In the Breaking Bad episode "Half Measure" (S03E12) Jesse tries to kill the two dealers who killed Combo using Andrea's little brother Tomas. But as soon as Gus gets behind this he intervenes and apparently only by Walt's pleading lets Jesse live. He tries to arrange peace between Jesse and the dealers to avoid any further trouble. And as a compromise he tells the dealers

No more kids.

when Jesse tells him about Tomas (though, it's hard to imagine Gus didn't know about the usage of kids as subordinates, let alone care about it at all). And so far so good the peace seems settled.

But then suddenly Tomas ends up killed and I can't wrap my head around why (other than to further the story by making things escalate). Sure, for the dealers it might be an easy way to dispose of him, now that they're told "no more kids", but I don't think they would hazard such an action without permission from Gus. And I can't see what Gus really gained from Tomas' death. Even as an act of defiance to show Jesse who's the boss it doesn't make so much sense, seeing that he was quite interested in the "peace treaty" to avoid further trouble and he knew Jesse's temper and that this was bound to cause trouble once Jesse learns about it. If he really wanted the situation to escalate and get rid of Walt and Jesse, he could have offed them a lot easier and more unexpectedly. Or did he just hope for Walt to ditch Jesse once he goes postal, underestimating their bond? Did I miss anything relevant that may help to understand who ultimately made the plan to kill Tomas and why?

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    I don't understand your reasoning regarding "don't think they would hazard such an action without permission from Gus". These guys are outlaws. Nobody says no to them without some pushback. You want no kids?, FINE NO KIDS. Tomas - Gone.
    – wbogacz
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 20:06
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    @wbogacz Then I don't see why it would then be a problem for Gus when those dealers get killed, seeing that they were the ones then who made the first agression. But feel free to put that up as an answer if you think that's the way it was.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 20:43
  • Was it ever explicitly stated it was the dealer's that killed Tomas? I suspect he was just 'still out there' and got killed by a random lunatic meth head. Whether or not they pulled the trigger, Jesse would probably hold them responsible. Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 22:24

8 Answers 8


To get rid of Jesse.

It's my speculation, I think Gus is not able to kill Jesse directly because of Walt. But he can create a situation where he can get killed on his own. So killing Tomas is a good way to make Jesse create trouble for his own self. It was Walt's involvement which saved Jesse in the end otherwise Jesse might died that day.


Agreeing that there was a lot of ambiguity in what was actually shown, the interpretation I prefer is this:

Tomas and his employers weren't able to end their association peacefully because they didn't trust him to walk away and not cause them trouble in the future. Maybe they tried to "fire" him and he didn't want to go, and the disagreement escalated quickly.

Whatever happened, Gus didn't approve of it. He might even have gotten rid of those two guys himself after he found out about it, but he couldn't tolerate Jesse trying to do it himself. Gus had tried to teach Jesse a lesson: I'm the boss. If you have a problem, bring it to me. It didn't work. And Gus never liked Jesse in the first place. He was still annoyed at having to fire his trusted associate Gale and hire Jesse to make Walt happy.

So after the incident, Gus is angry not so much because of the loss of two low-level employees, but because Jesse - the meth-head who had somehow wormed his way in to the heart of the operation - is refusing to respect the chain of command, and Walt doesn't recognize that that's a problem.

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    Gus mentioned several times that those two employees were very important and loyal to him, I don't think Gus would really kill them just for having trouble with Jesse. Gus never liked Jesse from day one but wasn't killed because of White's request. Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 12:41

It is never stated exactly why Tomas died or who pulled the trigger/gave the order. All we can do is speculate on what led to his death.

In my opinion, Gus gave the order as a way to say, "I make the rules, not you."


Jesse brought up There's a problem with kids doing the dirty work.. No more kids. Well everyone knows kids can't keep secrets. Just as in this trade they don't usually let you out.. SO its simple.. NO LOOSE ENDS

  • Was Tomas the only kid working for the organization? Was he the only one killed? If not, wouldn't the murder of a bunch of kids all at once get at least a little attention from the police?
    – stannius
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 23:48

Given that Tomas was involved in the street level dealing of the Blue Meth and that as a child doesn't have much time to establish his or her reputation of honor; it is fair enough to assume Gus considered him a threat to company security. Dead men talk no tales.


Perhaps the rival dealers thought Tomás had snitched on them prior to the meeting with Gus in order for this issue to have arisen in the first place, and saw him as a future liability.

  • Please don't give one line answer. Explain your answer and add sources if there are.
    – A J
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 5:45

Blood in, Blood out
It is an extremely common belief that you cannot just leave a gang. When you are in, only your death gets you out. This is summed up by following common phrase.

"Blood in, Blood out": To get into a gang you must spill blood. Once in, the gang is for life. The only way to get out is to die.

Tomas was a full member of the gang; he killed Combo as part of his initiation. Once in, there was no other way to leave but to die, and Gus ordered that he could no longer be part of the gang. So he had to die.


I think Walt killed Tomas.

Walt is always thinking ahead. I think he knew he might need a trump card one day to say "See! We can't trust Gus at all! He kills children!"

He needed Jesse to believe Gus would do something like that by the time we get to the end of season four, and the situation with Brock.

  • I think Walt's reaction to Tomas' death makes it unlikely that he was the killer. This is especially true when compared to how he was whistling after talking about Brock.
    – Erik
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 23:55

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