When we left off on Better Call Saul, Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) had pulled off an almost perfect con on his brother, Chuck (Michael McKean). Jimmy had doctored a legal document that ultimately led to a court-room humiliation for Chuck, who quit the law in response. However, Chuck turned around a pulled an even better con on Jimmy by tricking his brother into confessing to the crime of doctoring a document and recording that confession on tape. In the season two cliffhanger, we were left wondering if Chuck would use the confession against his brother.
How season three of Better Call Saul is shaping up is still unknown, but there may be a subtle thematic clue in this first look photo from Entertainment Weekly:
The book Jimmy is holding is called The Adventures of Mabel, and from what we know about showrunners Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, the choice of what book or painting or shirt color on their shows is never left to chance. There’s meaning in the choice of The Adventures of Mabel, a children’s book about a five-year-old who helps the King of Lizards and is rewarded with the power to talk to animals.
How might that thematically fit in with season three of Better Call Saul? Consider the conversations the writers were having when they broke season three. Jimmy and Chuck have been butting heads for two seasons. They’re at a crossroads. Chuck could use the confession and turn Jimmy and get him disbarred, but we know he doesn’t do that because Saul Goodman comes out at the end of the tunnel. We also know that, in a way, Chuck himself has broken bad. Not only did he make the morally questionable decision to tape record his brother, but we also know that Chuck faked being sick in order to con Jimmy. That’s a line that Chuck has never crossed before.