‘Better Call Saul’: Lalo, Season 6, Episode 8 — Tony Dalton Interview

Warning: This post contains spoilers from Monday’s Better Call Saul.

The end of Better Call Saul is fast approaching… and the end is already here for one of its major characters.

Lalo Salamanca, the terrifying cartel gangster played by Tony Dalton, hatched a clever plan in Monday’s midseason premiere, using Jimmy and Kim as a diversion to distract Gus and his men so he could sneak inside Gus’ secret meth lab. (Read our full recap here.) He even got Gus himself at gunpoint as he recorded video evidence of the lab for cartel boss Don Eladio. But Lalo overplayed his hand, and Gus managed to trigger a blackout and grab a gun in the darkness, fatally shooting Lalo. And just like that, one of the greatest villains in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul history is no more.

We here at TVLine were sorry to see Lalo go, so we reached out to Dalton — who’s played Lalo since Season 4 — to get inside intel on how Lalo’s demise went down behind the scenes. Read on to get Dalton’s first reaction to reading the script… and his own interpretation of Lalo’s final smile and laugh.

TVLINE | When did the producers let you know how things would end for Lalo?
Well, Vince [Gilligan] and Peter [Gould] called me before we started filming [Season 6], during the pandemic. And you know, you get the death call. [Laughs] And they said, “[Episode 8], you’re out.” But they go, “Don’t worry about it, man. You’re gonna take a whole bunch of guys with you.” So I was like, “Alright, that sounds good.”

TVLINE | But did you kind of know all along that Lalo wouldn’t survive to the end of the series?
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I figured. If you create a villain, you want to tear him down. That’s the whole point of it. You want to make sure that the bad guy gets his day in court, if you will. I figured as long as he gets a worthy death. I’m good. Honestly, since the show’s over anyway, I prefer dying. It’s like full circle.

Better Call Saul Season 6 Episode 8 GusTVLINE | Lalo always seemed to be one step ahead of everyone else, and he had the upper hand on Gus at the Superlab. But then he gave him the chance to turn the tables on him. Did he get too overconfident in those final moments?
Yeah, I think his ego got the better of him. You remember that movie The Good, The Bad and The Ugly? “If you’re going to talk, talk. If you’re gonna shoot, shoot.” He already has a gun to his face, he already killed all their bodyguards… Just shoot him in the face! But he basks in the glory and the ego, and Gus kills him.

TVLINE | How did you feel about that when you first read the script? Were you surprised at how Lalo went out?
You know, funnily enough, I normally would not care. Because you know, this is not real. But when I read that, we were shooting the episode before, which was with [Thomas] Schnauz, and we were at some rest stop on the highway when I’m doing the shower scene. And I got the episode, and it was a night shoot, it was like two in the morning, and I got a little chair, and we were right next to the rest stop under a light. I just sat down there and read it, and it was kind of cathartic, to be honest. Also, the writing of these guys, especially Gordon [Smith]… These guys are so brilliant. It’s just like butter, you know? And it got to me. It was like, “Wow. This is it. This is how this guy dies.” For me, it was important.

TVLINE | As Lalo is dying, he kind of smiles and laughs right before he takes his final breath. What did you make of that? Was that just Lalo being Lalo?
I think it’s kind of “I’ll see you in hell. You got the better of me because the lights were off, and nine times out of 10, I would’ve shot you. But you got lucky.” It’s like, “I can’t believe you shot me in the dark in the neck!”

TVLINE | Tell us about filming that final shootout with Giancarlo Esposito, because it looked like chaos to the viewer.
That day, I guess it’s because everybody knows that somebody’s dying, which happened also with Patrick [Fabian, who plays Howard], the whole crew, everybody’s very somber, very professional, very quiet. It was kind of surreal. We did a whole bunch of takes of the smile scene with the blood and Giancarlo sort of hovering over me looking at me dying. But I don’t know, man. It was kinda weird. It was also just like, you know, you’re done. You’ve gotta go look for a job. [Laughs] Like, “I’m unemployed!” But it was very special to me. Also, the fact that Vince directed it and Gordon [wrote it]… Gordon created Lalo. He gave him birth and gave him death, you know?

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