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|“||We've waited long enough. We won't wait any longer.||„|
|~ Marco to Gustavo Fring after being denied the assassination of Walter White.|
|“||No. Too easy.||„|
|~ Marco's last words as he changes his mind on how to kill Hank Schrader.|
Marco and Leonel Salamanca, commonly known as the Cousins, are major antagonists in the TV series Breaking Bad and supporting antagonists in the prequel series Better Call Saul. In Breaking Bad, they are the main antagonists of the first half of Season 3 and posthumous antagonists for the rest of the series. In Better Call Saul, they are minor antagonists in Seasons 2 and 5, and supporting antagonists in Season 4.
They were twin brothers and hitmen for the Juárez Cartel, a Mexican drug cartel. Despite an austere, mechanical physicality and virtually non-verbal interaction, they were a fearsome presence who killed without hesitation or emotion.
They were portrayed by Luis and Daniel Moncada, who are brothers (though not twins) in real life as well. Luis Moncada has also portrayed Julio Benes in Dexter.
Better Call Saul
After Mike Ehrmantraut gets their cousin, Tuco Salamanca arrested, their uncle, Hector Salamanca, tries to get Mike to decrease his jail sentence. When Mike refuses, Hector sends the Cousins to threaten Mike. As Mike is watching his grand daughter, Kaylee at the motel pool, the two brothers appear on a rooftop adjacent to it, and one of them makes a gun signal at Kaylee, threatening to kill her if Mike doesn't comply. Mike agrees to get Tuco's jail time reduced, but nevertheless plans revenge on Hector for threatening to kill his family. After Mike sabotages one of their truck drivers' trips to the US to get the drugs transported, Hector has them kill the driver in the dessert.
Unbeknownst to the cousins, one of Hector's men, Nacho Varga, plans to get Hector to have a heart attack for his attempt to buy his father's store. Once he succeeds, Gus Fring finds out it was him and kills his partner, Arturo, threatening to expose his actions to the Salamancas if he doesn't do what he tells him to do. After Gus has Nacho taken to a dessert and shot in the shoulder to make it look like Arturo was shot to death by an unknown assailant, the cousins pick Nacho up and take him to a doctor. Nacho lies and tells them it was the Espinosa Gang-later taking them to the gang's headquarter to identify the "shooters", which results in the cousins killing the whole gang itself. The brothers travel back to Mexico afterwards.
In their first appearance, it is shown that they plan on killing the renowned meth cook Heisenberg (aka Walter White), as revenge for betraying and causing the death of their cousin, Tuco Salamanca. Throughout the next few episodes, they are shown preparing to take down Walter by attempting to discover his location, so that they can carry out their revenge. After the cartel is betrayed by one of their men, Tortuga (who serves as an informant for the DEA), one of their bosses, Juan Bolsa, has them decapitate the man and put his head on a tortoise. They had implanted a bomb inside which would eventually explode in front of the DEA in the dessert, killing one and injuring three others.
At one point, they finally discover where Walter lives and prepare to kill him before being asked to stop on their boss's orders. Soon after, they arrange a meeting with Walter's boss, Gustavo Fring, in order to receive his permission to kill his cook. Unfortunately for them, Walter is too valuable to Fring, but he gives them permission to kill Hank Schrader (Tuco's direct killer) as compensation. They then track down Hank to a parking lot and proceed to carry out the hit, but due to a forewarning from Fring, Hank gains the surprise upper hand and manages to kill Marco (mostly due to his stupidity for not shooting Hank when he has the chance since he prefers chopping Hank with an axe rather than shooting him) and severely injure Leonel. After the attack, Leonel is finished off by Gus's goon, Mike Ehrmantraut, and their boss, Juan Bolsa, is killed thanks to manipulation on the part of Gus.
After their deaths, it is revealed late in the fourth season that Gus betrayed the two in order to exact revenge on their uncle, Hector Salamanca, for the death of his friend, Max, whom Hector had killed years ago. Gus then proceeds to torture Hector about the deaths of Tuco, Marco, Leonel, and Joaquin (Hector's grandson who was killed by Jesse Pinkman) in order to complete his revenge against him and the cartel.
Leonel and Marco Salamanca were raised on the importance of the family being all by their uncle, Hector and anyone who crossed them deserved to die. This life lesson which was taught to them as children acted as fuel for their revenge against Walter White, then later Hank Schrader who killed their cousin, Tuco. As hitman for the cartel, the Cousins are hardly fazed by any of the atrocious acts they are ordered to do, they remain calm, stoic, emotionless, apathetic and ruthless even in dangerous situations. They have a mechanical, almost synchronized connection and rarely speak, only when it is needed.
Unlike Tuco, who took care of his grandmother and uncle, and Hector, who was saddened after hearing his family was wiped out, the Cousins showed genuine care towards themselves and themselves only, with their hunt to avenge Tuco never being painted in a sympathetic or genuine light, as well as never taking care of Hector. Instead, it's painted as a fanatical, cult-like devotion, with their hunt for Walter, later Hank, being meant to preserve honor. However, as mentioned beforehand, they did genuinely care about each other, with Leonel saving Marco from being drowned when they were children, and Marco returning the favor years later, checking up on Leonel after his legs have been crushed by Hank's car, giving up his hunt for him for a few seconds.
Better Call Saul
- Ximenez Lecerda - Shot to death by Marco and Leonel Salamanca orchestrated by Mike Ehrmantraut.
- 25 Espinosa Gang Members - Shot by Marco and Leonel Salamanca.
- Total - 26
- Tortuga - Decapitated by Marco Salamanca with a machete, on Juan Bolsa's orders.
- Unnamed Federal Agent - Blown up with a bomb set up by Marco and Leonel.
- "Olive Oil" - Shot by Marco and Leonel Salamanca.
- Nine Other Passengers - Shot by Marco and Leonel Salamanca.
- Coyote Driver - Shot in the back, then shot in the head by Leonel Salamanca.
- Mrs. Peyketewa - Body found after being killed by Marco and Leonel Salamanca.
- Deputy Bobby Kee - Struck in the back by Marco Salamanca with an axe.
- Unnamed Man - Shot in the chest by Marco Salamanca.
- Total - 16
- Total - 42
- Marco - 41
- Leonel - 39