The Gun in Better Call Saul Season 6, Episode 5

Gus Fring’s secret gun could have major ramifications for Better Call Saul’s Lalo feud. Ever since Tony Dalton first arrived as Lalo Salamanca in season 4, Better Call Saul has been a cat-and-cat chase between he and Giancarlo Esposito’s Gus Fring – two wily criminals accustomed to getting their way. Gus harbors ambitions to muscle out the Salamancas, while Lalo has been drafted in to protect his family’s interests. Neither has managed to deliver a definitive blow, but Gus Fring came closest with the failed assassination attempt in Better Call Saul season 5. The world believes Lalo died that day but Gus knows otherwise, and is now living in fear of a mustachioed shadow. Looking over his shoulder becomes too much for Gus in Better Call Saul season 6’s “Black & Blue.” Awaiting Lalo Salamanca’s inevitable retaliation has pushed Fring into a bath-scrubbing, customer-serving (did that guy ever get his coleslaw?) frenzy so, alongside Mike Ehrmantraut and a team of bodyguards, Gus pays a visit to his half-built superlab from Better Call Saul season 4. Mike assures Gus the site’s tunnel is inaccessible due to compacted dirt and cement, then offers to post more guards outside. Rather than responding, Gus surveys the excavation site alone. He examines the layout, the various pieces of equipment lying around, then subtly secretes the gun from his ankle holster inside a parked digger.

Mike seems to assume Gus is afraid Lalo Salamanca will discover the superlab, and this little field trip is just the Chicken Man reassuring himself that the site is properly protected. Gus Fring planting the gun confirms something much more sinister is afoot. Gus isn’t worried about Lalo finding the superlab, he’s expecting it, and has set the board for a subterranean showdown that’ll finally end their feud for good. Since learning of Lalo’s survival, Gus Fring has expected Lalo Salamanca to turn up at his personal residence – hence the massive security operation. Even in “Black & Blue,” Mike stands in Gus’ house and utters, “Sooner or later, he’s gonna end up right here.” Earlier in the episode, however, Gus Fring experienced a sudden epiphany while asking a Los Pollos Hermanos customer if they’d like to try spice curls. After weeks without a peep, Gus realizes Lalo can’t kill him without upsetting the cartel. The Salamancas’ only option is to find proof of Fring’s betrayal, and nothing screams “betrayal” like a massive underground superlab the cartel knew nothing about. Having been constantly wondering where Lalo would attack from, Gus now knows his nemesis will, sooner or later, visit the superlab. This foresight allows Gus to prepare for battle, giving himself a home-field advantage by planting a hidden pistol.

Gus must now wait for Lalo to uncover the superlab and check the site out for himself. He can then catch Lalo unawares by appearing unarmed, then pulling the planted gun. It’s the classic bathroom stall trick from The Godfather, where the Corleone family assassinate Sollozzo and McCluskey by hiding a gun in a restaurant bathroom before everyone arrives. Had Gus not hidden his firearm on-site, he’d have to bend over, roll up a trouser leg, draw the gun from his ankle holster, stand back up, then shoot – by which time Lalo would’ve turned him into a colander.

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