The Televangelist: ‘Breaking Bad’ Season 4, Episode 8

Gus may regret sparing both Hank and Walt in the past, but will they both be so lucky a second time? As Gus says to Hector, “is today the day?”


  • “Oh my heavens! I wonder if Target sells closet rods strong enough to hold hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash?”

As I mentioned last week, four forces are marching towards each other for either an incredible bloodbath or some uneasy alliances to prevent it. That is not to say that all will survive. And even more fascinating is the issue of whom will ally with whom. Walt’s fortunes are of course intertwined with Hank’s, but they are also inextricably linked to Gus, much in the same way that Gus is in between the cartel and the DEA (or rather Hank acting alone). Walt, when compared to that, is the least of Gus’ problems. Gus may regret sparing both Hank and Walt in the past, but will they both be so lucky a second time? As Gus says to Hector, “is today the day?”

?Gustavo is such a welcomed and fascinating character (after suffering through the likes of Tuco, Walt has graduated to the big leagues now). He is at once professional and charming as well as frightening and ice cold in his calculations. This week’s flashback took us to two times Gus and the never-dying Hector met in the past, and fueled our understanding of both sides of Gus. On the one hand, we see him young and nervous in Mexico with a man, Max his partner, with whom he is as close as a brother (Hector comments, “Dark meat? White meat? Don’t look like brothers to me.” Later Max confirms that the two only “feel” like brothers). Seeing Max’s sudden murder by Hector and Gus’ emotional reaction to it reveals to us many things. For one, Gus has transformed greatly from the man we meet by the pool. Two, Gus has a long grudge history with the Mexican cartel - I imagine he likely hunted down and killed every person there that day, Kill Bill style (saving Hector for special torment). Additionally, it prompted Gus’ immigration to the United States whereupon he set up his own cartel, and continued the tradition of paying for the education of gifted chemists whom he could trust to run his meth labs. Gale was one of these chemists, which we find out through Gus’ interrogation. Even though Gus warped certain edges and facts of their partnership, we learned a lot about Gus’ “program.” It also illustrates just how far out of his comfort zone he had to feel taking Walt in - Walt, an unknown; Walt, a volatile personality. Do I now believe that Gus truly did seek a fruitful partnership with Walt in a way like he had with Max? I do. I remember back when we first met Gus; he and Walt seemed like odd mirror images of each other - these balding, unassuming older men with glasses who wanted to remain cooly professional. Jesse was the first kink in this arrangement, but Walt and Gus both in turn retaliated against one another in ways that lead to their ultimate break and continued uneasy alliance. It also makes sense, however, that Gus would listen to Walt and spare Jesse — did it harken back to his partnership with Max? In the preview for next week we see Jesse screaming that “if you’re going to kill Mr. White, you’re going to have to kill me!” It surprised me a bit, given what a complete asshole Walt has been to Jesse, even moreso of late. Jesse also seemed to have turned towards Gus and Mike’s side, particularly when we discovered that Jesse did have a meeting with them that night despite telling Walt otherwise. Is Jesse’s house bugged, or did the incident earlier that afternoon cause Gus to want to distance himself from both of them? At the end of the day, Walt and Jesse do need each other (this season showed how much Walt, in particular, needs Jesse). That bond of partnership has been a driving force of this series in many different incarnations, and the way it wraps up with Gus and his past has proved riveting storytelling.