Better Call Saul Review: Jimmy Takes Another Giant Step Toward Saul

Better Call Saul, Season 3, Episode 3, “Sunk Costs”

The question that has followed Better Call Saul from the start is, when will be the moment that Jimmy McGill becomes Saul Goodman. After Chuck tries to teach Jimmy one lesson too many and question his devotion to the law, Jimmy took as large a step as he ever has toward a life as Saul.

Jimmy sits peacefully on the sidewalk, waiting for the police to arrive to take him downtown; Chuck can’t resist but to lecture Jimmy about consequences, and this being an opportunity for Jimmy to make a change. Signaling that he’s had about enough of Chuck, Jimmy tells Chuck that he’s burned his last family bridge and when the time comes, Chuck will die alone cradled in the mass of electronics and motors that cause him so much pain and fear.

In a show of strength and determination, Jimmy doesn’t panic when thrown into the criminal justice system. He takes his lumps from the local DA, with whom he sparred during his public defender days. He endures the whole humiliating process, determined to get through it on his own, despite Kim’s efforts to help him during his bail hearing.

Chuck, dead-set on teaching Jimmy a lesson he’s unwilling to learn, has a meeting with the prosecutor who was brought in for Jimmy’s case. Chuck is willing to help, but once again, underestimates his brother.

Still convinced that his legal career is just another long con, Chuck suggests that Jimmy be offered a diversion program as part of a plea deal. Jimmy sees through Chuck’s largesse. As long as Jimmy stays clean for a year the charges would be expunged, however, he would also have to accept a felony charge that would surely get him disbarred — a turn of events that would delight Chuck to no end. In the orange glow of glass bricks and ancient glovebox cigarettes, Jimmy and Kim decide to take the case to trial (where Jimmy will surely get that same rush of adrenaline he does as Saul) because it’s the best choice in a bushel of bad options.

Mike and Gus reach a bit of a mutual understanding that puts Mike on the path of being Gus’ right-hand guy. Gus knows Mike’s whole backstory with Salamanca. It’s in Gus’ interests (and by extension, Mike’s) to keep Salamanca alive, however, interrupting the rival’s business is in bounds. Mike isn’t going to stop trying to cripple Salamanca, so he agrees to mess with another truck.

Mike’s operation marries the cold open that features a Los Pollos Hermanos truck and a faded pair of high tops on a wire with actions in the present day, when Mike uses the shoes and a well-aimed shot to coat Salamanca’s truck with enough drugs to set the dogs off, and give Gus some new territory.

Better Call Saul still is all about the slow simmer, though things are heating up across the board as Jimmy and Mike continue further down the path to becoming the people we meet in Breaking Bad.

Craig Wack

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