Technically speaking you could make the argument that most of the characters in Breaking Bad can be viewed as villains at one point or another, but if we’re talking about the biggest bad guys to go head to head with Walter White, Gustavo Fring and Jack Welker have to be located towards the top of the list.
Both men have done things that they’re probably not proud of, and they’ve also probably done a whole lot that they were proud of, too. Today, we want to try and figure out who will go down in history as the Thanos of this series – aside from Heisenberg himself, of course.
GUS – Calculated
Calm and composed. Those are two words that you would use to describe Gustavo Fring, if only because the proof is obviously in the pudding.
He doesn’t allow people to get one over on him, because he’s always one step ahead of the game. The reason he’s able to go undetected for so long is due to his ability to take a step back, analyze any given situation and find the right answer.
The silence that comes with his stoic nature is deafening, and in many ways, it’s quite terrifying.
JACK – No Hesitation
On the flip side, Jack simply does not care who he hurts or how badly he hurts them.
His whole philosophy seems to be in line with someone like Mike, in the sense that he can accomplish just about any job without even flinching.
You have to be a special kind of evil to pull the trigger on someone and not even think twice, and we’re pretty confident that’s one of the reasons why Jack is the leader of his gang. When push comes to shove, he makes the hard decisions.
GUS – His Revenge
When Don Eladio and Hector Salamanca kill Gus’ partner and keep him alive to see it, Gus swears revenge on them and their gang.
Over the course of many years, Gus proceeds to kill just about everyone involved in their scheme in an attempt to really stick it to them both. While it may prove to be his downfall in the end, the ruthless nature of Gus’ actions ensures that nobody forgets just how powerful he is.
When things get personal with Fring, you don’t want to be around to see what happens next.
JACK – His Gang
The Aryan Brotherhood is made up of some sick individuals, and it was pretty brave of Breaking Bad to go in this direction with the Season 5 villains.
Still, they were a formidable force, taking down several big characters and intimidating quite a few more. They were established as a legitimate threat from the word go, and as they say, there is power in numbers.
Gus had numbers too, but Jack literally didn’t go anywhere without his gang being present, too. He was the protected leader of a faction, after all.
GUS – The Speech
“I will kill your wife. I will kill your son. I will kill your infant daughter”.
It was the speech that sent shockwaves through the Breaking Bad universe, confirming something that we all pretty much knew already: Gustavo Fring was not a man you want to mess with.
Walter and Gus had been dancing around one another for what felt like years, but at this point, it really did feel like Fring was in control. The worst part of it all was that everybody knew he wasn’t kidding around. If he had to do it, he would.
JACK – Killing Hank
Hank felt like the superhero we all needed during Breaking Bad, so when he was shot dead, it felt like our whole world came crashing down around us.
Nobody could quite believe the writers went ahead with the decision to kill him off, especially in the manner that they did. Jack didn’t even allow Hank to finish his sentence before shooting him, acting as if it was no big deal.
At that stage of the show, there was simply no hope left, or at least, that’s what it felt like for the fans.
GUS – Two-Face
On the battlefield, Gustavo Fring was as ruthless as they came. He made the tough decisions, he ordered the murder of citizens, and he put his business interests first.
On the flip side of that, he was also the face of Los Pollos Hermanos. His happy-go-lucky attitude and tendency to stay close to the DEA makes him the perfect ‘Harvey Two-Face’ in the Breaking Bad world. He understands that he needs to keep his friends close and his enemies closer, and that’s why he gets away with it for as long as he does.
JACK – Prison Killings
When Walter White wants to pretty much execute ten prisoners across a two-minute period, Jack and his gang are the right men for the job.
They have the connections necessary to make it happen, and while Walt is the mastermind behind it all, Jack is the one that has to figure out the details. This is not to suggest that he’s a mastermind on the same kind of scale as Gus, but in order to complete this task without any eyebrows being raised in your direction, you have to be fairly talented.
GUS – Better Call Saul
It felt like one of the biggest factors behind Better Call Saul being created was to provide more of a backstory to some of Breaking Bad’s favorite characters.
One such character was Gustavo Fring, who has been able to expand and develop his legacy courtesy of the spin-off. Aside from the fact that he generally spent more time in BB than Jack did, it’s hard to argue that Jack was more influential as a villain when Gus quite clearly laid the groundwork for Walt to follow once he eventually got round to becoming Heisenberg.
JACK – The Hideout
Viewers only really see The Hideout a few times, but when we do, it comes across as a pretty intimidating place to be.
From Jesse being held hostage and forced to work as a slave through to the cooking station and beyond, it was all so unbelievably eerie. Gus’ operations were much more high-tech, but a true villain really does work within the conditions they deserve.
Jack was amongst the lowest of the low and while many fans will continue to undervalue his presence in the show, he caused a whole lot of chaos.