Better Call Saul Season 6 Delivers Its Most Devastating Episode Yet With 'Plan And Execution'

I should've seen this coming. I know I should have. Maybe I even did. And yet, tonight's mid-series finale of "Better Call Saul" still concluded in a way that left me reeling. Even though I had a suspicion something like this — something terrible and irreversible — was on the way, I still don't think I was quite prepared for, well, this. Now give me a moment to catch my breath.

While Jimmy McGill, aka Saul Goodman, was always doomed to a life of crime, there always remained a tiny glimmer of hope buried in "Better Call Saul" that there was some way of turning back the clock; of setting things right. Indeed, we want Jimmy to be redeemed. We want him to be more like the likable guy we met at the start of "Better Call Saul," not the sleazy, crooked lawyer we met in "Breaking Bad." 

When we watch the black and white flashforwards of Jimmy as Gene, the sad, lonely Cinnabon manager, we feel bad. But now, after this latest episode, "Plan and Execution," the question must be raised: does Jimmy even deserve to be redeemed? Maybe not. Maybe he deserves every terrible thing that might happen to him. And sadly, the same must now be said for Kim Wexler, once the guiding light of the series. The actions Jimmy and Kim set in motion this season have reached a cataclysmic conclusion — and there are still six more episodes in the series to go. Who knows what horrors await? 

Lalo's back in town

Before we get to the meat of the episode, let's delve into what's going on in the dangerous world of the cartels. Lalo has returned from Germany, and he's determined to bring Gus down. He sets up shop in the sewer directly in front of the industrial laundry that acts as a front for Gus' meth superlab. Like Pennywise the Clown, Lalo peers out of a storm drain, gathering intel. He wants to make a move. And then he gets a rude awakening. While calling his uncle Hector in the nursing home to tell him about his latest plans, Lalo notices some distinct clicking sounds on the phone line. The show doesn't come right out and say what they are, but Lalo has a pretty good idea: the sounds are the result of the phone lines being tapped. Now, Lalo knows that Gus knows that Lalo is still alive. And that means Lalo has to change his plans. More on that later. Sort of.

As for Gus, he's informed by Mike that Lalo is back. Mike wants to set a trap: Gus will go back to his safe house and appear to be alone, which will hopefully invite Lalo to attack. If he does, Mike and his guys will get the drop on Lalo. Sounds simple, right? Sure. But Lalo has some other plans.

Howard's bad day

I'll confess I was dying to know just what Kim and Jimmy's plan to get Howard involved, and how it was going to shake out. I also kept hoping against hope that whatever it was, it would go wrong. It would backfire. And everyone would get away unscathed for now. No such luck. I guess the days of characters getting away unscathed on this show are long gone. 

Here's how it all works out: Jimmy and Kim stage a series of photos that make it look like the judge acting as a mediator in the Sandpiper case is seen taking a pay-off from Jimmy. The pictures had already been taken when, in last week's episode, Jimmy just happened to run into the real judge and see that he was sporting a cast on his arm. Thinking quick, Jimmy and Kim go about a reshoot. They get their judge actor back as well as their go-to camera crew. Once again, the imposter judge — now sporting a cast — is photographed taking a large envelope from Jimmy. Off-camera, Kim serves as the director of the scene. 

Afterward, Jimmy and Kim coat the photographs with the mystery drug they picked up from the crooked veterinarian in the previous episode. And then a missing piece of the puzzle is revealed: the private eye who has been working for Howard to spy on Jimmy is a double agent. Yep, that's right — he's been working for Jimmy and Kim the entire time. He takes the photos to Howard right before Howard is about to go into the mediation meeting. Drugged by the residue on the pictures, Howard immediately begins to get overheated while his pupils dilate. In other words, he looks high. 

Things go from bad to worse when the real judge enters. He seems like a really pleasant fellow, but Howard immediately recognizes him (or thinks he does) from the photos. And rather than keep his suspicions himself, Howard instantly begins hurling accusations. Trying to prove his case, he has his assistant grab the private eye photos from his desk. But at some point, they were switched, and instead of showing Jimmy handing a bag to the judge, they instead have Jimmy handing a frisbee back to some random guy. It's hilarious for us, but to Howard, it's understandably maddening. 

As a result of all of this, the case collapses. Cliff insists they take a lower offer on the Sandpiper case and settle, and while Howard tries to resist, he ultimately has no choice. This entire scene is both unbearably intense and laugh-out-loud funny. I felt so incredibly bad for Howard, but I couldn't help but guffaw at how the entire plan came together in the end. Jimmy and Kim call into the mediation and hear the entire thing, and it goes off so well that the two of them are inspired to immediately start smooching. They get off on this.

Howard, meanwhile, feels like he's ruined. But if you thought things couldn't get much worse for Howard, think again. 

Kim Watch! How Worried Should We Be About Kim Wexler This Week?


Later that night, Kim and Jimmy are celebrating their success by cuddling up with an old movie. And then there's a knock on the door. My stomach sank, and I so badly wanted them to ignore that knock. There's even a moment when Jimmy suggests they do just that, but no — in the end, he gets up and gets the door. And you probably guessed who it would be on the other side: Howard. 

Howard wants to know why Kim and Jimmy targeted him. He says he knows he can be an a-hole, but does that give them the right to perform such an elaborate scheme against him? He goes so far as to accuse Jimmy and Kim of being sociopaths. Jimmy seems offended by this, but Kim remains disturbingly silent. What can we read in that silence? As Howard begs and pleads for answers, Jimmy kind of tries to calm Howard down and tell him he'll land on his feet again. But Kim only looks on. Is she just playing it cool? Does she not know what to say? Or does she recognize some truth in Howard's words? Is she suspecting she might be a sociopath? Probably not, and I don't think Kim is a sociopath, either. But I do think neither she nor Jimmy put much thought into how devastating their little plan could be. 

No matter. Things get even worse, because soon Kim and Jimmy have another visitor: Lalo. Jimmy, who still thought Lalo was dead, is flabbergasted. Kim, for her part, finally starts speaking up. She begs Howard to get out; to leave immediately. Howard is understandably puzzled. Lalo, being Lalo, simply stands there like a creep — and then produces a gun with a silencer. Howard, being Howard, tries to be the voice of polite reason. 

And then he's killed. 

Lalo shoots Howard a point-blank range, and even though there have been more than a few murders on this show (hell, Nacho, another main character, was shot to death at the beginning of this season), something about Howard's death is particularly horrifying. Probably because for all his flaws, Howard was an outsider. A bystander. Nacho was a likable guy, but he was still a criminal running in a world of criminals. Howard was just a nerdy high-priced lawyer going through a divorce. He had no part of the world of drug runners and murderers. And yet, because of his association with Jimmy, that world still destroyed him in the end. 

Kim and Jimmy are suitably shocked and terrified by Howard's murder — more proof they're not sociopaths. As for Lalo? Well, he wants to talk. But that'll have to wait until July, when the show returns for its final six episodes. And while that's frustrating, there's still plenty to take away here. Specifically, if it wasn't clear before, it's painfully clear now there's no turning back for Kim. She just witnessed a murder, and she's in serious danger herself. Are her days numbered? 


  • I really, honest to gosh thought Howard would make it out of this show alive. Sorry, Howard.
  • A round of applause for Patrick Fabian. Howard wasn't always the flashiest role, and there were long stretches where it felt like the show didn't quite know what to do with the character. But Fabian always delivered, and he does what might be his best work on the entire show in this episode, going from calm and confident, to frantic and angry, to sad and hurt, and then to, well, dead. He will be missed. 
  • "Think of the broken arm as symbolic," Jimmy trying to explain the cast to the actor playing the judge. 
  • "The secret to a really good potato and leek soup isn't the potatoes; it's the leeks." So says Irene, the Sandpiper client. 
  • So what is Lalo's plan now? I'm guessing it involves using Jimmy/Saul to get close to Gus in some way. We also know that Lalo is unlikely to succeed, since he was never seen and only got a casual mention in "Breaking Bad," while Gus was operating and thriving. But that doesn't mean Lalo won't cause a lot of trouble (and kill more people) before things wrap up.
  • A moment of levity: the make-up girl is seen in costume and reveals that she's starring in a live-action musical tribute to "The Dark Crystal." Because of course she is.