In last week’s double-episode premiere of “Better Call Saul,” we saw the re-introduction of our favorite “Saul”/”Breaking Bad” characters for the first time in nearly two years. To recap, Kim’s inner Saul is coming out as she continues to goad Jimmy into potentially tanking Howard’s career; Nacho is on the run thanks to Gus’s failed attempt at assassinating Lalo, and Gus came to discover that Lalo is still alive.
The last we see of them, Mike was about to hand off the phone to Gus with Nacho on the other line, and a mysterious car is trailing Jimmy and Kim as they part ways with the Kettlemans.
Oh, and we also got our first in-color flash-forward, though we still don’t know much about Jimmy’s life beyond his career as an Omaha Cinnabon manager, trying desperately not to be recognized.
Let’s get into episode 3:
Season 6 Episode 3: ‘Rock and Hard Place’
For our cold open this week, in very “Breaking Bad”/”Saul” style, all we get is a rainy shot of the New Mexican desert, with broken glass and tattered clothing – and…bone? – strewn haphazardly about. Undoubtably, an explanation will be coming soon, though viewers may brace to see it.
We’re following Nacho, picking up from his daring escape from the notorious Cousins last week. Although he briefly attempts to brave it by almost holding them off at gunpoint, he quickly decides to instead find refuge in an abandoned tank in a nearby field. Incredibly, he actually submerges himself in a pit of tar within the tank as one of the Cousins thinks he spots him inside and approaches. Mercifully, it works…at least for now.
Nacho then finds refuge in a nearby friendly car repair shop, where he calls his father, presumably to make sure he’s alright. Manuel, however, knowing his son is in danger, tells him to go to the police before bidding him adieu.
We now jump to where we were last episode as Nacho calls Mike, though this time we get to hear the other end of the conversation. “You knew that I was going to Mexico to die,” Nacho says to Mike, to which Mike calmly responds, “Not my call.” Referring to Gus only as “that bastard,” Mike hands the phone off to Gus, who is told by Nacho that he is “screwed,” as Gus has clearly been implicated in the failed assassination attempt. However, after threatening Gus with spilling the beans to the Salamancas, he tells him he will play along with him as long as his father remains safe. Gus – and, more importantly, Mike – assure Nacho that no harm will come to him.
Meanwhile, at Jimmy and Kim’s, the daring couple begin laying the groundwork for some kind of auto theft, with Jimmy eventually settling on a “valet scam.” In a callback to season 3, when a “slick” Huell was effectively able to slip a battery into Jimmy’s brother Chuck’s shirt pocket without Chuck even realizing it, Jimmy somehow plans to utilize the “audacious” Huell to carry out the plan.
At the courthouse, DA Suzanne Ericsen confronts Kim about her husband’s clientele, saying that Lalo, who she believes to be dead, obtained his counsel under false pretenses (that being the false identity of “Jorge de Guzmán”). As a result, she asks Kim to convince Jimmy to talk to Suzanne about Lalo’s associates, who are still wreaking havoc north of the border.
“Saul,” Kim corrects Suzanne. “He practices now under the name Saul Goodman.” Suzanne admits she has had her problems with “Saul,” but says she believes he is a human being underneath all those layers, and that she trusts him to do the right thing. At this point, it seems as though Kim will be the judge of that.
Mike, meanwhile, has somehow smuggled a bloody and worn-out Nacho into a large underground bunker back into the States. The two men, after being briefly interrupted by Gus’s notorious henchman Victor, toast some scotch before Mike is presumably forced to beat Nacho to reinforce the lie they will try to sell to the Salamancas.
At the law firm, Jimmy and Kim’s plan is put into action as the “audacious” Huell effectively steals Howard’s car key and makes a copy of it without him ever being any the wiser.
Privately, Huell asks Jimmy why, with all the money he’s making, he chooses to conduct illicit activity like this. Jimmy tries to convince Huell (or perhaps, more appropriately, himself) that he’s really doing what’s right. “We’re doing the Lord’s work here!” he exclaims.
At home, Kim breaks the “news” to Jimmy that Lalo is “dead,” and passes on Suzanne’s message. Jimmy considers it, but is conflicted. After asking Kim for advice, she says that he’d be making a choice between continuing to be a “friend of the cartel,” or to be a “rat.” Of course, we all know how that line of thought turns out.
Meanwhile, Gus and Mike rehearse a story Nacho is to tell to Juan Bolsa with him: he was hired by some Peruvian soldiers, and has been on their payroll for about a year now. Then, Mike says, he is to run “as fast as you can…it’ll be over quick.” Privately, Gus and Mike bicker about whether Mike should be there when this plan is executed, as Mike argues “there are a lotta ways this could go south.” Gus eventually relents.
The plan is put into action as Nacho is taken to Juan Bolsa, alongside the Cousins and Hector. Mike sets himself up in the nearby mountains, a sniper rifle positioned perfectly in line with Bolsa and the Salamancas’ heads. However, we know, given the events of “Breaking Bad,” that these characters all make it out of here alive. In fact, the only one whose fate we are unsure of is Nacho.
Bolsa calmly walks up to Nacho and tells him that today, he is going to die. But, of course, “there are good deaths, and there are bad deaths.” It will be Nacho’s choice as to which type of death he will receive.
Although he is clearly hesitant to speak, Nacho eventually recites the story after being pressed by Bolsa: he says he was hired by the Peruvians, and that Gus wasn’t involved. Furthermore, he hated the Salamancas’ guts and would gladly have killed each one of them for free, and that indeed, he even switched out Hector’s medication, precipitating his stroke years ago, while “this a******” (Gus) revived him. “So when you are sitting in your s***** nursing home, and you’re sucking down on your jello night after night for the rest of your life, you think of ME, you twisted f***!” Nacho exclaims.
He then escapes his shackles, grabs Juan Bolsa and his gun, and points it to Bolsa’s temple. However, instead of sticking to the plan and breaking free in another attempt at escape, only to get shot and killed quickly by Gus’s men, he instead turns the gun on himself and shoots himself in the head.
The rest of the gang are left stunned, though Gus still gets off scot-free. Mike, stunned but accepting, packs up his equipment, while the Salamancas put a few more rounds of bullets in Nacho’s head, just for good measure.
“Better Call Saul” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. Eastern on AMC. Part 1 of season 6 will continue to air until Monday, May 23. Part 2 will begin on Monday, July 11.