The shocks keep on coming as another stellar episode concludes the first half of the final season of best show on TV so far this year.
Could this be the year Better Call Saul takes home the Emmy for Best Drama Series? Time will tell, but we can’t help but root for it, because episodes like "Plan and Execution," the mid-season finale for the show's final batch of episodes, prove hands down this is the best series on TV right now.
The chickens of Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) and Kim’s (Rhea Seehorn) schemes are coming home to roost and it’s absolutely devastating. We’ve discussed how the show has come up short in terms of making Howard (Patrick Fabian) likable this season, but after this episode it's hard not to feel bad for the guy.
Howard was never anyone’s favorite character, but the tragedy in his overall fate, essentially due to what Jimmy and Kim did, is both unfortunate and shocking; a ripple of unforeseen consequences that are due to weigh so incredibly heavily on them both. But the show, of course, doesn’t have time to explore those just yet, given they still have one major uninvited, terrifying guest to deal with. More on that later.
The episode begins with Lalo (Tony Dalton) playing "ninja turtle" and crawling out of the sewers. Via a license plate, we realize he’s not in Europe anymore, he's in Albuquerque. He’s spying on the laundromat Gus has set up for the meth super lab. All at once, without a line of dialogue uttered, you’re filled with dread knowing he’s back in the same city as our protagonists.
We then cut to where we left off last week. Jimmy and Kim are in DEFCON-five panic mode after finding out Casimiro (John Posey) has a broken left arm. They recruit their posse and begin to take new pictures in the park of the Casimiro actor accepting an undisclosed envelope from Jimmy. Their plot finally begins to take shape. They develop the photos as quickly as possible and pass them off to Genidowski (Lennie Loftin), Howard’s private investigator, revealing the surprising twist that he has been working for Jimmy the whole time.
In the HHM law offices, Howard begins to prepare to fight the Sandpiper settlement with Cliff (Ed Begley Jr.). Genidowski comes to his office and shows him the photos of fake Casimiro receiving a $20,000 bribe from Jimmy, as "verified" by the pictures Genidowski "took" of Jimmy at the bank. Of course, they’re doused with the drug Jimmy and Kim took from the vet's office. So, when the settlement mediation begins, with Jimmy and Kim listening in no less, Howard accuses the real Casimiro of taking bribes from Jimmy and goes off the rails to confront him in front of Cliff and Schweikart (Dennis Boutsikaris), all while the drug dilate his pupils.
When asked to show proof of the "bribe," Howard’s given an envelope of pictures of Jimmy handing a frisbee to a completely different person. Embarrassed and discredited, Cliff becomes the lead attorney on the case and they finally settle. Admittedly, as terrible as all of this is for Howard, it can’t be denied that a lot of what happens during these scenes is incredibly funny. "Do these usually go like this?" asked a puzzled Irene (Jean Effron), the representative for the plaintiffs at Sandpiper.
Back to Lalo. He is recording a video for Don Eladio exposing Gus’s (Giancarlo Esposito) plans to build his meth lab in the laundromat. He’s got the number of guards pegged and is about to tell everything to Hector (Mark Margolis). However, upon hearing scratches of static in the wait music at the nursing home, Lalo knows it’s being bugged. Once more, he gets the upper hand on Gus and Mike (Jonathan Banks), planting a false message about "getting Gus" over the bugged number and luring Mike and his security staff away from the laundromat and other locations, like watching Jimmy and Kim. We know Mike is incredibly smart and usually one step ahead of everyone, this is arguably the only time we’ve seen otherwise.
At Jimmy and Kim's apartment, they’re greeted by an unexpected visitor. Howard, drunk after having his reputation destroyed earlier in the day by them, shows up to have it out, emotionally this time (as opposed to his boxing match with Jimmy). It’s in this scene we finally see the truth about Howard. He may be a douchebag at times, but he’s also an innocent bystander going through his share of regular challenges in his life, from a failing marriage, to debt and struggles with carrying a firm he inherited from his father. Despite our rooting for Jimmy and Kim, we know deep down he doesn’t necessarily deserve what’s being done to him. Being close to Chuck or being capable of human pettiness at times is not a crime worthy of the punishment he was receiving. But "he’ll land on his feet," he says, prior to accusing Jimmy and Kim of being soulless sociopaths.
But then, like a tornado of chaos, we see a candle flicker, indicating their apartment door has been opened and in walks Lalo Salamanca. Suddenly, both Jimmy and Kim’s worst nightmares have come true. While both are caught off guard, Kim has known that Lalo’s death was fictionalized, but Jimmy hasn’t, so the shock was even greater for him. But poor Howard literally has no idea what’s going on and absolutely no dog in this fight. He was simply in the wrong place. And just like that, in a moment so shocking, even for the Breaking Bad universe, the final member of the HHM moniker is unfairly executed in front of the very people that put him in that situation. RIP Howard.
Better Call Saul's final six episodes will continue July 11. It's good thing, because after these last seven episodes and seeing some key Better Call Saul characters die, we can all use a bit of a time and a stiff shot of Macallan.
Mike is a proud, sarcastic nerd with a penchant for comic books, comic book movies, and movies in general, and occasional delusions of grandeur. He's also a UC Berkeley graduate who decided to go into writing over pre-med because he figured he'd ultimately save more lives by not being a doctor. He's a Slytherin and a Pisces, so he's very emotionally sensitive, yet also evil, but can be defeated by exploiting his insecurities. His goal is to live one hell of a unique life, and it's been working so far! His proudest moments are being retweeted by James Gunn and Ryan Reynolds in the same week, and getting 999,999 points on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters at Disneyland.
You can find Mike's writing around the web at publications like The Nerds of Color, What to Watch, Spoiler Free Reviews, and That's It LA.
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