Breaking Bad 

Why Can’t Hector Salamanca Speak? (& 9 Other Facts About This Breaking Bad Character)

Hector Salamanca was an iconic villain in Breaking Bad. Here are 10 facts about him, including why he can't speak.

One of the many characters in this show who has made his presence known in more ways than one throughout Breaking Bad and its sequel, Better Call Saul, is Hector Salamanca. A wheelchair-bound member of the Cartel, Hector might’ve been one of the worst characters in the show from a moral standpoint… but hating him is pretty much impossible regardless.

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With the release of Better Call Saul, fans are finally clued into why Hector Salamanca had such a massive fall from grace in the first place and lost the ability to speak. Of course, that’s not the only revelation fans have had about this character. So, keeping this in mind, let’s take a deep dive into Hector Salamanca’s legacy.

He Can’t Speak Because Of What Nacho Did To Him

Nacho Varga in one of the episodes of Better Call Saul.

The biggest mystery surrounding Hector’s character was the circumstances that forced him to be restricted to a wheelchair without any ability to speak for the rest of his life. This query was finally answered in Better Call Saul with one of the tensest moments in the entire show.

After realizing that Hector would pose a massive risk to his own father, Nacho decides to take matters into in own hands and replaces Hector’s medication with ibuprofen. After going through a particularly angry episode, Hector’s body finally gives in and he suffers from a life-threatening stroke.

The Actor’s Mother-In-Law Had Suffered A Stroke As Well

Hector Salamanca's side profile in Better Call Saul.

The actor who played Hector Salamanca, Mark Margolis, absolutely nailed the facial expressions of a person suffering from the aftermath of a stroke. As per Margolis himself, the inspiration for this particular aspect of his acting was pretty personal.

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Margolis’s mother-in-law herself had suffered from a debilitating stroke. In a bid to make his actions seem as realistic as possible, Margolis decided to base Hector’s facial expressions on his mother-in-law.

He Only Looked Gus In The Eye Once

Gus taunts Hector before they both get blown in Breaking Bad

Throughout the entirety of Breaking Bad, Hector is adamant about never looking Gus in the eye, while the latter constantly tortures the former into doing the same because of a previous instance when Hector killed Gus’s partner and forced him to look upon the eyes of his dead friend.

However, Hector does end up locking eyes with Gus for the first time in the show right before activating a bomb that blows both of them apart.

He’s Been The Victim Of A Rare Vince Gilligan Mistake

For the most part, Vince Gilligan is considered to be one of the most meticulous directors around, with his penchant for the smallest details being second to none. However, no individual is perfect, and Vince Gilligan is no exception to this golden rule. In the third episode of the third season, Gus accidentally refers to Hector as Don Salamanca, instead of Don Hector.

It might be a small mistake, but this slip up was so costly in Vince’s eyes that he went on record to state that he would love to go back and fix this goof-up.

When He Could Stand Upright, Hector Would Sit On A Park Bench That Looked Like A Wheelchair

Better Call Saul Hector Lalo Salamanca

Vince Gilligan’s shows are known for featuring a fair bit of foreshadowing, and Hector’s character receives this in spades. For starters, in Better Call Saul before his stroke, Hector is frequently shown sitting on a park bench that looks eerily similar to a wheelchair.

Of course, this isn’t the only time when Vince Gilligan decided to foreshadow the events to come.

His Name Foreshadows His Fate

Mark Margolis as Hector Salamanca in Breaking Bad

If one needs to find out the best way to foreshadow the fate of any character, then lessons from Vince Gilligan are a must. The previous instance is proof enough of this, but there’s a far subtler reference to Hector’s impending fate that has been staring everyone in the face.

The name “Hector” in Greek means “to restrain,” which is quite apt for a character that is constantly restrained to a wheelchair for the majority of the show.

His Famous Bell Sold At An Auction For $26,750

One trademark of Hector’s character is his infamous bell, which he used to communicate with people due to a lack of speaking skills and also to put the nail in the coffin of one of his biggest nemeses.

This bell was so coveted amongst the fandom that one devout actually bought this bell at an auction for an outrageous amount of $26,750.

The Service Bell Acts As A Chilling Reminder

It’s funny how expensive this bell was, given the chilling nature of its fictional backstory.

The bell is actually a reference to the time when Hector and his accomplices decided to burn a hotel down and torture the manager because said manager apparently refused to pay any protection money.

Gus Went Out Of His Way To Make Hector Suffer

Having Gus as a nemesis is not ideal for anyone, and Hector experienced this firsthand. This can be seen in the fact that in Better Call Saul, Gus decided to take Hector off his treatment right after his physical recuperation was over.

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He hated Hector with such a vengeance that he wanted Hector to experience the mental strain of being a vegetable instead of letting him die a peaceful death.

He Was Supposed To Be The Main Antagonist Of Season 3

Mark Margolis as Hector Salamanca in Breaking Bad

There was a time when Hector Salamanca was considered to be the main antagonist of Season 3. However, this plan was discarded early on, and we got the beloved Gus Fring instead. Mark Margolis has even stated that Gus was a better villain for Walt than Hector in an interview.

One can only wonder how different Breaking Bad would’ve been if the iconic Gus was not the antagonist throughout the show anymore.

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