Better Call Saul: Nacho can’t get out, no matter how hard he tries

Michael Mando as Nacho in Better Call Saul. Photo via AMC.
Michael Mando as Nacho in Better Call Saul. Photo via AMC. /

No matter how hard he tries, it doesn’t seem Nacho will ever get out of the darkness on Better Call Saul.

Better Call Saul focuses on Jimmy’s journey for a good portion of the series. There’s also Mike and how he got caught up with Madrigal, and how Gus turned into the drug kingpin that we learned to love in Breaking Bad.

Nacho, on the other hand, is a character we didn’t meet in Breaking Bad, but he’s become such an integral part of Better Call Saul, I find myself riveted whenever he’s on screen. He’s tried so hard to get out of the gang and the drug lifestyle, going as far as to put Hector Salamanca in the hospital, but it seems as though Nacho will never get out.

In “Breathe,” there was one scene where Nacho’s father counted the money for his son to take back to the Salamancas. His father stood in the light and Nacho was cast in darkness. Even as he spoke and told his father he didn’t have to worry anymore, Nacho was stuck in the shadows.

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It felt like an obvious symbol of the two men. The father is a straight, law-abiding man who lives in the light, while Nacho lives in the darkness, making choices that will tie him to it no matter how hard he tries. Even as Hector seems like a vegetable and Nacho felt he could see the end of the road, Gus figured out what happened and pulled him deeper into the fray.

No matter what Nacho does, he’s never getting out – at least that’s the way it feels.

In a way, he reminds me of Jesse. When Jesse realized he was in too deep and tried to get out, he kept getting sucked in by Walt, by the skinheads, by Gus. His only way out was with death and destruction of everything around him. But we know Gus’s empire doesn’t get burned. It only grows until the fateful day he visits Hector in the hospital and losses half his face in Breaking Bad.

It breaks my heart a little, too, because I am rooting for Nacho, who is now a reluctant player. While his decision to get into the drug cartel was his, he should be allowed to get away. But he knows it wouldn’t be that easy because he will always look over his shoulder, always have that look in his eye of some kind of fear.

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Though Nacho is alive at the beginning of Breaking Bad, we just don’t ever see him. In the second season of the hit show, Saul (who is Jimmy) tries to blame “Ignacio” – which is Nacho – while being held at gunpoint by Walt and Jesse. Granted at the time, Ignacio was nobody, but not anymore.

Having said that, there’s no way it ends well for him on Better Call Saul.

Tune into Better Call Saul Mondays at 9/8c on AMC.