Better Call Saul Season 3 Episode 3 Review: Sunk Costs

A slow Better Call Saul takes time to draw lines for the season's main conflicts. Read our review here...

This Better Call Saul review contains spoilers.

Better Call Saul Season 3 Episode 3

The sunk cost fallacy is the belief that “further investment is warranted on the fact that the resources already invested will be lost otherwise, not taking into consideration the overall losses involved in the further investment.” At the end of tonight’s slow-burning episode of Better Call Saul, Kim chalks up her continued interest and efforts on Jimmy’s behalf to the sunk cost fallacy.

Gorgeously silhouetted by the glow of the glass brick wall that stands behind them, in a callback to their little talks in the HHM parking garage, Kim tells Jimmy that she’ll stand by him in his upcoming battle against Chuck and the New Mexico Board of Bar Examiners, despite the fact that the Mesa Verde work load has her sleeping at the office and showering across the street at the gym. Jimmy professes that he knows that Kim is too busy to aid him and that the mess that he’s made should be left for him and him alone to deal with, but that’s not how relationships work. Kim is too involved with Jimmy, personally and professionally, to look away as he frets over the impending war of words with his brother. She’s invested far too much, and it’s likely she knows that if it weren’t for her and Mesa Verde, Jimmy wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place. Just like the logo in their joint office, Kim is sticking with Jimmy even if it looks like his stock is crashing; she knows he has a good heart and is worth fighting for.

Chuck knows it too. As he condescendingly tells Jimmy, there is a part of Chuck that actually believes that he’s trying to help, but past resentments and a fragile ego are the real motivation behind his plot to get Jimmy disbarred. Chuck’s scheme now has cost the brothers their relationship and Ernesto his job; Chuck’s moral superiority is starting to prove morally compromising. Chuck seems to notice it too, and that’s why instead he vouches for Jimmy’s good heart and urges for a pre-prosecution diversion that will forgo a criminal trial and jail time and instead focus on Jimmy’s disbarment.

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I have to say, it was oddly satisfying watching Jimmy get booked into jail. After all of the stylish montages that BCS and Breaking Bad have delivered, this has got to be one that fans have either been expecting or dreading for quite some time. The calm Jimmy has throughout the ordeal is fueled by a mixture of anger and disappointment. He’s furious at his brother, as noticed by the cold and resigned way he tells Chuck that now he’ll die alone, and he’s frustrated that he fell for a con like one of the saps he used to hustle back in Chicago. Weeks ago, he was driving a German company car to work at a Big Shot firm and now he’s in a jumpsuit like the hoi polloi, as the wormy deputy district attorney loves to point out. Unfortunately for Jimmy, DDA Oakley will not be taking his case, no matter how many burgers he gifts. Jimmy will be up against Ms. Hay, but at least he’ll have Kim in his corner.

Meanwhile, Mike finally comes face to face with Gus. The two –level headed men come to the conclusion quickly that they are not enemies, however, their relationship with Hector Salamanca varies. Though Mike wants Hector dead, Gus needs him alive, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to see Hector suffer more losses to his business. Watching Gus and Mike interact is so familiar and comforting, yet oddly thrilling. The series could use a menacing presence, and no one is better than Gustavo Fring.

With some help from Gus, Mike hatches an ingenious plot to sprinkle coke onto one of the Regalo Helado trucks using a pair of sneakers, a telephone line, a sniper rifle, and some well-placed decoy shots. Watching Mike set up and execute a well-formulated plan has been one of the consistent pleasures of this season; I’ll likely never tire of watching the formulaic efficiency. With another one of his trucks seized before authorities, the battle between Hector and Mike has officially heated up, and a beautiful, if doomed, relationship between Gus and Mike has just begun (though I’m sure they won’t gel perfectly right away).

If anything, this episode takes its time drawing lines, highlighting the main conflicts and players of the season and showing exactly where everyone is aligned. Better Call Saul can be criticized for its slow pace, but in episodes like “Sunk Costs,” that pace allows us to burrow further into characters like Kim and feel the weight of her decision to support Jimmy. It’s not like one slow episode will make you abandon the show; think of all the time you’ve already invested! 


3.5 out of 5