×

SPOILER ALERTDo not read if you have not watched the eighth episode of “Better Call Saul” Season 6, titled “Point and Shoot.”

After shooting Howard (Patrick Fabian) in the head and holding Saul (Bob Odenkirk) and Kim (Rhea Seehorn) hostage in their own home, Tony Dalton’s terrifying-yet-suave villain Lalo Salamanca has finally died, and at the hands of Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), no less. And in a twisted cherry on top of “Better Call Saul’s” suspenseful Season 6 Part 2 return, it’s revealed that Lalo is buried beneath Gus’ meth super-lab.

Lalo came so close to exposing Gus to the rest of the Salamanca cartel. Very calmly and thoroughly, he explained his plan for Saul to drive to Gus’ house, ring his doorbell and shoot him — all while Lalo is standing over Howard’s dead body. However, Saul convinced him to send Kim instead, saying that she’d be less conspicuous approaching Gus’ house in the middle of the night. Before Kim can pull the trigger at Gus’ secure safe house, Mike (Jonathan Banks) intervenes and stops the attempted hit — which was really all a distraction for Lalo to get video evidence of Gus’ secret meth lab. However, Gus decides to check on his lab and runs into Lalo, who murders his guards, takes Gus hostage and shoots a round into his bulletproof vest.

With Gus at gunpoint, Lalo foolishly allows him say his last words to Don Eladio (Steven Bauer) and the cartel on camera. While delivering a scathing monologue to the drug bosses down in the high-tech meth lab that Walt and Jesse will eventually use in “Breaking Bad,” Gus turns out the lights, grabs a gun and fires the clip at Lalo. When the lights turn back on, we see Lalo choking on his own blood from a fatal neck wound. He flashes a chilling smile at Gus, then dies.

With Variety, Dalton breaks down filming his death scene, his fatal showdown with Gus and Lalo’s impact on “Breaking Bad.”

When did you find out that Gus was going to kill Lalo this season?

It was a while back, but I got a call before we started shooting during the pandemic. I got a Zoom call from [creators] Vince [Gilligan] and Peter [Gould]. It was more about how excited they were about what happens than they were about me dying. Like, “Oh my god, this is going to be crazy what’s going to happen.” They were talking about Howard’s death and that I kill him, and then they’re like, “And then you die.” I was just thankful that I got the job and worked with these guys and the character became so integral to the story. You don’t get gigs like that very often.

When Saul convinces Lalo that Kim should be the one to go to Gus’ house, do you think Saul was trying to protect her? Or did Saul think that Kim could actually pull off the job better than he could? When I watched it I thought the latter, but Kim mentions later that Saul was looking out for her.

It’s funny you say that because when we saw that in Tribeca and Saul says “Let her go,” everybody started laughing in the theater. When we all met up, Bob said, “Do you think they’re gonna think I was just throwing her under the bus?” I said I didn’t think so. We never thought about it when we were filming it or reading it. But when you see it, it kinda maybe looks like what you said. It wouldn’t even cross my mind that that would happen, but it might look like that. More power to the writers and creators because it’s like, “You motherfucker, did you just send your wife to kill somebody?” Bob and I, when we were talking at dinner, he figured if she left the room, she’d have more of a chance at being alive — period. That’s in his mind, which is what I thought too, get her out of here. Whoever stays here might die, and whoever leaves can just drive off or have a better chance.

Was Lalo sending Kim to just be a distraction or did he think she had a shot at killing Gus?

When you’re watching it, you think he’s trying to get his plan to work. Then when you see he’s in the lab, he just wanted somebody to show up there. That’s why he doesn’t care who shows up. He just wanted attention to that house so he could go record the lab. That was his plan the whole time. When Gus shows up, he says, “I was just going to record the lab but now that you’re here, it’s even better.”

How weird was it seeing your dead body?

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.

Why did Lalo let Gus have a monologue and not just shoot him?

The more that Gus says, the better Lalo looks to Eladio. If he just shot him, it would be fine, but the fact that he’s talking so much shit about Eladio, like “This is even better. See, I was right the whole time. This guy’s a piece of shit.” He couldn’t just shoot him in the face and be done. He wanted to gloat. Because it’s Lalo, he wanted to show off and that’s ultimately what became his demise, him basking in the glory.

How long did you have to lay there and spit up blood in your death scene?

Forever. It feels like I’m still in that hole right now. They pumped so much blood all over my face and back. I was in a huge puddle of blood. That took forever. The smile at the end, it wasn’t written that way. It was kind of just like I start dying and then I threw a smile and Vince was like, “That was good, now more like a cynic. ‘You lucky bastard, you got away with this and I’ll see you in hell.’” Then he goes, “Now, loosen when you die.” We kept going and going going and more blood, more blood, more blood. I was like, “Goddamn it, Vince.” But we knew it was an important scene so everybody was very focused.

What did that smile to Gus mean?

I think it was like, “You got lucky, man. The lights were off, it was a shootout, we pointed our guns at each other’s faces and you got me in the neck. You got so lucky, it could’ve gone the other way around in a second.”

So it was just luck? Do you think if it happened again, Lalo would’ve killed Gus?

Yeah, nine times out of 10, Lalo would’ve won. I think even Gus knows that. He sits down and he’s like, “That was the closest I’ve ever been to dying. This was sheer luck.”

How does Lalo’s death impact the Gus we see in “Breaking Bad”?

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.”

Do you think he has nightmares of Lalo in “Breaking Bad”?

I hope so. I hope Saul also has nightmares of Lalo.