Last week, I noted that Gus was erected in a very different light. He slipped from the high, polished, and assured pedestal we invariably find him on, almost humanizing him in the process. His plan, carefully calculated, was not accepted by the Cartel. It raised a ton of questions: Why is Gus trying to buy off the Cartel? And on top of that, what is his problem with the Cartel anyways? This episode is all about Gus, and it posits a whole slew of new questions, but also answers many as well. This episode of Breaking Bad was a doozy.
The episode starts with a flashback, where Walt and Gus meet face to face at the hospital right after Hank’s shooting. It reintroduces us to the twins, the deadly pair that almost ended Hank. We soon learn that the mysterious call that came before the attack (which was essentially left unanswered until this episode) was placed by Gus himself. He admits this to Tio, that old fart with the bell, and you can see Tio grimace and writhe in rage. Still though, why would he want to have these twins offed?
In one of the season’s strongest moments, we flash back to Gus’ past and his first tenuous, intimidating meeting with the Cartel leader Don Eladio. Gus is sporting a fuller head of hair. He smiles, even. He doesn’t exude the calm cool that is so characteristic of the present-day Gus. He’s young and new to this industry, and it shows.
Gus’ brother (or Hermano, if you will) is there with him, too, as is a much younger and fuller Tio. Tio and the Don listen to Gus’ proposal, which is to introduce high-grade meth into the market. It sounds great on paper as it’s easier to produce and more addictive, promising lucrative returns. Gus will “mastermind” the leg of the market and handle the business, while his Hermano will cook the drugs, putting his biochem degree to good use. Gus makes it alright, but not before witnessing the brutal murder of his brother at the hands of a cutthroat, ruthless Tio.
The scene is shot in a very Breaking Bad style, fraught with shocking images juxtaposed to an ambient, almost shrill soundtrack. It was one of the most frightening moments of the season, seared into my mind’s eye. We truly see Gus at his most vulnerable, and we completely understand his motivations for killing the twins. Wow, is all I can say.
The episode begins with an equally strong moment, though not as shocking. When Gus is brought in for questioning regarding his fingerprints at the scene of Gale’s murder, he has a refined and flawless alibi. Hank continues to pry through Gus, but Gus has foreseen almost every move Hank makes. When he gets in the elevator, we see his hand tremble ever so slightly, despite his steely façade. Does this spell the beginning of the end for Gus?
Meanwhile, Hank continues his search for the truth by employing a visibly distraught Walt to place a GPS tracker on Gus’ car. He must do it, of course, so as to not break his cover. A small scene in the restaurant, where Walt finally comes face to face with Gus and admits what he is done, is perfectly rendered. Walt has been waiting for this moment for the entire season, and instead of using it to make a move against Gus, he apologizes. It must be seen.
This is a strong episode all around, and it has Season 4 in full swing. Things are getting crazier, and I cannot wait to see where the creators will take us with the last couple episodes.