Gustavo Fring’s sexuality has been speculated ever since Breaking Bad, now Better Call Saul season 6 finally confirms whether Gus is gay.
Ever since Giancarlo Esposito’s debut in Breaking Bad fans have wondered is Gustavo Fring gay, and Better Call Saul season 6 has all but confirmed Gus is indeed homosexual. Everything about Gus Fring has been speculated over, including his sexuality. Outside of Gus’ dual existence as a drug lord/fast food restaurant owner, his personal life remained blank — no friends, no family, no lover. Breaking Bad did, however, drop some clues. For years, Gus held a grudge against the cartel for murdering his business partner Max Arciniega, and the passion with which he executed that revenge Gus’s feelings toward Max were more than professional. Better Call Saul fueled that fire by revealing the fountain Gus built in Max’s honor, while Hector and Lalo Salamanca have both uttered veiled homophobic insults, with the former mocking Fring about peeking whilst he urinated, and the latter referring to Max as Gus’ “boyfriend.”
While Breaking Bad triggered speculation over Gus Fring’s sexuality, Better Call Saul season 6‘s “Fun & Games” finally proves that Gus Fring is gay. After a stressful interrogation that clears him of Lalo Salamanca’s murder, Gus visits a wine bar. Interactions with staff members confirm he’s a regular, and Gus is shown eyeing one employee in particular – David. After Gus initially gazes from afar, David comes to say hello, and they begin discussing a shared love of wine. David rambles on, and Gus is strangely hypnotized by his companion. As if that wasn’t enough, Gus reveals how he once purchased an expensive bottle of wine based on a vivid story David told him — a gesture David himself is visibly touched by. The scene serves no other purpose than to confirm Gustavo Fring is romantically attracted to this wine connoisseur.
Were Gus & Max Together Before Better Call Saul?
After Better Call Saul season 6’s wine bar scene, it’s safe to say Gustavo Fring was in love with Max, as many viewers already suspected. That love fueled his revenge against the cartel gangsters (and Hector Salamanca in particular as punishment for pulling the trigger), but were the Chicken Brothers actually a romantic item in the years prior to Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad?
In Breaking Bad season 4’s flashback, Max defends Gus during an audience with the cartel, exclaiming, “I know Gustavo like a brother.” This very platonic line might imply that Gus loved Max from afar, but never acted on those impulses. Or maybe Max did know, but the love was sadly unrequited. Alternatively, Max’s “like a brother” line could’ve been mere misdirection. The cartel isn’t exactly a safe space for LGBTQ characters in Breaking Bad, so Gus and Max would’ve probably played down any romantic connection in view of Don Eladio and the Salamancas. From Max’s passionate defense, one can certainly argue that he was as emotionally attached to Gus as Gus was to him. Hector Salamanca’s fate was sealed when he brutally dispatched Max in front of Gus.
As well as siphoning some diversity into the Breaking Bad universe, Better Call Saul‘s Gus sexuality reveal provides a more complete vision of his character. The tragedy of losing Max intensifies his motivations during the Breaking Bad era, but this distanced relationship with David in Better Call Saul paints Gus in a surprisingly tragic light. For all his money, power, and intelligence, one purely innocent desire forever eluded Gustavo Fring.
Gus Being Gay Is A Big Deal
Better Call Saul finally confirming that Gus is indeed gay was a huge step in representation of LGBTQ characters in Breaking Bad‘s universe, and indeed for gangster dramas in general. The biggest tragedy of shows like Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, or even The Sopranos is that their toxic, hypermasculine anti-heroes have been largely interpreted as aspirational role models by confused fans. It was an important decision for Better Call Saul to finally end all the ambiguity about Gus’ sexuality, even though the mystery surrounding Gus Fring is part of what makes him so powerful onscreen.
By confirming that Gus is gay, the fandom is forced to reckon with the fact that one of their possible idols doesn’t fit with their hetero-normative notions of what a man should be. Moreover, by confirming audiences’ suspicions about Gus’ sexuality, Better Call Saul cleverly subverts the archaic practice of queer-coding villains to satisfy straight audiences in a way that preserves the character’s integrity as a legitimate danger, and it’s incredibly significant that the lone LGBTQ character in Breaking Bad‘s machismo-fueled world is also one of its most lethal and ruthless.