In Breaking Bad, Gus Fring’s decision to kill Victor in a brutal manner sends a clear message to Walt and Jesse that he would not hesitate to kill them if they put the operation at risk. Killing Victor not only protected Gus’ drug operation but also displayed his cold, calculated nature as a villain. Despite other instances of brutality from Gus throughout the series, killing Victor remains his most shocking and defining act.
Victor served as Gus’s henchman and was a violent enforcer of his drug empire. However, Victor’s actions inadvertently put the entire operation at risk when he was spotted at the scene of a murder. In response, Gus decides to punish Victor by killing him with a box cutter in front of Walt and Jesse.
Gus’s decision to kill Victor in such a brutal fashion serves as a message to Walt and Jesse. It shows them that if they put the operation at risk, Gus would not hesitate to kill them as well. Jesse had previously killed another associate, Gale, to protect himself and Walt, and Victor’s carelessness in allowing himself to be connected to the murder made him vulnerable. By killing Victor, Gus cements his authority and ensures their compliance.
The decision to kill Victor also holds deeper meaning. Gus recognizes that Walt and Jesse’s partnership is critical to the operation, as they have the highest quality of meth. While others may have learned to cook meth at the same level, Gus values the partnership and the unique product they create. Killing Victor instead of Jesse demonstrates that Walt and Jesse are indispensable to Gus.
Interestingly, the box cutter scene was not initially planned during the production of Breaking Bad Season 4. Showrunner Vince Gilligan revealed that they knew there would be a dramatic showdown between Walt and Gus but didn’t have the details worked out. The scene and many of its directorial decisions evolved naturally during the creative process.
Gus’s approach to murder is further explored in the spinoff series Better Call Saul. In this series, it is revealed that Gus has always used murder to control those he wants to keep alive. For example, in Better Call Saul, Gus kills Arturo to exert control over Nacho, who is more useful to him alive. This consistent approach to murder further solidifies Gus’s ruthless and calculated character.
Overall, Gus’s decision to kill Victor in such a brutal manner serves multiple purposes. It sends a message to Walt and Jesse, cements Gus as the greatest villain in the Breaking Bad universe, and demonstrates his cold, calculated nature. Additionally, it sets the stage for the tension and conflict that will unfold throughout the rest of the series.