Here's why Lalo kills Howard in the Better Call Saul season 6 midseason finale. The final season of AMC's acclaimed drama has followed two distinct storylines so far

the escalating cartel war between Gus Fring and the Salamancas, and Jimmy and Kim's scheme to take down Howard.

Both threads have been ripe for drama and surprises in the season's first half, most notably with Nacho's death in "Rock and Hard Place."

Vince Gilligan and the creative team have taken Better Call Saul down an unpredictable path, with this latest episode, "Plan and Execution," serving as a shocking merging of the two narratives.

Murdering Howard in cold blood was also a play on Lalo's part to demonstrate his power over Jimmy and Kim in this situation.

It was a ruthless way for Lalo to illustrate to Jimmy and Kim he isn't going to take "no" for an answer - unless they want to suffer the same fate.

It's clear whatever Lalo has in mind for Gus, he felt it necessary to enlist Jimmy and Kim as unwilling help. Especially after Nacho's betrayal, there's a very limited number of people Lalo can trust.

Howard's death will hang over the two throughout the rest of Better Call Saul season 6, serving as a painful reminder of what consequences they might face if they don't stay in-line with Lalo.