Breaking Bad: Hermanos   Rewatch 
December 20, 2014 7:38 PM - Season 4, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Skyler develops an unusual solution to her money troubles. Hank enlists Walt to investigate a theory. Walt’s impatience with Jesse grows.

"I'm sure if you keep digging you'll find me."

James Poniewozik, TIME:
Part of Gus’ power and menace has come from his suave placidity—and from how Esposito has managed to lace that unflappable calm with just the slightest hint of efficient murderousness. We know that Gus is a vicious man in a vicious business people by hotheads; but his ability to maintain a facade of sphinxlike efficiency at all times–and the intelligence and strength of will all that implies–makes him twice as terrifying as someone who flies off the handle. If the other drug thugs we’ve seen in Breaking Bad are like animals, Gus is like an alien, more fearsome for the near-impenetrability of his emotions, and the enigma of his origins.
Giancarlo Esposito was nominated for the 2012 Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his performance in this episode; losing to Aaron Paul for his performance in the episode End Times.

Here's Esposito interviewed by Entertainment Weekly on playing that scene:
The day I shot it, I was feeling very vulnerable, being out of that place of power that Gus so emits — a very quiet, graceful, powerful energy. I had to be more energetic as that younger Gus, but also someone who is much more innocent and hadn’t experienced life that our older Gus has. I was thrown off by that and thrown off by the fact that I had to be in a more vulnerable and weaker position, compared to Don Eladio and the other actors in the scene. And it was wonderful to have that feeling as an actor. It wasn’t so great for me as Gus, but I realize I was in the right place when I walked away and I almost broke into tears. And that was the right feeling for Gus to have in that moment.
"Maybe next time."
posted by We had a deal, Kyle (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Your chicken... so zesty... so flavorful.

We Mexicans like a bit more punch, eh?
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:44 PM on December 20, 2014

I love the scene of Gus's interrogation; I remember thinking at the end of the previous episode that he was in serious trouble, but he just handles it beautifully--he's so smooth, so unflappable, so convincing.

Gus's writing interests me for how much it leaves out; I always wanted to know more about him and was a bit disappointed I didn't learn more about him (even as I thought that not going into it more was probably the right choice for the show).
posted by johnofjack at 5:58 PM on December 26, 2014

In the interview with Giancarlo Esposito, they talk about the "they like what they see" comment and what Esposito thinks about their relationship. I've mentioned it before but I do think Max and Gus were lovers and I kind of like it that the authors didn't make it explicitly clear.

In one of the earlier episodes (I think the one where Walt has dinner at his house), Gus mentions children (or was it grandchildren?) Again, I'd love to know more about him, but it feels real to me, and right, to leave him somewhat enigmatic.
posted by johnofjack at 6:34 PM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm only just wondering this now, but: what was Gus doing in the meth business for the 20 years between losing Max and building the Superlab? I got the feeling that he'd only just hired on Gale to be a cook, yet I'd also thought he was already well established in the meth business. It seems unlikely that Gus would be selling inferior product--had he just lost another chemist when he brought Gale on? I'm having trouble imagining that he spent all that time just managing his fast food franchises.

... Backing off this now; I feel like I'm threadsitting.
posted by johnofjack at 6:45 PM on December 26, 2014

There's a lot of allusions to Gus's Chilean past, but never any answers: Don Eladio tells Gus the only reason he's still alive is "because of who you are".

what was Gus doing in the meth business for the 20 years between losing Max and building the Superlab?

My guess: toeing the line to the cartel, becoming a trusted lieutenant, building the distribution system for their meth -- the cartel have chemists and labs, as we see in Salud, but they're not up to Walt's standard -- but all the while resenting them and plotting revenge.

I think Walt suggests at one point that good meth chemists are hard to find; Gus has probably been looking for a while for someone who could build and run a lab to compete with the cartel. The scholarship he establishes in Max's name -- and which Gale had been a recipient of -- is probably one of the ways he was fishing for a qualified cook.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:35 AM on December 27, 2014

"I was thrown off by that and thrown off by the fact that I had to be in a more vulnerable and weaker position, compared to Don Eladio and the other actors in the scene."

On rewatch: Giancarlo Esposito's acting in the poolside scene is amazing; this younger version of Gus is tight and drawn and nervous and throughout the scene looks absolutely terrified to be in this situation with these men.

And also: he's performing this entire scene in a language that he doesn't speak.

He notes in the EW interview that "It’s not typical Spanish. It’s Chilean Spanish." I do wonder if they wrote Gus as Chilean not only to make him an outsider to the Mexican cartel men, but also as a bit of cover for Esposito's non-native Spanish sounding a little different, a little off, compared to the other actors'.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:19 AM on January 19, 2018

Also: Hector literally marks Don Eladio's territory; and dares Juan Bolsa to do anything about it.

It's never been clear to me if Hector is acting autonomously when he shoots Max, or if it was pre-arranged with -- or subtly signaled by -- Don Eladio as part of the "get glasses for our guests" bit.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:26 AM on January 19, 2018

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