Hey kids, we’re back! After a hiatus that felt much longer than it actually was, we finally come to the second half of Better Call Saul’s final season. Where does this treacherous journey end? Will Kim survive the ordeal? Will Saul live happily ever after working at the Cinnabon? Will Lalo Salamanca end up in the ground somewhere? Will the chicken man discover a means to use his expensive underground laboratory? Hopefully, these final six episodes will answer our questions in a satisfying manner.
Before we get to the recap, I wanted to share my experience with Breaking Bad during this brief hiatus. Yes, I went back and rewatched Vince Gilligan’s amazing series from start to finish — something that started when I was holed up sick in a hotel room and turned into a very bad habit — and was amazed at the way Better Call Saul flows into the tragic story of Walter White. It’s weird seeing Jimmy, aka Saul Goodman, as a ruthless lawyer who casually suggests killing anyone who becomes a hindrance — he also shamelessly flirts with Francesca and seemingly gets, ah, plenty of massages from local Asian women. Clearly, he hasn’t become that corrupt in Better Call Saul, but it’s fair to assume he and Kim do split at some point. The lawyer in Breaking Bad is not someone who is deeply invested in a marriage, nor is he a man mourning the loss of great love. Unless it’s all for show — and, really, all of his talk of massages and murder could just be a staple to his public persona whilst the real Jimmy laughs with Kim from behind the curtains. I’m genuinely curious to see how both shows merge together, as we have yet to see Mike fully come to terms with Gus Fring (nor create the type of relationship he and Saul have in the later series) and Gus is still in pretty deep shit with the Salamancas — a far cry from his testy, though peaceful, relationship with the family in the Walter White years. (Also, everyone is so young in Breaking Bad. Even Mike.)
Anyway, if you get a chance, go back and rewatch Breaking Bad. The show is still excellent, but Better Call Saul has made it even better and given us a deeper understanding of the various criminals deeply affected by criminal mastermind Heisenberg.
What Happens in Better Call Saul Season 6 Episode 8
Episode 8 is titled “Point and Shoot,” which doesn’t sound foreboding at all. We open on a dress shoe floating in the waves on a beach somewhere. We get a POV shot that recalls Wilson’s demise in Cast Away, followed by a tracking shot that follows a set of footprints (and another shoe) away from the ocean until we arrive at a Jaguar parked in the sand — we recognize the vehicle by the NAMAST3 license plate as Howard Hamlin’s, the late HHM attorney who met a bitter end after Lalo blasted his head off.
We arrive at the tail end of that scene and find Jimmy and Kim still reeling from the murder. Lalo tosses Jimmy car keys and instructs he and Kim to drive to a quiet neighborhood with “plenty of options.” In the car there’s apparently a camera and gun, “and you’ll need both,” Lalo says calmly. Nothing rattles this guy. He wants Jimmy to walk up to Gus’ house and kill him on sight. “Point and shoot, simple,” Lalo says. Oh, and he’ll keep Kim with him for good measure.
“Send her,” Jimmy says, suggesting his presence will draw suspicion. After much debate (and crying on Kim’s part), Kim exits the apartment to do the deed. What’s the play here, Jimmy? Kim has one hour to kill Gus … or else they both die. Does Jimmy think Mike will recognize her? Does he even know Mike is with Gus? Jimmy doesn’t seem too worried, so there’s gotta be something else at play here.
Lalo ties Jimmy to a chair and recounts how a bunch of men came into his house in the middle of the night and killed people he cared for – his housekeeper, his cook, etc. “Now, how did these men get into my home? Do you know?”
“I have no idea,” Jimmy says.
“Ignacio Varga,” Lalo continues. “And who did Ignacio introduce me to? You.”
“Nacho,” Jimmy says confused. “I barely knew him. Whatever he did he did alone … you have to believe it wasn’t me, it was Ignacio,” Jimmy continues, echoing his line in Breaking Bad. Too late, Lalo gags him before he can make his case.
Lalo promptly exits but not before vowing to hear the whole story when he returns. (He turns up the TV to drown out Jimmy’s noise.) Good thing, too, because Jimmy quickly tips his chair (and finds himself face-to-face with Howard’s dead eyes).
Kim tears ass down the interstate as composer Dave Porter leans on the ominous jams to sell the dire situation. A police truck pulls up alongside Kim, but she can’t force herself to make any moves. Instead, the frightened woman drives to Gus’ house, removes the items from the vehicle glove compartment — gun and camera – and heads outside. She takes a slow stroll to the front door, rings the bell, points the gun, and is quickly attacked from behind. I’m assuming Mike recognized her and prevented the attack. Hooray!
In hindsight, this is kind of a dumb plan by Lalo. Kim could have knocked on the door and told the victim what she was sent to do, taken some phony photos, called the cops, and headed back to Lalo and Jimmy with a posse in tow. I guess there’s always the risk that Lalo is watching, but still … I don’t think our villainous drug lord thought this one through as well as he should have.
Gus watches Mike interrogate Kim on his security cameras. “Lalo is going to kill Jimmy,” Kim screams.
“Ms. Wexler, what were you supposed to do here,” Mike asks after the initial shock of Lalo’s existence wears off.
“Shoot him,” Kim says, pointing to a man dressed to look like Gus. “You said you were watching us,” Kim shouts at Mike. “Where were you?!” Indeed. “Who are you people?”
Kim is getting her first look at a very intricate operation … one she may likely have a hand in very soon.
Mike and his crew take off to Jimmy’s and we find Lalo chilling at the Laundromat. (Ah, so maybe he did think this plan through lol.) He makes his way inside.
Gus wanders about his house, growing impatient with every passing minute. Though, I’m sure he’s happy something is happening. Gus calls one of his guards and instructs him to give Kim the phone. “Why did Lalo send you,” he asks.
“He was going to send my husband, but Jimmy talked him out of it,” Kim says frantically.
“He talked Lalo out of it,” Gus says incredulously. You can see his mind whirling. This is a grand game of chess. Lalo has made his move. Gus has to counter.
(As a side: stop advertising Nope. We are all going to see it. Stop spoiling the damned movie!)
Back at Jimmy’s pad, Mike has a sniper on the roof, but he can’t get a good look inside. Like an army general, Mike orders his team to move in. You can see he’s trying to figure out Lalo’s play, but no one can seem to get a finger on the bad man’s game.
Gus, meanwhile, arrives with some men at his Laundromat. Something’s off, he can sense it. (Now, did Lalo know he would arrive?) Gus spots a rotating fan, sees a bag swaying deep inside the facility, puts two and two together … too late. Lalo kills everyone and has Gus dead-to-rights, but doesn’t pull the trigger.
Mike enters Jimmy’s apartment and finds the lawyer on his side. He asks Jimmy where Lalo went and how long he’s been gone. “He left right after she did,” Jimmy says. Oh, shit, Mike says internally, putting it all together. I’m not sure how everyone decided Laundromat was the way to go, but we’re here regardless.
Lalo brags that he’s got Gus, the chicken man in his sights. Well, figuratively and literally. He’s holding a camcorder and recording the event like some manic Geraldo Rivera. Lalo determines he’s got about 13 minutes to enjoy his time with Gus and orders him to show off the super secret lab. He even shoots Gus in the chest for good measure. (My man is wearing a bulletproof vest, but that’s still gotta sting.) I assume Gus is ecstatic knowing he’s got a gun hidden in the machinery below.
Gus stalls for time by delivering a rain string of insults about the Salamancas as the camera pans down to reveal the gun. “Are you done?” Lalo asks. “No,” Gus replies. “Not yet.” He then kicks a wire that shoots up sparks, makes a dash for the gun, points, and shoots. The two men unload and somehow Gus emerges victorious.
My my, how the turn tables, Gus says to a dying Lalo. Our creepy antagonist dies laughing in a pool of his own blood as Gus stares him down remorselessly. He had just said he plans to kill all the Salamancas, and Breaking Bad fans recall that he does fulfill his promise; though, Walter technically kills Hector.
I’m honestly shocked that Lalo died this early in the second half of the season. Though, I’m glad Gilligan and company didn’t drag the storyline out longer than necessary. Is Gus gonna be mad that Mike screwed up? Or is this what convinces Mike that Gus is Jesse James? At any rate, this event brought the whole band together, but it’s fair to wonder if this is also what causes Kim to become more of a “silent partner” going forward.
After the break, we jump to Los Pollos Hermanos where Lyle, the punctual manager, gets a call from Gus, who informs the young man that he’ll be out of town for a while. “I need you to act as store manager while I’m gone,” he says, and when we cut to our favorite chicken man, he’s getting medical attention in his home. Always a businessman.
Alone, Mike asks how Gus knew Lalo would be at the laundromat. “I didn’t,” Gus says. Mike tells him to call next time because this could’ve gone a lot differently. “It didn’t,” Gus snaps back. Indeed.
Back with Jimmy, Mike instructs the last guard to get rid of Howard. He starts emptying the fridge.
Kim appears and hugs our man.
“What are you doing,” Jimmy asks Mike.
“You’re getting a new refrigerator,” he deadpans. Then he takes Howard’s keys.
Mike tells Jimmy and Kim to sit. He tells them that Howard’s car will be discovered in a few days covered in cocaine. “That’s the story you were setting up for him, right,” he asks. Jimmy carries a look that says, “Well, yeah,” while Kim still looks rattled. Mike continues, noting that people will suspect Howard killed himself in the ocean, but a body will never show up. Yikes. He also instructs them to tell people that Howard appeared at their house, appeared chemically altered, and then left.
“Today you’re Meryl Streep and Laurence Olivier,” Mike continues, basically telling them to hide their emotions. This is very much Mike the clean-up guy we first saw way back in Season 3 of Breaking Bad immediately following Jane’s death.
Notably, in this scene, Jimmy doesn’t appear too bothered, while Kim looks like a little girl (dressed in pink no less) who just got caught stealing cookies.
Back at the Laundromat, Mike instructs Lalo and Howard’s corpses to be tossed in a hole dug in the giant laboratory. That’s creepy to think both bodies were there, together, all throughout Breaking Bad. Mike takes a moment, looks down at the deceased — poor Howard, a good man who didn’t deserve to be buried alongside a horrible criminal. This is seriously one of the sadder moments of the entire Breaking Bad saga, and a reminder of the innocents who are affected by the game played by these despicable people.
Takeaways From Better Call Saul Season 6 Episode 8
What a friggin’ ride! Man, I love this show. I’ve never seen a series do so much with so little. Other shows like The Boys and even Game of Thrones rely on shock and awe to hold our attention. Others, like Disney’s Marvel and Star Wars series, cling to nostalgia. Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul don’t use gimmicks or cheap tricks to draw our attention. Their traps are meticulous, carefully thought out, and executed with precision. Our heroes and villains battle quietly in the night and only engage in combat once they’ve reached a stalemate. It’s beautiful, and near Godfather-like levels of magnificence. Seriously, great job to everyone involved.
Where is all of this heading? I have no clue. I wonder if Jimmy more or less moves on from Howard’s death, much like he did after Chuck died. Will that cause her to leave him? Or will he find ways to manipulate her to join the party? Remember, at some point, Jimmy owns a giant house with a gold toilet and bathtubs littered with thongs. Does Kim serve as his last grip on humanity? Assuming she leaves, maybe that’s why he ultimately decides to stop giving a shit about anything and anyone.
Alternatively, maybe Howard’s death doesn’t shock her all that much. Maybe Kim finds comfort in knowing she and Jimmy are above the law and can basically do whatever they please. She dives deeper and deeper, resulting in my previous theory that Kim is the one Jimmy is attempting to evade in the future.
Still, who really knows? These next five weeks are gonna be wild!
Finally, shout out to Tony Dalton for his performance as Lalo. The man crushed it, crafting a believable villain capable of performing devious acts with a wicked smile etched on his face. What a performance in a show full of great villain performances. I’m glad Lalo is dead, but it sucks that we’ll never see Dalton in this world again. What a character!
I’ll have more thoughts on this episode next week after I’ve had more time to rewatch and digest everything. Until then, toss a pizza on your roof, grab some blue sky (rock candy), and enjoy the rest of your week. Just don’t forget your hazmat suits!