Breaking Bad: Season 4, Episode 8 – ‘Hermanos’ Review

My favorite part of tonight’s episode might’ve been how little Skyler was in it. Hey-OO!  No, but seriously, the Gus flashbacks were badass. Anyhow, this week we started out with Walt talking about never losing control in a scene meant to remind us he has cancer, then demonstrating just how little control he actually has.

The main focus of the episode however was neither Walt or Jessie, or even Hank, but Gus. We get to see the ‘many stages of Gus’, first with a flashback to Season 3 after Hank’s shootout. In the scene Gus visits Hector and lets him know about the demise of his nephews, and the warning he issued to Hank. The whole scene was a big ‘F**k You’ to Hector, and later we find out exactly why.

In the second act of Gus’ story he meets with Hank and the DEA and ABQPD. While in the meeting Gus has a convincing story about the Gale, a scholarship, and a friend who died too young. All the while telling the Law Enforcement officials a giant lie to explain the presence of his fingerprints in Gales apartment. And while much of what he says is lies, it’s grounded in facts.

The friend who died too early was Max. And Max’s story gets told too. This is the best of scene of the episode, the third section of Gus’ story actually takes place years before everything else, in Mexico, dealing with a much younger Hector.

This is where Gus’ troubles with the Cartel seem to stem from, as this meeting doesn’t go exactly as planned, seeing as it ends with a Gun in Hector’s hand and the ‘chicken brothers’ no longer a pair.

Now something big is introduced here. First, earlier Hank brought up an inability to find any history on Gus, and then in the end scene, after Max is murdered, they inform our favorite chicken man that he is still alive only because they ‘know who he is’. That means our mild-mannered drug czar may be even more than we previously thought. Certainly more than meets the eye. Like a transformer.

After Gus’ reaction in this scene, a lot of people seem to think it indicates that Gus is perhaps gay, but personally I don’t think that’s the case. His fondness for Gale, and reaction to the killing of Max are simply examples of his loyalty, not indicators of his sexuality. Not that it matters one way or the other, but I doubt it will be either confirmed or denied either way in the coming episodes. It’s my belief that Max was simply the closest thing to a brother he ever had, and Gale was no more than a friend.

Overall, this episode was GREAT. I’d been hoping for more Gus ever since the premiere and tonight we got it, best episode in a while. And while Hank wasn’t in it a ton, his involvement is proving more than mere obstacle for Gus, and I’d be remiss not to mention the text. At one point Jessie, while out of the room receives a text that plants a seed of mistrust in Walt, and though it happened quick, this could lend to Walt’s unraveling and cause issues over the next few weeks…

5/5 Bears.

2 thoughts on “Breaking Bad: Season 4, Episode 8 – ‘Hermanos’ Review”

  1. I agree with you — a fine episode. It was good to see Steven Bauer — unrecognizable from his Tony Montana days 30 years ago — as the Mexican cartel head. Great casting — a mark of this show. The man who plays the venonous Hector is also exceptional. As is Giancarlo Esposito as Gus. These guys are so good, so often that you have to ask why they are not stars. The scene in the elevator after the sit-down with the police — where Gus is tapping his finger — indicates great emotional turmoil in this tightly-controlled character. Gus knows that even though he may have smoothed over the police’s initial suspicions, this may have been only like the first snowflake that fals in an avalanche. The police and DEA on one side, the Mexican drug cartel preparing for war on the other, Walter White’s ricin is the least of his worries. A great show, perhaps the best ever.

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  2. Good job, “who you are,” to me indicates that Gus was a security operative–murderer, torturer, spy–for the brutal CIA backed Pinochet reign in Chile….I’d bet my huevos on it….still, the presence of Hector and Gus’ question, “Is today the day?” confuses me a bit…Hector was a henchman for the “Caro Quintero” character, played by Bauer, how did he rise so far on the U.S. side of the border?

    Also, I’m sure that Gus is a lifelong, deep CIA plant, and is virtually untouchable, placed with the Cartels after the fall of Pinochet….

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