Breaking Bad 

Better Call Saul: How Breaking Bad Suggests That Nacho Will Survive

A connection to Jesse Pinkman could be a clue that Nacho Varga will survive Better Call Saul season 6. Is Don Eladio's approval a bulletproof vest?

The similarities between Jesse Pinkman and Nacho Varga’s roles on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul may suggest that, like Aaron Paul’s drug peddler, Michael Mando’s reluctant criminal will escape with his life. Although many of the prequel series’ characters – like Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) or Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) – appeared in Breaking Bad and thus have defined endpoints, the same can’t be said for Jimmy’s wife Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), his former boss Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian), new villain Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton), and Nacho Varga – a low-level cartel player who has risen in the ranks and become a double agent for Gus Fring.

The world of Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad has a distinct sense of justice, and when it comes to how characters end up, the punishment often poetically fits the crime. Although initially, fans may have pegged Nacho as a bad guy and therefore deserving to die, his character has grown into an incredibly sympathetic one – much like Breaking Bad‘s Jesse Pinkman. Although both initially get into the drug game for the money, they quickly find themselves in over their head, manipulated as part of a bigger game by those around them. They’re both distinct creations but have increasingly strong parallels.

RELATED: A Breaking Bad Throwaway Line Could Hint At Nacho’s Fate On Better Call Saul

In Better Call Saul season 5’s finale “Something Unforgivable”, Nacho is taken by Lalo to cartel kingpin Don Eladio (Steven Bauer). They meet over a glass of tequila, where Nacho outlines his plans for the Salamanca cartel, taking over biker gang territory to grow the empire. Eladio takes a shine to Nacho, in the process further trapping him in a life of crime. This is very similar to a later meeting between Eladio and Jesse: after cooking a batch of blue meth, the Don says he now owns the unlucky street punk.

While similar character trajectories needn’t mean a similar ending (just look at how series protagonists Jimmy and Walter White differ in their march towards inevitability), this latest Don Eladio parallel between Jesse and Nacho would make a strong case that the latter will share a similar, somewhat hopeful ending.

Although Jesse did some bad things over the course of Breaking Bad, he always had a good heart deep down, making a happy ending – something confirmed more directly in El Camino – the only satisfying way out. Better Call Saul season 5 made it clearer than before that Nacho is looking to get out of the game for good and start a new life, so a new, free start is equally fitting.

While Nacho’s absence from Breaking Bad may at first suggest he doesn’t make it out alive, there’s definite hope. Saul Goodman even mentioned “Ignacio” in his debut episode, making him a present presence in the parent show. For now, that’s a question for Better Call Saul season 6.

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