Breaking Bad Review: “Salud”

Now that’s what I’m talking about.

It’s been a monumentally slow build, but at long last we have vindication this season of Breaking Bad. The pieces have been falling into place for a while now, and this week we got to see Gus’ master plan in action, and I genuinely didn’t even know he had a master plan.

The mass assassination of Don Eladio and his capos was without question one of the show’s best moments, and almost balletic to watch as fat Mexicans keeled over left and right from Gus’ poison liquor. I was initially upset when it appeared after all that grooming, Gus had essentially sold Jesse into slavery and surely the next entire season would be about Walt trying to somehow rescue Jesse from Mexico.

But it turns out Gus’ most admirable trait is loyalty, to Jesse, but also to his dead brother and partner whom Don Eladio killed those many years ago. To be able to exact revenge on the exact spot on which the original atrocity was committed was just an added bonus.


This entire plan seemed very un-Gus-like however. There is no one more meticulous and calculating than him, and there were so, so many things that could have gone wrong with this plan. You would think that a Don of the Cartel would take a little more precaution when presented with a drink from a man who has every reason to want him dead. A simple nod from his bodyguard that said “don’t worry, we looked, it’s just liquor not a bomb” and the fact that Gus drank some doesn’t seem like enough. Hasn’t he seen The Princess Bride? Maybe Gus had taken the antidote previously.

Also, I found it fortunate for Gus that the Don would share such a rare drink with every single one of his fat friends, thus expending the entire bottle in one go. It’s also fortunate that outside of the capos, the villa didn’t seem to have actual average Joe security guards the way one might expect to find in a Cartel mansion.

I did however, appreciate the fact that Gus’s vomit-up-the-poison trick didn’t work smoothly. I doubt there are very many fast-acting deadly poisons that you can puke out before they have debilitating effects, and I’m glad to see that fact wasn’t ignored as Gus is now in dire straits. The same goes for Mike, who was shot by the mansion’s lone security guard, and now Jesse is tasked with…what exactly? Driving them back into the States in a drug lord’s stolen Mercedes? Something tells me they’re going to be in Mexico for a while.

Mike’s seen worse. Right? Right???

The assassination overshadowed everything else in the episode, which didn’t consist of anything too major. Walt continues to be useless, as he has been all season, but on his pain meds he seemed to come to Jesus so to speak and see the error of his ways. I almost thought he was finally going to let Walter Jr. know what the hell was really going on, but I guess he’s going to ride that gambling story into the ground. And Walt Jr. gets a PT Cruiser? With that and Walt’s Aztec, I’m astonished with how bad this family’s taste in cars is.

I liked that Ted continued to be a complete dumbass, using free money raining from the sky as an excuse to get a Mercedes and restart his business, kicking the IRS payment down the line. Skyler thought she was fixing the problem by ghosting him the cash, but once she realized his dumbassery knows no bounds, she revealed her hand and now Ted’s going to have some very serious questions. Halfway through their conversation, the thought occurred to me that I think Skyler might actually end up having him offed down the line, thus completing her transition to the dark side.

“Ahhhhhhh you’ve got to be f*cking kidding me.”

What happens if Gus and Mike die? Who takes over the meth business? How high up was Don Eladio in the Cartel? I mean, it’s THE Cartel isn’t it? I don’t think they let stuff like this go. But if Gus is gone, who will they go after? I assume they’d burn everything he owned to the ground, including the meth lab, so where would that leave Walter and Jesse, who also incidentally absolutely hate each other? God forbid Gus does survive and the Cartel actually has a clear target. If the show simply tries to play it off like “Gus killed everyone so there’s no retribution” that’s kind of bullshit, so I hope they enact realistic consequences to this declaration of full-on war on the world’s most terrifying crime syndicate.

Jesse proved himself to be awesome in every way today whether it was ordering around Mexican meth cooks like a boss, or filling someone full of lead when the moment called for it (albeit while his gun magically had about 23 rounds in it). Now we need to see a similar transformation out of Walt who appears to have hit rock bottom with his little painkiller moment. This would have been a great season finale, but the fact that there’s three more episodes left is even more exciting.


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  1. I thought Max wasn’t Gus’ brother. He says something like, “I know Gus like a brother …He rescued me from the slums in Santiago and made me into the man I am today.” I’m pretty sure they were only partners, and possibly in more than just the business sense of the word. (Something about his type of emotion when Max was killed seemed to say they were more than just friends. Plus, the beginning of that scene starts with Don Salamanca pissing in the pool and he says, ‘they like what they see.’ Then, proceeds by making a kissy face at them.) I know, it’s a bold claim. I can’t really put a finger on Gus, he surprises the audience almost every episode by something so off-the-wall or radical that you have to change your view of him constantly. I did like the Scarface-like ending of him yelling in Spanish. That was pretty BA.

  2. Ted HAS to die now. He can blackmail the shit out of Skylar with this ultra boneheaded move. Her egomaniacal ways are really going to get the pot stirred, and open more cans of worms for the White family.

  3. -High risk, high reward was what Gus was going for. Given the tokens of submission and respect that both Jesse and the tequila bottle represented, he knew that Eladio would go into hedonistic party mode once business was concluded. This is reinforced 2 episodes back, before Max is murdered.

    -The Medellin Cartel disappeared after Pablo Escobar and his top staff were disposed of.
    And given that there are multiple Mexican Cartels, —in conflict with each other, mind you— he just happened to remove the one he was in business with. So no retribution is entirely possible.
    But just the Medellin Cartel was removed and replaced, so too will be the fate of the (BB) Juarez Cartel. Lets see how that plays out though.

    More inaccuracies from this article:
    -Jesse fires around 15-17 rounds, standard for a 9mm clip.
    -The already mentioned Caddy.
    -Only a few of the Capos were fat, but I guess this is to play up the fat Mexican stereotype.
    -Max was not his brother. In fact, they may have be lovers, if my suspicions about Gus being gay are correct.

  4. Was anyone else bothered by the fact that Mike couldn’t properly take the eventual shooter out with his wire? For a guy like him, seems like a dumb error not to A) kill the guy or B) make sure he’s going to be knocked out long enough. Honestly, seems like they just wanted Jesse to have his hero moment.

    Also, what was that pill Gus took before the encounter? Before he puked, I was under the impression that was an antidote. Or was the poison strong enough that the antidote wasn’t strong enough, and he needed to throw up as well? Seems kind of unnecessary but I guess they wanted Gus in that bathroom and him just throwing up the poison was going to be ridiculous.

  5. – Gus is seen taken some kind of pill before Don Eladio comes out and they all drink the tequila; probably some kind of antidote. Throwing out would have been just an addition to ensure that the poison does not get him too.
    – I agree with JohnC: no need for retribution, as the other cartels would, and anyone down the line, would be quite happy of having Don Eladio taken out. Now family, that would be a completely different enchilada.
    – The people who got the props went even to the trouble of putting license plates from Michoacan on the get away car. This is a Mexican state with a very heavy cartel presence. However, Michoacan is way out of range of a small plane like the one they used to get there. And if they are indeed in Michoacan, well, Jessee and the others need to drive half through Mexico to get back to Albuquerque.

  6. The couple of mentions in the article about “fat Mexicans” starts to border of feeling distasteful. Not trying to be rude, appreciate what you do in the creation of content, but they weren’t all fat so it’s not accurate and it sticks out as if it’s a minor slur being applied or something- doesn’t fit the tone of the article or the site.

  7. Jesse was the best. Especially the asshole part. I have wanted skyler dead since the first season of this series. Please somebody, anybody kill her. I want more Saul also.

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