AMC’s Breaking Bad has been widely regarded as one of the most successful and gripping television shows of the modern generation. The captivating series — centered around the erratic anti-hero Walter White — features a stellar lineup of characters who face an array of exigent obstacles. With any great series comes the dire need for a formidable villain that strikes an unexplainable terror in the hearts and minds of their adversaries. In Breaking Bad, Gus Fring is that exact villain figure.
Fring went to great lengths to protect his secretive drug empire, which included killing his devoted henchman Victor in episode one of season four. Victor served as an aide to Fring, even supervising Walt and Jesse in the meth lab during season three. Tension began to rise when Walt assumed that Fring would have him killed, and that Gale Boetticher, a trusted chemist, would eventually take over Walt’s job as the head of the lab. As a result, Walt organized a plan to kill Gale, but when Mike and Victor ambushed Walt in the laundromat, Jesse was forced to kill Gale instead. When Victor arrived at Gale’s apartment with the intent to stop Jesse, he was too late, and Gale was left lying in a pool of blood with a gunshot wound.
In the season four opening episode, “Box Cutter,” Walt and Jesse are forced to wait in the meth lab until Gus arrives. During the wait, Walter frantically insists that they need to start cooking to keep on time with their schedule. To prove that he’s studied Walt’s recipe, Victor proceeds to cook a batch of his own. When Gus arrives, Victor is immensely proud of himself, while Walt appears visibly worried. Before Walt can finish his sentence, Gus grabs Victor and brutally slits his throat with a box cutter, resulting in one of the most shocking moments in the history of the show.
So why did Gus decide to kill Victor?
In the simplest of terms, Gus killed Victor to effectively send a warning message to Walt and Jesse. By that time, Walt and Jesse were in turmoil with Gus, and Gus basically proved that nobody is safe with him by killing Victor, a valuable figure in his empire, without a second thought. Some fans argue that perhaps Gus might’ve thought twice before killing Victor if he was aware that Victor knew Walt’s cooking method incredibly well, though chances are Gus already had knowledge and still killed him anyway.
Gus might have also killed Victor because neighbors at Gale’s apartment saw Victor there. When the cops came around to investigate the murder, the neighbors would have certainly described Victor’s appearance, which inadvertently caused a serious threat to Gus’ entire operation. Moreover, when Gus went to the police station for an interview with Hank Schrader, who was beginning to suspect Gus’ true intentions, Gus saw a sketched image of Victor. In the end, Gus knew that Victor’s actions had caused too much turmoil around the death of Gale.