Five True Statements About ‘Better Call Saul’: Gus Fring Plays The Long Game Only

Editor-at-Large
08.21.18 20 Comments

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Five True Statements is exactly what it sounds like, a discussion about the most recent episode ofBetter Call Saul’ centered around five undisputable statements of fact. Mostly undisputable, at least. I would never lie to you on purpose. Especially not aboutBetter Call Saul.’

1. Nothing good ever happens in the desert

This is, of course, extremely true and a close cousin of the even more true “nothing good ever happens in the woods.” And it was proven yet again by everything that happened to Nacho this week. Poor Nacho. All he wanted to do was use poison to get out from under the thumb of his crazy uncle and now he’s in a worse position because he’s under the thumb of an equally violent organization that also has leverage on him. Stay out of the desert, to whatever degree you can. You might not end up getting shot twice and operated on by a veterinarian in the back of a speeding SUV but, like, still. Not worth risking it if you can avoid it.

Also, somewhat related to The Ballad of Nacho and the Staged Desert Ambush, does any show do cold opens better than Better Call Saul/Breaking Bad? If one does, I can’t think of it. Part of it is just that those shows do everything better than most other shows, so why wouldn’t they do cold opens well, too, you know? But just the way that whole thing was built, starting with the spike strips then slowly revealing the bigger picture, it was riveting to watch. And it was another example of these shows doing wordless stretches at such a high level you don’t even miss the dialogue. Better Call Saul is a good show. This is what I’m getting at. This and the thing about staying out of the desert.

2. Gus Fring plays the long game

We already knew Gus Fring was a cold and calculated snake because we all saw Breaking Bad. It’s still fun — fun night not be the right term, unless maybe it is? — to see him use these qualities to build his empire in Better Call Saul. He’s playing chess out here. He saw Nacho do something shady with his uncle’s pills and he used that to start a fake war that will allow him to find his own distribution on his side of the border. The man’s mind is always cranking two or three speeds ahead of anyone else’s. You get the feeling that if he never crossed paths with Walter White he might be running the whole country’s methamphetamine pipeline from inside the New Mexico governor’s mansion by now.

And on the subject of playing the long g..HEY IT’S GALE.

GUYS.

LOOK.

IT’S GALE.

AMC

HI GALE.

One assumes we will not see too much of Gale for a while, both because the timeline isn’t quite there yet and because David Constabile has a day job as unrepentant delightful hedonistic Wags on Billions (please do stop here and picture Wags trying to buy into the New Mexico meth business on behalf of Axe Capital), but I do love that Gus gave him the old “Oh no, no I couldn’t possibly ask you to do that” slow sell, because Gus Fring is always closing, maybe just not in that moment.

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