Could Mike motivate Gus to save Nacho in Better Call Saul season 6? While most prequels struggle to even come close to their predecessors, Better Call Saul is widely considered to have reached the level of its esteemed parent series, Breaking Bad, ahead of the spin-off’s final season. Focusing on Bob Odenkirk’s Saul Goodman and Jonathan Banks’ Mike Ehrmantraut, Better Call Saul has given unexpected, fascinating context behind the events of Breaking Bad, while still spinning a compelling narrative entirely of its own. Of course, Better Call Saul is destined to one day connect to Walter White’s tale, and the two shows have gradually merged with each passing season.
Perhaps the trickiest elements Better Call Saul must reconcile with Breaking Bad are the fates of characters who feel so vital in the prequel, yet don’t feature at all in Breaking Bad. One of these is obviously Kim Wexler, but the other big name is Nacho Varga. Played by Michael Mando, Nacho is referenced once in an off-hand line during Breaking Bad‘s second season, physically debuting in Better Call Saul as a small-time member of the Salamanca gang, quickly forging a bond with Mike.
Through poor luck and circumstance, Nacho regularly finds himself in sticky situations, only able to survive thanks to his instinctive wits and level-headed attitude. But with Nacho entirely absent from Breaking Bad, it’s only natural that fans would expect the character to die in Better Call Saul‘s final season. Nacho’s fate is certainly far from rosy, but it’s possible he could be spared a shallow desert grave in Better Call Saul season 6. Here’s how and why Mike might be able to convince Gus to save Nacho’s life.
Lalo Wants To Kill Nacho In Better Call Saul Season 6 (Because Of Gus)
Nacho found himself in a real predicament at the end of Better Call Saul‘s fifth season. Desperate to keep his honest, civilian father out of cartel affairs, Nacho conspired to kill his boss, Hector Salamanca. Though Hector lives, he’s now wheelchair bound and only able to communicate via a strategically-placed bell. The Salamancas’ main rival, Giancarlo Esposito’s Gus Fring, has been using his knowledge of the assassination attempt as leverage over Nacho, planting him as a mole within the enemy camp. The final stage of Gus’ plan to bring down the Salamanca family was to have Nacho let a team of Gus-hired assassins into the Salamanca compound, but unfortunately for the reluctant accomplice, the mission went awry. Lalo Salamanca survived and a telling look towards a whisky glass lets the audience know that Lalo is well aware of who betrayed him.
Lalo Salamanca is not an especially well-tempered man, nor is he the type to forgive someone for trying to have him killed. Nacho spent Better Call Saul season 5 masquerading as Lalo’s trusted lieutenant, but now his conspiracy with Gus has been revealed, Lalo is almost certain to be on the warpath in season 6. Both Gus, the mastermind, and Nacho, the inside man, will be on Lalo’s hit-list when Better Call Saul returns, and no doubt Lalo will be happy to involve Nacho’s beloved father should he deem such methods necessary. Of course, Nacho’s woes are all Gus’ fault. Nacho successfully put Hector Salamanca out of the picture to protect his father, and as long as Lalo didn’t do the same, Nacho surely would’ve been more than happy to work for his new boss. Gus’ blackmail has forced Nacho to make an enemy out of someone he might’ve otherwise been loyal to.
Why Nacho Should Survive Better Call Saul Season 6
It remains to be seen as to whether Nacho will survive Better Call Saul, but there’s a strong argument to say that he should. Nacho is essentially the Jesse Pinkman of Better Call Saul – a young, low-level criminal who gets into the drug business, discovers they’re quite good at it, and gets way in over their head. Nacho lacks the murderous ambition of a Walter White or Gus Fring, and hasn’t yet abandoned the moral principles that his colleagues seem to lack. Not a fan of using violence or involving innocents, Nacho is about as redeemable as characters come in the narcotics trade of Breaking Bad. In El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, Jesse’s morality was rewarded with a second chance – a new life in a different part of the country where he can go straight. While the likes of Saul, Mike and perhaps even Kim are now deeply entrenched in the mud of criminality, Nacho deserves a chance to go clean.
Nacho’s survival would also fit with Breaking Bad‘s sole nod to the character. Mistaking Walt and Jesse for Lalo Salamanca’s goons, Saul Goodman pleads “it wasn’t me, it was Ignacio,” using Nacho’s full name. While it’s possible that Saul is trying to shift the blame onto someone he knows Lalo has already killed in this scene, it seems strange that Saul would try and save his own skin by sending the thugs towards a corpse. This fabled Breaking Bad line suggests that “Ignacio” is still alive, so to kill him in Better Call Saul‘s final season would risk muddling franchise continuity.
How Gus Can Save Nacho In Better Call Saul Season 6
The tricky, combative relationship between Gus Fring and Nacho Varga is simplified after the events of Better Call Saul‘s season 5 finale. Nacho’s cover is blown, meaning Gus has lost both his mole and whatever plausible deniability he previously had with the cartel. Lalo will have both in the cross hairs, so either Gus or Nacho will need to take the Salamanca boss down, but both men are at a disadvantage. Nacho is on his own and on the run, while Gus mistakenly believes that the assassination mission was a resounding success, giving Lalo a temporary upper hand. Once Gus realizes Lalo still walks, it’ll be a race against time to see who kills who first, but the fact that Gus is a major figure in Breaking Bad strongly suggests he’ll be the one to come out on top.
Gus’ plan to kill Lalo will likely involve Juan Bolsa, who seems to want Lalo gone for reasons of his own. Gus and Bolsa could team-up against Lalo, and Nacho would benefit as a result. Furthermore, Lalo showed weakness when he approached Jimmy and Kim in season 5. Paranoid and angry, Lalo let his usual calm, intimidating persona slip, and it’s possible that after being riled up by Gus’ assassination attempt and Nacho’s betrayal, Lalo will make more mistakes in Better Call Saul season 6. While Gus and Nacho will both want the Lalo dead, a conflict could arise after their common foe is dealt with. Gus is the type to “tie up” any remaining loose ends, regardless of the cost. As his inside man against Lalo, Nacho is the very definition of a loose end, directly linking Gus to Lalo’s murder
Gus Saving Nacho Can Set Up His Relationship With Mike In Breaking Bad
This is where Mike Ehrmantraut could come in. Mike has been a proponent of Nacho’s ever since the pair first met, viewing him as a surrogate for his late son, Matty. Working for Gus, Mike has found a like minded boss – professional, efficient, and boasting an eye for detail. But Mike was clearly uneasy with involving Nacho in the Lalo plot and has frequently lobbied to cut the young man loose. Gus has repeatedly denied these requests, unwilling to give up an asset just because of Mike’s sentimentality. This bubbling storyline could come to a head in Better Call Saul season 6. Mike could either be the one convincing Gus to save Nacho by killing Lalo – something the chicken shop owner almost certainly wouldn’t need much persuading in, or more likely, Mike will ensure Gus doesn’t treat Nacho as a “loose end.”
Mike understands the drug business better than he’d perhaps like to admit. He probably never really expected Gus to stop using Nacho, and also accepted the need to kill Werner at the end of season 4, despite being fond of the German engineer. But it’s hard to imagine Mike making peace with Gus if he ever killed Nacho in cold blood. Unlike Werner, who always knew the risks he was taking, Nacho has been dragged into this situation through a simple desire to protect his father, tugging at Mike’s grieving heartstrings. In Breaking Bad, Mike is incredibly loyal to Gus Fring, and this surely wouldn’t be the case if Nacho had been taken out. Instead, Mike could entreat Gus to hand Nacho a reprieve. Against his better judgement (or perhaps to ensure Mike’s future services) Gus might allow this, leaving Mike owing a debt of gratitude and explaining their relationship in Breaking Bad.