One of the most memorable monologues in Breaking Bad history is Mike Ehrmantraut's "half measures speech" from Season 3. The fixer told Walter White a story about when he used to be a cop and threatened to kill an abusive husband, but ultimately allowed him to live — and then two weeks later the man killed his wife. "The moral of the story is: I chose a half measure, when I should have gone all the way. I'll never make that mistake again. No more half measures, Walter." The slightly younger Mike we met in Vince Gilligan's Breaking Bad prequel/spinoff Better Call Saul didn't yet live by that same philosophy… until now.
Last week, Mike's "half measure" against the Salamanca operation — stealing $250,000 from one of their trucks but not killing the driver — led directly to the death of an unsuspecting good Samaritan. Now, determined to stop any more innocent people from dying (or being threatened like his granddaughter, Kaylee), Mike finally went "full measure" in the BCS Season 2 finale and tried to kill Hector Salamanca himself.
Of course, this being a television drama, not everything went exactly according to plan. Although Mike was meticulous in his preparation, following Nacho out to Hector's cabin in the middle of the desert, buying a sniper rifle from one of his shady contacts, and setting up far enough away that he could make a clean exit — his biggest fear surrounding Nacho's plan to take out Tuco, remember — somehow things still managed to go wrong.
When Hector exited the camera to watch his goons take out the driver who lost him a quarter of a million dollars, Nacho somehow managed to stand between Mike and his target the entire time, never allowing the would-be assassin a clean shot. Then things got even more strange. Hearing a persistent honking in the background, Mike went back to find that someone had found his car, wedged a branch against the horn, and left a note on the windshield. It just said one word: Don't
So who was the mysterious interloper, and why did they want to stop Mike from killing Hector? Could it have been Nacho, whose inconvenient positioning during Mike's attempted hit was perhaps more purposeful than it seemed? Probably not, since he went into the cabin afterwards and so couldn't have set off Mike's horn. Could it have been an anonymous, yet-to-be introduced character who will be a major player in Season 3? Possibly, although that would sort of be an anticlimactic revelation if we'd never met them before.
Or could it have been charismatic Breaking Bad villain Gus Fring? Viewers have been wondering if or when the fan-favorite character would make an appearance on the spinoff, and the Season 2 episode titles seemed to give the answer, forming an anagram that spelled "FRINGS BACK." However, the Pollos Hermanos proprietor didn't actually make an appearance in the Season 2 finale as expected… or did he? Even though we didn't see him in the flesh, could he have been the person who left the note for Mike? It seems very possible.
If Gus was the mysterious someone who interrupted Hector's assassination, then there's a very good chance he could become a recurring presence on the show next year. After all, sometime before Better Call Saul ends, Mike has to find himself employed by Gustavo Fring, since the first time we met him in BB, he was working as an enforcer for the drug lord. So it's only a matter of time before the two characters cross paths — and it seems like we just saw Better Call Saul plant the seeds of Gus and Mike's eventual relationship.
Images: Ursula Coyota (2), Gregory Peters/AMC