“Hermanos” is a Gus-centric story, which is definitely a nice place to go in Season 4. The episode starts with a flashback, taking us back to last season’s “I See You” and showing us Gus with a vengeance. There’s this inherent hatred towards Tio (God, how is this man still alive?), as Gus bitterly states that this is the result of “blood for blood.” The scene is frightening and the payoff comes later via another, much older flashback.
I should say right now that Giancarlo Esposito is so damn good in this episode. After being interrogated by Hank and the DEA, Gus rides an elevator down, his fingers loosely twitching. It’s subtle and terrifying. We know he’s about to loose it, but the payoff doesn’t come yet. No, that’s still in the weeks ahead as Season 4 winds down. I suspect this is the beginning of the end for Gus.
The writers skillfully chose to show us Gus’ backstory instead of watching him try and kill Walt or some other act of aggression. I have a feeling that’s still coming, but for now, the flashback is equally rewarding. It’s great to see Gus twenty years ago, and we learn some of his motivations in the process. That brutal murder of Gus’ “hermano” was jarring, and it made us sympathize with Gus a bit more. We’re starting to see why he acts with such intentional coldness and why he continues to visit Tio.
There was a lot to take in, but it only adds to the story, making Gus’ inevitable demise (my prediction) all the more interesting. I have a feeling this was placed here for a reason, and it reinforces the conception that Gus won’t make it out of Season 4. But if that’s the case, who could possibly take over? Walt? Jesse? That would be a disaster.
There’s so much more I can talk about, as “Hermanos” was packed with tense moments. I have to say though, the scene with Hank and Walt outside of Los Pollos Hermanos was brilliant. It couldn’t have gotten worse, with Mike watching from one parking spot over. I love how much is left unresolved, too. This season is really picking up and I can’t wait to see where Hank’s investigation goes next.
I also like that the writers finally brought Walt’s cancer back into the fold. It’s bothered me how impactful the cancer was in the first two seasons and how it suddenly vanished in Season 3. I know Walt’s in remission, but it’s still good to show the doctor’s office every now and then. It reminds us of the lingering threat and why Walt went down this path to begin with. And who didn’t love the “Who’s in control? Me.” with the quick cut to Gus watching Walt on the security feed.
One last piece of tension in “Hermanos” involves Walt’s relationship with Jesse. It’s gotten to a point where Jesse is in the point of control and Walt is now questioning Jesse’s loyalty. I imagine Jesse will always side with Walt, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking. We’ll have to see in the weeks ahead.
There’s lots more I can write, but I’ll leave it at that. As mentioned, “Hermanos” was a very strong episode of Breaking Bad that reminds me why I love this show in the first place. What did you think?