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#1
Old 07-02-2018, 06:13 PM
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Who is your favorite character on Breaking Bad? (Inevitable spoilers.)

Breaking Bad is far and away my favorite American television series, very narrowly edging out The Sopranos, The Wire, and The Shield. It's the epitome of tight writing and characterization; outstanding cinematography and color/lighting design; and (crucially for me) it has enough comic relief to break up the tension, but not enough to ruin the tension. Anyway, I just love it, it's the most badass show ever, and it has so many great characters.

My favorite, though, would have to be Lydia. She's such a good antagonist. (The show is constantly playing with shifting around the definition of 'antagonist', another good thing about it) but just from the perspective of Walter she is generally an antagonist, because her actions make trouble and complicate the storyline. She's authoritiative but vulnerable; attractive without being sexualized; and you know just enough about her back story to make her interesting, but not enough for her to stop being mysterious.

During the final season, I was totally hoping that she and Walt would wind up together - even though Walt was a completely despicable bastard, I felt bad for him in the sense that he was really, really, really good at his job but had no affirmation of that skill from anyone because he had to keep it hidden. Lydia was the one person (well, other than Jesse) with whom he could actually share that pride in his meth-cooking abilities and actually be appreciated for it. This would have been too dumb and cliched of a direction for the show to take, so I guess I'm actually glad they didn't do it, but it was the logical path for the characters to follow in my mind's eye, at any rate.

Close second to Lydia would be Todd, for exactly the reasons described in this article. He was an interesting blank-slate of a character whose only objective in life was seemingly to serve his superiors and do a good job for them. It's like, all he wanted to do was to do whatever was asked of him and do it really well. (I don't think he was a psychopath, as many have suggested - possibly a sociopath, but his shooting of the kid on the dirt bike was clearly motivated by Jesse's instructions that nobody could ever know about the train heist.) Also Jesse Plemons or "Meth Damon" is just awesome - we'll definitely be seeing a lot more of him in the coming decades.

Anyone else?
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#2
Old 07-02-2018, 06:18 PM
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Saul Goodman, of course. So good he got a spinoff.
#3
Old 07-02-2018, 06:21 PM
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Yeah, no shit....I remember Bob Odenkirk all the way back from Mr. Show - would never in a billion years have predicted that his career would have the trajectory that it did.
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#4
Old 07-02-2018, 08:08 PM
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If you're asking about people I liked, I'd say Walter Jr. Skyler was pretty likeable too. I often wanted to backhand Walter (and not because he was cooking up meth) and felt more sorry than warm towards Jesse.

Oh, and Mike, he was cool. I'm not sure we would have hit it off but I respected him.

Characters I thoroughly enjoyed as characters, Jane. I wish they hadn't offed Jane. She added a lot to the dynamic.
#5
Old 07-02-2018, 08:37 PM
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Jane for purely lustful reasons. OK, not really, she was a relatively minor character (other than the ripple effects she ended up causing). I can see a case to be made for Todd and Saul. I liked Hank despite his flaws. Tough guy, trying to do the right thing. Had a bad stretch when he was recovering from being shot but all because he really needed to be back in the game. Good uncle to Walt Jr.... yeah Hank was a good guy. Unless I'm forgetting something, Hank's second in command was pretty stand up as well.
#6
Old 07-02-2018, 08:44 PM
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I liked Gus. Loved everything about his character.
#7
Old 07-02-2018, 08:51 PM
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Todd was an intriguing if not sympathetic character. As far as we know (or as far as I remember) he was brought up in a hard core criminal family and had his own code ("Nothing personal, just business") as he shot a total innocent. I was happy to see him go like he did but sort of felt he knew it was part of the game as he died.

Last edited by River Hippie; 07-02-2018 at 08:51 PM.
#8
Old 07-02-2018, 08:51 PM
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Gus was also one of my favorite characters as well. Giancarlo Esposito is just so unbelievably badass.

Also the dude who played Hector Salamanca deserves major, major props for pulling off a fucking amazing performance without actually speaking at all (except one time, in a flashback.)
#9
Old 07-02-2018, 08:58 PM
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Saul, no question. And Better Call Saul is a great follow up to Breaking Bad. For a relatively minor character, he was the spice that put the show over the top for me. Although my love of Mr. Show might have biased my opinion.

But story wise, I was really impressed with Hank's transformation from a dumb jock bully cop brother in law to a complex and ultimately sympathetic character. Really foiled Walt's descent nicely.
#10
Old 07-02-2018, 09:01 PM
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Saul is my favorite character (and I think Better Call Saul is at least as good, if not better, than Breaking Bad.) He's just such a lovable bad guy. Mike, Hank & Jesse are a tie for second. I didn't like Hank at first but he grew on me.

Really, the only character I didn't like was Jane- she didn't deserve to die like that but I wasn't sorry to see her go.

Dead-eyed Todd was a character I didn't love but when he had the Lydia oh Lydia ringtone, that made him almost human.
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#11
Old 07-02-2018, 10:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamoral View Post
Gus was also one of my favorite characters as well. Giancarlo Esposito is just so unbelievably badass.

Also the dude who played Hector Salamanca deserves major, major props for pulling off a fucking amazing performance without actually speaking at all (except one time, in a flashback.)
Mark Margolis is who you are thinking of. Also one of my favorites in a cast full of favorites. Skinny Pete, Badger, Tuco, the Killer Cousins, all those character actors who made this a truly astoundingly good series.
#12
Old 07-02-2018, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by LVBoPeep View Post
Dead-eyed Todd was a character I didn't love but when he had the Lydia oh Lydia ringtone, that made him almost human.
Todd was definitely human. Actually, with the character of Todd, as explained in that article I linked to, the show cleverly subverts the trope of "dead-eyed" psychopathic killers who are (obviously) a dime a dozen on lesser shows. Todd is, like, the most loyal servant of all time. Whatever you want him to do, he will do, with respect and deference; it doesn't matter how evil it is, he'll carry out the task in the same soft-spoken obedient manner. And not just that, he actually makes an effort to impress people. From his very first scene, when he's still working for the exterminator/burglary ring, he alerts Walter and Jesse to the presence of a hidden camera in the house. He refuses to take money from Walter after his first time cooking the meth, insisting that he doesn't want to be paid until his skills are up to Walter's standards. When he starts working with the genteel and mannered Lydia, he immediately adopts a preppy style of dress. For fuck's sake, he actually apologizes to Andrea before shooting her to death.

In an extremely fucked up and upside-down way, Todd is, like, the most "together" character on the show.
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#13
Old 07-02-2018, 11:54 PM
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I like characters with a lighter side, like Hank, Jesse and Saul. I have mixed feelings about "Better Call Saul", though; I feel like they went back and forth too much between "unrepentant wacky shyster" and "trying hard to be a respectable lawyer", at least in the first season.
#14
Old 07-03-2018, 12:04 AM
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First seasons of shows generally deserve to be cut a little slack since they're just figuring things out and experimenting with what works and what doesn't. I still thing B.C.S. is one of the only good spinoff shows ever created, and certainly the only one from a major dramatic series that was actually able to hold its own, at least that I'm aware of.
#15
Old 07-03-2018, 12:19 AM
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Walt. Other than the snoozefest that was "Fly" pretty much all of Walt's character development was spot on. Walt's journey was the core of the show and it was never less than enthralling. ("Fly" aside.)
#16
Old 07-03-2018, 12:37 AM
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Gus Fring. Giancarlo Esposito is, hands down, the finest character actor of the last 25 years and this was him in peak form.
#17
Old 07-03-2018, 02:03 AM
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I liked the cop brother in law. When he was asked by that grotesque Mexican "macho" drug-dealer if he understood the meaning of his nickname, answered "no, is it Spanish for ass-hole?"
#18
Old 07-03-2018, 06:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Shine View Post
Walt. Other than the snoozefest that was "Fly" pretty much all of Walt's character development was spot on. Walt's journey was the core of the show and it was never less than enthralling. ("Fly" aside.)
I'd have to go with this, including the commentary on the stupid Fly episode -the worst, Worst Episode from a Successful Series.

If we're not doing a companion thread, I'm going to throw in my least favorite characters.

Betsy, Hank's wife, added nothing to the series and the on-again, off-again kleptomania thing was just a bizarre attempt to add some depth to a pointless character.

Also Walt Jr. never did much for me.
#19
Old 07-03-2018, 07:26 AM
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Another vote for Walt.

He's my favorite because I think he went through the most over the course of the show.

Watching him "transform" from an under-achieving, timid, nerdy-type guy into an egotistical, evil, over-confident drug lord was absolutely enthralling to watch.

....and Bryan Cranston positively KILLED it. Every. Damn. Time.


"...then maybe your best course......would be to tread lightly"

"Stay out of my territory."

"I AM THE ONE WHO KNOCKS!"

"We're done when I say we're done...."

"You're goddamn right."
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#20
Old 07-03-2018, 09:10 AM
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Tough choice but I'm going with Saul Goodman. He was a believably decent guy who made a lot of questionable decisions and simple mistakes that led down a destructive path. He is an ordinary flawed person I could identify with. He was also hilarious in a very dark universe.

It's really hard not to pick Mike, Gus Fring, or Lydia. All superb and somewhat mysterious characters capably played by great actors. Jesse was a great proxy for the audience. I know I'm really in the minority here but I even like Skyler well enough.

I will say that I never thought Walt was that interesting a character. He was a great protagonist in that his actions created the moral dilemmas for essentially everyone else on the show but he was not that interesting himself. His competence was rarely called into question so I rarely worried if his plans would work out for him in the end. It wasn't too hard to predict his behavior because his colossal senses of self-importance and entitlement and his skin-deep concern for his family or Jesse meant that we always knew he was going to do whatever bolstered his power over whatever was going to be best for them. Only in the end when he was facing imminent death would he do something that looked externally like a sacrifice for others. In reality, he was building up his legend and legacy when that was all that would be left of him.

I had forgotten about Hank's inessential wife. She was basically a prop to give Hank a personal life and a plausible tie to Walt without going for the hackneyed "brother against brother" bit. It worked well enough to be forgiven. It might have been just as good for Walt and Hank to be coincidental neighbors but we would always have asked why he wouldn't just move away.
#21
Old 07-03-2018, 09:52 AM
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Mike Ehrmantraut for me. He's seen it all, done it all, loves his family and wants them to be safe. He always wants to use the minimum necessary effort to achieve the desired outcome, and wants to keep collateral damage to a minimum. He's world weary but still in the game because it's necessary.

And he knows how to handle a microwave in a crisis!

About two more minutes, chief!

Last edited by Qadgop the Mercotan; 07-03-2018 at 09:53 AM.
#22
Old 07-03-2018, 09:55 AM
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Mike.

To me, he's also the star of Better Call Saul.
#23
Old 07-03-2018, 12:39 PM
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Huell. As far as I know he's still sitting there, waiting.
#24
Old 07-03-2018, 01:39 PM
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No votes for Gale Boetticher?

https://youtube.com/watch?v=0v0VR6Kf7KQ
#25
Old 07-03-2018, 02:17 PM
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Gale isn't my favorite character but he is a really really awesome character. He's not even in the show very much at all, but he has SO much personality and character, he's like, the coolest guy in the world who you would want to be your best friend...Walt and Jesse's scheme to replace him was so clever that you have to give them credit for the strategy, but the death of Gale was pretty sad just because he was so full of life and quirkiness and you got the sense that he was a lifelong adventurer who would have the coolest stories ever to tell.
#26
Old 07-03-2018, 03:42 PM
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Gus.
#27
Old 07-03-2018, 06:58 PM
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Hank is my favorite.

Couldn't stand Jesse. "Stop whining, bitch" is essentially my reaction to him on my screen.
#28
Old 07-03-2018, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnT View Post
Hank is my favorite.

Couldn't stand Jesse. "Stop whining, bitch" is essentially my reaction to him on my screen.
"And stop saying 'yo!' "
#29
Old 07-03-2018, 10:23 PM
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Another vote for Mike. It's hard to argue against him as a character. Plus, best last words.
#30
Old 07-04-2018, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by scabpicker View Post
Another vote for Mike. It's hard to argue against him as a character. Plus, best last words.
One of my favorite scenes ever. I damn near facepalmed myself when Walt tells the dying man whom he just shot (in essence) "oh, damn, sorry about that, man. I could've gotten the list from Lydia. My bad."

Last edited by JohnT; 07-04-2018 at 05:22 AM.
#31
Old 07-04-2018, 06:55 AM
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I did NOT like Skylar or Walt Jr. When that cartel guy told Walt he could get a new wife and family in Mexico, part of me was hoping he'd go for it. More than once I wanted to take Walt Jr. aside and say "Bless your heart, you have the moral complexity of a MUCH younger person!" And Skylar won my enmity with the 50th birthday hand job. Which, I gather, was the intention all along.

Jesse stands up as a wonderful character. The scene in the gas station with the Indian cashier highlighted just how good he was at sizing people up. And the episode where he covered for his pot-smoking brother made him the moral center of the series.
#32
Old 07-04-2018, 09:45 AM
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There's a minor character who intrigues me: The gun dealer guy.

He only appears once or twice on BB, then again on Better Call Saul. The first time we see him he's selling Walt a highly illegal handgun for "protection".

I find the character interesting because he's a very calm, low key, very smart businessman who happens to be a criminal. He knows his trade, and is able to pass on the quick buck for better reward down the road. We see that in Better Call Saul when Mike offers him a tip for his time when he decides not to buy. The guy waves it off, saying he makes his living on return business and to simply call him when he's ready.

How did he get to that place? He's like a Robert Heinlein character - very competent, able to act intelligently in his own interest. What's in his past? Why isn't he thriving as a businessman in a legit field? How did he become the go-to guy when you need to select from a group of seriously illegal firearms?

I'm glad we only see the tip of the iceberg with him. It's more fun to speculate about his origins. But I would like to see him again occasionally.

Last edited by Llama Llogophile; 07-04-2018 at 09:45 AM.
#33
Old 07-04-2018, 12:29 PM
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Honestly, there are so many first rate characters I don't know how you choose. They all need each other.

Why people hate Skylar I don't get. She's a fabulous character, brilliantly played.

I would agree that Marie (Hank's wife, in case anyone forgot) is an odd and largely unnecessary character. She is well played by Betsy Brandt, but her purpose in the show is a bit "just Hank's wife" and a lot of it feels extraneous.
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#34
Old 07-04-2018, 12:48 PM
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Mike!!!

I've been a Johnathan Banks fan going back to at least WISE GUY.
#35
Old 07-04-2018, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Llama Llogophile View Post
There's a minor character who intrigues me: The gun dealer guy.

I find the character interesting because he's a very calm, low key, very smart businessman who happens to be a criminal. He knows his trade, and is able to pass on the quick buck for better reward down the road. ...

How did he get to that place? He's like a Robert Heinlein character - very competent, able to act intelligently in his own interest. What's in his past? Why isn't he thriving as a businessman in a legit field? How did he become the go-to guy when you need to select from a group of seriously illegal firearms?
He's definitely up there with the Italian gunsmith in Day of the Jackal in the canon of badass weapons-purveyors in pop culture (a relatively small canon - or should it be 'cannon'?)

Contrast that with the other weapons dealer we see in BB who sells bulletproof vests to the Salamanca twins. That guy was an obnoxious douchebag and he got (non-fatally) shot for his big mouth. I have to think that the show runners deliberately wanted him to be a contrast to the other weapons dealer, since most characters on BB have some kind of "counterpart" character.

I have to assume the smart gun dealer is doing that as a side hustle....it's probably only one element of a larger business in contraband goods.
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#36
Old 07-05-2018, 11:14 PM
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I feel like I have to bring up something about Mike. He's frequently cited as a character who has integrity and a form of moral code, at least higher than most of his colleagues. Yet it bears mentioning that there are some inconsistencies in Mike's character.

He acts like a paternal figure and mentor towards Jesse. And Jesse clearly respects Mike. Mike consistently claims to be looking out for Jesse's best interests, more so than Walter who manipulates him callously, yet Mike laments the death of Gus Fring, repeatedly idealizing him as being a better boss and better businessman than Walter, even in his final scene going as far as to claim that they "had a good thing going with Gus," until Walter "had to fuck it up with his pride and his ego." Uh...Gus wanted to kill Jesse. Remember, Mike? What's up with that? You claim to be looking out for "the kid", but your boss Gus wanted to kill the kid and you were going along with that plan and didn't raise any objection.

Seems to me that Mike's moral high ground is a bit compromised.
#37
Old 07-05-2018, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Llama Llogophile View Post
There's a minor character who intrigues me: The gun dealer guy.
Played by Jim Beaver, who was briefly a Doper and member of the SDSAB under the name of jumblejim (last active in 2006).
#38
Old 07-06-2018, 05:19 AM
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Played by Jim Beaver, who was briefly a Doper and member of the SDSAB under the name of jumblejim (last active in 2006).
#39
Old 07-06-2018, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by DrCube View Post
But story wise, I was really impressed with Hank's transformation from a dumb jock bully cop brother in law to a complex and ultimately sympathetic character. Really foiled Walt's descent nicely.
I agree, Hank's transformation (or reveal really, I don't think his character actually changed) from loudmouth jerk to the moral center of the show was really well done.

My favorite character though, would probably be Gus, both because of the actor and the way the character was written. When Gus became active on the show is when I went from merely enjoying BB to thinking the show was genius.
#40
Old 07-06-2018, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Lamoral View Post
Seems to me that Mike's moral high ground is a bit compromised.
Isn't that the brilliance of the writing, though? Many - most - of the characters have some sort of moral character that comes out in their behavior that reveals their flaws. Fring, Mike, and the rest all do live by some sort of code they've developed over time. It's stable and it works for them. When someone comes along who doesn't have one - Walt - it disrupts their entire way of life and ultimately leads to disaster for them.

The ones who don't have such a thing are not necessarily shown as succeeding. Tuco, for example, is a successful, smaller-time distributor. But he uses his own product and is clearly on a downward path that will end, sooner or later, is his own destruction.
#41
Old 07-06-2018, 09:50 AM
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One of the fun things about BB was how various characters went in and out of being on Walt's side based on whether they were helpful or posing a threat. Tuco was very clearly a mistake and Walt and Jesse were lucky to survive. Gus was at first a nice guy helping Walt, so yay. But then as the series progressed we started seeing various back stories and Gus became a serious threat. But that was more due to Jesse trying to short Gus and Walt's wounded pride about being monitored. The old man was a threat from the very beginning but turned out to be Walt's salvation from Gus. Tod was nice and helpful too until the job required him to get ugly.

So after thinking it over I have to go with Gus as a favorite since he seemed to be the most reasonable in that he was always in favor of peaceful resolutions but was utterly ruthless when required.
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#42
Old 07-06-2018, 12:42 PM
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I like characters with a lighter side, like Hank, Jesse and Saul.

Yeah, I gotta go with Hank myself - because he comes off (and you're certainly supposed to think of him as) a dumb racist jock primate ; but he has surprising depth and growth throughout the series, to the point where you realize his macho bullshit is more often than not a feint to mask his feeling waaaay out of his depths. You can tell he's really shaken about having shot Tuco, or having witnessed the Turtle bomb. Yet ostensible insensivity aside he's pretty damn good at his job, all things considered ; and he's got a real "mama bear" thing going with his family. His poor wife sadly not really included, or at least she's often the victim of his insecurities...


All in all, he's not a super good person, not terrible either - just a great character who seems to have his heart in the right place even though his brain doesn't always catch up with it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypno-Toad
ut then as the series progressed we started seeing various back stories and Gus became a serious threat. But that was more due to Jesse trying to short Gus and Walt's wounded pride about being monitored.

Uuuuh, not really. The plan from the get-go was to get Gail to learn Walt's method, then dispose of Walt when he wasn't needed any more. Gus never trusted Walt.
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#43
Old 07-07-2018, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Kobal2 View Post
Uuuuh, not really. The plan from the get-go was to get Gail to learn Walt's method, then dispose of Walt when he wasn't needed any more. Gus never trusted Walt.
Uhh, yes, really. (Wow, it really does make the point better when you start with a condescending phrase! Thanks!) Gus knew Walt wasn't long for the world one way or the other and had a plan for the future. But Walts foolish pride wouldn't concede this. And Jesse was trying to sell off the excess product. That's when Gus installed the cameras and things went downhill from there.
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Last edited by Hypno-Toad; 07-07-2018 at 10:12 AM.
#44
Old 07-09-2018, 05:24 PM
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Loved the show, but honestly didn't LIKE most of the characters. Hank was the exception. I cried when he was killed.
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