Will Better Call Saul's Nacho Be The Reason Hector Is In A Wheelchair On Breaking Bad?

nacho glaring on better call saul

Spoilers below for those who haven't yet watched Better Call Saul's "Off Brand."

Prior to tonight's episode, Better Call Saul had many viewers thinking it would either be the revenge-focused Mike or the also revenge-focused Gus that would be in some way responsible for putting Hector Salamanca in the bell-strapped wheelchair where Breaking Bad viewers first saw him. But now that we've seen where "Off Brand" took Michael Mando's Nacho, the steely-eyed henchman may have just jumped to the top of the suspect list. Mando spoke with CinemaBlend about the episode, and while he definitely doesn't incriminate Nacho, here's where the actor said Nacho's head was after Hector brought up his father.

At this point, the episode ends with Hector threatening his father's life, when Hector wants to take over his father's business. That is basically the mortality of his relationship with his father. Nacho is going to ask himself how important is that, and is that something that he's willing to throw the kitchen sink at and say 'Do I draw the line?' and 'This is where I'm going the whole nine yards.'

The episode was a big one for Nacho, whose arcs are fleeting, but always powerful. He got the big cold open, which forced him to discipline Krazy-8, and in reflection, he also silently experienced a sewing machine injury that most people would have screamed to the heavens about. And as Michael Mando pointed out in our talk, it's because Nacho is being put in a position that derails his original intentions for joining the cartel, which were purely financial. Now, he has to "put someone else's well-being before his own objective," which Mando says is a huge detour for his character. Who caused him to go off on Krazy-8 in the cold open? Hector. Who's the person threatening Nacho's father and his business? Hector. Whose suffering would Nacho gain the most from, should he choose to do such a thing? Same answer.

Just after Hector makes that threat, after Nacho has already been stoically fuming for a while, one of Hector's pills falls to the floor upon the announcement that Tuco had been arrested. While Nacho was faux-eager to assist Hector, he very carefully hid the fallen medication beneath his shoe. And there are only two reasons why he would do something like this. One is if Nacho is really anal about people putting things in their mouth that have been on the floor, and the more likely option is that he's going to use that pill against Hector in some way. This show is too good at foreshadowing to think otherwise.

Breaking Bad was very much a series about people being poisoned, with meth, cancer and traditional poisons, so Nacho attempting to take his boss out in such a way would be logical enough. Of course, I'm going even further to assume that the "whole nine yards" that Michael Mando mentioned was a reference to an assassination attempt, but perhaps Nacho had a very specific plan in mind to keep Hector alive while keeping his mouth shut. After all, Mando also spoke of how Nacho's Judeo-Christian upbringing is what formed his moral center, which we've seen on display quite often. (He was willing to let Krazy-8 go.)

Again, Michael Mando wasn't speaking directly to whether or not Nacho will incapacitate Don Hector, but It's almost too easy to read deeper into what he's saying about Nacho's growing resistance to his employer's impulsive ways. Here's what else he told me, speaking to the cold open.

I didn't know just how fond Nacho was of Krazy-8 until after we shot that scene. And when I realized the ferociousness of it during rehearsal, I felt a deep disappointment because I knew that Nacho was going to have to hurt Krazy-8, but also to embarrass him in front of Hector. And you know they say the deepest bonds are forged in moments of distress and that moment, I think, sort of did two things at the same time: Hector was able to crack something inside of Nacho that was extremely painful, but that emotional bone that Hector has cracked is healing very, very fast and is healing stronger than it was before.

Without Breaking Bad as an evident end game, one could read all manner of things into what Michael Mando is saying about Nacho's sourness for Hector. We know too much about Hector's future, though, which isn't in such dire straits that Nacho would/could up-end him as a leader within the cartel. (Especially if the Breaking Bad mention of "Ignacio" is indeed referring to Nacho.) So with a seemingly limited number of ways for Nacho to enact a revenge -- assuming it comes to that-- it's more-than-plausible that his actions will play a major role in Hector's health down the road in Breaking Bad. But we'll just have to keep watching to see.

For anyone who wants to see a completely original and unique pice of visual media, Michael Mando is hosting/has hosted a live performance of his sci-fi/thriller short film GATEWAY -- yes, as live as a sports broadcast -- that anyone can watch, and the performance it is streaming immediately after Better Call Saul'. Feeds are/were up on both his Instagram account and his Facebook account, and it's likely the latter will be the better place to find a video hosted. Let's hope this kind of in-the-moment performance art will happen more in the future.

Better Call Saul airs Monday nights on AMC at 10:00 p.m. ET, and it's only getting better every week. To see what other new and returning shows are coming soon, check out our summer TV schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.