‘Better Call Saul’: Howard Hamlin’s Fate Was Decided Long Ago

Better Call Saul Season 6 Part I ended with a shocking tragedy for Howard Hamlin. Jimmy and Kim enacted the final step in their plot against Howard and successfully caused him to embarrass himself. However, things turned darker than the pair could have ever anticipated. Howard’s story ended tragically in episode 7, though the writers decided on it long ago.

Patrick Fabian as Howard Hamlin in Better Call Saul Season 6. Howard sits at his desk holding papers and wears a blue suit.
Patrick Fabian as Howard Hamlin in ‘Better Call Saul’ Season 6 | Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Jimmy and Kim executed the final stage of their plan against Howard

Throughout Better Call Saul Season 6, Jimmy and Kim have been slowly enacting their plan to sabotage Howard Hamlin. Their end goal is to quickly settle the Sandpiper case so that Jimmy can receive his portion of the settlement. To do this, the pair sabotage Howard’s reputation.

Their plan came to a head in episode 7. Jimmy and Kim tricked Howard into embarrassing himself at the Sandpiper settlement conference. They caused him to falsely believe Casimiro accepted a bribe and confront him. They also slipped Howard a substance that dilates his pupils, which made him appear even more unstable at the conference.

By the end of the episode, Howard has figured out that Jimmy and Kim are behind everything. He shows up at their apartment to give him a piece of his mind, but unforeseen circumstances occur. Lalo is hiding in the shadows, and he shoots and kills Howard without hesitation.

The ‘Better Call Saul’ Season 6 writers bounced around different ideas for Howard’s sabotage

While speaking with Variety, Better Call Saul Season 6 Episode 7 director Tony Schnauz revealed that the writers bounced around different ideas for how Jimmy and Kim would go after Howard.

“We had probably a dozen different directions with this plot. The one that sticks in my mind the most involved the skateboarder twins from Season 1 Episode 1. We were going to trick Howard that he accidentally ran into one of them with his car, sent him over a railing, and killed him,” Schnauz said.

“But it was gonna be a switch where one twin goes over the side of a rail, but the other twin was already laying down at the bottom, all bloody and twisted. We had all these other crazy plots, but we ultimately needed to figure out how Howard could embarrass himself during mediation and do enough damage that it made more sense to settle the Sandpiper suit than to renegotiate.”

‘Better Call Saul’ writers decided on Howard’s death long ago

Although the concrete details of the scam were toyed around with, Howard’s eventual death was decided a while ago. “We wrote these episodes two years ago, so I can’t pinpoint exactly when, but at some point, it just felt like something horrible had to happen as a result of the scam,” Schnauz told Variety.

 “It couldn’t just go perfectly for Jimmy and Kim. Maybe they’re going to be found out or somebody’s going to see or the police are going to find out … and the more we thought about the two worlds colliding, we knew that Lalo doing something very bad to Howard Hamlin just felt almost inevitable.”

The Breaking Bad prequel details Jimmy McGill’s slow transformation into sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman. Fans have been seeing more and more of the Saul personality in season 6. However, Howard’s death no doubt had a huge impact on the person Jimmy becomes.

Better Call Saul Season 6 returns with new episodes on July 11, 2022.

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