‘Better Call Saul’: How Season 6 Lays the Ground Work for Gus Fring’s Major Takedown in ‘Breaking Bad’

by Craig Garrett

Recent events on AMC’s Better Call Saul shed light on major villain Gus Fring’s actions in its sequel, Breaking Bad. Giancarlo Esposito’s masterful portrayal of criminal genius Gus Fring on Breaking Bad is already considered a classic tv performance. Gus facing off against Walter White is seen by many fans as the high point of the series. That’s why it’s been such a treat for viewers to see Gus’s character expanded on in the prequel series, Better Call Saul.

One of the most iconic moments in both series is Gus Fring’s doing. In Breaking Bad season 4’s “Salud,” Gustavo Fring orchestrates a mobster masterstroke by poisoning Don Eladio in his own home, along with all of his high-ranking capos. The action secures Fring’s place as the controller of meth in the territory. At the same time, it also exacts revenge on behalf of his lover, executed by Eladio decades before. Gus Fring’s cartel massacre is a Breaking Bad landmark. It’s essentially the “Red Wedding” of the Better Call Saul/Breaking Bad universe, taking many major characters out in one brutal scene.

Better Call Saul demonstrates how events may have taken a different turn. Season 6 of Better Call Saul is set roughly 4 years before the events of Breaking Bad. The most recent episode “Wine and Roses“, finds Fring allowing Don Eladio to assert authority over him. Gus is playing his cards close to his chest, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. Any actions Gus makes against the cartel during Better Call Saul have to be done with special care. Don Eladio still wields too much power.

Events of Better Call Saul enrich repeat viewings of Breaking Bad

During the meeting Gus and Eladio have in “Wine and Roses”, the Don reveals he knows Gus despises him. “When I looked into your eyes… hate,” he mutters to Gus. However, Eladio maintains Gus does a great job for him. He even goes so far as to tell Gus that a little hate is okay, as long as business is good. Of course, Better Call Saul fans know this is a fatal mistake. Eladio really should do something about Gus when he still has the power to do so.

The conversation between the pair in “Wine and Roses” resonates later in Breaking Bad. Don Eladio forces Gus to hand over his ally Jesse Pinkman. Despite Gus’s emotionless exterior, Eldadio knows he’s reluctant to betray Pinkman. “There’s no place for emotion in this. You of all people should understand,” the Don tells Gus. “Business is business.” Eladio believes Gus can separate business and emotions. Gus has shown him nothing else. However, Breaking Bad fans know better.

Of course, there are parallels of how Eladio underestimated Gus with another Breaking Bad relationship. Gus himself keeps Walter White under his employ long after he knows the beleaguered meth cook is an enemy. After all, Walter was good for Gus’s business. If only Gus Fring has realized he was repeating Better Call Saul‘s history…