Better Call Saul season 5 is perfectly positioned to pay off Breaking Bad‘s Lalo line. Bob Odenkirk’s Saul Goodman made an immediate impression on Breaking Bad viewers, becoming the de facto third lead alongside Bryan Cranston’s Walter White and Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman. Part of what made Saul such a compelling character was his playing an integral role in the criminal world while always feeling like a fish out of water alongside more hardened criminals. This dynamic is established early on when Walt and Jesse kidnap Saul and the lawyer yells out, “it wasn’t me, it was Ignacio!” Before also questioning, “Lalo didn’t send you?”
Breaking Bad never delves into what kind of trouble Saul and Ignacio were in with Lalo, but fans hoped those questions would be on the agenda after the Better Call Saul spinoff was announced, and that wish is finally set to come true. Saul’s spinoff already introduced Ignacio (the real name of Michael Mando’s Nacho) and season 4 saw the long-awaited introduction of Lalo himself, played by Tony Dalton. Despite the intimidating cartel enforcer’s arrival, the audience is yet to see exactly how Saul might come to attract the ire of Lalo, and what the lawyer and Nacho might pull to warrant being abducted by the cartel.
Those answers are likely to arrive in Better Call Saul‘s upcoming fifth season, with all the necessary pieces now finally settled in place. For the first time, Jimmy McGill is openly operating as Saul Goodman, the criminal lawyer, helping wrongdoers off the legal hook. Better Call Saul‘s season 5 trailer even showed Jimmy riding nervously with some shady-looking thugs, hinting towards an association with the cartel. This would explain why Saul argues he’s always been a friend to the gang when he thinks they’ve captured him in Breaking Bad.
As for ticking off Lalo, Better Call Saul‘s season 4 finale ended with Mike Ehrmantraut and Lalo on a direct collision course. Mike is neck-deep in helping Gus Fring tighten his grip on the New Mexico drug business, but the Salamanca family are looking to strike back by sending in Lalo to quell the usurper. The final moments of “Winner” reveal that Lalo is finally onto Gus and Mike’s plan to build a giant meth lab, and season 5 will likely see the two sides go head-to-head for territorial dominance. Mike, of course, is a long-time associate of Jimmy’s; probably even more so now that he’s more accepting to dirty money. Mike has done a few favors for Jimmy in the past and might look to call one in to help deal with Lalo, so the most pressing questions are how will Mike decide to act, and what role will Jimmy play in that?
Jimmy believing that Lalo might’ve “sent” Walt and Jesse proves that the scheme won’t be a simple assassination, and Saul’s not the type of guy to recruit for that job anyway. Perhaps Mike will ask Saul to help implicate Lalo in a crime in order to have him incarcerated. This would certainly anger the Salamanca contingent, and would account for why Saul expects Lalo to send people, rather than kidnap him personally. Then there’s Nacho’s future role in proceedings. If Saul tries to slide the blame onto Ignacio, whatever they did to Lalo couldn’t have been done directly, otherwise they’d recognize his face, so did Saul merely grease the wheels for Nacho to swing in and do the dirty work?
However the Lalo story plays out, it’s highly likely that all will be revealed this season, with confirmation that season 5 will be Better Call Saul‘s penultimate run and Tony Dalton will be upgraded to a season regular. These developments also signify how close the spinoff has moved towards the Breaking Bad era, with issues from one series now directly bleeding over into the next.