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I finished watching Better Call Saul. No spoilers -- but in light of the methods Gus employs to ensure the secrecy of the lab... can we retrospectively suggest that Gus would have had Walt killed if he had continued to refuse to cook for him?

When Gus shows Walt the lab for the first time to tempt him, he reassures Walt that his decisions were necessary, and also that as a man his primary job is to 'provide' for his family. But Walt wasn't even blindfolded. Gus's entire operation is jeopardised if Walt still refused his offer. So did he really have a choice at that point and was Gus really a man bearing an offer of free will? At this point, from his perspective, it was either work-for-me or die.

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Walter is visiting the Lab, Gus makes the offer. Walter says no. Is he dead?

Actually, no. Gus wasn't going to kill Walter...yet. There are two main reasons for that:

1) Walter IS Heisenberg and he owned the recipe

As you recall, Walter (aka) Heisenberg created the recipe and only he (with the assistance of Pinkman) could do the product. But Gus Fring knew this and was conscious when he showed the lab to Walter but at the time, Gus had another thing on movement because as you can imagine, Walter wasn't the first choice.

2) Enter Gale Boetticher the Candidate

Gale Boetticher (aka) Shotgun was the first and the mandatory option for Gus because, unlike Walter, Gus knew Gale years ago and like Walter he is super prepared to do the job, with a MS degree in organic chemistry and a specialization in X-ray crystallography. He was the main (and only) candidate to run the lab and in fact, Gale assembled the SuperLab but he explained to Gus in the S04E01:

Sir, I can guarantee you 96 percent. That figure, it's hard-earned, 96. And I'm proud of that. However, this other product has 99 percent.

For Gus (as far as I can see) it is just 3% margin, something acceptable and also recall that Walter White (aka) Heisenberg is not someone who can trust and have too much considerations but Gale insisted:

(...) And look the place you built, the money you're investing (..) and I know you want the best.

So, when Gus showed him the lab, he wouldn't kill Walter...yet. The possible plan that Gus could consider is:

  • Walter showed Gale how to prepare the perfect-99-percent pure meth.
  • Gale notify Gus that he is ready enough too cook the meth (99% pure) by its own means.
  • Gus kill Walter
  • The question is what would have happened if Walt refused to cook for (or share his recipe with) Gus altogether. Would he really have allowed him to just walk away? – divibisan Oct 29 '18 at 16:33
  • @divibisan that's it. This answer alludes to the overall intentions that Gus probably did have, i.e. to ultimately kill Walt. But I am asking if Gus would even let Walt walk away from the biggest dirty secret of his drug empire after Walt knew the location of it. This could just be a retrospective plot hole which has formed after BCS. They are two separate shows, but you can't ignore that it is one franchise. From a story/character perspective, I wonder if Walt secretly knew to bow down and take the job -- that ultimately he was a dead man if he refused to accept. But that's a stretch! – J. Alexander Oct 30 '18 at 14:01
  • Actually -- come to think of it, you do allude to Gale Boetticher's preference and pursuasion over Gus for Walter White. Perhaps one could argue that Gus wanted to please Gale. therefore it was pertinent to get Walter White on his side. Maybe that's why Gus would simply not have him killed. I doubt he cared about the extra 3% of purity, as, ultimately, Walt was out of the game, so he'd have a top product. He is portrayed as a ruthless business man, not a purist. – J. Alexander Oct 30 '18 at 14:22
  • Gus is a business man but also a careful man. Why not have the best product, the best chemist and also be the top distributor? The only thing he needed was Heisenberg. Therefore, my answer. – nelruk Oct 31 '18 at 14:59

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