Even though he snuck into the show late in its second season and he wouldn’t make it out of the season four finale alive, when you think “Breaking Bad villain,” you think Gustavo ‘Gus’ Fring (Giancarlo Esposito). Like any iconic big bad from the small screen, his charm and charisma may have made him a great character, but Gus was much more than your run-of-the-mill TV bad guy.
Gus Fring stood apart from the drug-saturated world filled with frantic, impulsive decisions by playing the long game. As a reasoned and pragmatic businessman, Gus rarely took risks. Instead, he calmly hid in plain sight and went out of his way to develop a reputation as a respected member of the Albuquerque business community. But behind that polished veneer was a cold, calculating mastermind, a man who spent years building a vast criminal empire just below the surface.
Earlier this month, Gus popped up in a trailer for the third season of Better Call Saul, and while we were shown that warm, welcoming smile of his, it was impossible to not think back to all the horrifying, violent, seemingly erratic acts that he was responsible for. Looking at his time on Breaking Bad, however, you start to see how everything he said, and everything he did was a small cog in a much larger machine. To help tide us over until Better Call Saul returns in April, here’s a look at Gus Fring’s most unexpected moments, and how that all fit into his master plan.