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‘Better Call Saul’ Power Rankings: “Point and Shoot”

Better Call Saul is all about timing. While the series may seem to run at a glacial pace, with episodes that elevate banal action into a montage that goes on for minutes, the series is anything but dull. As a prequel to Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul has never been about what was going to happen, but rather, how things were going to play out. We know that every character introduced throughout Better Call Saul’s run was going to have their fate determined before the show’s conclusion, and this inevitability boils down to one simple fact that viewers are already aware of. While the events of Better Call Saul has a profound effect on the events of Breaking Bad, the characters that made the latter happen won’t be there to see it happen. From the second that characters like Howard (Patrick Fabian), Nacho (Michael Mando), Lalo (Tony Dalton), and Kim (Rhea Seehorn) were introduced, it’s almost as if a clock in the background started counting down the minutes until the permanent resolution of their arcs. And, in true Better Call Saul fashion, those resolutions are all bleak. (So far.)

But once again, the dark twists and turns of Better Call Saul have come down to timing. Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) and Kim’s scheme worked: they succeeded their season-long goal and destroyed Howard’s reputation. Of course they didn’t plan for Howard to meet such an untimely fate, but his death is still on Jimmy and Kim’s hands. If Howard had come to their apartment minutes later, or had left minutes earlier – or hadn’t felt compelled to come at all – everything would have been avoided. So now Kim and Jimmy are forced to live with the consequences of their actions. “Point and Shoot” shows the destructive aftermath of the cartel finally intersecting with Kim and Jimmy’s schemes.

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Giancarlo Esposito as Gus Fring in Better Call Saul (COURTESY: AMC)

First Place: Gus Fring

Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) is a difficult character. We feel his Breaking Bad presence throughout all of Better Call Saul because he’s one of three characters we know survives the prequel. Breaking Bad portrays Gus as a fairly mysterious character. We do learn about his history to some extent, but, for the most part, the events of Better Call Saul give us the clearest picture on the creation of the drug empire that we see in Breaking Bad. Because of this, it’s hard to manufacture any sort of real concern or worry about his fate. We know he survives the show, so why would we ever believe Gus is in danger? “Point and Shoot” comes closest to succeeding at making the audience worry. Gus has been planning and waiting for Lalo’s return. It was inevitable, and his choice to hide a gun in the super lab revealed itself to be a critically important decision. 

After Lalo leaves Kim and Jimmy’s apartment (we’ll get to that later), he heads to the laundromat. Gus is certain that this is where their eventual showdown will occur, and once again, his instincts are proven correct. Luckily for Gus, his plot armor is sealed thanks to the scripts of Breaking Bad; when Lalo leads him into the lab at gunpoint we know that Gus will make it back out. After being led around the lab giving Lalo a tour for Hector, Gus quickly cuts the lights and manages to shoot Lalo. He’s hurt in the process, but if the choices are death or a gunshot wound, I’m picking the latter. Gus takes the top spot in the power rankings because Lalo is finally out of the picture, and as we know, he’s about to (somehow) finish the super lab. If a shot in the side means Gus gets to leave Better Call Saul Season 6 Episode 8 as one of the most powerful men in Albuquerque, he’s way better off than everyone else.

Second Place: Mike Ehrmantraut

Mike (Jonathan Banks) has done well for himself. As of this episode, he now essentially runs all of Gus’ security; as we know thanks to Breaking Bad, he’ll continue to be crucial to Gus’ empire. He escapes this episode the least damaged, both mentally and physically, but there’s still a cloud looming over Mike and Gus’ relationship. Though they trust each other, Mike has outright ignored orders from Gus because he disagrees with him, and this friction is not something we see in Breaking Bad. Their slight disagreements become a problem in this episode, as Mike’s instructions to Gus to “hunker down” were ignored in favor of seeking Lalo out. Mike isn’t in the worst shape, but there are still miles to go before he turns into the guy we know from in Breaking Bad.

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Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler and Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill in Better Call Saul (COURTESY: AMC)

Third Place: Jimmy McGill

One thing has been made very clear throughout all of Better Call Saul: Jimmy really knows how to talk. We’ve seen it countless times before, that Jimmy’s ability to talk his way out of almost any situation is the one skill that he can always rely on. In “Point and Shoot,” his ability to talk may have saved his life, but it almost cost him his marriage. While Lalo holds Kim and Jimmy hostage in their own apartment, their shock over Howard’s death keeps them distracted. What they weren’t ready for was for Lalo to instruct Jimmy to take a gun, drive to Gus’ house, and shoot him in the head. Jimmy immediately realizes that this can’t happen: he doesn’t want to commit murder, true; but more importantly, Jimmy knows he can’t leave Kim alone with Lalo. And so he convinces Lalo to send Kim instead.

Kim’s shocked and horrified, and even Jimmy doesn’t look so confident in his own proposal. It may seem like he’s is trying to save his own ass; in reality, Jimmy’s frantic pleas are a dark – yet somehow romantic – look into the state of his brain. He knows that whoever stays in the apartment is going to die. So Jimmy begs Lalo to send Kim not because he can’t kill Gus, but because he wants to get Kim as far away from the apartment as possible. By accepting his own death, Jimmy gives Kim the opportunity to flee: to go to the police, or abandon everything and start a new life, or do anything else, as long as she’s safe. To this point in Better Call Saul, we’ve seen Jimmy McGill almost finish his transformation into Saul Goodman. This moment, though, is all Jimmy.

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Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler in Better Call Saul (COURTESY: AMC)

Fourth Place: Kim Wexler

It’s becoming impossible to ignore the fact that something awful is going to happen to Kim Wexler. We are weeks away from knowing her fate, and every episode makes it clearer and clearer that Kim’s ending will not be a happy one. As Jimmy begs Lalo to let Kim go kill Gus, she’s begging for the exact opposite, and can’t believe Jimmy would make her do such a thing. But just as Jimmy is prepared to die if it means getting Kim to safety, Kim is willing to kill to keep Jimmy safe. Or is she? As Kim is swept inside by Gus’ security team before she could pull the trigger, we’re left unsure whether Kim would actually kill for Jimmy. However, we can imagine that Kim’s extreme reluctance to leave the apartment means that she would do anything – even murder – to keep Jimmy safe.

If Howard’s death in the mid-season finale was the turning point for Kim’s morality, Better Call Saul‘s “Point and Shoot” is the turning point for her emotional state. What we see now is a broken woman whose life is reduced completely to the dead body lying on her living room floor. Suddenly all the good that Kim has tried to do in her life doesn’t amount to much. When she returns to her apartment, she’s no longer the Kim Wexler we’ve known. Her eyes are empty and her face is expressionless. Kim may have survived, but it’s safe to say she isn’t going to be happy with the life she has left. 

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Tony Dalton as Lalo Salamanca in Better Call Saul (COURTESY: AMC)

Fifth Place: Lalo Salamanca

Rest in peace to the Breaking Bad Extended Universe’s best villain. From the moment we met Lalo Season 4, it was clear he posed a threat to everyone around him. Yes, he was charming, collected, and seemingly reasonable – but the longer he stuck around, the more we saw the deranged man that we know and love(d). Lalo does appear in Breaking Bad via a brief name drop by Saul, so we knew that, similar to Kim, he would somehow be written out of this extended universe. After trapping Gus at the super lab, he’s taken out by a (somewhat lucky) gunshot to the throat. As he’s dying, he lets out a laugh, a fitting end for his character. Lalo’s death is not shocking, but it is a bit disappointing. Better Call Saul spent the past three seasons proving that Lalo is essentially invincible; for him to be taken out by Gus with a single shot was surprising. But Lalo’s cockiness about his own death is fitting.

So Lalo is dead, a fact that should be a relief to Kim and Jimmy but in reality is probably not. They’ve been led to believe he was dead before, and that still led to Lalo appearing in their apartment and shooting their colleague in the head. Speaking of Howard, there’s a dark bit of humor in Lalo’s not-so-formal burial. Placed in a dugout hole under the super lab, Lalo and Howard’s bodies are together for eternity. All of the good Howard did and all of the bad Lalo did don’t matter much. They were both murdered and brought together by death. Not a great ending for either of them.

Sixth Place: Lyle

Poor guy has to open and close Los Pollos Hermanos two days in a row. Talk about a fate worse than death.

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