Sezon 6, odcinek 3 „Rock and Hard Place”

Luis Moncada, Mark Margolis i Daniel Moncada w Better Call Saul

Luis Moncada, Mark Margolis i Daniel Moncada w Lepiej zawołaj Saula
Zdjęcie: Greg Lewis / AMC / Telewizja Sony Pictures

Było pewne, że w tym finale nadchodzi śmierć Lepiej zawołaj Saula sezon, co z tym, że Gilligan ABQ Universe jest zaludniony przez więcej niż kilka postaci, które nie mają ani sekundy czasu ekranowego w Breaking Bad. Ale kiedy pierwsza śmierć szóstego sezonu wiąże się z ponad 75 procentami fabuły pozostawionej do rozwinięcia – i kiedy jest to poważna śmierć – zakładam, że zakręty, które jeszcze nie zostały rzucone w naszą stronę, będą intensywne.

Aktualny stan rzeczy (uwaga: główne spoilery poniżej): Nacho. Ignacio Varga zawsze był o kilka kroków przed grą jako członek kartelu narkotykowego Salamanca. Ale kiedy został zmuszony przez Gusa, by mieć oko na Lalo, daleko i daleko najsprytniejszego z Salamanek, status Nacho stał się znacznie bardziej niepewny. A kiedy jego obowiązki kretów przekształciły się w aktywną pracę przeciwko Lalo, dni Nacho były policzone. Było to tylko kilka, bo pomimo desperackich wysiłków, by przetrwać gniew Salamanki, które polegały na unikaniu Kuzynów i całkowitym zanurzeniu się w kałuży ropy, Nacho spotkał swój koniec, przyciągając spust pistoletu do własnej głowy, tak Leonel i Marco nie mieliby szansy torturowania go i zabicia.

Wcześniej jednak ostrzeżenie Mike’a skierowane do Tyrusa w poprzednim odcinku — „Cokolwiek się stanie dalej, nie pójdzie tak, jak myślisz” — odbija się echem, gdy Nacho dwukrotnie wstrząsa światem Tio Salamanki, mówiąc Hectorowi, że to on zmienił swój leki na serce z tabletkami cukrowymi, co prowadzi do udaru, który sprawia, że ​​Hector jest na wózku inwalidzkim i nie może mówić.

To była gorzka bomba, którą Nacho wypluł w ostatniej, pełnej wściekłości tyrady, która prawdopodobnie była bardziej satysfakcjonująca niż jego ostatni posiłek. (Michael Mando może pojawić się w późniejszych odcinkach w tym sezonie — jestem tu, żeby obejrzeć retrospekcję lub dwie z Nacho — ale trzeba to jeszcze raz zauważyć: jego wybitna praca w pierwszych trzech odcinkach jest warta jego pierwszej nominacji do nagrody Emmy). chociaż mogło to być częściowo spowodowane jego pragnieniem zmotywowania Gusa do dotrzymania obietnicy, że nie zabije ojca Nacho, Manuel — Nacho wspomniał w swojej tyradzie, że to Gus był tym, który uratował Hectora — Nacho mógł również nieumyślnie wywołać śmierć Manuela.

Hector was furious at the revelation, of course, so much so that he had The Cousins carry his wheelchair to Nacho’s dead body so he could unload a few bullets into him. But we’ve seen Hector’s temper on display before, and his desire for vengeance against Nacho is not going to be sated by a few postmortem slugs. Hector knows who Manuel is; he met him at his shop, and he knows how beloved Manuel is to Nacho. Gus and Mike committed to Manuel’s safety, and that’s a formidable defense. But the lineup of “psycho sacks of shit,” as Nacho called the Salamancas, is committed, too. And if Hector can’t get proof of Gus’ involvement in what Juan Bolsa and the rest of Don Eladio’s cartel believe was a successful hit on Lalo, he is going to get payback somewhere, and Manuel seems like the most likely, or at least the most immediate, target.

Speaking of Lalo, he was physically MIA in “Rock And Hard Place,” but he continues to wreak havoc in name only, whether it’s “Lalo Salamanca” or “Jorge de Guzman.” ADA Suzanne Ericsen has pieced together Jimmy’s legal (and illegal) dealings with Lalo and is trying to get Jimmy to confess to it via Kim. But Kim’s forthright interactions with Ericsen with her own court cases has fooled her colleague into thinking Kim is a straight shooter when it comes to Jimmy. When Suzanne tells Kim she knows Jimmy, despite his showiness, is aware that what he’s done with Lalo is wrong, Kim’s increasingly annoyed reaction to their chat is to correct her. “Saul,” she curtly tells Suzanne. “He practices now under the name Saul Goodman.” Suzanne continues her ruse about thinking Jimmy—er, Saul—just got caught up in something beyond his intentions with the cartel, but the writers have set up what could be another clever cat-and-mouse game that will take us through the Saul finale.

And for any doubt that Kim is not only all-in, but steering her and Jimmy’s “mouse” half of the game, Jimmy asks her what she thinks he should do about Suzanne’s request that he tell her all about Lalo. “I guess that depends,” she tells him. “Do you want to be a friend of the cartel, or do you want to be a rat?” Whoa.

Michael Mando in Better Call Saul

Michael Mando in Better Call Saul
Photo: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Again, Kim continues to break bad so hard that even Saul-aspiring Jimmy seems less in charge of their master plan than Mrs. McGill-Goodman. And Nacho, remaining one step ahead of everyone even in death, drops a character-to-character doozy the likes of which we haven’t seen since Walt destroyed Jesse with the truth about his role in Jane’s death in “Ozymandias,” one of the greatest episodes of TV drama ever.

Those are obviously big shoes for the Saul team to continue to match, as Better Call Saul goes gliding towards its ultimate bridge to Breaking Bad, but there are no narrative cobblers more capable than these ones to make the ongoing journey between the two series a more scenic, eventful one.

Stray observations

  • One of the things that made Nacho such a compelling character was that he was a smart, usually calm, quick-thinking and reacting, compassionate guy, and not the drug-cartel villain he could have been in the hands of lesser writers or actors. That final phone call with his father was crushing, since it was pretty clear by that point that there was no way out for him. And it was made more heartbreaking when the mechanic who had lent Nacho soap and the use of his phone went inside the garage to find Nacho had left him a pile of cash. Sure, Nacho had no use for it at that point, but it was still a kind gesture of gratitude when Nacho had so many other things on his mind.
  • How is Manuel Varga going to feel when he learns Nacho’s phone call was the last one he’ll ever get from his son, who he brushed off with yet another reminder that he (naively) saw Nacho going to the police as the only way to get himself out of his drug cartel life? And then when he learns Nacho stopped running for his life in order to save his dad’s? Assuming Papa Varga lives to find out his son is dead.
  • Who is Alvarez?! Gus and Nacho decided Alvarez would get the blame for planning Lalo’s assassination. Nacho even tells Juan Bolsa Alvarez has been paying him for years to work against the Salamancas. But in multiple watchings and re-watchings of both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, I don’t remember an Alvarez. I Googled such a character and…no results. It would be completely unlike the BCS writers to throw a deus ex machina character into the mix, ever. So, again, who is Alvarez? Theory: What if there is no Alvarez? After all, if Nacho gave Bolsa the name of a real person, that person would be dead. And if Bolsa admitted there was an enemy so dangerous, yet he didn’t even know his name, he would rise to the top of Don Eladio’s hit list.
  • Giancarlo Esposito’s always-calm demeanor is his own very frightening brand of villain, but a little shoutout to Mark Margolis’ Hector face of fury. The scrunched nose and widened eyes he gets going is every bit as effective.
  • Even after he confronts Mike on the phone about knowing Gus meant to leave him alone to be killed at the motel after he fled Mexico, Nacho still trusted only Mike to ensure Gus would allow Manuel to live. Nacho and Mike had bonded, with Mike the pseudo father figure/mentor missing for Nacho with his father’s constant disapproval. Those little nods Nacho and Mike exchanged when Mike got out of the van at the desert meet-up became devastating when we soon learned the twist they had cooked up with Nacho and the gun.
  • One of the best visual tricks of the season so far: when Mike unbolts the bottom of the truck where Nacho has hidden to return to Albuquerque, Nacho is lying there, eyes closed. For a second, it looked like he was dead already.

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