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Why Better Call Saul Fans Are Divided Over Chuck

Considering how many overtly sadistic villains "Better Call Saul" has introduced to its viewers, it's incredible that troubled lawyer Chuck McGill (Michael McKean) remains arguably the most universally hated character in the entire series. Chuck was not even an antagonist when the show first started. Introduced in Season 1 as the brother of series lead Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), Chuck was portrayed as suffering from a psychosomatic illness that keeps him housebound. Because of this, Chuck relies on Jimmy to take care of his daily needs. However, things take a turn near the end of the first season when it is revealed that Chuck has been secretly sabotaging Jimmy's career as a lawyer, even while Jimmy sacrifices his time and money to help support Chuck through his illness.

Chuck is a cruel narcissist who believes he is better than Jimmy in nearly every aspect. He resents his brother for even getting a law degree in the first place, and will stop at nothing to get Jimmy disbarred despite knowing that Jimmy's dream is to become a lawyer. Chuck is so universally despised that fans created an entire subreddit just to insult him, which reached over 20,000 members before it was eventually disbanded in 2021 (via Subreddit Stats). There are so many reasons for fans to hate Chuck McGill, and yet there are still some who remain divided on whether or not he deserves that hate at all.

Some fans have sympathy for Chuck despite his bad behavior

The division among fans regarding how they feel about Chuck stems from the fact that Chuck is (like most characters in the show) a very tragic figure. "I have sympathy for Chuck because he's mentally ill," wrote u/Chance-Disaster2987 in a Reddit thread chastising people for being on Chuck's side. "Particularly with Chuck deliberately isolating himself from others."

Other users chimed in to say they actually agreed with Chuck's decision to sabotage Jimmy, or at least understood why he did it. "Lets say you had a sibling who constantly stole from your parents and led their business to ruin. Would you still like him/her?" asked u/kyubez, referencing how Jimmy stole from his own father during his youth. "Anyone who straight up hates chuck has the shallowest thought process."

On the other hand, some users reaffirmed their hatred of Chuck, and seemed confused how anyone could have ever watched the show and been on his side. "People actually have sympathy for Chuck?" said u/davegettlegod. "He is the most despicable character in the entire show. His betrayal is what drove Jimmy to madness." 

It's clear that the character of Chuck McGill is still incredibly polarizing for many fans, and the fact that a villain can spark so much discussion even after he has already left the series is a testament to just how well-written "Better Call Saul" truly is.