Is Gus Fring Gay in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul?

Although ‘Breaking Bad’ and its prequel ‘Better Call Saul’ focus on other characters, Gustavo “Gus” Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) has a very important role to play in both series. He owns Los Pollos Hermanos, a profitable fried chicken restaurant chain. Secretly, he works for the cartel and brings drugs from Mexico to the US. Later in ‘Breaking Bad,’ he kills his Mexican cartel superiors apparently to avenge the death of his friend Max Arciniega (James Martinez). There have been speculations on whether Gus and Max’s relationship was romantic. Here is what you need to know about it. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Is Gus Fring Gay?

Since the airing of the ‘Breaking Bad’ episode ‘Hermanos’ (season 4 episode 8), fans have wondered about Gus’ sexuality. In it, Gus and Max meet Don Eladio, the head of the cartel, in the 1980s after they began giving away free samples of their pure meth that Max created to Cartel members. Gus came up with this idea, believing this was the easiest way to gain the attention of Eladio. Their actions did draw Eladio’s attention, but not the way they wanted. He was furious with them for selling in his territory without his permission. He ordered Hector Salamanca to kill Max while the latter was trying to justify Gus’ actions. Afterward, as Juan Bolsa holds Gus down, Eladio tells him that the only reason Gus was alive was because of his past in Chile.

It becomes increasingly clear in both ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Better Call Saul’ how Max’s death has influenced Gus’ actions in the subsequent years. Max was originally from the Santiago slums in Chile. At some point, he and Gus became acquainted. The latter even sponsored Max when he studied chemistry at the Universidad de Santiago de Chile. They founded Los Pollos Hermanos together. Gus is almost always stoic and undemonstrative. And yet, his response to Max’s death was of utter grief, pain, and vulnerability, expressing volumes about their relationship.

However, as with most things in this fictional universe, these signs underscoring Gus and Max’s relationship remained subtle until season 6 episode 9, titled ‘Fun and Games.’ After meeting Eladio, Bolsa, and Hector and successfully evading Hector’s accusations about killing Lalo, Gus visits a restaurant, where his attention is soon drawn to the sommelier, David (Reed Diamond). It soon becomes apparent that the two men know each other. Their conversation is surprisingly lively, mainly about wine and traveling in Europe. There are enough clues in the scene to let the audience know that this is not one of those instances when Gus puts on a kind and friendly mask for his employees or his superiors in the cartel. He is genuinely happy to be here and discuss wine and travel with David.

With ‘Better Call’ ending soon, this is likely the only affirmation we are to get about Gus’ sexuality. It might not be much, but it is enough. The sparseness of it perfectly fits the character, as does the ending of the scene. Gus almost invites David to share a $5,000 bottle of wine with him, but he soon remembers who he is. While David has gone away to fetch a bottle of Guigal just to show to Gus, the ruthless crime lord re-emerges from within the latter and snuffs out any traces of hopefulness. Gus subsequently leaves, once more aware of what he has become.

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