Skip to main content

Better Call Saul Star Reflects On How That Shocking Midseason Premiere Murder Affects Breaking Bad Timeline

Lalo holding video camera in Better Call Saul
(Image credit: AMC)

Major spoilers below for anyone who isn’t completely caught up with Better Call Saul, so be warned if you haven’t yet watched!

Better Call Saul’s sixth and final season wasn’t initially written with a six-week hiatus in mind, which didn’t seem so evident after “Plan and Execution” shockingly took Howard Hamlin out of the equation. The urgency oozing out of the midseason premiere “Point and Shoot,” however, more clearly indicated this episode was conceived as more of a quick follow-up, with the creative team surprisingly (and rather brutally) killing off the drama’s most electrifying antagonist, Lalo Salamanca.

Okay, so it was technically the overarching franchise baddie Gustavo Fring who unleashed a bullet shower on Lalo, turning the tables just as the mustachioed brute thought he had Fring backed into an inescapable corner. The only corners that Lalo will know from now on, though, are the ones surrounding his and Howard’s corpses in their shared dirt grave beneath Fring’s in-development meth lab. That detail, as dark and morose as it is, adds a new shade of context to every Breaking Bad scene that takes place within the underground lab.

Even Tony Dalton himself was disturbed by how things played out for his character. When interviewed by Variety about the devastating episode, Dalton was asked about the weirdness of seeing his dead body on screen (so to speak), and he reflected on its Breaking Bad ties with his answer, saying:

Very weird. They put the episode on at Tribeca and just seeing me and Howard dead in the pit, it was like ‘Damn, man. So all of Breaking Bad I’m there? They’re walking on my grave?’ That’s insane. I wouldn’t have even conceived anything like that.

It’s not necessarily a revisionist game-changer to picture Walt and Jesse handling their meth-cooking duties above the rotting corpses of Fring and Saul’s most bitter rivals, considering neither of the Breaking Bad characters ever met Lalo or Howard (as far as we know). That said, this episode’s events will absolutely put Fring in a brand new light for anyone going back to watch Breaking Bad again. 

“Point and Shoot” delivered a Gus Fring that audiences (and other characters) were not used to seeing: one who was ostensibly outsmarted and outclassed, and one who was scared that it could very well be his last day on earth. Had it not been for Lalo’s sky-high self-confidence and his video camera, the villain likely wouldn’t have kept Fring alive long enough for the crime boss to get to his secret gun. But now that he has lived through what is no doubt one of his top three nightmare scenarios, Fring is better suited to become the unwavering tyrant that takes Walt and Jesse under his wing. 

Dalton said he and Giancarlo Esposito did have discussions about how their final tête-à-tête’s outcome would affect Fring’s ascent to power going forward. In his words:

I talked to Giancarlo about it, the whole part where Gus is worried that Lalo is going to get him — you don’t see an uncertainty in ‘Breaking Bad.’ You can see it a little bit in here, that weakness and Achilles’ heel. After Lalo dies, that cements Gus into the person that he becomes in ‘Breaking Bad.’

After one takes down a massive grizzly bear, other animals (even potentially dangerous ones named Walter White) just don’t seem nearly as intimidating. And since no one else in this universe was quite like Lalo, Fring will more or less be resting easy until half of his face gets blown off years later. 

As much as it sucks to see Lalo go — and I cannot imagine a more gut-scrambling way for it to happen than him and Howard together eternally — at least Tony Dalton’s film and TV career isn’t nearly as dead as his character is. I cannot wait to see what kinds of high-profile roles he’ll get next, though it’s with regrets that he didn’t get to share the screen with the yet-to-arrive guest star Carol Burnett.

With Station 19’s Pat Healy set to pop up in upcoming flash-forwards as the recast cab driver, Better Call Saul airs Monday nights on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET. While waiting for new episodes, join me in celebrating superstar Rhea Seehorn FINALLY earning an Emmy nomination this year for her endlessly stellar work as Kim Wexler, after years of being unfairly ignored.

Nick Venable
Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.