Better Call Saul: The Story Behind Gus’s Spice Curls Realization

A brief moment in Better Call Saul season 6 episode 5 reveals that Gus Fring may know what Lalo Salamanca is up to.

Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton) in Better Call Saul season 6 episode 5
Photo: AMC

This article contains spoilers for Better Call Saul season 6.

Through five seasons and some change combined on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, iconic villain Gustavo “Gus” Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) is notable for always keeping his cards close to the vest. 

The fast food chicken magnate and regional meth lord very rarely shows any kind of emotion or realization across his stoic face. And that just makes the moments in which he does all the more significant. One such moment comes midway through Better Call Saul season 6’s most recent episode, “Black and Blue”.

Roughly nine minutes into “Black and Blue”, Better Call Saul entreats its viewers to an enigmatic scene that seems to have little to do with the rest of the episode. Gus Fring is working at one of his Los Pollos Hermanos locations as he likes to do. He appears to be a little tense (at least a little more than usual) as he knows a very much still alive Lalo Salamanca is out there planning his demise. Perhaps to distract himself, Gus decides to man one of the registers and help a customer order some delicious fried chicken.

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After the customer orders a 12-piece bucket (extra spicy), Gus, ever the businessman, tries to upsell him on a new menu item. 

“May I suggest our signature spice curls,” Gus says with a smile.

But soon the smile slowly fades from Gus’s face and he looks off into the distance, seemingly experiencing a lightning bolt of realization. What is it about merely uttering the words “signature spice curls” that unnerves Gus so much? Is he realizing how many trans fats are built into his restaurant’s menu? 

Not exactly. Thanks to some incredible detective work done by Twitter user Mehdi Keraghel, we now know what Gus was likely thinking. Take a look at the attached screenshots below.

For those who don’t remember (which is understandable given how much both Saul and Breaking Bad have thrown at viewers for nearly 12 seasons), Gus visited Houston in season 5 episode 7 “JMM” to meet with Madrigal Electromotive GmbH, the corporate backers of his business interests – both legitimate and illegal. First introduced in Breaking Bad, Madrigal is the enormous German conglomerate that owns Los Pollos Hermanos. The company also provides Gus funding to begin his methamphetamine enterprise, which eventually grows to be the largest known drug production ring in the Southwest United States.

When visiting Madrigal in “JMM” it’s then that Gus introduces them to his new menu item: the signature spice curls. So when Gus tells the customer about the spice curls in this season 6 episode, he is reminded of the existence of his German parent company. Then, being the brilliant man that he is, he also realizes what fellow brilliant man Lalo Salamanca’s next move will be: to pay someone in Germany a visit. 

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Sure enough, the final portion of “Black and Blue” reveals that Lalo really has gone to Germany to investigate what Gus is up to. Instead of visiting Madrigal Electromotive, however, Lalo follows the one lead he has: Werner Ziegler. Werner Ziegler was a German engineer hired in secret by Gus to design and create his enormous underground meth lab. When Lalo caught on to the fact that Gus was up to something and learned Werner’s name, Gus had Mike kill the poor German. Still, the damage had been done. Lalo knows both the name and address of Werner’s widow, Margarethe when he investigated his wire transfer in season 4.

The two men at the center of Better Call Saul’s impending gang war are both incredibly intelligent – so much so that they realize each other’s chess moves well before many of us in the audience do. Thankfully, all of the Better Call Saul fandom combined is able to keep up with Gus and Lalo’s mental machinations.