‘Breaking Bad’: Walter White Defeated Criminal Mastermind Gus Fring By Exploiting 1 Major Weakness

Walter White began his tenure on Breaking Bad knowing nothing about the drug business. As a high school chemistry teacher who always followed the rules, the criminal underbelly of Albuquerque was far from his scope of expertise. Walt was brilliant, but he wasn’t exactly street smart.

Heisenberg from season 5 of the series bears little resemblance to the bumbling, dorky chemistry teacher in the pilot episode. Walt harnesses his dark side to defeat his nemesis, the formerly unstoppable Gus Fring, all by exploiting the drug kingpin’s single weakness.

Walter White becomes a drug dealer on ‘Breaking Bad’ through trial and error

Gus Fring and Walter White
Gus Fring and Walter White | Ursula Coyote/AMC

One reason Walt and Jesse made such a good team was they balanced each other out. Walt knew the science of making meth while Jesse knew how to deal drugs. Eventually, their roles flip and fans discover that Jesse was the one with a well-developed conscience all along.

Walt originally enlists Jesse’s help selling drugs so he can earn money to provide for his family. Along the way, Walt discovers how much he enjoys becoming rich and powerful, and how he excels at outsmarting his opponents. One by one he bests all of his enemies on his way to becoming the most in-demand meth dealer in the Southwest.

The only person who’s a mental match for Walt is his boss, Gus Fring. Walt only manages to kill Gus by exploiting a tragic part of his past.

Gus Fring despises Hector Salamanca more than anyone

Hector Salamanca and Gus Fring start out working for the Juárez Cartel together, but Gus hates him from day one. That’s because Breaking Bad fans learn through a flashback scene that Hector ruthlessly murdered Gus’s business partner and possible lover, Max Arciniega, in 1989.

Gus was forced to get along with the Salamancas publicly to keep his job but secretly plotted ways to take out his longtime nemesis. Walter White knew how much Gus hated Hector and used it to his advantage.

Walter White’s first attempt to kill Gus Fring doesn’t work

After Gus Fring murders Juárez Cartel leader Don Eladio and all his associates, Walt knows his own life is in grave danger. He rigs a pipe bomb to Gus’s car, but the ever-cautious drug kingpin suspects foul play and avoids the vehicle. Walt is forced to find another tactic.

At the end of season 4, Walt manages to kill his boss by using Gus Fring’s hatred for Hector against him.

Gus Fring gets blown up by Hector Salamanca in ‘Face Off’


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The episode title “Face Off” has two meanings: one, it’s a standoff between Gus and Walt. And two, it’s when Gus literally gets his face blown off.

After the failed assassination attempt, Walt knows that Gus will be wary of most situations, making it nearly impossible to kill him. But Gus has never seen clearly when it came to Hector. Because of this, Walt turns Hector into a suicide bomber, rigging an explosive to his wheelchair that detonates at the push of his bell.

Then Walt lures Gus to the nursing home by setting up a fake meeting between Hector and the DEA. Knowing that Gus won’t be able to resist confronting Hector if he thinks he’s a rat, Walt counts on him showing up soon after. The plan works perfectly.

The only reason Walt was able to kill Gus was that he hated Hector so much. And once he did, it paved the way for Walt to become the top player in the Breaking Bad drug world, at least for a little while.