Lalo Made 1 Huge Mistake Against Gus Fring (& He Knew It)

Warning: SPOILERS for Better Call Saul season 6, episode 8.

The Better Call Saul season 6 mid-season premiere brings the long-running cat and mouse game between Gus Fring and Lalo Salamanca to a bloody conclusion. Lalo has the upper hand over Gus, but ultimately he is the one who ends up dead and buried beneath Gus's secret meth lab. Ultimately, Lalo's demise comes from a major mistake he made in his approach to fighting Gus -- a mistake that he was well aware of.

Better Call Saul season 6, episode 8, "Point and Shoot," which was the first to air following a six-week break, picks up immediately after the mid-season finale's devastating cliffhanger ending. Having killed Howard, Lalo orders Jimmy to kill Gus at his compound. Ultimately, Kim ends up going instead and is quickly caught by Mike and his security team. But sending Kim is just a feint designed to pull away Mike's team and allow Lalo easy access to Gus's secret meth superlab, where he unexpectedly encounters Gus and his bodyguards.

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Lalo easily takes out the guards and could easily kill Gus immediately, but he makes a crucial mistake: he underestimates Gus. Earlier in the episode, he downplays Gus's threat to Kim and Jimmy, describing him as a "housecat" and suggesting that even a lawyer could take him out. While this may have just been part of his attempt to persuade Jimmy to carry out an uncharacteristically violent act, the way Lalo acts around Gus shows that he does indeed view Gus as not a physical threat in the dark underworld of Better Call Saul. In Lalo's mind, it seems clear that Gus is only a problem because of the men he has around him, like the still-mysterious Mike Ehrmantraut, and on his own, he's just a pencil-pusher.

Ultimately, it's Lalo's underestimation of Gus in Better Call Saul that proves to be his undoing. Instead of immediately shooting Gus in the head, Lalo instead takes his time, recording a tour of the lab and taunting his rival. Lalo is lax with keeping his gun trained on Gus and acts as if he has all the time in the world to kill him. But Gus has planned for this contingency, leaving a concealed gun in the lab, and after switching off the lights, he's able to shoot a startled Lalo. Gus may not be a sharpshooter, but his awareness of his surroundings and Lalo's overconfidence allow him to be the last man standing.

Lalo actually warns Saul about underestimating Gus, saying "Don't be fooled, even a house cat can scratch." Perhaps his dramatic escape from assassins, with the help of a terrifying body double scheme, gave Lalo a feeling of invincibility. Lalo may have come to see himself as the same larger-than-life force of chaos others saw him as, leading to fatal overconfidence. Gus's mild demeanor may also be an intentional tactic to lead people to underestimate him. Tony Dalton and Giancarlo Esposito's performances perfectly capture the differences between the two men, with Lalo doing everything to intimidate the people he talks to, and Gus doing everything to lead them to underestimate him. Lalo's death is ironic because he was well aware of the dangers Gus posed precisely because of his innocuous demeanor.

Lalo seems to realize the mistake he's made in his last moments. This is why Lalo laughs even as he's bleeding out on the floor of the superlab. The final cruel joke of Lalo's death in Better Call Saul is that he fell prey to the same underestimation he warned Saul about, which turned out to be a huge mistake.

NEXT: Why Better Call Saul Keeps Killing Characters So Early In Season 6

Better Call Saul airs Monday nights on AMC.

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