Ever since that mysterious somebody left that note on Mike’s car, we had a sneaking suspicion Gus Fring would soon be making an appearance on Better Call Saul. Now that the news of Fring’s arrival has been confirmed, we can begin speculating on how Vince Gilligan and company plan to incorporate the Breaking Bad villain into the prequel’s storyline.
No doubt Fring will be central to how things play out in season 3 of Better Call Saul, which is set to debut on AMC in April. How exactly Fring will help Jimmy McGill on the path to becoming Saul Goodman is anybody’s guess.
Giancarlo Esposito, the man who played Gus Fring so memorably on Breaking Bad and will be playing a somewhat younger incarnation of the character on Better Call Saul, gave some hints during a talk at TCA about this version of Fring and how he differs from the character we came to know on Breaking Bad (via Uproxx):
“I had to remind myself in coming back to be really present with the character, and that in this time, he’s more immature. He’s still finding his way… So I’m excited to be back. Certainly, Vince has described to me a situation where Gus is a very cagey character… he was a guy who wanted revenge, a guy who wanted to create a business, but he was also a guy who was very caring with his people. So I want to see where we go with it, and sometimes it’s more exciting to have a character who’s more mysterious.”
The Gus we came to know (and be scared of) on Breaking Bad was a stone-cold killer who hid his homicidal tendencies behind a mask of helpful serenity. Esposito’s discussion of Fring suggests that on Better Call Saul we’ll see a man who hasn’t quite fully developed his persona. Perhaps this version of Fring is a little more out-of-control too, which is sort of a frightening prospect when you consider some of the horrific stuff he did on Breaking Bad (we’ll never look at a box cutter the same way again).
In Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul world, slow evolution of character is what it’s always all about. The original series was centered around Walter White’s gradual change from mild-mannered chemistry teacher to criminal and killer. Better Call Saul chiefly concerns Jimmy McGill’s transformation from “Slippin’ Jimmy” the con artist to Saul Goodman the smooth and unscrupulous lawyer. Fring’s own evolution into a drug kingpin was outlined somewhat in Breaking Bad, and Better Call Saul will perhaps fill in some of the gaps of that transformation as well.
The first order of business when Season 3 hits AMC in April will be the initial introductions of Fring to his future associates Mike and Jimmy. Watching Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks and Giancarlo Esposito working together again should be a joy. And no doubt some incredibly tense (and violent) situations will ensue as their characters grow their working relationship throughout the season.