Breaking Bad

Episode Report Card
Joe R: A- | 6 USERS: A+

Eladio asks about Max's chemistry training; Max says Gus paid for him to go to the University of Santiago (hmmm -- again, putting that in my pocket). Max again pitches that they would set up labs and train Eladio's men for manufacture of methamphetamine. Now Eladio is impatient. He's like yeah, yeah, yeah, but once again, if you're the cook, what do I need Gus for? "Why should I negotiate with someone who doesn't respect me? Who does business under my nose and manipulates me into a meeting." He is displeased. Gus knows he's in the water with a shark, and he's bleeding. He apologizes, promises that he meant no insult. He's shaking. He's scared. Max is scared too and begins begging on Gus's behalf. He's the most honorable man he's ever known, he rescued him from the slums of Santiago, and he made him the man he is today. "He is my partner." BANG. Both at once. Those words pretty much unlocked all the "Hmmm" I'd been building up. They're partners. Hermanos. Closer than brothers. But we don't get more than a second to even make those connections because remember the BANG? That's Hector blowing Max's brains out. Gus is splattered with blood that sprays from Max's head, speechless with horror. He charges Hector, but Juan Bolsa holds him back, then wrestles him to the ground where he now faces Max's lifeless face. "Look at him," Hector says, his foot on Gus's neck. "You did this to him." Now Don Eladio steps forward. "The only reason you are alive and he is not is because I know who you are. But you're not in Chile anymore." Okay, this Chile stuff is gonna be good. Gus is crying as he watches the blood drain from Max's head into the pool. Hector tells him to stick to chicken.

So the debate this week has been whether this episode "explains" Gus, and whether or not that's a good thing. Is it an explanation, though? Or just a demystification? There's a difference. On this show that takes every opportunity to pull the rug of mystique out from under Walter -- its erstwhile Scarface -- when we constantly see the whimpering, petty, domestic truths behind Walt pretty much every week, does it really service the show to have such an opaque and omnipotent villain in Gus? It did, for a while. But I'm glad that badass Gus Fring didn't get to stay uncomplicated for too long. And honestly, we're still swapping one bag of secrets for another. We'll probably find out about Chile soon enough, but I'm not sure that will paint the whole of Gus either. But I'm glad we know more about him. And don't think that The Great and Vaguely Alluded to Love of Gus and Max doesn't immediately make me an even bigger Gus Fring fan.

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Breaking Bad




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