If your reaction to this week’s mini-season finale for Better Call Saul is anything less than pure bewilderment, then something is flat out wrong with you. Sorry, not sorry.
In a satisfying conclusion to a long-standing, double-sided plotline, we finally see Jimmy’s world collide with Saul’s, and the cracks between both have begun to spread outward far more than either persona could have predicted. In just under an hour, Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan have yet again knocked the wind out of audiences and this time it’s with one of the series’ most chilling finales. We also commend writer Tom Schnauz for tweeting this absolute banger, probably with the most sinister of smiles on his face as he typed away to legions of anxiety-riddled fans:
Just to warn everyone: we wrote S6 of #BetterCallSaul to be aired as 13 continuous episodes, but various delays split the season in half. So 607 was not written or filmed as a traditional “cliffhanger.” https://t.co/afQQh90FfJ— Thomas Schnauz (@TomSchnauz) May 23, 2022
Seriously, these screenwriters love to screw with audiences more than any other set of showrunners do. The episode is literally called, well, “Plan and Execution.” Do we need to say more?
Without further ado, let’s begin by addressing the first part of that title:
How Did Jimmy and Kim Plan Their Takedown of Howard?
At the end of the episode, Howard walks into Jimmy and Kim’s apartment in a confrontational mood, deducing their scheme and accusing the pair of spending months trying to ‘knock him down a peg’.
Not only does did he have all the details of their plan down pat, he’s also right about the sheer levels of dedication the two have towards flushing Howard’s life down the drain. Through the quick use of some bribes and his old phony film crew, Jimmy’s plan got back on track soon after the broken arm of Judge Casimiro knocked their plans off course earlier in the season.
The several cogs in the machine all mesh well together when Howard finally finds himself in the middle of the Sandpiper case mediation. It all comes crashing down on him hard—a caffeine-like topical drug, sourced from his vet friend and applied on incriminating photos against Casimiro and Jimmy, result in Howard looking like he’s been hopped up on amphetamines.
He quickly loses control when he finds himself cornered, tanks the entire case, and loses his reputation in front of the Judge, Sandpiper attorney Rich Schweikart, his close friend Cliff Main, and especially Jimmy and Kim, who have been listening in through a bugged desk, and celebrate by getting it on in the background. When Howard discovers that the original photos have been switched and his P.I. is a fake, he finds himself at rock-bottom – a 10/10 success for our two main characters… although they may be celebrating too soon.
(We’ll admit that the plot here relies a bit too much on Jimmy’s undercover P.I. Janindowski, who pulled off some really slick and deeply illegal work here. He’s definitely underpaid, I’m telling ya’.)
What About Lalo’s ‘Plan A’?
Often, the most memorable and exciting Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul episodes follow a dichotomy between their plotlines—two mirroring stories that often clash and conflict in meaningful, exciting ways. These can be seen through the lenses of straight-edge Howard and unkillable-gangster Lalo—both of whom run family businesses, possess undeniable charisma, and are convinced that their most-despised rivals are hatching schemes against them.
In that vein, while Howard gets absolutely played… Lalo isn’t letting any such thing happen to him. Howard’s life comes crashing down, but we see Lalo rise in his quest for revenge on Gus Fring, literally coming out of a manhole in the episode’s very first shot.
It turns out that Lalo has quietly stalked and hunted his way back into New Mexico, where he’s used Albuquerque’s sewer system to keep an eye on Gus Fring’s secret meth lab—the very same one we get to see in Breaking Bad. Hoping to find evidence that Gus is working against the cartel’s interests, we see Lalo record a message to Don Eladio, explaining his theory.
Admittedly, this doesn’t sound too convincing from inside a sewer, and extracting evidence from a smooth operator like Gus probably isn’t going to be easy. So, he decides to convene with his uncle Hector – only to realize that Gus has obviously tapped his arch-enemy’s main phone lines. Furious, he takes out his anger on a poor unsuspecting folding chair… before that old Salamanca slyness takes over.
Lalo then calls his uncle once more, and informs him that he will be proceeding with ‘Plan A’, implying that the plan is to end Gus’ life immediately, regardless of the consequences within the cartel. Hector seems to disagree, but Lalo cuts the phone on him.
Meanwhile, Gus and Mike—who have obviously been listening in—surmise that Lalo is headed straight for Gus’ residence or the secret lab. Mike focuses his security staff on these two locations… while it isn’t confirmed, it’s likely that Mike has one or two of his guys keeping an eye on the McGill/Goodman residence… which Lalo has been to before.
Meanwhile, a lightbulb sets off in Lalo’s mind, as he sees a cockroach skitter around the sewers. This reminds him of an interesting moment from Season 5 Episode 8, where he compared Jimmy to a ‘cucaracha’ while meeting Kim:
So Lalo gets up, and having diverted all of Gus’ men in one well-placed conversation, sets off.
Well, if you’ve watched the episode, there’s no way to erase the moment where Lalo calmly places a bullet in Howard Hamlin’s unfortunate head. Possibly one of the most shocking and terrifying deaths in the series, both Kim and especially Jimmy recoil in absolute horror, probably mimicking the reactions of several fans.
There’s some pretty disturbing shit unfolding in this scene – not only do we sympathize quite a bit with Howard, who has held his tongue on Jimmy for several seasons now – we also see him die immediately after, making the memory of Kim and Jimmy making love at the sound of his downfall quite… gross, really. While we know that Saul gets up and continues to swindle the good people of Albuquerque, this might be the moment where Kim realizes she’s gone too far—that her relationship with Jimmy has brought out the worst in her.
There’s also the fact that Jimmy literally looks like he’s seen a ghost, accompanied by some classic horror imagery playing out with wind blowing into candles. It reminds us a little of this scene from Season 5’s finale:
Jokes aside, we’re not sure how Jimmy takes Kim hiding Lalo’s non-death from him. Perhaps he understands but she’s far too shaken to continue on the path both of them are on. As for Lalo…
It seems that indeed, Lalo just ‘wants to talk’. It’s likely that he wants to wring out more secrets about Gus and Mike from the pair, and possibly even turn them into pawns in his war against the ‘Chicken Man’.
It’s interesting to see that both Lalo and Kim don’t make it into Breaking Bad – so it seems that there’s definitely more deaths in the pipeline here. Hopefully, Kim finally decides to let go of Jimmy and not be a part of Saul’s life… as depressing as that sounds, it’s a whole lot better than watching her die.
Better Call Saul returns with its final run of episodes on July 11th, 2022.
(Featured Image Credits: Sony Pictures Television)