In the season finale of AMC’s “Better Call Saul,” creator Vince Gilligan brought longtime, beloved Chilean antagonist, Gustavo Fring – played by Giancarlo Esposito – to new levels by opening up a new door to his private life.
We follow Gustavo Fring for the majority of the episode’s first act.
The mood is set with a song called “A Sunday Waltz” by the Ted Gioia Trio. Gus sits and orders a wine named “Dresslee & Vaughn,” which could be seen as bait to intrigue a conversation with a server that catches Gustavo’s attention. The server, David, approaches Gus and recognizes him as he calls “Mr. Fring!”
It doesn’t take long for Gus to make it clear to David that he wants a better wine. David pours a glass but before revealing the bottle he tells the story. The interaction is as raw as Fring’s longing for true connection. After the story, David uncorks one his finest, the Rene Rostaing “La Landonne” Côte-Rôtie.
The conversation continues.
Everything David says makes Gustavo blush and swoon with joy. Gustavo mentions he bought a 1978 Côte-Rôtie for a prior “special occasion” and hinted that David was part of the occasion. David goes to grab another bottle to show Gustavo. However, before he returns, Gus informs the bartender that he has been called away. There is a moment of silence. In Gustavo’s eyes, we see that something is holding him back.
If you know the character well, you may think he’s not ready to find peace in his life because of the revenge he seeks on the cartel. But it may be more than that.
We can all relate to not being able to move on to something better for us because we’re held back by a loss, a breakup, or anything else that may be weighing heavy on our hearts.
This moment in Gustavo Fring’s journey possesses many layers – and the complexity of emotions
Though it’s not explicitly stated, the moment is veiled by the circumstances queer and gay people have faced for years. However, it goes beyond what the character portrays.
It’s a moment that shows how enlightening and beneficial it is to do things for yourself, even if it’s as simple as having a glass of wine. It’s disheartening to see the character not be able to enjoy relationships for more than quick instances. Unfortunately, this is a reality for many.