Better Call Saul‘s Lalo Salamanca Was In Breaking Bad The Whole Time

Better Call Saul‘s Lalo Salamanca Was In Breaking Bad The Whole Time

Warning: This article contains spoilers on Better Call Saul Season 6, Episode 8


Better Call Saul‘s time is coming to an end, and that means its timeline inches closer to the Breaking Bad timeline we all know and love. The spinoff based on the morally corrupt lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) from Breaking Bad has introduced us to characters we never saw on the original show but we’ve grown attached to. Outside of Saul’s wife and smarter better half Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), no other Better Call Saul character has generated as much fanfare as the Mexican mustached menace Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton). And after last night’s episode, we finally find out how he makes it into the Breaking Bad timeline in the most unexpected manner.

For the vast majority of the final season of Better Call Saul, Lalo has been engineering a covert scheme to expose and kill cartel golden m0neyg goose Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) for attempting to have him assassinated at the end of Season 5. He fakes his own death, tracks down an engineer who helped Gus build his secret superlab, and surveilled Gus’s operation from inside of a sewer. He knows Gus was the one who tried to kill him, but he needs to convince cartel boss Don Eladio of Gus’s disloyalty before he can enact his revenge. Remember, Gus created the superlab as a way to free himself from the oppressive clutches of the cartel by running his own meth distribution operation without them knowing.

kim wexler and saul goodman in better call saul

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At the end of the midseason finale, with his plan ready to go into action, Lalo shows up at Saul and Kim’s apartment to scare them into killing Gus, but not before he shoots and kills disgruntled and drunk Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian) who falls victim to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. That sets the stage for Lalo to finally begin putting his pawns in motion for a climatic end to his cerebral chess match with a justifiably paranoid Gus. The end result may have been predictable, but the Breaking Bad twist was one no one could’ve predicted.

Did Lalo Die?

The larger Lalo’s shadow in Better Call Saul loomed over major Breaking Bad characters (Hector Salamanca, Gus Fring, and Saul Goodman) and dynamics (Gus’s relationship with Don Eladio’s cartel), the more likely his absence from the latter decided his fate in the former. The only way you could take out a guerilla tactician like Lalo who once faked his death using a tunnel hidden under an extractable toilet is with blind luck, which is exactly what Gus used to do the job.

After Lalo uses Kim and Saul as frightened decoys to divert Gus’s guards away from the El Pollo Loco boss to search for him, he finally gets his standoff with Gus inside the Lavandería Brillante laundromat housing the construction site of Gus’s meth lab. As much as Lalo wanted to kill the man who sent mercenaries into his home to assassinate him, he returned to Albuquerque to get proof of Gus’s treachery first, revenge after. That proved to be his fatal mistake as he chose to force Gus to give him a tour of the secret meth lab construction site while he haughtily videotapes the entire ordeal to show to Don Eladio. That gave Gus enough time to shut the lights off by slamming his foot onto a wire connected to the lights, blanketing the two foes in darkness only illuminated by the bullets they fire blindly at one another. After one of the most intricately devised revenge plots in all of Better Call Saul history, Lalo falls victim to the luck of the draw, and one of Gus’s bullets finds its way through the darkness into Lalo’s neck, forcing him to bleed out to his death.

tony dalton

AMC

If you’re surprised by Lalo’s death, you’re not alone. At a Tribeca Film Festival screening of last night’s episode, Dalton expressed his initial shock at learning his popular character was meeting his end but still reveled in his time on the show. “Before we even started, [Better Call Saul creators Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan] told me, ‘This episode is the last one you’re going to do,” Dalton said. “I said, ‘You guys are killing me on [episode] 8? Alright! It’s been a good run.”

Before the end of Lalo’s final episode, Mike decides to kill two birds with one forklift by burying both Lalo and Howard in the same grave dug out at the construction site. Dalton clarified that the overhead shot of Howard and Lalo’s body lying in the grave was actually him and Fabian laying in the fetal position lifelessly for quite a while. That’s where his Better Call Saul life ends, and his Breaking Bad legacy begins.

Is Lalo in Breaking Bad?

Tony Dalton’s name never appears in the credits of any Breaking Bad episode and his poisonous mustached grin never appears in any scene in the series. But, Lalo finds his way into Breaking Bad in two ways: name and skeleton. Any Breaking Bad superfan (or anyone who knows how to work a Google search) knows the first time they heard Lalo’s name was out of the mouth of a frightened Saul Goodman in the eighth episode of Breaking Bad‘s second season entitled “Better Call Saul.” After being kidnapped by Walt and Jesse, Saul pleads with them to spare his life by yelling “it was Ignacio” before fearfully asking if they were sent by Lalo. That’s the first time Lalo enters the Breaking Bad universe, but a more tangible inclusion would come in later episodes when Walt and Jesse find themselves cooking up meth for Gus in his superlab.

At some point, Gus completes the mammoth meth lab on top of Lalo and Howard’s dead bodies. So, that means whenever we saw Walt and Jesse cooking up hundreds of pounds of meth or Gus slicing his henchman’s throat in the lab to send a message, it all occurred over the dead body of Lalo Salamanca. There’s no doubt Gus felt a sense of joy for not only surreptitiously building a drug empire right under the nose of the oppressive cartel that murdered his best friend Max Arciniega but doing so on top of the body of his archnemesis.

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