Better Call Saul: Can Nacho Survive Season 4?

Michael Mando as Nacho in Better Call Saul

WARNING: Spoilers for Better Call Saul season 4's premiere.

Better Call Saul season 4's premiere, "Smoke", puts several of its main characters on a collision course with destiny, but none more so than Nacho Varga. Jimmy McGill is becoming more and more callous following the death of his brother Chuck, while Mike Ehrmantraut has now gotten properly in with Madrigal Electromotive, a front for Gus Fring's drug business. But the biggest impact may be on Nacho, whose survival is now in doubt.

Michael Mando's character was first mentioned in Saul Goodman's first appearance during the second season of Breaking Bad; when Walter White and Jesse Pinkman attempted to intimidate the sleazy lawyer, he thinks he's been kidnapped by people working for a "Lalo" and pleads "It wasn't me, it was Ignacio! He's the one!" What Nacho could have done to get himself in deadly trouble and how it links to Jimmy has been one of the key connective questions of Better Call Saul, and the season 4 premiere points in one troubling direction.

Related: Better Call Saul Season 4 Cast & Character Guide

In the episode, Nacho is desperately trying to cover up his assassination attempt on Hector Salamanca; he needs to get rid of the fake pills he used to induce a heart attack in the crime head. However, his hit wasn't as effective as he thought. Not only is Hector still alive, but it's left Nacho responsible for some big problems for the cartel and Gus Fring in particular. First, Juan Bolsa says that the Salamancas remain in control of the territory, then Gus begins to fear that Hector's situation puts the entire enterprise in jeopardy; there could be inter-gang warfare or DEA attention. The biggest danger, though, comes without Nacho's knowledge: at the end of the episode, when he gets rid of the pills, Victor - Gus' henchman who eventually falls foul of a box cutter - is watching from afar.

Michael Mando as Nacho in Better Call Saul Season 4

Gus was already suspicious of Nacho after Hector's initial attack, but now has proof that he was behind it. And, while it's obviously advantageous for Gus to have his professional enemy pacified, the situation Hector's hit has created - one that involves more oversight from kingpin Don Eladio and potential law entanglement - is not a positive one. From Breaking Bad we know that Los Pollos Hermanos will survive and thrive - until Heisenberg comes on the scene at least - but things are rocky now because of Nacho.

We're just one episode into season 4 and already Nacho has very few friends to count on. Both sides of the cartel rift are out to get him, and he's only surviving Gus due to Fring having some greater plan. From the premiere's standing point, it does look like his attempt to escape the Salamancas by force is what's going to bring him down; if not death, then at the least forced on the run. Indeed, the only person he can rely on at the moment is Jimmy. Given that we're also seeing him become a little more detached from his well-meaning past, to have the two work together to get Nacho out of trouble doesn't feel out of the question.

That said, Nacho's fall may not be as immediate as the premiere suggests; Tony Dalton is listed as playing the all-important Lalo in season 4, but not until episode 9. Nacho Varga may still have some time to go in Better Call Saul, although all signs point towards it being a tortured one. Let's hope Jimmy already knows what Robert Forster's disappearer is up to.

Next: Better Call Saul Season 4: Every Update You Need To Know

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