Spoilers below for the latest episode of Better Call Saul, so be sure to watch before reading on.
As two of its fictional timelines are closer than ever to converging, Better Call Saul has given fans a fun and random array of characters, items and settings from its predecessor Breaking Bad, and "Coushatta" delivered one of the most interesting connections yet. By the episode's end, Nacho was hiding his shock and dismay upon discovering the presence of one Lalo Salamanca, a character that was only ever known by name before now. So who is Lalo? Let's break things down.
Who Is Lalo?
Plainly, Lalo goes by the official name of Eduardo Salamanca, but we can be sure that nothing about him will be plain. He's obviously a member of the deadly Salamanca family, and he clearly has no intentions of continuing to sit in the backseat while Hector remains largely incapacitated. It's not entirely clear yet what the family connection is, but something tells me the drug operation's greenbacks are more important than the bloodline itself.
As portrayed by Tony Dalton, a well-known actor within Mexican TV, Lalo actually first entered the Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul universe back in Season 2 of the flagship drama, in the episode where Bob Odenkirk's Saul Goodman was first introduced. The ep, fittingly titled "Better Call Saul," saw Walt and Jesse kidnapping Saul and taking him to the desert. In his confusion, Saul assumed that he had been abducted by Lalo, and is very relieved to learn he was mistaken. In the same breath, Saul threw Nacho under the bus (using the full name Ignacio) for whatever unidentified incident that was bad enough to potentially get him kidnapped, and Saul also claimed he'd always been friendly with the cartel. It's not exactly an exhaustive biography, but it does clue us in on a few things.
What Can We Expect To See From Lalo?
Judging by the relaxed and worry-free way Lalo was cooking up food in the back of the ice cream parlor, we shouldn't expect to see him sweat over making Nacho's life hell. His interests, so he says, lie in making sure the family business is being run correctly, and he'll obviously be part of the money meetings with the local dealers. Which probably means those who are short on profits will have to worry about losing more than just an earlobe.
As well, it sounds like Lalo will become the big man on campus, or will at least try to do so, which is assumedly around the time when Jimmy/Saul gets brought into it. Jimmy's connection with Mike is how the former knows Gus Fring, but it looks like Nacho will be the conduit between Jimmy and Lalo. And judging by that Breaking Bad scene, we can probably expect for Lalo to unleash the kind of violent mayhem that instantly makes him a prime suspect for any kidnapping that happens in the area. A real class act, right?
What Happens To Lalo?
By the time Breaking Bad gets around to linking Walt with Gus Fring's criminal empire, the Salamanca cartel was only a wheelchair-bound shadow of its former glory (or notoriety, as it were), and Saul's comments were the only time that either Lalo or Nacho got namechecked. So what does that mean for the character's fate in the days of Heisenberg? Well, it doesn't offer him any guarantees of retiring to an island resort.
The fact that Saul thinks Lalo kidnapped him could mean that the villainous character is still alive through the first chunk of Breaking Bad, only to presumably be killed off during a situation that never got referred to on the show. Of course, Saul probably wouldn't be the first person to find out when cartel members get murdered, so Lalo could be long dead and gone by the time his name was first mentioned. A similar "What will happen to him?" question is reserved for Nacho, but Better Call Saul did at least tease an escape plan for the embattled double agent; he's keeping false Canadian identification records for him and his father, in the event that they have to leave the country. But will Lalo let Nacho live long enough to use them?
While we currently still aren't sure just how hectic and violent things are going to get with Lalo around, I'm pretty sure the next two episodes of Better Call Saul are going to be as exciting as anything else we've seen this season. Find them on AMC on Monday nights at 9:00 p.m. ET. And to see what shows you can get obsessed with when Saul is done, our fall TV premiere schedule will do the trick.