Monday, August 27, 2012

Why You Can't Kill Gustavo Fring

[NO SPOILERS about Sunday night's BREAKING BAD episode here. Just a SPOILER ABOUT LAST SEASON'S FINALE... which is probably only really a spoiler for people who are waiting to watch the entirety of Breaking Bad at a later date.]

Right. Are we all here, now?

I've been carrying a torch for this theory since the Season 4 finale. The show drives home the point that people can't kill Gus Fring because of his Chilean connections. During the flashback where we see his partner killed by the pool, while he is spared because his past connections. In the scene where a cartel sniper is killing off Gus's men and Gus walks out like The Terminator because he knows that they can't kill him. So when Walt kills Fring in last season's finale, I was wondering, "What are the repercussions of killing Gus Fring...?"

I was sure that Season 5 would dive into those Chilean connections. Thought it might even cold open with a Gus Fring flashback. And now, 7 episodes into an 8 episode abbreviated season, it's pretty clear we aren't going to Chile. We're dealing with the repercussions of killing Fring, sure, but his death hasn't triggered some Caravana de la Muerte to visit Albuquerque.

And, of course, now I've dug up this old Times interview with showrunner Vince Gilligan, from October 9, 2011:
As you mapped out Season 4, was this always the ending you were building toward: a conclusive showdown between Walt and Gus?

Yes, it was, and it was something my writers and I worked on pretty much the whole season, knowing that at the end of the year, one of them would have to go. The town wasn’t big enough for the both of them, as it were. In the best sense of the movie “Highlander,” there could be only one.

And yet the show this season started to flesh out Gus’s back story, though it didn’t do so completely. Are there threads you might come back to later, or was that a deliberate choice to leave some things about him ambiguous?

Right on both counts. We may come back to it in the future. As I told Giancarlo Esposito, and I told him a few months ahead of time what we were planning for the end of the season, I was very apologetic that we were going to lose his character. But I also hastened to point out that even though characters may die on “Breaking Bad,” they don’t necessarily rest in peace. In other words, we flash back in time quite often on this show, and we revisit old characters who have already met their demise. And because of that, who knows? We may well see Gustavo Fring again in the future.

But as to the second point, we talked a long time, my writers and I, about what exactly was Gus’s back story? How bad a dude did he have to have been, back in Chile, for the cartel to spare him, even though they were very insulted by his actions? And we went back and forth, we talked about Pinochet and his government, what did he do back there, precisely? And we borrowed a bit from “Pulp Fiction,” I suppose. Because in “Pulp Fiction,” Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta are carrying around a briefcase, for the entire movie, that the contents of which are only hinted at. At one point, you see a glow emanating from inside the briefcase, but you never do find out for sure what it’s in it. And I always liked that, as a viewer. To me, the audience’s imagination as to who Gus was in his past life is potentially more interesting than any concrete answer we could give them.

Given that Walt and Jesse know even less about Gus, and don’t know why he was so important that the cartel could not kill him, could their assassination of him come back to haunt them?

That’s a good question. We will be getting into that when the writers’ room reopens in November. But I can think of one gentleman who may have a problem with it, who’s a bit closer to home, who is Mike, played by Jonathan Banks. [laughs heartily] Mike may have a problem with what transpired, and I wouldn’t want Mike mad at me, I can tell you that.
More at the link.

Sooo... I can see how we might not get to Gus's backstory. Though there are now 9 episodes left of the series. One next Sunday, 8 more next year (if I manage to live to see them), and Gilligan — when asked about the potential for a feature film after the series ends — is insistent that he wants to exhaust as many story opportunities as possible in that allotment. So perhaps... Chilean Death Squads next summer?


Blogger MAXEVDA said...

Good point. I hope that Fring has a legacy beyond the German company.

8/30/2012 05:42:00 AM  

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