In an interview with Vanity Fair, the episode’s writer-director Tom Schnauz explained why they made the decision to kill Howard. Schnauz said: “It just felt like something terrible was bound to happen as a result of the cheating. Things just couldn’t go perfectly for Jimmy and Kim. Maybe they’ll be found out, or someone will see, or the police will find out… and the more we thought about the two worlds colliding, the more we knew it felt almost inevitable that something very bad would happen to Lalo Howard Hamlin would do.
Since this was Jimmy and Kim’s biggest scam to date, it makes perfect sense that they should face moral consequences. With Howard’s death, the two must reckon with the fact that Howard would not have died if they hadn’t gone through with their plan. Also, according to Patrick Fabian, Howard’s death itself plays a role in how the rest of the season unfolds.
Explaining the call he received when he found out about his character’s death, Fabian told Vanity Fair: “[The showrunners] said: “Look, we’ve found a hinge that’s swinging open for the rest of the season. It tells a lot and it involves you. But that means you’re not going to continue with the second part of the season.'”