Who Is Alvarez on 'Better Call Saul' Season 6, Episode 3?

Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad require fans to remember dozens of characters, but many of them are drawing a blank trying to remember a character named Alvarez.

The AMC and Netflix show's latest episode (spoilers ahead) saw Nacho (played by Michael Mando) take his own life – and Alvarez is central to the character's death. In Better Call Saul Season 6, Episode 3 (titled "Rock and Hard Place), Nacho persuades Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) to help him return to the U.S. from Mexico.

Gus then tells Nacho that he has to confess to the Salamancas that he was on the payroll of Alvarez, who was the one who made Nacho swap out Hector's (Mark Margolis) heart medication.

Alvarez doesn't seem to be a character from Breaking Bad, so many fans were left wondering exactly who the character was – or, indeed, if he existed at all.

Who Is Alvarez on Better Call Saul?

Per Gus Fring, Alvarez is the head of a Peruvian cartel that is trying to step onto the Salamancas' turf. According to this explanation of things, Alvarez persuaded Nacho to turn years ago, explaining his actions in trying to bring down the cartel, from swapping the medication to letting Gus' men into Lalo's (Tony Dalton) house.

As Nacho himself said in his final speech, after being accused of working for Fring: "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."

Alvarez is not a character who has been mentioned before on either Better Call Saul or Breaking Bad, so there are two ways to look at his mention here. Either he is a character who will be revealed in Season 6 as a mastermind who has been secretly pulling strings through the show so far, or he does not exist at all.

Many recappers and critics have read it as the latter. Newsweek's own recap of Nacho's death, for example, read Nacho's mention of Alvarez as a "false confession."

Per this reading of the situation, Gus agrees to help Nacho for two reasons – because it is a way of getting rid of Nacho and everything he knows, and because it is a way of throwing suspicion off of him. Gus aims to throw the Salamancas off the scent by sending them looking for a person who doesn't exist. Even is Alvarez does exist, this reading still holds – Gus seems to be hoping the two crime families are too busy locked in a war with each other to notice what he is doing.

The AV Club's recap follows the same line of reasoning. It writes: "Who is Alvarez? Theory: What if there is no Alvarez? After all, if Nacho gave Bolsa the name of a real person, that person would be dead. And if Bolsa admitted there was an enemy so dangerous, yet he didn't even know his name, he would rise to the top of Don Eladio's hit list."

This review also disputes the reading that Alvarez might be a character the Better Call Saul writers will introduce in the coming episodes, writing: "It would be completely unlike the BCS writers to throw a deus ex machina character into the mix, ever."

Better Call Saul Season 6 airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC, and Tuesdays from 3 a.m. ET on Netflix internationally.

who is alvarez better call saul
Michael Mando as Nacho on "Better Call Saul." Season 6, Episode 3 of the AMC show saw the character say he has been working for a man called Alvarez. AMC