Season 3 of Better Call Saul has come to a close, and Jimmy McGill’s world is moving closer than ever to Breaking Bad. To wit, Monday’s finale seemingly dispatched a major character never referenced in the original series, though producers cryptically promise we’ll see them again.

You’re warned of full Better Call Saul Season 3 spoilers from here on out, but while Walter White may not have dropped by, Monday’s “Lantern” finale took a major step toward Jimmy becoming the cynical sleazebag we recognize from Breaking Bad. Specifically, a large portion of the hour saw Jimmy’s older brother Chuck (Michael McKean) wrestling with his mental illness, and finally setting his own home ablaze in what seemed like a suicide attempt.

In typical TV terms, killing a character offscreen almost always ensures their return, but star McKean and executive producer Peter Gould seemed pretty certain in press interviews that Chuck’s role in the story had ended. Gould tells Deadline the Season 4 writers room hasn’t yet opened, though a last-minute save for Chuck would undercut their intent:

We haven’t opened the writer’s script for Season 4 yet, so it’s very hard to be definitive. It sure looks that way and I think there would be something a little ingenuous if we have this big build-up and it being a season ender and then we found out that he got out at the last second.

Gould also explained to Vulture that a tragic exit for Chuck felt somewhat inevitable, especially in light of who Jimmy became later in life:

The idea of Chuck dying came up in the writer’s room. When this idea came up I had a lot of resistance to it for many reasons … It took a long time for us to sort through and really understand that this was, weirdly enough for us anyway, inevitable. It has a very sad inevitability.

I don’t mean that Chuck never had a chance, because I think he did. There’s more of it that I find so heartbreaking with Chuck’s story this season, including this episode. I think Chuck really had potential to go a very different way, but it felt right in the end to go this way. It was definitely something that took a lot of thought and convincing.

But wait! Death isn’t necessarily the end for Chuck, as Gould acknowledged on Talking Saul (h/t IGN) that “Even if he is dead, we haven’t finished with the character. That’s the thing about the show, we go back and forth in time.” McKean similarly stated as much in the above Vulture interview, reminiscing about his “death call”:

They said, ‘Look, we’ll definitely want you to do some flashbacks and stuff [later].’ Whatever — that’s all for another day.

For the moment, AMC has not confirmed a Better Call Saul Season 4 renewal, but did Chuck get what he deserved (assuming he actually got it)? Might Gould and McKean have more in mind for the character after all?

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