Face off. Wow – Aptly titled. Tonight’s episode started off right where last week’s ended – with Walt having failed in his attempt to blow up Gus and Jessie still hanging around the hospital. As the episode progresses Walt learns about the relationship between Gus and Hector and heads to the retirement home.
And let’s all thank Warming Glow for this: (MAJOR SPOILER)
Well, as Walt and Jessie are having some relationship issues, Gus seems to be as unhinged as we’ve seen him…you know, aside from the flashback last week. And the whole box cutter incident. But at least the 3rd most unhinged we’ve seen the normally quiet chicken entrepreneur. Anyhow, onward and upward.
Tonight’s episode did something unusual – it produced a Skyler-centric side story that was not only good, but short enough to avoid being pushed too far and drawn out. It showed Skyler once again warming up to criminal enterprise, as she is forced to help Ted out of his tax issues, for fear that it could lead back to Walt. It was done nicely though. Most of the time getting a ‘Skyler Episode’ is like getting a ‘Lisa Episode’ on The Simpsons.
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…