[The following story contains major spoilers for Better Call Saul episode, “Rock and Hard Place.”]
“No, it wasn’t me! It was Ignacio! He’s the one!”
Thirteen years ago, Too bad Viewers first heard the name Ignacio as Saul Goodman blamed him for something he supposedly did to Lalo. Well, in tonight’s tragic episode of The best of Saul on demandfans finally learned how Ignacio (Michael Mando) Story ended.
In the final moments of Gordon Smith’s episode “Rock and Hard Place,” Ignacio “Nacho” Varga sacrifices his life for the life of his father (Juan Carlos Cantu), and like the title of the episode, Ignacio truly finds himself between a rock and a hard place.
If he was captured by the Salamancas family, he would be tortured until he gave up the information provided by Jos Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) was responsible for the attack on the Lalo Salamanca compound (Tony Dalton). In Season 4, Gus’s powerfully armed Ignacio becomes a double agent, and since then, he’s been helping him undermine the drug smuggling operation in Salamancas and the Don Eladio (Stephen Bauer) cartel. Naturally, Gus also wanted Ignacio dead to protect his own long-running revenge plot against the men responsible for the murder of his beloved partner, Max (James Martinez), during the fourth season of the flashback. Too bad.
In the end, Ignacio cuts a deal with Gus that makes him trade his life for his father’s protection, but instead of being shot in the back by Gus’s henchman Victor (Jeremiah Pitsui) during an altercation with Salamancas, Ignacio shoots free long enough to seize Juan Bolsa (Javier’s) weapon Gragida), say he cut it and he committed suicide.
“In the iconography of a character, it’s the most honest thing to do. It’s so tragic. It’s Shakespeare, but it’s what makes a character iconic. He lived and died for true love. I get goosebumps just thinking about it,” says Mando. The Hollywood Reporter.
During his final days on the set, Mando was also completely influenced by The best of Saul on demand The crew salute the character. “They surprised me with the nacho shirts I’m wearing, and everyone had teary tattoos. It was so emotional for everyone. I knew the character meant so much to them, but I didn’t know how much he meant to them until that moment,” Mando shares.
In the second part of the file conversation With THRMando also lists all the “ominous” events that seem to have wanted to prolong his tenure in Too bad AMC prequel / sequel.
Ignacio chose to go out on his terms after being dominated by several monsters for such a long time. What did you do for his decision and his final deposit?
In character iconography, this is the most honest thing to do. It’s like Romeo and Juliet. It is very tragic. It’s Shakespeare, but it’s what makes the character so iconic. He lived and died for true love. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. He believed in purity and virtue, and sacrificed his life despite being given power, money, and influence. To refuse all that and do the right thing makes a really honorable character. And it was done in a painful and honest way, so I think the writers did a masterful job.
What sets you apart from your last days on the set?
The episode is filled with these life’s biggest moments. Before the first day of shooting, I cut my finger. (Mandu raises his scarred hand.I couldn’t move my hand. I didn’t feel any nerves ripping off my left hand, so I had to wait a week before I could shoot.
The day we shot the desert stuff, the cameras were on Jos and Salamancas first. And just as we were supposed to turn the cameras on at me, out of nowhere, this massive sandstorm hit us. So we literally had to run backwards before our cars got stuck in the sand. When I got home the next day, lightning struck the tree in front of my house, and the fallen tree blocked my entry into the driveway. A lot of sinister, bigger than life things happened that made it so special to me and the crew.
They surprised me with the nacho shirts I’m wearing, and everyone had these teardrop tattoos. It was very emotional for everyone. I knew the character meant a lot to them, but I didn’t know how much he meant to them until that point. So the crew was there with me, and it was a magical farewell.
After years of biting his tongue, Ignacio finally told the Salamancas family, as well as Jos, how he really felt about them. Did you serve up a variety of different flavors in the day? Or is taking all of them too consistent?
When the cameras were on her, the shots were very different. But since we had a day to think about it, I got a note from [writer-director] Gordon [Smith], and had me play it completely differently by the time the cameras turned around. At first I was resisting the note, but I finally got it. [Ignacio’s] The heart is weighed in front of the audience. It’s kinda weird because we know how everyone gets killed in this scene, without exception, and they’re all there to witness. [Ignacio’s] death.
It’s very clear that he’s walking towards his death, and the audience is also there to witness his death. I felt as if he was being tried, and to me, that trial was, “How deep is your father’s love?” That’s what I think he was being tried for. “How pure is your heart in terms of wanting to do right?” And for the first time he is not afraid of any of these people. He also puts his ego aside and is all too willing to tell the story that will save his father, no matter what anyone else thinks. Finally, his gesture was very brave. There is not an iota of regret, doubt or guesswork. So he was wholeheartedly committed to self-sacrifice.
Did you expect a result like this from the start?
When I first got that part, I wanted to pay homage to the new Mexican culture, and it was really important to play a character who wasn’t a stereotype of the brown-skinned bad guy. I remember wanting to go back to the history of the Aztecs and the Mayans. Then I watched a documentary that didn’t picture them in the best light. They said they believed in human sacrifice. They were making human sacrifices for the gods to bring down the rain, and it seemed very barbaric. Then I heard a Latin American historian tell the same story, but he left out a really important detail. The strongest men in the village competed in a sport watched by the whole community, and the winners were those who willingly sacrificed themselves for the gods to bring down the rain.
So their relationship to life, death and the afterlife was very, very different from our Western understanding and our fear of death. It wasn’t about your death, it’s about when you die and what you die for. So I thought it would be incredibly nice to start the episode with rain falling on this purple flower that also symbolizes enlightenment.
Some of my favourites The best of Saul on demand Scenes include Ignacio and Manuel Varga. Were you and Juan Carlos Canto present next to each other on that last devastating phone call?
I asked that no one be on either side of the call. I did not play this scene of Juan Carlos; rich [Sickler]AD, read these lines off-camera to me. And he did the same for Gus and Mike’s phone call. Juan Carlos wanted me to be there for his coverage, so I was happy to be there and support him for it. I thought Nacho’s character had gone through a lot, and no one really understood where he was. He also never wanted his father to really see what he was going through, so at that moment, I thought it would be perfect if Juan Carlos wasn’t there.
Well, thank you for the favourites Saul Michael’s character.
Honestly, your words made my day, and more than that, they make me so emotional. Character means a lot to me, and hearing you say that validates all the sacrifice and effort and fills me with gratitude.
Interview has been edited for length and clarity.
The best of Saul on demand It airs Monday on AMC.