Chuck McGill was affectionately brought back in the series finale of “Better Call Saul,” but Michael McCain, who reprises his role as the late lawyer in a flashback sequence, isn’t sure what that means – Because he’s still a few episodes behind on the AMC series.
In two flashbacks during the finale, Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) asks Mike (Jonathan Banks) and Walter White (Bryan Cranston) where they would go if they had a time machine. Mike and Walt both express great regret – taking the bribe and leaving Gray Matter Technologies respectively – but Jimmy refrains from getting too personal.
It’s not until after the climactic courtroom scene—in which Jimmy takes a shot at redemption by confessing his crimes and taking a lengthy prison sentence to clear Kim’s (Rhea Seehorn) name—that we’ll be in the middle of time. Travel back to discuss a conversation between him and Chuck, who died by suicide at the end of Season 3, as Jimmy delivers fresh groceries and newspapers to his older brother. (Note how director Peter Gould foresaw Chuck’s flashbacks by zeroing in on the courtroom’s buzzing exit sign, a nod to Season 3’s “Chickenery.”)
While Chuck isn’t asked the same questions Jimmy asks Mike and Walt, he does offer some sage advice to his younger brother: “If you don’t like where you’re going, it’s best to go back and change your way.” There’s no shame.” After Jimmy leaves, it is revealed that Chuck is reading HG Wells’s “The Time Machine”.
Of course, McCain remembers shooting this pivotal closing scene, but he has no idea how the show, or his imaginary brother Jimmy, ends. In a careful, spoiler-free interview with Variety, McCain breaks down his return to “Better Call Saul” and takes a jibe at the importance of “The Time Machine.”
How Much of “Better Call Saul” Season 6 Have You Watched?
My wife and I watched episode 8, so we haven’t watched the last five. The last we saw was a monster episode, with a showdown between Gus [Giancarlo Esposito] and Lalo [Tony Dalton]. That’s great TV there.
When did you know that you would be returning for the finale?
At the beginning of last season, he told me he needed me for one more scene in the last episode, and I said, “Awesome.” And I said, “Don’t tell me anything Chuck won’t know,” and he said okay. I only read my scene, and I didn’t read anything else, because I’m a fan of the show. And I want to see that the story is well composed. I’m so glad I didn’t know anything, and people didn’t tell me what was going on. And I’m trying not to read anything on Twitter that tells me more than I need to know.
It will be difficult for you to avoid spoilers. What security measures do you have? I imagine Twitter is a minefield.
There’s a way you can read and delete at the same time, so I know what to skip. People are saying such wonderful, lovely things about the show that I can imbibe the positivity without caring what they’re alluding to. Plus, the fact that Chuck wouldn’t know any of this stuff makes it kind of fair that I don’t. It’s going pretty well.
After not watching the full episode, what do you think is the significance of “The Time Machine”?
I think the reason for Chuck in the episode is to tell everyone that you really can’t go back in time. So you have to make your own decisions at this time. And we’re back to a man who didn’t make the right choice, a man who let long-burning problems set fire to his life, literally and figuratively. Chuck, at that point, could be a tiny glimpse of the future, if you cast it correctly. And of course “The Time Machine” is about a poorly molded future.
Maybe it’s about being as capable as you are, what your future holds. don’t blow it up Now, this is said by a guy [Chuck] who was starting on blowing up his future. He just didn’t know it. He was putting himself in a bind because of his various emotions, his jealousy, his inability to win over people the way Jimmy does.
[Chuck looks at Jimmy] Do what lawyers do, but do it openly and brazenly and get away with it because he’s charming and a little slippery. Chuck, who plays by the rules, wondered: “If I’m doing it right, why do I feel so awful?” The past is the past, but it is still with you. What you do to yourself and who you are when you look back on the past can be kind of instructive. I think on a much smaller scale, that’s what Jimmy is doing and feeling in these moments, when he’s thinking about the time that has passed.