‘Better Call Saul’ Creators Answer 1 Burning Nacho Varga Question

This week’s Better Call Saul was one of its most shocking. On a show like Better Call Saul, that’s saying a lot. Fans will surely be talking about Nacho Varga (Michael Mando) all week, at least until whatever episode 4 has in store for us. The episode’s creators anticipated one questions fans might have and answered it. 

[Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Better Call Saul episode “Rock and Hard Place.”]

'Better Call Saul': Nacho Varga (Michael Mando) holds a gun to Juan Bolsa (Javier Grajeda)'s head
L-R: Michael Mando and Javier Grajeda | Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Mando was a guest on the Better Call Saul Insider podcast which premiered on April 26, the day after his final Better Call Saul episode aired. He joined writer/director Gordon Smith. On the podcast, Vince Gilligan asked why Nacho didn’t try to shoot his way out of the Salamancas’ hostage situation. Smith and Mando knew exactly why.

Nacho Varga shot himself to save his father 

Juan Bolsa (Javier Grajeda) held Nacho zip tied facing Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis) and the twin assassins (Luis and Daniel Moncada). Gilligan asked why Nacho didn’t use Bolsa as a shield to take out the Salamancas, but Smith said that wasn’t feasible. 

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“If he does that, there’s no way he could kill all of them,” Smith said on Better Call Saul Insider. “The cousins also are murder machines. They would mow him down. He could maybe get Bolsa killed but if he does that, he knows they’re going to take vengeance on his dad. He’ll die there but they’ll kill his dad too. Mike has given him his assurances if he does what he’s told, if he comes through in this, if he’s the patsy that his dad will be okay.”

Nacho Varga left ‘Better Call Saul’ his way

The Better Call Saul episode “Rock and a Hard Place” was going to end with Nacho dead either way. Instead of going out in a hail of bullets, Nacho decided to turn the gun on himself. Smith said Nacho died at peace knowing Mike (Jonathan Banks) was looking out for his father.

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“I think he can trust Mike that that’s something he can uphold,” Smith said. “He can’t really trust anyone else here. Going through and saying all right, I know I have to make this sacrifice because it means my dad’s life. He finds a way to make it so that he does take some agency. He has some agency, he’s on his feet and not on his knees, but he still has to kind of go through with the deal in a way that Gus approves of.”

Michael Mando agrees

Mando himself weighed in on Nacho’s final moments. Although he didn’t make it to the series finale, Nacho got a great exit. No wonder Mando called the final season of Better Call Saul “bittersweet.”

“I think it’s important, he has no fear of death at that point,” Mando said. “So he could do whatever he wants. He could shoot Bolsa, he could shoot at the twins. It doesn’t matter what they do next. He’s willing to die at that moment and in that sense of being true to his archetype which is a romantic archetype is that he will not break his loyalty to his promise. And his promise is my life for my father’s life, period.”

How to get help: In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 to speak with a trained crisis counselor at the free Crisis Text Line.

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