Thursday, July 25, 2013

I MEAN, WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT GUSTAVO FRING?  I have been deficient in updating you as to my Breaking Bad catch-up progress; for days, I had a draft post titled "RUN" but had nothing to say that would have felt out of place in a Chris Farley Show sketch (You know that time ... when Walt said "Yeah" to Mike? That was cool.) And even when I learned what all the one-who-knocks stuff was about, still, not much for me to say but "yes, this is quality television."

But now I just hit the halfway mark of season four, and holy crap do I just want to highlight a true Crowning Moment of Awesome.
For a character who can be a bit of a big galoot at times, and who's spent the past season's worth of episode recovering from being shot (and often, being a dick while doing so. Minerals?), my goodness is it satisfying at the end of "Problem Dog" when Hank takes tiny pieces of evidence, starting with a serial number on a Los Pollos Hermanos napkin, to put it all together:
Hank: I mean, what do we know about Gustavo Fring, huh? This whole "friend of law enforcement" thing? Could be a case of keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. I mean, he's got the money to finance this operation, maybe he's got the connections, too. Maybe - just maybe - he's our guy.
Merkert: Hank, no offense, but I think you're really reaching.
Gomez: If your guy had his meeting at KFC, you wouldn't immediately assume that he's sitting down with Colonel Sanders.
Hank: You know, I couldn't agree more, guys. Gustavo Fring, blue meth...Whole thing is off-the-map nuts. I ought to be wearing a tinfoil hat, you know? Except I can't seem to wrap my mind around this one little thing, and that is [pause] what are Gustavo Fring's fingerprints [pause] doing in Gale Boetticher's apartment?
 The way he sells that last portion, knowing about the last bombshell he's about to drop, wow. All he does it sit back and let it sink in.


  1. I've finished season 4, and the thing that really struck me throughout was how each of the main characters have changed sides & perspectives. And as each shifts one way or another, everyone else adjusts accordingly -- like I'm watching an ever-changing kaleidoscope of personalities.

    When I watched The Wire and Deadwood for the first time, I was amazed and then fascinated that I came to really enjoy and root for the characters of Stringer Bell and Al Swearengen, even though they were essentially "bad" or at least very violent men. I have thought that I would come to feel the same about Walter White, but so far, I find him the least likeable of Breaking Bad's main characters.

  2. I just finished my umpteenth rewatch of season four and I am so enjoying your comments (and as with the best art, a bit envious to anyone seeing it for the first time). On the DVD commentary tracks, Vince Gilligan and company talk a lot about how Hank was supposed to be a minor, one-note character but they found (particularly watching Dean Norris) how much they could do with him. Agree that so many of his moments in season four are indeed awesome.

  3. I find that at this point in the series (mid-season 5, waiting for the end) Hank has become the hero of the show for me. I'm rooting for him just as much as I find myself rooting against Walt.

    It was Hank's speech in the bedroom to Marie "One Minute" that really did it for me. ("I'm not the man I'm supposed to be...") Dean Norris gives an incredible performance in that episode.

  4. LittleMascara8:43 AM

    I know it's called "Breaking Bad," and it's about Walter White's path from teacher to villain, but it's been just as much about Hank's path from buffoon to hero. Without giving anything away about Season 5, it's going to be exciting to see how those two paths play out in this final half-season.

  5. I'm Team Hank all the way. And I'm not sure, pursuant to janet's comment above, that we're even supposed to like Walter White anymore.

    I feel like the best thing Breaking Bad has done is let the hero, rather than the villain, lurk in the background and become more and more interesting and complex as the series progresses.