Most people spend their lives avoiding confrontation at all costs. Then there are those that thrive on it. Those that are pushed to their limits and resort to it. Those that wouldn’t have it any other way.
In the world of Better Call Saul if you’re not already comfortable with confrontation, you’ll get there quickly because you’ll have to. Whether they’re fighting for respect, their livelihood, or even their lives, no one is safe from the inevitable standoff. The top 10 craziest standoffs from the past five seasons bring back familiar faces and first meetings, and remind us of steps too far as well as pose burning questions for what’s ahead.
Jimmy vs. Tuco
By way of two skateboarders and a lot of bad luck, Jimmy finds himself out in the middle of the desert with Tuco. Jimmy met the two skateboarders when they tried to con him. When he has them try that same con on his client, it does not go as planned. They end up in the living room of Tuco’s abuela, trying to rob her.
Tuco finds them there and takes them out to the desert where it’s likely he plans to kill them. But Jimmy speaks up, using his lawyerly ways to try and convince Tuco to find a punishment that fits the crime. After talking him down from blinding them and cutting out their tongues, Jimmy successfully gets Tuco to agree to breaking one of their legs. Since they’re skateboarders, Jimmy argues, this will really hit them where it hurts. And boy does it sound like it hurts.
Chuck vs. Jimmy
Who would win in a standoff between a gifted lawyer and an incredible con man? We’re about to find out.
Chuck and Jimmy’s issues with each other have gone on for years until they finally reach the tipping point. That point comes when there’s a mistake made in Mesa Verde’s paperwork and Chuck is adamant that Jimmy put it there to sabotage him. The issue leads Chuck and Jimmy to court, where HHM is prepared to outline how this apparent mistake is really wrongdoing by Jimmy and should threaten the younger McGill’s law license. Except, Chuck insists on testifying, wanting to twist the knife into his little brother who had the nerve to con him.
When Chuck is up on the stand, Jimmy is given the opportunity to cross-examine. He uses this opportunity to reveal that there’s been a phone battery in his pocket the entire time. What’s a phone battery got to do with breaking the law? Well, Chuck had been claiming a severe, life-threatening allergy to anything with electricity for years. While odd, Chuck’s reputation preceded him, and people simply took his word that this allergy was real. But now, in front of a courtroom of people, including his respected peers, the validity of Chuck’s disease is put into question. This immediately sends Chuck into defense mode and he goes on attack, spiraling out of control in front of everyone.
The incredible con man wins, at least for this round.
Mike vs. Gus
Someone has been tracking Mike and he knows it. So he swaps out the tracker on his car for one that he bought himself. The mysterious men come by to take the tracker from his car and retrieve the one Mike has access to. When Mike follows the tracker he discovers it in the middle of an empty road with a cell phone sitting on top. On the other line is a voice he’s never heard, offering not to pull his gun if Mike won’t pull his. Mike agrees, but he’s smart enough to know that not everyone keeps their promises.
Out in the middle of the empty road, Mike and Gus meet for the first time. Gus wants Mike to lay off of trying to kill Hector and Mike wants Gus to stop following him. As two men known for fighting smarter not harder, this is a stand-off that is as much about what is not said as it is about what is said.
The Cousins vs. Rival Competitors
It’s barely Nacho’s first day on the job with Gus and he’s already being thrown into the fire. Gus’s men take Nacho out into the desert, they shoot up his car. Then they shoot him in the stomach because the only way to look like you’ve left someone for dead is to actually leave them for dead.
Nacho calls Hector and says he was robbed and left for dead by a rival competitor. As Gus had predicted, Hector wants revenge on the rival that he thinks stole his money and tried to take out one of his top guys. Hector calls in reinforcements: The Cousins.
First they pick up Nacho, who is still on the verge of death, and then they stop at a broken-down junkyard, the headquarters of that rival group. In their sleek silver suits, The Cousins stroll up to the fenced in yard where they are met by a man. All it takes is a knife to his neck and they’re in. Nacho watches on in panic knowing that this is all an orchestrated plan that he’s helped to execute. But once The Cousins start, they can’t really be stopped:
Gus vs. Hector
After the incident that lands Hector in the hospital, the one that also got Nacho too deep in the game, Gus takes it upon himself to bring in a specialized doctor to oversee Hector’s care. He makes it his mission to ensure that Hector has the best chances of surviving and recovering. What is a man that wants another man dead doing saving his life? Good question.
Hector and Gus’s stand off may be the longest standing one in the Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad universe and that’s because Gus didn’t just want Hector dead, he wanted him to suffer. And he wanted his entire legacy destroyed along with him. Putting a bullet in his head wouldn’t achieve all that, otherwise Gus would’ve pulled the trigger long ago.
As Hector lies in his hospital bed in a coma, Gus pays him a visit, even sharing a story from his childhood. The story gives a glimpse behind the infamous drug lord’s restraint and reveals just how terrifying he is capable of being. We all know who wins this stand off in the end, but this moment is a testament to how much work Gus put into taking that crown:
Jimmy vs. the Punks
When Jimmy lost his law license, and his brother, it was the lowest we’d ever seen him. When he started to crawl back up out of the hole he dug for himself, things got interesting. Without a way to make money, Jimmy starts selling burner phones. He goes to the wrong side of town and sells them right out of his trunk. As a new face in a not-so-friendly territory, Jimmy immediately gets attention from a few local punks.
When Jimmy is done selling his phones for the night and there isn’t anyone else around, the three punks mug him. In a moment that might be one of our first hints of Saul Goodman, Jimmy forms a plan that will get him revenge and ensure the punks don’t f*** with him again.
Late one night, Jimmy antagonizes the punks into chasing after him. It’s a trap that soon leads them to be hanging upside down in a sea of piñatas. Huell and Jimmy start swinging. “It is so dark,” says Melissa Bernstein in this behind-the-scenes video where the cast and creators break down the epic scene:
Nacho vs. Lalo
With Hector in the hospital and Tuco in jail, Nacho ends up in charge by default. He’s getting comfortable in his new seat behind Domingo — the new Nacho who now counts the money as the dealers come in one by one. Except one day Nacho shows up to the restaurant and is met by a silent Domingo with a stone cold stare. He gives an ever-so-slight nod toward the kitchen in the back where music is blaring and food is being cooked.
In the kitchen Nacho finds a man cooking and singing like he’s in the comfort of his own home. It’s Lalo Salamanca. The two men assess each other in their own way. Nacho silently watches Lalo waiting for answers, while Lalo pushes Nacho’s buttons by offering him food to eat. Despite Lalo’s smile, there’s a heavy tension between them that we know is only the beginning for these two:
Jimmy and Mike vs. The Man in the Desert
For his first cartel job, Jimmy must go to the desert and pick up $7 million dollars from The Cousins. It sounds easy, until you throw in the fact that an army of men with loaded guns will come after him as soon as he’s retrieved it. Lucky for Jimmy, Mike is watching because it matters to Mike and Gus that Lalo makes it out of jail. When the men prepare to kill Jimmy, Mike single-handedly takes them out with his sniper rifle. All except one.
Their only way out is on foot since Jimmy’s car was also a casualty of the deadly shootout. In the sweltering heat, Mike and Jimmy trudge through the desert dragging the $7 million dollars and trying to avoid the last remaining man that wants them dead.
In one last ditch effort to make it out alive, Jimmy runs into the road to serve as a human target for their enemy. It works. The man comes ripping down the road after Jimmy. Mike wipes his brow, takes a breath and aims for the driver.
Kim vs. Lalo
Jimmy tells Lalo that the reason he was late with his bail money is because his car died in the desert while he was on his way back home. Lalo buys it, until he himself is driving through the desert on the way to Mexico and doesn’t see a single broken down car. When he decides to investigate, he finds Jimmy’s car has been driven off a cliff and there are gun holes in it. Next stop: Jimmy and Kim’s apartment.
Jimmy and Kim are at home, where they’ve been trying to return to normal since Jimmy’s first cartel job, and near-death experience. When Lalo arrives he waltzes in like he’s been there a million times. He takes a seat on the couch and asks Jimmy to tell him exactly what happened. But one time isn’t enough. Lalo listens to Jimmy fumble through the story over and over and over again. Until, Kim makes him stop.
This isn’t the first time Kim’s meeting Lalo. That first time didn’t go as well as Kim would have liked and she definitely makes up for it during this second meeting when she shuts Lalo down and saves Jimmy’s ass.
Lalo vs. the Men Hired to Kill Him
Gus puts out a hit on Lalo. And while it wasn’t part of the plan, Nacho is going down to Mexico with Lalo, which secures the plan even further. If there’s anyone who wants Lalo dead more than Gus, it’s Nacho because it’s the only way he has a chance of getting out of the cartel. All he has to do is open the gate to Lalo’s hacienda and he’s out.
“The one thing that Nacho’s not counting on, Gus isn’t counting on, and even Mike’s not counting on is that Lalo is tricky, he’s lucky, he’s smart and he’s able to triumph against incredible odds,” Peter Gould points out in this video that goes behind-the-scenes of the Season 5 finale.
With the help of a sly mind and hidden tunnel under his bathtub, Lalo takes out his killers one by one. He finds one still breathing out on the lawn. The man tells Lalo he doesn’t know who hired him, that there’s a middle man. Lalo tells him he already knows who it is and finishes him off.
As Lalo walks away from his home, stepping over his family members killed in the shootout, we’re left to wonder: What is he going to do next?Read More