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Breaking Bad Wiki

"Rock and Hard Place" is the third episode of the sixth season of Better Call Saul and the fifty-third episode of the series altogether.




In the desert, a close panning shot closely examines the natural foliage. There is a focus on a blue flower as it begins to rain. Tracking to the ground, broken plastic zip-ties and a piece of glass are half-buried in the dirt as they are pelted by rainwater.

Act I[]

After the shootout at the motel, Nacho is forced to pull over when his damaged pickup breaks down. He notices an abandoned tanker trailer nearby and hides inside. Through a corroded hole, he sees the Cousins and Cartel gunmen park behind the pickup and begin searching the area. When Leonel approaches, Nacho submerges himself in a pool of oil at one end of the trailer. Leonel pokes his head in the trailer but does not see Nacho. Once he leaves, Nacho emerges from the pool and sees the Cartel party driving away. He waits until after dark before climbing out of the trailer. He finds his cell phone dead and runs away from the scene.

The following morning, Nacho washes himself with a hose outside of an auto repair shop. A mechanic offers him a rag with which to clean himself, which he accepts. Using a phone in the garage, he calls his father Manuel at his upholstery business in Albuquerque. Nacho struggles to contain his emotions as he talks to his father, telling him that he wanted to check in and hear his voice. Manuel senses that something is wrong and urges his son to surrender to the police. The two say goodbye. Afterwards, Nacho cries.

After collecting himself, Nacho places his second call to Mike, who is being held at gunpoint by Tyrus at the Los Pollos Hermanos chicken farm. Nacho calls out Mike for knowingly sending him on a suicide mission to Mexico, but Mike replies that it was not his call. Nacho demands to speak with Gus. Knowing that the only way that Gus survives is if Nacho dies, he agrees to let it happen on one condition: that his father remains safe. Gus and Mike give Nacho their assurances, with Mike pledging that anyone who tries to go after Manuel "will have to come through me." Satisfied, Nacho departs from the auto repair shop and leaves behind his money for the mechanic in gratitude.

Act II[]

At Kim's apartment, Jimmy is overlooking an arrangement of post-it notes attached to the back of a picture frame, each detailing a different detail of his and Kim's ongoing scam against Howard. Their next phase involves finding a car of the same make and model as Howard's Jaguar. Kim suggests somehow commandeering the real Jaguar, but Jimmy is initially skeptical as the idea carries too many risks. However, he comes up with a way that the car could be procured: through a "valet scam" using Huell as a covert operative. Exhilarated by the scheming, Kim pulls Jimmy in for a passionate kiss.

The following day, at the courthouse, ADA Suzanne Ericsen shows Kim the arrest report for "Jorge de Guzman", a.k.a. Lalo Salamanca, a Mexican drug kingpin who secured a $7 million bail with Jimmy's help, fled back to Mexico, and apparently died in a gunfight. Mentioning his past associations with Nacho Varga and Tuco Salamanca, Ericsen outlines ADA Gina Khalil's suspicion that Jimmy knew Lalo's true identity and is working as a "cartel lawyer." Ericsen believes that Jimmy was deceived into representing Lalo, which would nullify their attorney-client privilege and allow her to question him. Kim pointedly refers to Jimmy as "Saul" and recalls how Ericsen once referred to him as a "scumbag". Ericsen states that, while they had their differences in the past, she still believes that Jimmy wants to do what is right.


Meanwhile, at the chicken farm, Mike recovers Nacho from a hidden compartment in the back of a Los Pollos Hermanos truck. After he is given a meal and a change of clothes, Nacho asks, "When?" "Tomorrow," Mike replies. The two are approached by Victor, who says that Gus thinks that Nacho is "too pretty". Victor suggests that he take care of Nacho—meaning to beat him up—but Mike insists that he will handle it himself and tells Victor to leave. Mike retrieves a bottle of whiskey and two glasses from a nearby locker and shares a solemn drink with Nacho.

Act III[]

At the Forque Kitchen and Bar, Howard hands his Jaguar to a valet driver named Tony, who drives it to a nearby parking garage. As Tony runs back to the restaurant he bumps into Huell, who manages to pickpocket Howard's keys. Huell and Klitch, a criminal lockpick, then make a duplicate set of keys in the back of a van, operating within a very short timeframe before Tony realizes the keys are missing and returns; the original keys are left beneath the Jaguar for Tony to find. At the top level of the parking garage, in Jimmy's car, Huell shows him an electronic device attached to the duplicate keys that can remotely unlock the Jaguar. Huell asks why Jimmy and Kim, being "legit lawyers," are going through the trouble of this scheme. Jimmy tells him that what they are doing will help people down the road. Huell expresses skepticism and leaves.

That night, Jimmy returns home to find Kim, who is uneasy from her conversation with Ericsen. Kim tells Jimmy that Lalo is dead; Jimmy is relieved. She also tells him that with Lalo dead, the attorney-client privilege is nullified, and that Ericsen wants to talk about what Jimmy knows about Lalo. Conflicted, Jimmy asks what he should do. Kim replies that he can do whatever he wants since Ericsen is simply engaging in a fishing expedition, but says that his next move boils down to one question: "Do you want to be a friend of the Cartel, or do you want to be a rat?"

Meanwhile, Gus drives to the chicken farm and enters the office trailer, where Mike and Nacho are waiting. Nacho's face has been bloodied by Mike as part of the setup the three men have arranged: Nacho is to tell Juan Bolsa that he was working for a Peruvian cartel in the plot against Lalo and then stage an escape attempt, at which point he will be shot by Victor as he is running away. Mike assures him that "it will be over quick." Outside the trailer, Mike asks that he be present when Nacho is killed, saying that he is needed in case the plan goes south. Gus reluctantly nods his approval. Inside the trailer, Nacho notices something reflective in the trash can.

Act IV[]

Nacho is transported in the back of a windowless van with Mike and Tyrus, while Gus and Victor are in the front cab. Mike is left at a ridge near the planned meeting spot, where he will monitor the situation from a sniper's nest. At the meeting spot–a small, remote shack–Bolsa, the Cousins, and Hector are waiting for Gus's party to arrive. Nacho is presented before Bolsa, who offers him the options of a "good death," that will come quickly, or a "bad death." He tells him that he will have a "good death" if he tells them who put him up to betraying Lalo. Nacho contemplates betraying Gus but ultimately sticks to the story, saying that he was on the payroll of the Peruvians and that Gus had nothing to do with the plot. Hector, knowing the truth, angrily rings his bell and lamely points at Gus.

Nacho launches into a vicious tirade against the Salamancas, stating that he despises every one of them. He confesses to causing Hector's stroke by switching his pills, saying that he hopes Hector will think of him for the rest of his life as he wastes away in his nursing home. Having cut through his zip ties with a piece of glass—the same glass seen in the teaser—Nacho stabs Bolsa in the leg before stealing his gun and taking him hostage. Gus and Hector's men both train their weapons on Nacho. Mike, watching the standoff through his sniper scope, quietly whispers, "Do it." Deciding to die on his own terms, Nacho points the gun at his own head and pulls the trigger. Gus and his men drive away while an enraged Hector, held up in his wheelchair by the Cousins, impotently fires Marco's gun into Nacho's lifeless body. Mike, moved from witnessing Nacho's last stand, leaves the scene.

Official Photos[]


BCS 603 Promo Poster

Episode Poster

  • Nacho Varga is the second main character to die. Like Chuck McGill, he also died by suicide.
    • Nacho commits suicide after placing the blame for the assassination attempt on Lalo on a rival cartel from Peru, and confessing to his attempted murder of Hector Salamanca that had led to his stroke.
    • On Michael Mando's final day of shooting, the crew wore shirts depicting Nacho and drew teardrops on their faces, similar to the tattoos prison inmates get after dealing with some form of death. A similar act was done on the set of Breaking Bad, with the crew wearing black armbands during the filming of Jonathan Banks' last scene.
  • The episode is the second to not use the traditional end credit theme composed by Dave Porter, opting to use another dramatic piece of music by him to accompany the somber tone of the ending. The first episode to use this device was "Lantern", which also followed the death of a main character (Chuck).
  • The valet tag number on Howard’s car is 618; which corresponds to June 18, the same day Jimmy/Kim decided early in the episode when their scheme must go down by.
  • Nacho appeared in the series for a total of 33 episodes, which corresponds to his age when he dies.
  • Michael Mando called Nacho's death scene "ominous... these are all dead men walking, watching the first man die", referring to the fact that each of the other characters who appeared in the scene (Gus, Tyrus, Victor, Hector, Leonel and Marco Salamanca, Bolsa, and Mike) would all eventually meet their own fates on Breaking Bad.
  • Suzanne Ericsen states that Fred Whalen was 22 even though his driver's license gave his age as 26.
  • The intro of the episode is a flash-forward: the flower is growing in the place where Nacho died with some fans taking this with a poetic meaning that the desert is mourning Nacho's death, the piece of glass being the one he used to wound Bolsa and take his gun, before killing himself.
  • In the shot where Mike is dropped off from the van in the desert, a person dressed in blue can be seen moving in the bushes near the top-left corner of the screen. It is unknown who this person is.
  • The place where Mike sets up with his sniper rifle is the exact same spot that he had tried to kill Hector in in "Klick".



Featured Music[]

  • "Piano Concerto No. 5" by Beethoven

Memorable Quotes[]

Manuel: "A-to-Z Fine Upholstery. Hello?"
Nacho: "Dad. It's me."
Manuel: "Nacho?"
Nacho: "Si, Papa. Hola."
Manuel: "Hola, hijo. How are you?"
Nacho: "Good, good. Um... just wanted to hear your voice."
Manuel: "Nacho, where are you? You sound strange."
Nacho: "It's not important.... I was just checking in, that's all."
Manuel: "Okay. Hijo, I have lots of work to do. We've been through this, so many times. You know what you have to do... go to the police."
Nacho: "Yes, Papa. I understand... I hear you."
Manuel: "What else is there to say? Hmm? Goodbye, hijo."
Nacho: "Goodbye, Papa."
―Nacho calling his father for the last time, while on the run

Huell: "Can I ask you sum'n?"
Jimmy: "Sure, go ahead."
Huell: "Personal, kind of."
Jimmy: "Okay. What?"
Huell: "You're a lawyer. You make good money, right?"
Jimmy: "Good days and bad, but yeah."
Huell: "Legit money, on the level."
Jimmy: "Yeah, so?"
Huell: "Your wife's a lawyer. A legit lawyer."
Jimmy: "Yeah."
Huell: "Why you do all this?"
Jimmy: "Oh, I got you. I–I know from the outside that this looks like just another scam, but you're not seeing the bigger picture. Couple months from now, there are people whose lives are gonna be way better. Because of this. We're making a real difference. Trust me. We're doing the Lord's work here."
Huell: "Hmph. If you say so."
―Jimmy and Huell's conversation as they sit in a car after duplicating the keys to Howard's Jaguar

"Him? You think the... Chicken Man? What a joke. Alvarez has been paying me for years -- years. But you know what? I would've done it for free, because I hate every last one of you psycho sacks of shit. I opened Lalo's gate. And I would do it again. And I'm glad what they did to him. He's a soulless pig. And I wish I'd killed him with my own hands. And you know what else, Hector? I put you in that chair. Oh, yeah. Your heart meds? I switched them for sugar pills. You were dead and buried, and I had to watch this asshole bring you back. So when you are sitting in your shitty nursing home, and you're suckin' down on your Jell-O night after night for the rest of your life, you think of me, you twisted fuck!"
―Nacho's confession before his suicide.