Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers about the “Point and Shoot” episode of “Better Call Saul,” which premiered July 11.
“Better Call Saul” often moves slowly, but the first of the show’s final six episodes kicked off with a literal bang, pointing toward perhaps a greater sense of urgency as the “Breaking Bad” prequel gets closer to its end game.
The season’s eighth episode, titled “Point and Shoot,” finally saw the brutal end of the dangerous and resourceful Lalo (Tony Dalton), the rival to Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) who had to be crossed out of the picture at some point, but who had managed to evade that this long.
Despite seemingly outsmarting Gus and his security team, Lalo made the common super-villain mistake of monologuing himself to death, giving Gus the opportunity to dim the lights, grab a gun and put an end to him. Gus also told him, as he stalled for time, about his intentions to kill those close to Lalo’s uncle Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis), whose long history with Gus paid off explosively in “Breaking Bad,” adding yet another layer to that story line.
Of course, Lalo’s fate came too late for poor Howard (Patrick Fabian), who was in the wrong place at the wrong time when Lalo showed up to terrorize Jimmy/Saul (Bob Odenkirk) and Kim (Rhea Seehorn), enlisting them as reluctant accomplices in his plot, although with the benefit of hindsight they were essentially part of an elaborate misdirection ruse that actually worked, barring its architect’s talkative streak.
The fact that Jimmy and Kim’s plot to embarrass Howard would be used as part of the cover story to explain his disappearance, or that both Howard and Lalo would be relegated to a grave in the bowels of Gus’ underground facility, merely underscored the depths to which the writers have gone in weaving “Saul” into every part of “Breaking Bad’s” DNA.
Several major questions linger, starting with the most obvious one, “What happened to Kim?” In terms of advancing the ball, the latest episode is notable only in that the near-death experience seemed to bring her and Jimmy closer together, which only makes the prospect of what separated them more tantalizing.
Like “Star Wars,” we’re still waiting to see the finishing touches of how Jimmy completed his descent to the dark side. “Point and Shoot” was a key step in laying that groundwork, including what’s buried under the ground.