You know what they say: never send a Nacho to do a Mike’s job.
Following the events of Better Call Saul season 5 episode 5, criminal overlord Gus Fring and fixer Mike Ehrmantraut seem to have come to an understanding. While Mike has been in the employ of Gus for over a season now, the two haven’t yet had the direct relationship that they enjoyed in Breaking Bad. That all changes this week when Mike takes on a more active role in protecting Gus’s business interests.
Lalo Salamanca has been a thorn in Gus’s side since the end of season 4. Installed by the Salamanca clan to keep things moving while Don Hector recovers, Lalo immediately (and correctly) surmised that Gus was up to no good. Lalo tracked the creation of Gus’s super lab and even got close to learning about everything from German engineer Werner Ziegler before Mike had to tragically kill him.
Lalo’s efforts to take down Gus continue apace in season 5, with Lalo establishing Krazy-8 as a snitch inside the DEA’s office so that only Gus’s guys will be getting pinched for drug dealing for the foreseeable future. Gus has to do something to stem the bleeding from Lalo’s efforts and fast. Thankfully, Mike has a plan…just like Mike always seems to have.
There may not be a more brilliant problem-solver in the Breaking Bad universe than Mike Ehrmantraut. He takes his job as a “fixer” very seriously. Now that it’s Lalo’s turn to be “fixed,” Mike seemingly takes care of the deed in the span of one episode. Here is how he did that, along with some helpful reminders from the past.
Just as Lalo deploys Krazy-8 as a snitch to great effect, Mike decides to get local law enforcement involved as well. Thanks to Nacho’s reports (and his own firsthand experience), Mike knows that Lalo drives a customized gray 1970 Monte Carlo, which is obviously a very distinctive car. First Mike poses as a private investigator and goes to visit a librarian who unwittingly encountered Lalo at the Travelwire agency right after he commited a murder. Recall that in the finale of season 4, Mike paid Travelwire a visit to track down Werner. And then after he left, Lalo paid it a visit as well and tragically murdered the employee only trying to help.
Mike helps jog the witness’s memory that she saw a distinctive ‘70 Monte Carlo drive away from the scene. He then requests that she call the Albuquerque Police Department to report this extra bit of info since he, a humble P.I., doesn’t need the credit.
Then Mike visits the ABQPD himself to drop off a police report of his own. Mike intimidates a worker in the coffee room to make sure that an errant police report makes it onto his superior’s desk. That report contains information (conveniently from an officer with an illegible signature) about a hit and run involving a ‘70 Monte Carlo just blocks away from Travelwire on the day of the murder. Let’s flash back to the season 4 finale one more time for that hit and run was due to another one of Mike’s brilliant schemes.
When Mike realized that Lalo was following him, he pulled into a parking lot with a toll gate covering it. Mike allowed Lalo to follow him in and then when another car was about to get out, Mike quickly pulled out in front of that car to check out at the gate. Lalo was unable to catch up and was stuck one car behind Mike. Mike then chewed up a piece of gum, folding it into the original wrapper and then slotted it into the ticket read machine, quite literally gumming up the works. The man behind Mike is obviously unable to use the machine and Lalo in his impatience, rams his car and drives off to catch up with Mike.
Now that moment of frustration for Lalo ends up being his ultimate undoing. Because after the police identify Lalo as the owner of the hit and run car and eventual Travelwire murderer, Mike uses his Nacho connection to ascertain the location of Lalo in his distinctive car. He then calls in the car over a police scanner. Several of Albuquerque’s finest then ambus Lalo at a stop sign and he is forced to surrender himself into their custody.
The lesson, as always, is that no one can make a plan come together quite like Mike.