call on my cell from Peter [and] Vince [Gilligan]. I said, 'If this is the death call, I'm going to pull over.' And that's what I did. I pulled into the parking lot of the bookstore and I called them back and they told me what they had planned. They told me they had laughed about what I had said, but they had to deliver it." When asked if his character was dead, McKean said, "I am. I know they want to bring me in for some flashbacks this coming season, but that's kind of beside the point."[42]

Home mediaEdit

The third season was released on Blu-ray and DVD in region 1 on January 16, 2018. The set contains all 10 episodes, plus audio commentaries for every episode and several behind-the-scenes featurettes.[43]

ReferencesEdit

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  2. ^ Bryant, Adam (January 20, 2017). "Better Call Saul Q&A – Giancarlo Esposito (Gustavo Fring)". AMC.com. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  3. ^ Christine (June 2, 2014). "'Breaking Bad' prequel 'Better Call Saul' begins filming in Albuquerque, NM today!". On Location Vacations. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  4. ^ "The 11 Most Iconic ABQ Locations From 'Better Call Saul' Season 1". NewsCastic. April 7, 2015. Archived from the original on June 26, 2017. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
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  23. ^ Porter, Rick (April 26, 2017). "'Better Call Saul' makes big gains in cable Live +7 ratings for April 10–16". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  24. ^ Porter, Rick (May 4, 2017). "'Fargo' premiere makes solid gains in cable Live +7 ratings for April 17–23". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
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  31. ^ Porter, Rick (July 7, 2017). "'Doctor Who' quadruples in 18–49: Cable Live +7 ratings for June 19–25". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
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External linksEdit