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|“||La familia es todo (Family is all).||„|
|~ Hector's lesson to his nephews.|
Don Hector "Tio" Salamanca is a major antagonist in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, serving as the secondary antagonist of the first half of Season 2 as well as Season 3's first half, and a redeemed character in Season 4 of Breaking Bad, and one of the two main antagonists of Season 2 and 3, and a minor character in Season 4 of Better Call Saul. He was the former right-hand man and enforcer of Don Eladio. He is rendered invalid due to an incident involving pills spiked by Nacho Varga in 2003.
He was portrayed by Mark Margolis, who also portrayed Antonio Nappa in Oz.
He is identified by the DEA as Hector Salamanca of the Juarez Cartel. They know that he is an ex-con and an uncle to Tuco, but they think he hasn't been a major player in the business for years. Evidently, Hector became a ward of the State of New Mexico after Tuco was killed by Hank, at which point he was discovered sitting inside his "fine crib in the country" unable to communicate verbally. Tio also mentored Marco and Leonel, and he has aged before his years and is always confined to his wheelchair and oxygen tank. He never speaks a syllable, using only a brass service bell taped onto his wheelchair armrest to communicate. Generally, one bell means 'yes', zero bells means 'no', but sometimes Hector is able to get his message across with a flurry of bell rings and the expression on his face. It is apparent, based on his facial ticks, that he has tardive dyskinesia, which can be a result of heavy or prolonged antipsychotic use (sometimes used as a sedative); he has not yet developed this condition by the time he is introduced in Season 2.
Despite his infirmity, he was a high-ranking member of the Juárez Cartel and was referred to as "Don Salamanca" by contemporary cartel leaders like Juan Bolsa. He was and is the most feared of the Dons and was the patriarch of the Salamanca family. When his nephews were children, he taught them brutal life lessons such as "family is all" by nearly drowning Marco until Leonel punched him in the face.
However, as his remaining male family members all predeceased him, it appears that the Salamanca name died along with him.
A flashback revealed that he was working for Don Eladio at the time Gus Fring made an overture toward the cartel. At the time, he disparaged young Gus as "the Chicken Man" and a "dirty South American." He executed Gus's partner in front of him, earning Gus's instant hatred. Gus regularly returned to Tio's nursing home to taunt him with news of his progress in eliminating the cartel.
Better Call Saul
Hector meets Mike Ehrmantraut at a diner, after Tuco assaulted Mike and was arrested. Hector tries to bribe Mike into lying to the police that the gun that Tuco dropped was Mike’s. This so that Tico would receive a shorter prison time. When Mike says no, Hector sends Marco and Leonel to threaten his granddaughter Kaylee. After that, Mike agrees to the offer but demands a higher amount of money, to which Hector agrees with.
Mike attempts several times to have Hector assassinated but is stopped by Gus, who thinks a bullet in the head would be ”to humane”.
Mike robs one of Hector’s trucks containing around $80 000. When Hector arrives to the scene he has a samarite killed for no apparent reason. When Mike finds out that Hector killed an innocent person because of him, Mike plans to assassinate Hector, but is stopped by Gus, who tells Mike that "a bullet in [Hector's] head would be far too humane".
Hector wants a new front for transporting his drugs after confronting Gus for not having enough space in his Los Pollos trucks, so he asks Nacho Varga to talk to his father Manuel about letting Hector own his car upholstery shop to transport his drugs via the distributors trucks. Nacho asks Hector to leave his father out of the business as he is an ordinary man and does not want him to get involved with any criminal activities. But Hector asks him to do it anyway.
After visiting Manuel’s shop and being told to get out. He tells Nacho that he doesn’t trust his father, making Nacho desperate to have Hector killed. Nacho replaces Hectors heart medication pills with ibuprofen that has no effect.
When Hector is met by Juan Bolsa and Gus who tries to explain that the Cartel will only be transporting their products via the Los Pollos trucks and not by Hector's new way, Hector gets mad for thinking that the Cartel starts to loose respect for him and his family. This causes him to suffer from a heart attack, leaving him crippled.
After crossing the border into New Mexico, the Cousins seek out their Tio in his Albuquerque-area nursing home. Familiar with the routine, the cousins procure a Ouija board from a pile of board games and Hector uses his bell to spell out the letters of the real name of the meth cook the cartel knows only as Heisenberg, the man that killed their cousin Tuco. The Cousins move to Walt's house to execute him immediately, but are called off by a last second text message: "Pollos"
Following this incident, Bolsa arranges a meeting between Gus, Hector, the Cousins and himself. Juan is clearly uncomfortable in the same room with Hector and his family, and it is only due to Hector's ill health that he agreed to mediate. He explains to Gus that Don Salamanca saw Tuco as a son and groomed him to take his place in the organization, and that Walt's betrayal of Tuco has earned him a death sentence sanctioned by the Salamanca family and the Cartel—an assertion Hector emphasizes with one ring of his bell. When Gus says that he needs Walt alive for the time being, Hector angrily rings his bell many times.
In Mexico, Gus murders all the major members of the cartel with poisoned tequila. After returning to New Mexico, Gus takes Jesse to meet Hector so they can tell him what has taken place: Don Eladio and all the others are dead. Gus also tells him that Jesse killed Joaquin, Hector's grandson and the last remaining male member of the Salamanca family. Gus dangles Don Eladio's amulet necklace in Hector's face and says "look at me!" When Hector refuses, Gus places the necklace into the last Don's shirt pocket.
In the final episode, Walter convinces Hector to aid him in assassinating Gus. Hector demands to talk to the DEA, but provides them no info. However, the fact that Hector visited the DEA at all prompts a visit from Gus and his henchman, Tyrus, to Hector's room at the nursing home. Gus is about to inject Hector with a lethal medication when Hector finally looks at Gus and rings his bell repeatedly, triggering the explosion of the pipe bomb attached to his wheelchair, killing all in the room including himself. Gus steps out of the room, seemingly unharmed, and adjusts his tie. The camera pans, and it is revealed that Gus' face was blown in half, and he finally dies.
- Max Arciniega (Shot in the head on Don Eladio's orders)
- Gus Fring (Blown up in revenge for the death of his family and friends)
- Tyrus Kitt (Blown up)
- He was originally supposed to be the main antagonist of Season 3.
- He eventually becomes one of the two main antagonists of Better Call Saul Season 2 and Season 3.