‘Point and Shoot’
Better Call Saul is back and we already have plenty of action to catch up with in episode 8 of Season 6. The last episode ended with Lalo showing up at Jimmy’s apartment and killing Howard.
We pick up from that moment itself, but not before a serene, peaceful shot of a beach. The waves crash to bring a black shoe to the shore.
As the camera pulls in further back, we see the other shoe in the pair and a car with the “Namaste” number plate. It is Howard’s and this is how the narrative has been spun. After his humiliation at the office, Howard snorts cocaine, takes off his wedding ring, and commits suicide. The body will never be found – the perfect crime.
Lalo instructs Jimmy to take Lalo’s car and kill a “black man, with short grey hair, wearing spectacles”, with the gun in the glove box. Kim is supposed to stay with Lalo. Jimmy, though, convinces Lalo to switch places. Instead, Kim takes the car and heads toward the address. Lalo ties up Jimmy and leaves soon after.
We see Kim make the trip out to Gus’ house. Mike and his men apprehend her, while Kim says she is there to kill a random man standing among Mike’s men. This is because she has never met Gustavo Fring or heard about him all these years. She does not recognize him and found the first man in Lalo’s description as her target. Mike immediately springs into action and takes the majority of the men with him to Jimmy’s apartment.
As they leave, though, we see an empty car standing in front of the laundromat. Lalo has tricked Mike into leaving Gus vulnerable. He jumps in through the vent of the exhaust fan from the laundry. Gus, after having a call with Kim, decodes to investigate for himself. As he does, he notices the fan has stopped moving and the scene looked disturbed.
Before he can do anything about it, Lalo shoots his four men. He and Gus then have an elaborate confrontation. At gunpoint, Lalo takes Gus around his newly built facility, something he has kept a secret from Eladio and others. Lalo records as they trudge towards the basement. Now here, it is important to go back to episode five, when near the end, we saw Gustavo place a gun in the crevices of the machine’s wheelbase. You know what is coming!
Mike and his men secure the perimeter around Jimmy’s house. They come inside and find him tied. Mike estimates Lalo has already reached Gus’ house and has the advantage. From then on in, it is all a Gustavo show.
He tries to distract Lalo with his “final words” for Eladio and the Salamancas. Lalo watches the clock closely as he tracks Mike’s arrival at the laundry. Gustavo spots the plug to the electricity down there on his left, swiftly steps on it, and jumps toward the gun. He is able to shoot Lalo in the throat and watches him die.
It really is a cold moment when the last of life exhausts from his body. Mike reaches with his men; Jimmy is reunited with Kim at their house; Gustavo calls in ill to work and asks Lyle to watch the restaurant for a week; and Howard and Lalo are buried together in Gus’ warehouse by Mike and his men.
The Episode Review
When Igancio had to go, despite doing his job and doing so selflessly, I mentioned how there was an atmosphere of mourning. He was indeed one of the good guys and his death was unfair in the show’s cinematic universe.
Howard was unceremoniously written off in the last episode; we didn’t get a chance to bid him adieu properly. In this episode, though, the tone was somewhat similar, at least for the last few minutes. There was genuine sympathy towards him, especially by Mike.
In hindsight, going after him was probably not the best call for Jimmy and Kim. We could have done without seeing him fall so steeply in the eyes of his peers. Imagine doing everything right in life and being perceived as a drug addict who took his own life due to severe humiliation. Not the fate he deserved but life is unfair.
Lalo and Gus’ confrontation was the centerpiece here and that certainly didn’t disappoint. You would have expected a more glorious dramatization but Gilligan’s practicality upheld the characters’ attitude and intelligence. It was fitting that despite their financial muscle and criminal streak, it was a duel that brought an end to things.
Lalo is finally gone from the show. The evil incarnate was a formidable presence. He truly was intimidating like an apex predator.
With him gone, though, there will be a big vacuum. The looming threat he presented will not drive tension as we became familiar in this season. Gilligan and co will have to create a new subplot that merges in the overall narrative in the remaining episodes.
Walter and Jesse are yet to come but are unlikely to have a significant impact on this season. Better Call Saul is back with a bang. Tune in next week again for a new episode!