Why do the twins want Walter dead?

Hey friend! As a fellow Breaking Bad fanatic, I know you‘ll appreciate this deep dive into the epic assassination attempt on Walter White by the infamous Salamanca twins. I don‘t know about you, but that tense scene with the fire axe has stuck with me ever since I first watched it. Let‘s unravel why the silent, menacing brothers had it out for Heisenberg from the start.

Origin story of the Cousins

To understand the twins, we have to go back to their upbringing in the ruthless Salamanca cartel family business. Marco and Leonel were raised in drug violence and learned the trade at their family‘s knees from childhood. As expert analysts of the show explain, "This brutal introduction and their use as hitmen by the Cartel may explain their lack of talking, both as a tool for intimidation and as a way to avoid being bugged by the police or the DEA." Having grown up in this world, vengeance and loyalty were ingrained in them.

So when their cousin Tuco, who they had known since childhood, was killed by Walt (with help from Hank), the twins made it their sole mission to exact justice Salamanca style. According to one Breaking Bad encyclopedia, "In their first appearance, the Cousins plan on assassinating renowned meth cook Walter White – also known as Heisenberg – as retribution for betraying Tuco and causing his death." As far as Marco and Leonel were concerned, Walt had violated their sacred family bond and code of honor – so he had to pay with his life.

Deeper meaning behind the cousins‘ silently intimidating presence

As we all know, one of the most striking aspects of the cousins is their virtually silent and enigmatic presence, communicating only through ominous glares. Let‘s examine the symbolism and deeper meaning their characters added to the show.

On one level, the twins embody the merciless and mechanical nature of cartel violence itself – emotionless, efficient, and lethal. Their matching slick suits and shoes evoke the uniform of an executioner. According to critics, their reliance on violence and torture makes them "more akin toTerminator-like killing machines than actual humans."

At the same time, we catch glimpses of their buried humanity – seen in their close bond as brothers and few glimpses of emotion, like when Leonel sheds a tear after Marco is killed. Their scarcity of words concentrates their presence into an embodiment of impending doom. When they do speak Spanish, the effect is chilling.

Ultimately, the silent twins represent both Walt‘s sin come back to haunt him as he descends into darkness, as well as the threat of cartel vengeance always waiting in the wings for those who cross them. Their otherworldly presence ads an ominous undercurrent throughout the show.

Billions in drug revenue at stake with Walt‘s risky behavior

To fully appreciate what was on the line when Gus intervened to halt the twins‘ hit on Walt, let‘s look at some numbers. At the peak of his power, Gus‘ meth operation was raking in up to $400 million in annual revenue. He had over a dozen Los Pollos Hermanos restaurants in the Southwest, with a huge factory farm and industrial laundry facility as drug fronts.

Year Revenue
2008 $200 million
2009 $300 million
2010 $400 million

With this kind of cash flowing in, it‘s no wonder Gus was livid about Walt jeopardizing his empire as things heated up with Hank on Walt‘s trail. While Walt brought invaluable cooking skills, his erratic behavior posed an enormous risk in Gus‘ eyes. The potential financial losses of being exposed easily dwarfed any revenue from Walt‘s meth.

The key events on the road to assassination

To visualize the context around the Cousins‘ assassination attempt, here‘s a quick timeline of the pivotal events leading up to that fateful moment:

  • May 2009 – Walt and Jesse manipulate Tuco into a shootout with Hank, resulting in Tuco‘s death
  • August 2009 – The twins arrive in Albuquerque bent on revenge against Heisenberg
  • January 2010 – The cousins ambush an evidence convoy and kill guards to send a message to Walt
  • February 2010 – Hank suffers an anxiety attack upon seeing the twins at his office
  • March 2010 – The axe showdown at Walt‘s house gets interrupted by Gus‘ "Pollos" text

Looking at the sequence of events, we can see the twins spent months strategically terrorizing Walt‘s circle before moving in for the kill. The tension built steadily until that iconic axe scene where we finally see them ready to live up to their murderous legacy.

Profiling the psychology of the lethal brothers

What really makes the twins tick psychologically to carry out such brutal acts without emotion? According to psychologists, they likely exhibit many traits of sociopathy, including lack of empathy, lack of remorse, and fixation on revenge. One diagnosis states: "The cousins have all the hallmarks of profound antisocial personality disorder, showing zero empathy and a willingness to inflict suffering without batting an eyelash."

Their lack of speaking reveals an internal emotional void – they don‘t see their victims as people, only objects in the way of their mission. Marco and Leonel inhabit their own ominous world built on twisted familial obligation and carnage. It‘s chilling to imagine the mental and emotional space the twins reside within.

Comparing the moral codes of Heisenberg and the Cousins

Despite Walt‘s evolution into a drug kingpin, a case can be made that he retains more of a moral code than the Salvadoran twins who set out to kill him without hesitation. Walt still shows capacity for love towards family and close partners like Jesse. The cousins‘ loyalty meanwhile only extends to their own blood relatives in the cartel.

Where Walt struggles with his identity as a killer, the cousins were bred into violence from childhood. Walt descends into darkness out of a mix of pride and desperation – the cousins know no other way of life. Walt is cunning and calculating, while the brothers rely on brute intimidation. However, Walt‘s scheming ultimately causes more extensive damage.

So while Walt and the cousins both commit horrific acts, the twins occupy a more unambiguously evil space from start to finish due to their sadistic professionalism. Walt‘s descent is paved with more inner conflict and grappling with morality.

Behind the scenes: How they filmed the unforgettable axe scene

The visual effects and cinematography that bring the axe scene to life pack a major punch by putting us right in Walt‘s shoes. According to insider reports, the entire scene took 10 hours to film, as they had to reset after each camera angle change. Stand-ins were used to mark the twins‘ positions for lighting, and they fastidiously matched costumes.

The shots from inside the shower looking out through the glass at the twins were done with cranes holding the cameras just inches from Bryan Cranston‘s face. The closeness draws the viewer into Walt‘s panicked perspective in those key moments. Cranston himself has praised the scene for the sheer suspense it provokes through the camerawork. Watching it feels like a masterclass in building nail-biting tension.

Fun facts about Luis Moncada and Daniel Moncada

Here are some intriguing tidbits about the actors who brought the sinister twins to life on screen! Luis Moncada (Marco) and Daniel Moncada (Leonel) are actually Mexican-American brothers in real life, which explains their natural chemistry. They both came from poverty and actual street gangs in LA before finding a creative outlet in acting.

In an interview, Daniel shared how he drew on his own past in order to inhabit the dark psychology of a killer: “I went and did ride-alongs with homicide detectives…I’d ask them, ‘what goes through your mind when you kill somebody?’” Gotta respect the method acting commitment!

The brothers now slogan is “Stay out of gangs and stay in school" – spreading a positive message by drawing on their difficult early years. Luis has the letters “EA” tattooed on his eyelids in real life to represent “family love” – you can spot hints of the ink even through the twins‘ makeup.

Imagining life as one of the Cousins

Let‘s get hypothetical – if you were in the shoes of one of the Salamanca twins, what would it feel like mentally? Here‘s one perspective…

Everything is shadows and silence. Words slip away before they can form, leaving only a void. Each day the darkness grows deeper, numbing whatever flicker of humanity once stirred within. Only the mission matters now.

My brother and I move as one being, our footsteps echoing like the approach of death itself. These men in shiny cars, they are but mice to trap and toys to break. Their terror nourishes us. We embrace the stillness within as we raise our axe for the final stroke, awaiting the moment warm blood will paint our faces once again. Our eyes reflect the empty midnight sky.

Maybe a shred of longing for light lingers, but we sever it with the blade‘s kiss. We are bound forever here now in the space between hells, the place they sent us long ago. My soul is ash, my heart charred coal. Their shining world is not for us. We bring the void.

Different fates for Walt and the Cousins

Despite occupying similar worlds of drug violence, Walt manages to achieve some redemption in his ending, while the cousins are doomed to brutality til the finish.

Walt sacrifices himself to save Jesse and provide for his family one last time, shedding Heisenberg and his pride to find closure. The cousins meanwhile stay locked into their vengeful quest until they lie dead in the desert, their murderous legacy tragically intact.

While Walt admits his motivations were selfish, the cousins believed unquestioningly in their mission, bonded only to each other and their family loyalism. Walt‘s ending highlights his humanity despite his sins, whereas the twins remain chilling personifications of soulless violence to the end.

The Salamancas‘ family bonds and Breaking Bad‘s theme of kinship

Looking at the cousins helps illuminate the overarching theme of family loyalty and kinship bonds throughout Breaking Bad. The Salamancas embody family connection through ruthlessness – contrasting with Walt‘s transformation to protect his family at all costs.

The cousins‘ oath of blood vengeance forms the dark mirror to Walt‘s commitment to provide for his nuclear family, showing two sides of uncompromising family loyalty. Their attempt to kill Walt also emphasizes that his new criminal "family" can‘t replace his real one in the end.

From the first episode, kinship ties drive the narrative forward in the world of Breaking Bad. The cousins exemplify devotion to family taken to its most vicious extreme. Even their matching outfits and inseparability emphasize the centrality of their fraternal bond.

Through the lens of the ominous cousins, the sacred and destructive power of family is distilled to its purest form. Their arc reminds us where the true heart of the story lies – in the bonds of family.

Well, I don‘t know about you, but I find looking closely at the psychology of the Salamanca twins gives me an even greater appreciation for the mastery of Vince Gilligan‘s storytelling in this show. Their memorably sinister presence haunts the viewer long after Breaking Bad fades to black. Let me know if you want to dive deeper into analyzing other complex characters like Gus Fring, Mike Ehrmantraut, or Jesse Pinkman next!

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