Big spoilers continue below!
Huge spoilers for Better Call Saul’s Season 3 finale, “Lantern,” continue below. Read on at your own risk.
Better Call Saul‘s Season 3 finale “Lantern” heavily foreshadowed what a pivotal role that object would have in the episode, but we didn’t expect the lantern would go down quite like that. In the closing moments of the finale, a broken Chuck kicks a gas lantern onto the paper-covered floor of his destroyed, picked apart house. The camera then pulls back to an exterior look at the house while we see it begin to go up in flames.
So does Chuck die? The immediate reveal of a suicide prevention hotline contact number seems to imply that all will not end well for Chuck, but director and co-showrunner Peter Gould promises this isn’t going to be the last we see of Michael McKean.
“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,” Gould said on Talking Saul, emphasizing that the writers haven’t gone back to start on Season 4 yet so they haven’t begun to break that story. “It would be a shame to think we aren’t going to see him back in Albuquerque again.”
It sounds like the writers haven’t quite determined whether Chuck will live or die (or if they have, they aren’t telling), but one way or another Chuyck will be back on the show. Gould said the greatest tragedy of Chuck’s story is that he gave up after his fight to recover from his mental illness. But star Michael McKean underlines that this isn’t an action Chuck is doing thinking about its impact on those around him.
“I don’t think that Chuck is terribly self-aware, and I have to make that my approach to everything he does,” said McKean. “He is the protagonist of his own universe … I think Chuck is dying from a kind of paranoia and a kind of guilt that is making his grasp on reality very tenuous.”
While Chuck committing suicide would be immensely painful to those he left behind, Chuck’s final words to Jimmy will end up being even more hurtful. After Chuck was forced to take Howard’s buyout of $9 million, Jimmy came by to check on his brother, and Chuck sends him away by saying, “You didn’t matter to me.” Does he mean it?
“Jimmy can’t fathom that. Chuck has meant everything to him. … Chuck’s a smart guy and he wants to hurt Jimmy and he know the most hurtful thing we can say is that,” said Bob Odenkirk in a recorded interview on Talking Saul. “It really does feel like a last straw. Ultimately that’s the most hurtful thing he can hear. … It will reverberate in his heart that way.”
If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Here is a list of international resources.
Did you view that scene as definitively saying that Chuck has died, or do you think he will survive through Season 4? Let us know in the comments below!
Terri Schwartz is Editorial Producer at IGN. Talk to her on Twitter at @Terri_Schwartz.