Well, after a long, hard, intense seven weeks, we’ve finally made it. Part 1 of “Better Call Saul’s” sixth season is ending tonight, with an extra special finale episode. This is the last we will see of our beloved characters until Monday, July 14, as the show’s final season will be taking a hiatus halfway through, as was the case with “Breaking Bad.” However, we will likely have a lot to think about in that time.
The last we saw of our characters, Jimmy and Kim had to put their “D-Day” plans on hold after Jimmy realized their impersonation of Rand Casimiro, the head mediator in the Sandpiper case, would not work. Kim, however, was determined to go forward with the plan, even putting her career on the line to do so.
Gus and Mike, meanwhile, are still on the hunt for Lalo, though they’re not liable to find him anytime soon, given that he’s now in Germany. Determined to implicate Gus in Lalo’s failed hit job, Lalo has successfully tracked down a man who worked for Werner Ziegler, Gus’s engineer in charge of overseeing the superlab, and is about to make him talk. Also, Howard has finally gotten a whiff of Jimmy’s ill-gotten gains through his hired PI.
Let’s get into the mid-season finale, appropriately titled “Plan and Execution:”
Season 6 Episode 7: ‘Plan and Execution’
The mid-season finale starts off on the streets; namely, with Lalo exiting a sewer (in a manner very reminiscent of his escape from Gus’s assassination attempt last season). A Subaru apparently ready and waiting for him, he proceeds to drive over to a local convenience store, pay for a shower, and take a nap until 4 a.m. Then, he returns to the sewer, parks the Subaru where he found it, and gets back underground.
Navigating through the underground tunnels, he plants himself in a spot right inside an open drain, from which he can observe Gus’s Laundromat across the street. Then, he waits.
Folks, it’s looking like we might just have ourselves another face-off.
In a panic, Jimmy picks up Lenny – the old man who he hired to play Casimiro – from his job at the supermarket, bribing him to come reshoot the photo-op posthaste, while also appealing to his deep-rooted thespian proclivities. Almost saluting Jimmy, Lenny agrees.
Jimmy then proceeds to pick up Joey, his college-aged director who is currently filling in as a stand-in professor at UNM, lecturing the students on which cameras they’re allowed to handle, and rushes them to a spot outdoors, where they shoot the scene.
In it, Jimmy is seen handing some kind of large marked envelope to “Casimiro,” who now has a broken arm. Jimmy convinces him that his “character motivation” is to “play it casual,” as he’s “on a covert mission to accept a very important package.” Lucky for Jimmy, Lenny can’t wait to undertake the role.
They begin shooting, but have to re-do some of the shots. “Action again!” shouts director Kim, demonstrating that her skills in the arena are likely quite subpar to those of Rhea Seehorn’s.
After processing the photos in a darkroom – very old-school, even for 2004 – Jimmy rushes to a man who appears to be Howard’s PI, waiting for him in a car. “Go, go!” he shouts, watching the man drive off with the photos, destination to be seen.
At the office, while preparing for a meeting, Howard reminisces about Jimmy’s brother Chuck (memorialized in a wildly ostentatious portrait suited for a President) in front of an intern, calling him the “greatest legal mind I ever knew,” when he is interrupted by his secretary, telling him that his PI has a “development” to report.
Clearly in cahoots with Jimmy, the PI shows Howard the staged photos, matching the envelope in them to that which he captured Jimmy taking out of the bank last episode. He doesn’t recognize “Casimiro,” but insists that the PI do “whatever needs to be done” to find out.
Howard and Clifford Main, working on behalf of the Sandpiper residents, meet the elderly Irene, the case’s class representative, and tell her that the process could take “at minimum” 1-2 years, though she is not deterred. They also namedrop Casimiro, who is acting as the mediator in the case (in order to keep things “polite and professional”…), with Clifford calling him a fine and honorable judge who he has known for “many, many years.”
As the meeting (which Jimmy and Kim are listening in on via the secret access code Jimmy obtained through Francesca last episode) begins, Howard’s eyes turn to saucers when Casimiro enters the room, recognizing him as the man in Jimmy’s photos (clearly Jimmy’s art and costume department deserves quite the raise). Howard then insists that the meeting be adjourned for “circumstances beyond our control.” When pressed, Howard accuses the judge of being compromised, and soon claims he has taken upward of $20,000 in bribes by Jimmy McGill, aka “Saul Goodman.”
When the innocent and honest judge pushes back, Howard, getting increasingly agitated and wired up, insists his secretary get the envelope of photos from his desk. When she comes back, the photos have switched, almost as if Howard had hallucinated the whole thing: Casimiro has been replaced by Jimmy’s sound technician in sweats, retrieving a frisbee from Jimmy.
As Howard unravels the truth, he only seems crazier and crazier in front of the rest of the meeting’s attendees. “They’ve been switched!” a sweat-soaked Howard rambles. “Jimmy– he snuck in, somehow.” Then, it’s not just Howard’s eyes which turn to saucers, but also his pupils, clearly under the effects of the upper Jimmy has slipped to him (which were laced onto the photos he examined).
“Nobody move!” he yells, getting up from his seat. “Evidence has been tampered with!”
“I’m not crazy, and I’m not on drugs!” Howard tells Clifford, ranting (the truth) nearly incoherently to his partner, who insists they settle. Howard pushes back, but Clifford insists, harder. “You think you’re going to be able to convince them that it’s all Jimmy McGill?!” he yells at his intoxicated and drug-addled lead attorney. It doesn’t matter whether he’s right, Cliff explains…they’ve already lost. There’s no turning back from this. Howard realizes he has no choice but to relent.
Then, Kim and Jimmy make love to the sound of Clifford Main announcing their settlement on the speakerphone. The greatest aphrodisiac of all for these two lovebirds: victory.
Still in his spot in the sewer (where he has been for about four days), Lalo makes a little video diary addressed to Don Eladio, explaining what he believes is the reality behind what he calls the “Mother of all meth labs,” revealing with glee that he discovered the location of Gus’s secret meth factory through Casper (the German from whom he likely tortured to extract that info), and soon plans to kill all of Gus’s guards, then discover the “proof” he has been looking for the entire season thus far. After that, it is up to Don Eladio to “decide”…on what? Well, we’ll see.
He then makes a call to his uncle Hector’s old folks’ home, but hangs up in a fit of fear and rage when he’s on hold, amazingly discovering that his phone is tapped. He then calls again, reaches Hector, and fabricates a story, telling him that “the Chicken Man” covers his tracks too well, and that he was unable to find proof. However, he will go with “Plan A” anyway (presumably killing Gus…”tonight”). Hector rings hysterically in dissent, but Lalo can only tell the old man that he loves him before hanging up, and takes off down another path in the sewer.
Mike interrupts a photo-op by Gus, informing him of Lalo’s “plans” by – yes – playing a recording of the phone call he made to his uncle. Turns out Lalo’s observation skills really do serve him well. Gus knows Lalo would never attack him publicly, but Mike fears this is an “uncontrollable situation,” and insists he retreat back home, and that they concentrate the security forces there, sacrificing the lower-priority targets….like Jimmy and Kim.
Lalo, meanwhile, notices a cockroach in the sewer tunnels, and gets an idea.
A drunk Howard pays a visit to Jimmy and Kim’s, hand delivering them a wine bottle in “celebration” of their victory. Poor Howard, clearly still not over his bad day, knows he’s been duped by both of them, though they try to deny it at first. He asks what they have in them that allows them to be so sociopathic. “What allows you to do this to me? Because this isn’t just a prank,” Howard rants. “How many weeks? Or was it months? It couldn’t have bene easy!”
“You two are soulless,” he adds, expressing his disappointment and disbelief that Kim in particular, one of the “smartest and most promising human beings I’ve ever known,” could have stooped so low. He then declares that he will dedicate his life to “making sure that everybody knows the truth.” He won’t let Jimmy and Kim get away with this so easy.
In perhaps the most chilling and ominous scenes we’ve seen in the show thus far, none other than Lalo Salamanca calmly enters into the apartment behind Howard, explaining that he simply here for his lawyers, and wants nothing other than “to talk.”
In a moment of bone-chilling ruthlessness, Lalo calmly retrieves a gun from his back pocket, screws on a silencer, and shoots Howard in the head, killing him instantly.
“Okay,” he says to the understandably hysterical couple. “Let’s talk.”
Season 6 part 2 of “Better Call Saul” will pick up Monday, July 11, 2022, at 9 p.m. Eastern on AMC.