The Showrunner Of Better Call Saul Dissects The Shocking Mid-Season 6 Finale Death
Better Call Saul creator Peter Gould deconstructs the shocking killing from the midseason 6 finale episode "Plan and Execution."
Gus attempted to clean up after his failed assassination attempt on Lalo by having Nacho Varga take the fall, who went out in a blaze of glory in episode 3, "Rock and Hard Place." While Gus and his security chief, Mike Ehrmantraut, await Lalo's return to New Mexico, Jimmy and Kim's plot to paint Howard as a frantic drug addict comes to a climax at the Sandpiper mediation court in episode 7. Following that, Howard confronts Jimmy and Kim about their conduct, but he is completely unprepared for who appears next – the cold-blooded psychopath Lalo Salamanca, who murders Howard and demands a meeting with his attorneys.
EW chatted with the showrunner of Better Call Saul about the devastating fatality from the mid-season 6 finale. Gould describes how Howard's death brings together the Sandpiper and Cartel narratives, which had previously been distinct until that fatal point, and serves to set up the rest of the final season. Read his whole breakdown below:
"They would not have been fused if it hadn't been for what Jimmy and Kim did. A lot of this story is the story of unintended consequences. The consequences are just beginning, let's put it that way.
Maybe I'm admitting too much, but we did not plan for this several seasons ago. We didn't really understand this is where it was going to go until we started talking at the beginning of this season. A the end of last season, Kim Wexler shocked us all by suggesting, "Hey, maybe we should scam Howard and get the Sandpiper money now, instead of waiting three years." In this season, we started to talk about, "What is the plan that these two are going to put into action, and what effect is it going to have?" The more we talked about that, the more we realized that Jimmy and Kim are sort of the bridge between these worlds, the legal world and the world of the cartel and Gustavo Fring and the Salamancas.
Being a bridge has a lot of different aspects, and some of them are pretty terrible. In some ways, you know, they've opened the door to hell. They didn't fully understand what they were doing."
Before episode 7, writer/director Thomas Schnauz sought to minimize the cliffhanger conclusion, arguing that it wasn't intended to be a typical midseason finale. As a result, viewers' expectations were lowered, making Lalo's appearance and Howard's death at Jimmy and Kim's apartment all the more startling. Interestingly, Lalo actor Tony Dalton adopted the opposite approach, explicitly hinting at a shocking cliffhanger finale. While most of season 6 hinted to Howard's death, many speculated it was due to the psychoactive medicine Kim and Jimmy administered to him. Instead, it occurred in a far more harsh and startling manner.
Jimmy and Kim's clever strategy to ruin Howard had the worst unintended effect conceivable, as he was slain for being an innocent spectator to Lalo's entrance. According to Gould, this harrowing scene successfully connects the two plots and will now carry the plot forward for the remainder of the season. Better Call Saul season 6 will return to AMC on July 11 for its final episodes after a brief hiatus.