312 - Half Measures

JamesJames southern California
I remember as we approached the last 3-4 episodes of this season in the original broadcast, a lot of people were commenting that season three was boring, that nothing was happening, that the show had lost its excitement. Then 312 and 313 came along (the pattern continued in Season 4 BTW)...

There was something that struck me in watching Abiquiu and Half Measures:

Gus was introduced to us by Saul as a brilliant businessman and strategist, who ran his empire without exposing himself to any real risk. I recall Hank showing his team a map showing that the blue meth, which had disappeared from the streets of ABQ, was showing up in Texas, Arizona, and Colorado. If I'm making meth in New Mexico and I want to minimize my risk, this seems to be a brilliant strategy.

But last episode we found out that the dealers who had Combo killed were part of Gus' organization, selling his meth locally. And this episode we find that they are working directly for Gus. Even Avon Barksdale kept himself isolated (mostly) from his street dealers, yet Gus meets face-to-face with these guys at the chicken ranch. These two know who he is, what he looks like, and spend every day one undercover cop or one informant away from being arrested for dealing.

How smart is that?

Comments

  • Frakkin TFrakkin T Currently Offline
    @James spot on, and I noticed that myself. I have the feeling that Villigan would look back on it and ask us not to think too hard about it. However, the rule of cool trumps most everything, and this is such a small detail that I have no problem forgiving it.
    James
  • I think Gus is so feared those guys wouldn't dare rat knowing they are dead if they do.
  • It was also a special circumstance, having a couple trusted lieutenants know your face could be an acceptable risk when your only cook and his assistant are threatening to bring down the whole operation. 
  • JamesJames southern California

    It was also a special circumstance, having a couple trusted lieutenants know your face could be an acceptable risk when your only cook and his assistant are threatening to bring down the whole operation. 

    Yeah, but first of all they aren't really lieutenants, they are street dealers. The only "members" of the organization lower than them are kids like Tomas. They are presumably not getting their product from Gus, but from a local supplier that gets his product from someone who gets his product from Gus' organization. Gus is a supplier, not a dealer -- in Wire-speak, he is not Avon Barksdale, he is The Greek.

    Secondly, Gus' cooks, whether he likes them or not, are central to his operation. Without them he has no operation. These "Lieutenants" presumably bring in whatever amount of money they can earn from one corner in one neighborhood in the ABQ.

    Thinking about it, this whole thing only makes sense if those two are high-end muscle, vetted and hired by Mike, who run that corner in their downtime. It still begs the question of why Gus would allow people who are valuable to him, and to whom he is visible, to engage in behavior so risky -- not just dealing drugs in the open, but shooting people in the street, in broad daylight!

    If someone is facing the death penalty, would you really trust them to be loyal enough or fearful enough to protect the Boss, when giving him up might get them reduced or dropped charges and federal witness protection?

    I agree with Frakken T, that I'm certainly over thinking this -- It doesn't take away from my loyalty to the show, and the end of this episode (and the next one) set the standard for OMG moments in television. This is where Breaking Bad goes from top tier television to freaking awesome!
  • fyi ... on the cast you say that Jonathan Banks won an Emmy for BrBa. He was nominated in 2013 (for 5x07, Say My Name) and lost to Bobby Canavale for Boardwalk Empire.
  • That makes me sad, @hypergenesb. Season 3 of BE was my least favorite precisely because of Canavale. I can only take small doses of Canavale which is why I am skeptical of Vinyl. 
    hypergenesb
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