Poor old Nacho. Nothing is guaranteed to screw you up like trying to do the right thing. While everyone around him is just out for themselves or some toxic notion of pride and loyalty, Nacho’s move against Hector was solely to protect his father and to find some way out of a life that was tearing his family apart. But, like everyone in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, who has ever tried something audacious to protect the ones they love, Nacho is now in way deeper than ever and it’s looking bad.
Nacho has led the Salamanca twins to a rival gang’s hideout in an abandoned motel under the auspices of tracking down the people responsible for the ‘attack’ on him and Arturo. While Nacho is figuring out who to use for a nighttime hit, the Salamancas just wade right in like they always do, like a couple of bald T-1000s in sharkskin suits. Nacho reluctantly joins in, but only after sitting frozen between his desire to see the Salamancas wiped out and how it will look if he doesn’t offer some help. Obviously the twins survive, and a still-wounded Nacho has to report back to Fring. “Rest up,” he’s told, “There’s a lot of work for you to do.” Music to his ears, no doubt.
Vince Gilligan uses another of his favourite tricks to open this episode, a brief enigmatic glimpse of Mike at a stunned support group meeting. “You wanted me to talk,” he says to the shocked faces staring in his direction, “I talked.” This turns out to be a flash-forward to Mike and his inability to turn off his cop’s bulls*** detector, even at a meeting for people struggling with grief. Mike has seen through one member’s stories about his dead wife and can’t help but pull the man apart in front of everyone. Obviously, there’s something pretty dark about making up a dead wife to talk about with people who are dealing with actual, crushing loss, but it’s brutal the way Mike obliterates both the man (the ever-wonderful Mark Evan Jackson of The Good Place) and his story and unsurprising that few in the group are grateful to Mike for it. Still, it was Stacey’s devastating account of her guilt at going hours without thinking about her dead husband that provoked Mike into exposing the liar, demonstrating yet again that acting from a good place (no pun intended) rarely works out well. But it’s hard to tell with Mike, it could have been the liar trying to equate Stacey’s pain to his own or it could just have been that he’s fed up of listening to sob stories.
Grief haunts Jimmy’s part of the story this week, too. A concerned Kim, who interprets Jimmy’s cheery demeanour for a suppression of his grief for Chuck, has found him a therapist to help him work through it all. Jimmy, who has just turned down a job at a mobile phone store, quickly changes his mind in order to avoid having to see the shrink and winds up in an empty store, bouncing a ball against the window like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape. Once again, he’s a prisoner in the ordinary world, a confinement that is guaranteed to make Jimmy tunnel out to freedom, a freedom that will almost certainly involve some degree of criminality.