UPDATE, 3/3: On Monday night's episode of Better Call Saul, "Alpine Shepherd Boy," Chuck confirms that he indeed does suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity. He lands in the hospital after police break down his door, thinking he's a crystal meth user, and his symptoms incapacitate him. We see Chuck tied down in what may be the psychiatric ward of the hospital, only responsive after Jimmy turns off all the lights and everyone leaves their electronics outside. But when Chuck's doctor secretly turns on electronics, he shows no symptoms. Though Jimmy believes the condition isn't real, he feels for his brother and refuses to commit him.
On Monday night's episode of Better Call Saul, we got a deeper look into the troubled life of Jimmy's brother, Chuck McGill. When visitors come to his house, they must "ground" themselves by putting their cell phones in the mailbox outside. But when Jimmy doesn't do that during a drunken bender, Chuck is visibly weakened and upset.
What causes Chuck to completely ban electronics? "This strange, kind of psycho-physical problem this man seems to have, it's been intriguing to research," Michael McKean, who plays Chuck, told us. But the actor won't give any details about his character's condition. "Part of the fun is finding out what it is or learning what it is along with us," he said.
The show hasn't said anything specific at this point, but given the evidence so far, Chuck might be part of a small group of people suffering from electromagnetic hypersensitivity. It's a set of physical symptoms blamed on radiation from wi-fi, cell phones, and other appliances that use electricity. The condition is a controversial one, since many researchers say the connection between electronics and physical ailments just isn't there.
Some researchers call the condition idiopathic environmental intolerance, but for the sake of clarity, we'll call it electromagnetic hypersensitivity, or EHS. Research on the condition has been limited, but so far there's been no rigorous study that has proven electromagnetic frequency directly causes sufferers' symptoms. Some experts blame the condition on the "nocebo effect," in which the suggestion of a problem will make people feel its real-life effects. Double-blind studies have shown that sufferers feel symptoms when they think electromagnetic frequencies are present, even when they aren't.
Regardless of cause, the symptoms themselves are definitely real. EHS sufferers have a range of complaints, from headaches and itchy skin to blurred vision and heart palpitations. In Monday night's episode, when Jimmy drinks too much on a date, he stumbles back to Chuck's house, cell phone still in his pocket. Chuck grabs the cell phone with a pair of wooden tongs and tosses it out the door into the yard. Back in the house, he grabs his arm and cringes in what looks like pain.
The next day, Chuck wraps himself in a metallic "space blanket" because Jimmy had the phone indoors. Jimmy insists he take the blanket off, and he does. Chuck looks pained to do so, his hands shake, and he looks itchy and uncomfortable. His "space blanket" is likely made of silver bobbinet, a fabric that contains silver threads; sufferers often cover themselves with it to effectively create a Faraday cage and keep transmissions out. "It's as though you're insulated," says Dr. Andrew Tressider, a UK-based physician who has seen a number of patients with the condition.
Though Chuck's electricity-free house is an extreme lifestyle choice, it's hardly the furthest sufferers go. Some completely isolate themselves from modern technology. A small community has moved to the U.S. National Radio Quiet Zone in West Virginia, which bans most electromagnetic radiation to aid the world's largest telescope. "We've seen cases where [patients have] become virtual hermits," says Dr. James Rubin, who studies the psychology of emerging health risks at King's College in London. "It has a devastating effect on some people."
There's no clear-cut way to treat EHS, because when you take away the perceived cause, all you have left is a wide variety of symptoms. The World Health Organization recommends doctors focus on sufferers' physical ailments, and not on their so-called connections to electronic devices. So perhaps Jimmy's command to "take off the space blanket" was the right idea after all.
PLUS: Better Call Saul Is Already Better Than Breaking Bad
What's Going on with Jimmy's Brother on 'Better Call Saul'? ›
Now that Better Call Saul's final season has made its way to Netflix, there's no better time to look back at the
A Therapist Reacts to Chuck's OCD in Better Call Saul.Why does Jimmy's brother hate him in Better Call Saul? ›
Although in the first season it seemed that he was initially supportive of Jimmy, Chuck harbored resentful feelings toward him because of his conman past and charisma, in addition to Jimmy's approach to his career. From the second season onward, Chuck transforms into Jimmy's nemesis.Is Chuck McGill a bad person? ›
Chuck McGill, Jimmy's brother, is a highly successful attorney and initially portrayed as an upright character with an aversion to electricity due to a rare physical and mental condition. However, as the show progressed, the character developed into an antagonist, leading to his eventual downfall.What mental illness does Jimmy McGill have? ›
Antisocial personality disorder
Sometimes he even exceeds normative morality to the point of altruism (like when he saves the twins' lives from Tuco's revenge in Season 1, how he takes exceptionally good care of his brother Chuck during his illness and how he risks his career to save his assistant Huell from jail).
While Chuck's condition is real in the sense that EHS is inspired by real life, it's certainly not real in the traditional sense. Like anti-vaccination and climate change being a hoax, EHS is the result of false information spreading and seizing advantage of those with existing psychological conditions.Why does Saul's brother stay inside? ›
Chuck (played by Spinal Tap's Michael McKean) is a recluse on extended leave from his legal firm who lives without electricity and wraps himself in a shiny “space blanket” to ward off the effects of exposure to Saul's mobile phone.Did Jimmy cause Chuck's death? ›
Jimmy clearly felt guilty about his role in Chuck's tragic suicide in Better Call Saul season 3. However, he appeared to absolve himself of this guilt at the end of Better Call Saul season 4, episode 1 "Smoke," when Howard admitted to forcing Chuck out of HHM.Who killed Jimmy's brother in Better Call Saul? ›
Jimmy "Saul" McGill's older brother Chuck died by his own hand in a house fire, and the show clearly sets up the reasons why.Why did Kim cry at Chuck's letter? ›
Kim had a more "normal" reaction, taking the letter as a compliment, and this is evidenced in the following episode when she suggested Jimmy get counseling, noting his coldness. But Kim is still more affected by Chuck's words than the average person would be, and this could be due to her troubled childhood.
Who is the main villain in Better Call Saul? ›
Don Eduardo "Lalo" Salamanca is a major antagonist in the Breaking Bad franchise, serving as one of the two main antagonists (alongside Chuck McGill) of Better Call Saul and a posthumous antagonist in Breaking Bad.How did Chuck betray Jimmy? ›
Chuck Secretly Prevents Jimmy From Joining His Law Firm
After he demands the truth from Chuck, Jimmy listens to a tirade of criticism from his older brother about how he believes that Jimmy will never change and only abuse the law, stating that Jimmy is "not a real lawyer."
Trivia. During the Better Call Saul Insider Podcast of the episode "Chicanery", it was revealed that Rebecca and Chuck are divorced, or at least separated, since 1998.Does Saul have split personality? ›
It revealed Saul's apathy, depression, raging temper, changed personality, and paranoia after his exposure to intense combat. The king was an almost completely different man than the humble, soft-spoken one prior to battle.Does Jimmy McGill get a happy ending? ›
In the end, Jimmy McGill unbroke bad. Just when it looked like Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) had finessed his way into a sweet plea agreement — just seven years at the most country club-like of correctional facilities (low-security FCI Butner Low, which even has a golfing program!)What is Jimmy McGill secret identity? ›
James Morgan "Jimmy " McGill, better known by his business name Saul Goodman, is a character created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould and portrayed by Bob Odenkirk in the television franchise Breaking Bad.What is the age difference between Chuck and Jimmy? ›
Conversation. Apparently, Chuck's age in the lantern flashback is 14 YEARS OLD according to peter gould in the commentary clips. Chuck & Jimmy's canon birthdays are in 1944 and 1960, making them 16 years apart, so uhhm....Is it all in Chuck's head? ›
However, the biggest question remains: Is Chuck's illness real or all in his head? "It's definitely real to Chuck," co-creator and executive producer Peter Gould tells TVGuide.com. "Chuck is maybe the smartest character on the show, and yet, he's trapped by this condition.Why did Chucks illness start? ›
The show hasn't said anything specific at this point, but given the evidence so far, Chuck might be part of a small group of people suffering from electromagnetic hypersensitivity. It's a set of physical symptoms blamed on radiation from wi-fi, cell phones, and other appliances that use electricity.What happened to Kim Wexler? ›
The ultracompetent attorney who married Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), the man most likely to bring out the shadier side of her character, never appears in Breaking Bad, which led some viewers to assume she would die before Saul finished its run. But as Monday's series finale confirmed, Kim Wexler lives on.
Why did Saul leave his life behind? ›
Eventually, however, after Walt's criminal secrets were discovered by his brother-in-law, DEA agent Hank Schrader, and discovering Walt's poisoning of Brock leads to a wrathful Jesse attacking him, Saul was forced to abandon his life as a criminal lawyer with the help of Ed Galbraith, his "disappearer".How does Saul's story end? ›
The series also showed us just what happened to Saul/Jimmy after his association with Walter White (Bryan Cranston): He fled to Omaha under a new identity (Gene) and worked as a baker at a shopping-mall Cinnabon. This final episode brings all three of his personae together as Jimmy, Gene and Saul's worlds collide.Why is Jimmy happy after Chuck dies? ›
Because Howard blames himself for kicking Chuck out of the firm after the issue with the malpractice insurance, Jimmy is more than happy to let Howard shoulder the blame as he can let himself believe that Howard's decision to dismiss Chuck from the firm was what caused Chuck to kill himself.Did Jimmy ever love Chuck? ›
Jimmy shows an absolute love for his older brother. After all, it was Chuck who helped Jimmy get out of trouble back in Chicago — when Jimmy defecated on top of a car in front of children, Chuck represented him as his lawyer. It was also Chuck who hired Jimmy to work at HHM's mailroom.Why was Chuck jealous of Jimmy? ›
Evil: Hated The Fact The Jimmy Was Their Mother's Favorite Child. Chuck was totally jealous of Jimmy when he really shouldn't have been. He was more successful than Jimmy in almost every way. However, the thing that irked Chuck the most was that their late mother loved the stubborn Jimmy more than him.What did Chuck leave Jimmy? ›
$5000 was the (exact) minimum amount of money that Chuck could leave Jimmy in his will without it being legally contested and Kim pointed that out to Howard. (It was Chuck being a petty jerk to Jimmy from beyond the grave).Does Kim Wexler get killed in Better Call Saul? ›
Ultimately, Kim proves to be the only survivor in an otherwise bloody ending. Nacho Varga, Howard Hamlin and Lalo Salamanca all, like Kim Wexler, remain unseen throughout Breaking Bad, and all are killed off in Better Call Saul's final season, making Kim's escape even more astounding.Did Jimmy McGill sabotage his brother? ›
Charles, a prestigious lawyer with a strange allergy to electricity, has long sabotaged Jimmy, his scam-loving younger brother who's been trying, trying, and trying to make good. Jimmy sabotaged him back by doctoring legal documents; Chuck then feigned a medical episode to get Jimmy to confess, on tape, to doing so.Is Kim In Love With Saul? ›
Kim is primarily portrayed by Rhea Seehorn, and was created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould. An intelligent and proficient lawyer, she is the confidant and love interest of Jimmy McGill / Saul Goodman, whom she later marries.Why did Chuck's wife leave him? ›
Perhaps Chuck began to complain to Rebecca more and more about Jimmy, chastising her for enjoying his company as much as she seems to. Perhaps Rebecca began to feel uncomfortable caught in this brotherly feud, and their relationship spiraled downwards as a result.
What happens to Kim after she leaves Saul? ›
It was sad," Seehorn added of what became of her character. After a call from Jimmy on Monday's episode, Kim was inspired to return to Albuquerque, New Mexico, six years later and tell the truth about Howard's death, which was originally ruled a suicide.Is Mike evil in Better Call Saul? ›
Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks)
Mark has given Saul trouble throughout the series, but Mike has been the center of his secondary storyline throughout most of the show. Mike isn't an evil man but a bad man who lives by his own code of values. Mike is a loyal man who gets the job done even if he has an immoral job.
A member of the Salamanca family, Lalo is the grandson of Abuelita and one of Don Hector's nephews, having four cousins who are also involved in criminal activities within the Salamanca drug operation in the cartel: his main cousin and fellow distributor Tuco, his hitmen cousins Marco and Leonel, and his first cousin ...Is Kim Wexler the villain? ›
Type of Villain
Kimberly "Kim" Wexler is the tritagonist of the 2015 AMC crime drama Better Call Saul, the prequel to Breaking Bad. She serves as the tritagonist of Seasons 1 and 2, a major character in Season 3, one of the two tritagonists (alongside Nacho Varga) of Seasons 4 and 5, and the deuteragonist of Season 6.
Jimmy McGill is arrested for breaking into Chuck McGill's house. Jimmy goes against Kim Wexler's advice and represents himself, pleads not guilty, and posts bail. He later tells her she should work on Mesa Verde business while he takes care of his own legal battle, to which she flatly agrees.Why did Jimmy confess to Chuck? ›
Desperate for Chuck to stop behaving erratically, Jimmy confesses to tampering with the Mesa Verde documents and bribing the copy store clerk to keep quiet. When Jimmy leaves, Chuck unveils a tape recorder he had activated prior to Jimmy's arrival.How did Jimmy feel when Chuck died? ›
He was angry because of what Chuck said to him. He was angry with himself for allowing Chuck to affect him. He was mostly angry that the brother he wanted, the brother he thought he had, never truly existed, he wasted his life catering to his needs, always trying to please Chuck.Does Jimmy get the Sandpiper money? ›
Jimmy pulls a series of psychological and social manipulation tricks to turn Irene's friends against her so that she believes refusing the Sandpiper settlement is against the interests of her fellow clients. She decides to accept, meaning Jimmy will receive his much-needed share.What were Chuck McGill's mother's last words? ›
Ruth on her deathbed with Chuck and Jimmy at her side. On her deathbed, with Chuck at her side, Ruth briefly awoke and called out for Jimmy. Chuck tried to tell her it was him but Ruth continued asking for Jimmy. Before Chuck could tell her it was him, Ruth then passed away; her last words calling for Jimmy.Does Jimmy love Kim? ›
“They've always loved each other, but love isn't always the answer,” Gould says. “That's the thing that Kim says in Episode 8. [Jimmy] says, 'But I love you.
How many identities does Saul Goodman have? ›
As a clinical neuropsychologist and associate professor of psychology — and a fan of Better Call Saul — it's been fascinating to watch the progression of the character who transforms into three different identities.Who is Saul jealous of? ›
In 1 Samuel 19:19–22:23 we learn that Saul continued trying to kill David. He was so jealous of David that he killed some priests who had given David bread. David continued to flee from Saul, and many people helped David elude Saul.Who does Jimmy end up marrying? ›
Jimmy and Kim are married now, but they have what is described as a nontraditional TV romance. As in, not a lot of physical contact. Odenkirk: If I was to sit in your house and watch you and your husband, would I see a lot of making out going on? Well, the show of me and my husband has not been greenlighted yet.Why does Kim love Jimmy McGill? ›
Kim sees that Jimmy has the potential to be a proper, successful lawyer who can leave the ways of Slippin Jimmy behind (his earlier con-man alter ego). Kim thus makes a point of sticking up for Jimmy because she feels he is being unfairly characterized by everybody around him.How does Saul get caught? ›
He is stuck, and everywhere he turns, cops are surrounding him. He finally takes to hiding in a dumpster, trying to scramble for his phone to call Ed the Disappearer. But his luck seems to have run dry, and he fumbles everything he's holding. That's when the police find and capture him.Did Saul get 7 years or 86? ›
He is sentenced to 86 years in prison, where he is revered by fellow inmates who recognize him as Saul. Kim is allowed to visit him under false pretenses and they share a cigarette. As she departs, he goes to the prison yard to see her off and gestures finger guns. Kim acknowledges the gesture and leaves.Is Jimmy McGill a good or bad guy? ›
8 Jimmy McGill / Saul Goodman
Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) was a good person at one time, but he isn't in the Breaking Bad series. He is a man who loves the con, and the excitement of living a conman's life. He is a selfish, self-centered man who only looks out for Saul Goodman.
It's called electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Chuck claims he suffers adverse effects whenever he is around electrical current or magnetic fields. Even direct sunlight will trigger his symptoms, including intense headaches, insomnia and general anxiety.Does Chuck in Better Call Saul have schizophrenia? ›
What he claims to suffer from is Electromagnetic hypersensitivity , but as you can see from the Wikipedia page, that is a “pseudomedical diagnosis”.What is electromagnetic hypersensitivity? ›
Sensitivity to EMF has been given the general name “Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity” or EHS. It comprises nervous system symptoms like headache, fatigue, stress, sleep disturbances, skin symptoms like prickling, burning sensations and rashes, pain and ache in muscles and many other health problems.
Why is Chuck so mean to Jimmy? ›
Chuck thinks he's protecting the world from Jimmy, who he sees as a chimp with a machine gun. In his mind, everything - from blocking Jimmy's hire to going after Jimmy's license - is just the prudent use of his own skills to prevent greater harm.What mental illness does Walter White have? ›
By examining the social and internal interactions of the character Walter White, it is clear that he could be clinically diagnosed with a narcissistic personality disorder.Did Jimmy regret Chuck's death? ›
Of course Jimmy is upset by the death of his brother, and he knows that he is partially to blame for his demise. He knows deep down that Chuck's ailment and eventual death has to do with his actions. But that truth is too painful for Jimmy to face.What happened to Chuck's wife in Better Call Saul? ›
During the Better Call Saul Insider Podcast of the episode "Chicanery", it was revealed that Rebecca and Chuck are divorced, or at least separated, since 1998.What did Chuck McGill really have? ›
UPDATE, 3/3: On Monday night's episode of Better Call Saul, "Alpine Shepherd Boy," Chuck confirms that he indeed does suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity. He lands in the hospital after police break down his door, thinking he's a crystal meth user, and his symptoms incapacitate him.What does electromagnetic do to your body? ›
Possible health effects
Exposure to low frequency fields that are strong enough can lead to dizziness, seeing light flashes and feeling tingling or pain through stimulation of nerves. Exposure to radiofrequency fields that are strong enough can lead to heating of body tissue, and result in damage to tissues and organs.
While some individuals report mild symptoms and react by avoiding the fields as best they can, others are so severely affected that they cease work and change their entire lifestyle. This reputed sensitivity to EMF has been generally termed “electromagnetic hypersensitivity” or EHS.Can Wi-Fi affect your health? ›
There are no health risks from exposure to radiofrequency EMF from Wi-Fi devices in your home, in schools or other areas accessible to the public.