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The Most Pause-Worthy Nacho Moment In Better Call Saul

AMC's "Better Call Saul" would not be the critically acclaimed series that it is without Nacho Varga (Michael Mando). Nacho's character was properly introduced in "Better Call Saul," but his origins date all the way back to the "Breaking Bad" Season 2 episode "Better Call Saul," which first introduces Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) to Vince Gilligan's fictional Albuquerque universe. When Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) kidnap Saul (Bob Odenkirk) and hold him at gunpoint in the desert, Saul initially mistakes them for members of the Salamanca cartel, asserts in Spanish that he is a friend of the cartel, places blame on someone named Ignacio for something, and asks whether "Lalo" sent them. Walt and Jesse don't know what he's talking about and for years, Saul's first interactions with the pair were overlooked as simple worldbuilding — until "Better Call Saul" came around, casting Mando as Ignacio "Nacho" Varga.

In the "Breaking Bad" prequel, Jimmy McGill and Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) both grow acquainted with Nacho as he works his way up through the Salamanca family cartel's ranks. Nacho's plan to murder Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis) in a desperate attempt to keep the family away from his father backfires when Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) discovers his betrayal and forces Nacho to spy on the Salamancas for him. Things complicate further for Nacho's personal safety when Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton) takes over for Hector and proves difficult to deceive.

Nacho risks arrest to recover cocaine and earn Lalo Salamanca's confidence in a thrilling sequence

In the "Better Call Saul" Season 5 episode "50% Off," Fring tasks Nacho with earning Lalo's trust, even as Nacho claims the new Salamanca boss holds him at arm's length from the drug operation's inner workings. Unfortunately for Nacho, he can't talk his way out of furthering his role as Fring's mole; the Los Pollos Hermanos owner threatens Nacho's father's life if he does not continue providing Gus with information on his chief rival's activities. When another Salamanca gang member, Domingo "Krazy Eight" Molina (Maximino Arciniega), is arrested by Albuquerque police, prompting a full-scale drug bust, Nacho risks it all to recover the rest of the cocaine in the house and prevent the Salamancas from losing out on a significant amount of money.

"50% Off" episode director Norberto Barba expertly frames Nacho's difficult decision-making in this episode as he weighs his options when Lalo looks visibly disappointed that the operation could lose what's described as "almost a full load" of cocaine to the police. A close-up on Nacho, sitting in the car with Lalo and two local dealers, shows how much the risky decision to enter the home as police prepare to swarm weighs in Nacho's mind. The entire scene makes for one of the series' great pause-worthy moments. Nacho's wild decision to recover the drugs himself shocks Lalo, who at first is convinced Nacho will also get arrested and make the situation worse. When Nacho returns with the rest of the stash stuffed down his pants, Lalo is clearly impressed. The plan works, and Nacho secures his boss' trust.