‘Better Call Saul’ Recap ‘Sunk Costs’: Let’s Make a Deal

In the ‘Better Call Saul’ recap, Jimmy goes to jail and Mike comes face to face with Gus Fring for the first time…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

Jimmy McGill is gearing up for a fight we already assume he’s won.

One of the trickiest parts about pulling off a flawless prequel is telling a story where you already know the ending. We knew from the first day we met Jimmy McGill that he would one day transform into the slick, television advertising, Bluetooth wearing Saul Goodman, who became lawyer, money launderer and advisor to Walter White and Jesse Pinkman.

The delicate balancing act that ‘Better Call Saul’ has managed to pull off for more than two seasons is the truly compelling act of investing in those characters to find out where they come from and what makes them tick long before Blue Sky was the drug of choice throughout the southwestern United States.

So going into the latest episode as Jimmy prepares for war against Chuck, it’s hard to imagine any other outcome than him getting free of these felony charges dangling over his head. Jimmy eventually transforms into Saul Goodman and he’s still a lawyer you can trust by the time we meet him in ‘Breaking Bad’.

But is it triumph or tragedy that wins him the day?

It’s those unanswered questions that make ‘Better Call Saul’ more than just a prequel but instead it’s own story that is just as fascinating as anything witnessed for five seasons following Walter White in his journey from Mr. Chips to Scarface. Watching Jimmy turn into Saul Goodman has been a slow burn but one that will surely pay off with a fiery explosion in the end.

With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘Better Call Saul’ titled ‘Sunk Costs’….

Good For You

Jimmy sits on the curb outside Chuck’s house smoking a cigarette as he tries to process the level of manipulation his brother just unfurled that will end with him in the back of a police car in handcuffs. When Chuck wanders outside, he tells Jimmy that this wasn’t vengeance but instead something that had to happen for his own good.

Chuck insists that this was just a lesson learned and Jimmy will come out of this better for it.

In response, Jimmy tells Chuck that his continued efforts to tear him down have finally cost him the only brother he has left. Chuck has already lost his wife and his mother and now he’s driven away his brother as well. Chuck may have taunted Jimmy with a moral high ground but his brother’s response was far more brutal.

Jimmy tells Chuck that one day he’s going to suffer from another medical anomaly and he’ll be wrapped up in a space blanket on his couch but there will be no one there to rescue him. Chuck will end up in a hospital with machines hooked up to him, all buzzing and humming with electricity, but his torture will be self-suffering because no one will be by his side. Eventually, Chuck will succumb to his disease and he’ll die in that hospital bed all alone.

Jimmy may be telling his brother a harsh truth but he may also be looking into the future because Chuck McGill never even gets a mention during “Breaking Bad”.

The police arrive and arrest Jimmy before taking him to the station for processing.

It’s a rather humiliating moment for Jimmy as he gets his mug shots and fingerprints while DDA Oakley — a prosecutor he butted heads with often while working as a public defender — can’t help but to walk into the room as an audience to his downfall.

Jimmy spends the night in jail before his arraignment the next morning.

He uses his one phone call to ask Francesca to cancel all of his appointments for the next day because he’ll be preoccupied.

In the morning as Jimmy is waking up in an orange jumpsuit and flip flops, Kim is rolling off the couch in her office before showering and getting dressed at the gym across the street. Just as Kim is about to walk back into her office where she will continue work, she runs into Ernie, who has come bearing news.

It seems Chuck fired him after Ernie told Jimmy about the tape — which was always a calculated move on Chuck’s part anyways — and that’s when he tells her what happened. Jimmy is in jail and he’s all by himself.

At the arraignment, Jimmy goes before a judge he used to see on a regular basis as an attorney but the roles are slightly reversed now. Kim shows up just in time to offer him representation, but Jimmy refuses to allow her to offer her counsel before he finally pleads not guilty and bail is set at $2500.

Jimmy is released as he rushes back to the office where he confronts Kim with his decision not to allow her to represent him in court. He explains that Chuck set up this entire ordeal from the tape to Ernie hearing it and knowing that he would rush over to tell Jimmy about it. Chuck knew that Jimmy would fly off the handle, break into his house and either steal or break the tape and he even provided his own witnesses to the encounter.

Chuck set it up and Jimmy fell right into his trap.

Now Jimmy is determined to fix this entire mess but he doesn’t want to drag down Kim into another of his messes. So he’s going to represent himself before getting their business back on track where it should be and none of this will touch Kim’s thriving new law practice. Jimmy exits while still not exactly having a strategy on how he will get out of potential felony charges for breaking and entering.

First Day on the Job

As Mike arrives where his tracker led him, he finds a cell phone sitting on top of the gas cap he’s been following for days. When he answers, Gus’ voice is on the other end of the line asking of all parties can meet without any guns being drawn. Mike agrees and a pair of SUV’s pull up alongside him on this long stretch of rarely used road.

Gus Fring steps out of the truck — dressed in black from head to toe, a rather ominous look compared to the yellow shirt and smile he wears at Los Pollos Hermanos — and he talks to Mike in person for the first time.

Mike asks Gus to explain the ‘don’t’ message he left on his car during the time when he was attempting to assassinate Hector Salamanca. Gus explains that he has plenty of problems with Hector as well but for now he needs him alive.

The back and forth conversation ends with Gus instructing Mike to stay way from killing Hector but that doesn’t mean he can’t hurt him again. Mike already took down one of Hector’s trucks that resulted in an over $200,000 windfall for him but also ended with a good Samaritan being murdered for stopping and helping the driver who was left tied up on the side of the road. That only made Mike thirstier for revenge than before when Hector threatened to kill his entire family if he testified against his nephew, Tuco.

Mike tells Gus that he’s not finished with Hector but he has a different idea on how he can get to him without anymore blood being shed.

At the start of this episode, we saw a pair of red high tops dangling from a power line before tumbling to the ground just after a Los Pollos Hermanos truck went roaring by. That video like so many shot throughout the history of ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Better Call Saul’ had a much deeper meaning than we realized at the time.

The next time we spot Mike, he’s in Mexico retrieving a bag of narcotics from Gus’ doctor (who we also met in ‘Breaking Bad’ ) before driving to a remote area in the desert in Mexico. This is the exact spot where Hector’s drivers stop and stash their weapons before driving across the board.

Mike plants the drugs into that pair of red high top shoes before tossing them up in the air where they dangle from on top of a power line. When Hector’s men finally arrive to store their guns, Mike takes aim at them with his rifle but them mysteriously begins shooting into the air. Shot after shot after shot, convinces the drivers that it must be hunters in the area and it’s nothing to worry about.

They finish stashing their weapons before loading back into the truck to head to the border. One final shot rings out but this time it’s Mike shooting at that same pair of shoes dangling from the power line. He hits the sole of the shoe, which explodes the bag of drugs sitting inside and the power rains down on the truck from above.

When the drivers arrive at the border, the drug sniffing dogs catch a whiff of the heroin that Mike discreetly sprinkled on the truck and before you know it, Hector’s men are in custody and the authorities are digging through everything with a fine tooth comb. Mike wanted to get at Hector again but now he’s not only cost him a truck full of drugs — he’s also managed to put the cops onto his entire operation and how he’s getting narcotics across the border.

Now we know why we see the Los Pollos Hermanos truck at the start of the episode — because once Mike eliminated Hector from using that route, he then opened up the exact same avenue for Gus to bring in his drugs the exact same way.

This looks like the start of a beautiful working relationship.

Let’s Make a Deal

Jimmy heads back to the courthouse to begin working his magic on striking a deal with the district attorney that will see the charges against him greatly reduced so he’s no longer facing a felony or jail time. He sits down and quizzes his old pal DDA Oakley while sharing some fries with him about the person in charge of his case.

Because Jimmy dealt with so many prosecutors while working as a public defender, all of the attorneys in the local office have been ruled out from handling his case. Instead, a new prosecutor was brought in from outside of Albuquerque, who is described as “tough but fair” and she will be the person responsible for Jimmy’s future.

The new prosecutor is named Kyra Hay and when we first meet her, she’s arriving at Chuck’s house to depose him for the case against his brother.

Inside, Chuck lays out exactly what happened with Jimmy while also being very clear that at no point did he ever feel in physical danger from his brother but regardless he’s absolutely pressing charges against him for this matter. Hay makes is clear that she’s not going to drop the felony charges down to a misdemeanor but that’s when Chuck offers her another alternative for his brother’s upcoming court case.

Back at the law firm Kim shares with Jimmy, she’s finishing up some paperwork when she looks outside and see the flicker of a lighter and a shadow of somebody leaning against the wall. She walks out and finds Jimmy smoking a cigarette — just like the ones they used to share in the parking garage at HHM.

Jimmy tells Kim that he got a call from this new prosecutor offering him a deal that was proposed by his brother. It’s called a pre-prosecution diversion — an actual piece of legality used in New Mexico — where a defendant can forgo a trial and strike a deal so long as they are willing to admit guilt on the record.

In Jimmy’s case, he’d have to admit to the felony charge along with a trio of misdemeanors but in return he’d avoid any jail time. The downside would be that a felony conviction would end with Jimmy being disbarred as an attorney, which is really what Chuck has wanted all along.

This time, Kim refuses to back down from helping Jimmy engaging in this battle with his brother. They are going to go to trial and it all may still end with Jimmy’s conviction but they aren’t going down without a fight.

‘Better Call Saul’ returns next Monday night with a new episode at 10pm ET on AMC.

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  • Charlie Thompson

    He is going to loose the battle. For the exact reason that you are so confident that he is going to win is the reason that he is going to loose. Him loosing this means that he will not be able to practice law. How else would he have turned into Saul Goodman other than having to change his name so he can practice law under a different name.