Gale Boetticher

Breaking Bad's guileless geek Gale Boetticher (David Costabile) was Season Three's most interesting featured player for me. An avowed libertarian vegan and Walt Whitman enthusiast, Gale was recruited by Gus Fring to build a master lab in which he would learn to cook master meth from master chef Walter White. And eventually, we came to realize, Gus would dispose of Walter, permanently, and promote Gale. Gale's character, though he only appeared in a couple of episodes, was so richly constructed and embroidered that I wondered if he was creator Vince Gilligan's alter ego. From his Birkenstocks to his throw rugs to his infra-red kitchen thermometer to hs Pillsbury Dough Boy giggle to his love of musical esoterica, Gale was one strange dude. But he added his own beautiful counterpoint to Walt and Gus's strident fugue. I loved his character, as I think many viewers did. Perhaps mostly because of the effect he had on Walt. Walter White wanted a friend, someone who didn't threaten him, who understood his passion for the "chemistry," who he did not resent. Gale was the closest thing to a friend that Walter had. Gale's gifting Walter with an inscribed copy of Leaves of Grass suggests that he may have been a little smitten by Walt and that made Walt's betrayal even more painful to watch and Gale's execution by his rival so shocking. And yet it was also quite fitting for a series where no one ever gets what they want.


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