What do we know about Gustavo Fring?
We know he makes chicken. We know he deals meth. We know he’s as meticulous as they come, and if you cross him, or are perceived as being a liability in any way, he’ll get rid of you in a second. Thanks to an excellent flashback and the beautiful acting of Giancarlo Esposito we know much more now.
It would seem as if the Chicken Man wasn’t always so ruthless*. Before the epic meeting with the Cartel (more on that later) he seemed to be a mild mannered guy, albeit a genius drug dealer. He always seems to be playing chess while everyone else is staring at a checker board. He’s the one who had the foresight to pay for his partner to go to school for chemical engineering. He knew crystal meth was going to the next “it” drug. He knew setting up the scholarship might eventually lead him to a chemist he could use, even if it was partly set up in earnest to honor his friend. He was going to let the Cartel have a large cut of the profits and even agreed to have his partner teach people of their choosing how to cook the drug. Then, the tipping point happened. His partner is dead and the cartel wants nothing to do with him. That’s the moment Gus transformed into the monster we see today. In fact, what he’s done in building this super lab and getting someone else to cook for him is exactly what he offered the Cartel in the flashback.
*He may have a more devious past in Chile that we’re not privy to yet, so I’m not going to speculate on that yet
That monster isn’t so different than our man Walter White. Both men were/are very loyal to their partners –I think Gus admires that quality in Walter and is one of the reasons Jesse is still alive. Walt says he and Jesse are a package deal, but what leverage does Walt really have if Gus decides to kill Jesse? When the Cartel leader tells Gus’ partner “If you’re the cook, why do I need him?” I thought of Walt. He’s turned himself into both the brains and the business, something Gus never could do. They’ve also each been pushed to the edge more times than they’d like to remember, plus they have to keep secrets and lies from so many different people. There’s a mutual respect there and learning more about Gus has helped to show that.
The situation with Hank may be a bigger problem than the Cartel for Gus. He has limited resources, but the thing he does have is time. Boredom and persistence can do a lot for a man. Like Mike said, if Hank keeps up his interest in Gus and the Cartel comes ‘aknockin at the same time that would be bad news for the Chicken Man. Taking out Hank would cause a stir as Walt mentions, but not if the DEA is in Gus’s pocket. Walt is going to do everything he can to prevent Hank from finding the truth about Gus — self preservation is his main goal — which I’m certain will lead to some uncomfortable scenes going forward.
All in all it was one of the more intense episodes of the season and a fantastic showcase for Giancarlo Esposito.
-The sheer delight Gus takes in coming to visit Hector in the nursing home and tauting him with updates is extremely creepy, but also one of the few times I’ve had empathy for Gus.
-Skyler is going to run out of room in that attic pretty soon…
-I’m glad we get to see what is on Gus’s laptop. Isn’t Hank going to notice someone took the tracker off of the Volvo?