This publish incorporates spoilers from Higher Name Saul episode 607, “Plan and Execution.”
The Breaking Dangerous Cinematic Universe, as I’ve taken to calling the world the place Walter White’s and Saul Goodman’s character arcs unfold, is all about transformation. Everyone knows in regards to the chemistry trainer who turned a murderous drug lord, and we’re nearly to the tip of the story in regards to the kindhearted con artist who turned the cartel’s legal professional of selection. However alongside the way in which, we’ve encountered any variety of supporting characters with stunning trajectories.
It’s been six seasons and 7 years since Patrick Fabian made his debut in Higher Name Saul as Howard Hamlin, the perpetually pinstriped, über-alpha, vanilla-concentrate regulation companion who has alternately tormented and championed Bob Odenkirk’s Jimmy McGill and Rhea Seehorn’s Kim Wexler. As Fabian himself acknowledges, Howard was “arrange as Lord Vader” in season one, and has behaved heartlessly at occasions, typically out of loyalty to Jimmy’s good however broken older brother, Chuck (Michael McKean). However within the first half of Higher Name Saul’s sixth and closing season, we received our most sympathetic glimpses of Howard but—whilst Jimmy and Kim doubled and tripled down on their grasp plan to destroy him. All of it got here to a head on tonight’s episode, when Howard discovered himself on the unsuitable finish of a silencer wielded by Tony Dalton’s Lalo Salamanca.
On Friday morning, Fabian was operating for espresso in Albuquerque when he dialed in to a far much less eventful convention name than the one which unfolds within the episode. The individual on the opposite finish of the road was…me, with burning questions on Howard Hamlin’s character trajectory, tragic destiny, and bespoke go well with of armor.
Vainness Honest: When and the way did you discover out what was going to occur to Howard?
Patrick Fabian: Vince [Gilligan], Peter [Gould], and Melissa [Bernstein] gave me a name earlier than the season even started. No actor needs to have the triumvirate of your present name you earlier than the season as a result of you realize it’s in all probability not excellent news. They didn’t let me know precisely what was in retailer. They simply let me know that mainly my companies weren’t going to be wanted at this sure level.
At what level did you be taught the main points of how this was going to go down?
Identical to all the things else in Higher Name Saul, it’s unfolded one script at a time. So I didn’t know till I learn seven. Rhea [Seehorn] texted me and mentioned, “Seven’s dropped. Have you ever learn it but?” And I used to be like, “Oh.” I’ve to say, as a lot because it performs out on the display screen, on the web page it additionally may be very abrupt. There’s that bizarre finality the place you go, “Did I simply learn what I learn?” It’s presupposed to linger and have that affect. I guess there’ll be lots of people screaming on the tv.
You’ve performed this character so superbly for six seasons. And I really feel like we’ve seen much more of him and his sympathetic aspect this season, maybe to set us up for this disappointment. However Howard remains to be type of ridiculous, proper? You and the showrunners push that envelope, however you at all times additionally discover a strategy to hold him human. Was that one thing you considered explicitly?
Vince Gilligan got here to me within the very first episode, again in season one—as a result of I’m arrange as Lord Vader. I’m arrange because the heavy. Jimmy says so, proper? I assume I used to be leaning into that, like, I’m the evil company overlord, and Vince leaned right down to me in between takes and mentioned, “Hey, we don’t know if Howard’s good or unhealthy. We don’t know but. However we employed you. And we employed you since you had a decency about you.” And that phrase decency actually caught with me.
Howard could also be powerful to cope with and a little bit of a peacock and a little bit of a prima donna, however in the long run he’s not a cheater and he’s not a liar. He’s in the end respectable. I believe he exhibits that by his extensions of excellent will to Jimmy. Even after he denied him [a job at Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill], he received him a job at Davis and Maine. After which he supplied him a job at HHM in season 5. He helped Kim go to varsity. He helped to repay her debt. He tried to warn her. He actually went out of his strategy to cowl all of the bases of behaving decently with these folks. Till, on the finish of [season] 5, he washes his palms of each Jimmy and Kim.