The finale of Better Call Saul season 5, entitled “Something Unforgivable”, features a scene between Ignacio “Nacho” Varga (Michael Mando) and Don Eladio Vuente (Steven Bauer) which foreshadows the Cartel boss’s death in Breaking Bad. During “Something Unforgivable,” Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton) has Nacho drive him south of the Mexican border to his hacienda located in a remote area of Chihuahua, Mexico. Visiting Eladio at his residence, Lalo presents the Don with a gift, a red Ferrari along with a box of cash.
After buttering up Eladio with his elaborate presents, Lalo then introduces Nacho, referring to him as their a“new man up north” who took over for Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis) after he suffered from a stroke. As Eladio notes that Nacho isn’t a Salamanca, Lalo then states that Nacho is a friend of the deranged cousin Tuco Salamanca (Raymond Cruz), which instantly breaks the ice. Eladio warms to Nacho and instigates an informal business conversation with him over drinks.
With Nacho’s proposal, Eladio perceives Nacho to be a solid businessman and asks him what he wants. “Respect,” says Nacho. “I want to make my own decisions. Go my own way. I don’t want anyone to even think of playing me.” Don Eladio seems pleased with Nacho and pours him another glass of tequila, concluding their first meeting with the toast “Salud.” This scene from Better Call Saul is very reminiscent of the infamous Breaking Bad scene when Don Eladio is poisoned by Gus within the episode “Salud” from season 4.
Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), and Gus travel down to Mexico to teach the cartel’s chief chemist the formula for producing the pure blue meth. Similar to Lalo, Fring presents Eladio with a gift at his hacienda: a bottle of the upscale tequila Zafiro Añejo, which is the same tequila Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) and Kim (Rhea Seehorn) drank when they conned Ken Wins in season 3 of Better Call Saul. Eladio shares the tequila, which has been poisoned by Fring, with his party of capos and toasts, “Salud,” which ironically means “to your health” in Spanish. As Gus vomits up his tequila in the bathroom, Eladio’s entire party collapses and Gus returns just in time for Eladio to realize Fring’s betrayal before dropping dead into the pool himself.
Working on multiple levels, the similarities between the two scenes not only foreshadows Don Eladio’s death in Breaking Bad, but also highlights Nacho’s forthcoming betrayal to Lalo. Ever since Fring discovered that Nacho caused Hector Salamanca’s stroke by switching out his medication, Gus has been blackmailing Nacho into working for him as a mole within the Salamanca drug empire. Serving as their “man on the inside,” Nacho is aware when he’s toasting with Eladio that Lalo is going to be assassinated at his residence under Fring’s orders that evening. Just as Gus toasts with Eladio within the Breaking Bad episode “Salud” knowing full well that the tequila is poisoned, Nacho clinks glasses with Eladio on the day of Lalo’s planned assassination within the Better Call Saul episode “Something Unforgivable.”
Possibly the most compelling aspect about the similar scene within Better Call Saul is the smug expression on Eladio’s face as he listens to Nacho describe what he wants. Eladio seems to consider that the respect, freedom, and intimidation that Nacho craves is something Eladio already has, which is made all the more satisfying included within a scene that foreshadows Eladio’s death at the hands of someone who “played” him.