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Rhondinella

Walter White: The One Who Knocks

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I loathed Walter White, especially in the final couple of seasons, but after watching the cesspool of scum that was Lester in the Fargo TV series, Walt comes off smelling like a rose compared to him.  Both were equally despicable people, but at least Walt's evil schemes didn't skate on dumb luck and dumb cops.  Plus, Walt's descent into hell was more gradual: he started out just wanting to make illegal money whereas Lester just jumped right into murder.

 

And while nothing Walt did could ever really redeem himself from the countless lives he ruined, he at least was enough of a man to come back and finish what he started by ridding the world of Jack and the Neo Nazis -- and saving Jesse.  You gotta give him credit for that much.

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Agreed. I could not stand Walt, but I believe that is the entire point of the show, making the main character from a hero into the villain.

 

That being said I didn't particularly like him in the beginning either, he went from a boring guy to a selfish, self centred jerk.

 

And yes, he ruined so many lives and didn't seem to care.

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That being said I didn't particularly like him in the beginning either, he went from a boring guy to a selfish, self centred jerk.

 

This, exactly. I never really liked him and almost stopped watching at the end of Season 2. When he allowed Jane to die, it just totally solidified my loathing of his character. Friends were like "you can't stop watching now! this is when it gets really good!!!"... so I persevered. I don't think I've ever watched a series so intently where I actively barracked against the main character like this and yet was so invested in the outcome. I wanted Hank and Jesse to prevail and Walt to either get captured or die. I did want his kids to get a nest egg of cash though, otherwise it was all an exercise in destruction and futility! Thankfully, the writers fgured out a way to make that happen. 

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Walt whistling after disposing of the body of the kid on the dirt bike.  The way he tortured Schyler and seemed to enjoy it, the way his ego made him talk too much and keep giving Hank clues.  The way he manipulated Jesse. The way Walt's actions eventually led Hank to his death and THEN Walt was sorry? He truly was a despicable character. but the show is amazing in its portrayal of his descent into evil. 

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I always thought it was weird how Walt's sex drive just vanished in the last three seasons...right about the time he was told his cancer was in remission. He could not get enough in the first two seasons. That scene of him trying to enter Skyler from behind while she had the mud mask on her face and was screaming for him to stop was terrible. But with all the beautiful, sexy women he came into contact with, he never showed any interest in them.  

 

Was being a faithful husband one of his only good points? 

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I always took Walt's increase in sex drive with Sky as the "thrill" of what he was doing causing him to act out of character.  He would get away with something or come close to dying and it would titillate him so he would go home and bang his wife.  I do believe he loved Skylar so maybe he really wasn't interested in anyone else sexually.  Before his descent into sleezeball land, he seemed the kind of guy who would be faithful and I don't think that part of him changed.

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All the beautiful, sexy women he came in contact with, like...Lydia. And, um, Jesse's two girlfriends. Seriously, did WW have scenes with any other woman, beautiful or otherwise, he had not known for a long time before his diagnosis (Marie, Carmen, Gretchen, neighbor women)? This was such a guy show. The female roles of significance were very thin on the ground.

Edited by Simon Boccanegra
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Honestly, had Walt pursued a sexual relationship outside of Skyler I would have found it very out of character--especially given the main motivation for making meth was to protect his family after his demise from cancer.  He was always about his family and said it as much throughout the entire series.  Even Skyler used that to her advantage when she admitted her affair with Ted--she wanted to hurt Walt and knew that would do it.

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I always thought it was weird how Walt's sex drive just vanished in the last three seasons...right about the time he was told his cancer was in remission. He could not get enough in the first two seasons. That scene of him trying to enter Skyler from behind while she had the mud mask on her face and was screaming for him to stop was terrible. But with all the beautiful, sexy women he came into contact with, he never showed any interest in them.  

 

Was being a faithful husband one of his only good points? 

He did try to kiss Carmen in her office, after he found out Sklyer "effed Ted", leading to his firing or sabbatical or whatever he called it.  I do agree that his passionate moments with Skyler were more about him feeling powerful after committing crimes.  . 

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While Walt clearly became very, evil, I think he gets a bit too much of a bad rap.  He started out cooking just to make some money to provide for his family before he died.  Yes, it was illegal and wrong, but do fans view Gale Boetticher or Jesse as monsters for cooking meth?

 

His first killing (Emilio) was clearly in defense of his own life and Jesse's. He really needed to kill Krazy 8 to protect the lives of himself, Jesse, Skyler, Walt Jr. and unborn Holly, but he was going to let hm go, until he realized Krazy 8 would immediately kill him with the plate fragment.

 

Regarding Jane, I'm sure all sorts of things would run through his mind.  His first instinct was to save her, but a) She probably would have OD'd soon anyway.  b) She was dragging Jesse (who originally dragged her back into addiction) down with her and Jesse probably would have died if she lived.  c) Even if she and Jesse had managed to stay alive, Jane clearly would have blackmailed Walt for more money after she and Jesse shot the half million into their veins.

 

He risked his life at the drug house to save Jesse's life and put him in rehab, rather than keep Jessie's $480K for himself.(or perhaps split it with Saul)  At that point he didn't need Jesse for anything and him dying would have profited him and tied up a major loose end.

 

He partnered with Jesse with Fring to costing himself $1.5 million for the first 3 months, to save Hank and Marie's future, despite Skyler divorcing him.  He also declined Saul's (wise) suggestion to kill Jesse, when Jesse threatened to turn him into the DEA if he were ever caught cooking or dealing. 

 

While Walt became extremely greedy, later, at that point he was perfectly happy with the $500,000 per month and it was JESSE who was being an idiot complaining about not getting his "fair share" from Fring, when he really wasn't needed at all.  Jesse then started stealing meth from Gus, putting both he and Walt in jeopardy, but Walt covered for him.  If Walt really didn't care about Jesse, he could have told Gus, who would have had Mike kill Jesse, doubling his salary and getting rid of a loose cannon who might get him arrested and his money confiscated.

 

He tried to save Jesse from himself with the ricin plot against the dealers who killed Combo and then killed the 2 dealers and destroyed his good relationship with Gus to save Jesse's life.  When he "manipulated" Jesse into killing Gale, it was to save BOTH of their lives. 

 

Even after Jesse tried to burn down his house (but "changed his mind" by Walt's estimation) he wanted to forgive him.  He reluctantly decided to have Jack's gang kill him, but insisted it be painless and with no fear.  It wasn't until he saw that Jesse betrayed him to Hank, that he really wanted to kill him. 

 

In the end, he was willing to give up his freedom and money (by telling Jack and the Nazi's not to show up) to save Hank's life, and then was willing to give up all his money to Jack to save Hank. 

 

He made the phone call where he put all the blame on himself and falsely admitted to murdering Hank, to try to protect Skyler from the police, probably knowing it would make Walt Jr. hate him forever. 

 

Of course he did horrible things like kill the 10 witnesses in jail, kill Mike and poison Brock, but even those were all done out of self preservation rather than out of malice. 

 

Probably the most purely immoral decision he made, when he really had a choice was turning down the $5 million buyout from Declan, which led to many deaths.  Getting greedy and forcing Combo onto the other dealers' corner was also bad, but Jesse was in on that as well.   

 

I find it odd that Jesse gets such a free ride, when he was a loser, stoner and 2 bit meth cook when Walt got involved with him and he could have been a happy millionaire if not for all his own horrible choices, greed and pride.  Jesse was more responsible for Jane's death than Walt was, as he got her back on drugs.  Jesse was trying to sell (stolen) meth to addicts in recovery, when he was already making $500K a month cooking with Walt.  All that said, I liked Jesse, but I also didn't hate Walt. 

Edited by Bryce Lynch
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I find Jessie likable and Walt deeply unlikable.  Yes Jessie has done some awful things but he also has a great deal of humanity left imo.  Whereas to me Walt is stone cold evil and it was never about looking after his family for him but right from the start he was mesmerised by and addicted to the money, the power and the lifestyle and seeing himself as a hero and a kingpin.  Jessie was a small time drug dealer trying to feed his own habit and was sucked into and deeply damaged by Walt's evil. I see no valid excuses for all the people Walt murdered, he put himself in that position. All just my opinion of course.

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I find Jessie likable and Walt deeply unlikable.  Yes Jessie has done some awful things but he also has a great deal of humanity left imo.  Whereas to me Walt is stone cold evil and it was never about looking after his family for him but right from the start he was mesmerised by and addicted to the money, the power and the lifestyle and seeing himself as a hero and a kingpin.  Jessie was a small time drug dealer trying to feed his own habit and was sucked into and deeply damaged by Walt's evil. I see no valid excuses for all the people Walt murdered, he put himself in that position. All just my opinion of course.

I largely disagree.  Jesse displayed at least as much greed as Walt.  When they were working together for Fring, Walt was thrilled to be making $500K a month, while Jesse bitched about how much more Fring was making (ignoring that Fring invested millions in the super lab, provided all the precursor, distribution, security, etc.) and started stealing meth, in hopes of making a few thousand more.  And who does he decide will be his target market?  Addicts at NA meetings desperately trying to get or stay clean.  I think that might have been more evil than anything Walt did.

 

As for Walt's killings:

 

Emilio - was done to save himself and Jesse from imminent murder

 

Krazy-8 - was also necessary to protect his own life, the lives of his family and Jesse's.  Despite that, Walt was about to release him, until he realized Krazy-8 was going to kill him with the plate fragment if he did.

 

Tuco - Actually done by Hank in self defense.  Obviously he and Jesse had to try to kill him to save their own lives.

 

Jane - This was at least as much Jesse's fault as Walt's as Jesse got her back into drugs.  Remember, Walt had gone back to Jesse's to try to save him, after the "Never give up on family" talk with Donald in the bar.  His first instinct was to save her, but then I think he realized that her living would likely lead to Jesse dying from an OD a week, month or year later.  I'm sure he also considered that she would have blackmailed Walt for more money after her and Jesse shot the $480K into their veins.

 

Fring's drug dealers - This was done to save Jesse's life and Jesse was about to try to murder them in cold blood (though you could argue he was justified). 

 

Gale Boetticher  - One of his worst, but done to save Walt and Jesse from being murdered by Fring.  Plus, Jesse actually did the killing, so he is at least equally responsible.  His alternative was to hand Jesse over to Fring to be murdered. 

 

Hector Salamanca - An assisted suicide and chance for Hector to get revenge.

 

Tyrus and Gus - To prevent Gus from murdering Walt, "...his wife, his son and his infant daughter."

 

Two guards at the lab - To save Jesse.

 

Mike Ehrmantraut - No real justification for this one.

 

10 Inmates - Also one of his worst moments, though it was done to prevent he and Jesse from going to prison. 

 

Jack and his 6 henchmen - to get revenge for Hank's murder.  Jesse killed Todd at the same time, of course. 

 

Lydia - also out of revenge and because she just deserved to die. :)

Oh, and there was that video Walt made to use to blackmail Hank into staying silent . . .

True, but the alternative was "sending Hank to Belize". 

 

I'm not saying he should have, but Hank could have just let it go, especially since Walt was retired, and near death, and everyone could have lived, (relatively) happily every after. 

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Yeah I am sure these are all rationalizations and justifications Walt would give for the things he did but I don't buy it.  For me it's even less the things he did as his of utter self-centredness (I also never bought he wanted to do it all for his family but was doing it for himself) and stone cold approach.  Letting Jane die was the most awful to me.

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Yeah I am sure these are all rationalizations and justifications Walt would give for the things he did but I don't buy it.  For me it's even less the things he did as his of utter self-centredness (I also never bought he wanted to do it all for his family but was doing it for himself) and stone cold approach.  Letting Jane die was the most awful to me.

 

I think Walt had multiple motivations.  He clearly was trying to help his family, at other times he was scrambling trying to get himself out of trouble or save the lives of himself and those he cared about, and at times he was purely greedy, arrogant and evil (or at least amoral).  

 

Letting Jane die was not near the top of my list of bad things Walt did. I think even letting Hugo the janitor take the fall for his stolen lab equipment was worse.  I liked Jane, (her sarcastic "Does it inspire awe" and "So you were a drawer, too" lines that went straight over Jesse's head were among my favorites) but Jane had become degenerate heroin addict, who was blackmailing him (and by extension threatening Hank's career) was probably going to kill herself with the heroin anyway and was dragging Jesse down with her, likely to his death as well. 

 

He went back there that night to save Jesse, and I think that goal was one of the main factors in his decision to let her die. 

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The first time I watched Game of Thrones, I was horrified by Ned Stark's fate, but then upon rewatch I was reminded of how he executed an innocent man without due process, and it tempered my feelings about the whole thing.  Same with Jane... first time I was shocked at how evil it seemed... but then upon rewatch and I saw her manipulation of Jesse and her blackmail of Walt and although she certainly didn't deserve to die, it didn't seem as unfair as the first time I watched it.  It's funny how if you threaten someone's life directly, then murder is looked upon as self defense... but if you threaten to ruin someone's life then it isn't.

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On the Better Call Saul PT board, I followed a link to a blog on the Esquire magazine website titled, "Saulbacks: An Exhaustive Compendium of 'Breaking Bad' References in 'Better Call Saul' (Or are they Saulforwards?)" and read this too true apologetic for Walt's actions, which I'm not sure has been previously pointed out elsewhere:

... As you'll recall, Walter White had insurance at the beginning of Breaking Bad. The money he was hoping to make by selling meth was to build a nest egg for his family, not to cover treatments. Eventually, Walt did need meth money to pay for his treatment, but only because he went out of network to get the best care possible. The treatment worked and Walt found himself cancer-free. To recap: After seeing an in-network doctor, Walt was told he had two years to live. After seeing a doctor too fancy for his insurance, Walt's cancer was successfully treated. Evil seems like a fair description of an insurance company that will pay for the doctor who can't help but not for the doctor who can....

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I largely disagree.  Jesse displayed at least as much greed as Walt.  When they were working together for Fring, Walt was thrilled to be making $500K a month, while Jesse bitched about how much more Fring was making (ignoring that Fring invested millions in the super lab, provided all the precursor, distribution, security, etc.) and started stealing meth, in hopes of making a few thousand more.  And who does he decide will be his target market?  Addicts at NA meetings desperately trying to get or stay clean.  I think that might have been more evil than anything Walt did.

 

I actually don't think Jesse bitching about the money and selling on the side was about greed. I think Jesse was fine with the amount of money they were making on the surface, but felt like they were being screwed by Gus. Jesse liked it better when they were working for themselves, and I think he was wary of Gus right off the bat. This was Walt's deal, not his. And selling on the side was more about HIM calling the shots, and feeling like the man, than the money, IMO. I do agree that selling to the people at NA was shitty. That was probably the lowest thing Jesse has ever done. But he was in a very very dark place at that time, after what happened to Jane and all the guilt he carried around. He didn't stick with it long, because ultimately he knew it was wrong. 

 

Jane - This was at least as much Jesse's fault as Walt's as Jesse got her back into drugs.

 

I may in the minority, but I never saw it as Jesse's fault that Jane got back into drugs. She knew pretty much right from the start what he was about. She could have not gotten involved with him. She could have even had him kicked out, so she'd never have to see him. Jesse was an addict too, so I can't fault him for not immediately ceasing to do drugs because he's dating a girl in recovery. It's on her to choose sober people to be in her life. And Jesse tried. After Combo died and he really needed to use, he insisted, yelled at her, that she leave. She didn't. Sure, it was probably too much temptation for her - but that's on her, and her recovery, not a current addict. And Jane was the one who took them from meth to heroin, not Jesse. 

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Regarding Jane, I'm sure all sorts of things would run through his mind.  His first instinct was to save her, but a) She probably would have OD'd soon anyway.  b) She was dragging Jesse (who originally dragged her back into addiction) down with her and Jesse probably would have died if she lived.  c) Even if she and Jesse had managed to stay alive, Jane clearly would have blackmailed Walt for more money after she and Jesse shot the half million into their veins.

 

Jane - This was at least as much Jesse's fault as Walt's as Jesse got her back into drugs.  Remember, Walt had gone back to Jesse's to try to save him, after the "Never give up on family" talk with Donald in the bar.  His first instinct was to save her, but then I think he realized that her living would likely lead to Jesse dying from an OD a week, month or year later.  I'm sure he also considered that she would have blackmailed Walt for more money after her and Jesse shot the $480K into their veins.

 

Tyrus and Gus - To prevent Gus from murdering Walt, "...his wife, his son and his infant daughter."

Jane was the turning point for me, the Walt-is-no-longer-a-good-human moment. In your first comment, you laid out so nicely all the motivations Walt had for not saving her, and I think you could successfully argue all three of them. However, I think (and I think the show and the direction it took provide evidence for this) that your reason #3 is the major factor. He didn't do it to save Jesse from Jane, he did it to save himself from her. But that's what made the moment so complicated and rich, that you could spin it either way.

 

Regarding Gus, I think that Walt's desire to come out on top--to best the biggest badass in town, thus taking Gus's place--was more important to Walt than his safety or the safety of his family.

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... As you'll recall, Walter White had insurance at the beginning of Breaking Bad. The money he was hoping to make by selling meth was to build a nest egg for his family, not to cover treatments. Eventually, Walt did need meth money to pay for his treatment, but only because he went out of network to get the best care possible. The treatment worked and Walt found himself cancer-free. To recap: After seeing an in-network doctor, Walt was told he had two years to live. After seeing a doctor too fancy for his insurance, Walt's cancer was successfully treated. Evil seems like a fair description of an insurance company that will pay for the doctor who can't help but not for the doctor who can....

 

Are they saying there are different "class" of cancer treatment? I'm talking about Top Shelf quality chemo drugs vs Lower Class drugs, not on luxuries such as private hospital room and all that jazz. Gosh I hate our health care scam of a system, where cost are unnecessarily high because of these insurance companies and drug companies all wanting their piece of the pie. Things would be better if we just pay a reasonable out-of-pocket cost directly to doctors and cut out the middle men.

 

Walt didn't need meth money for treatments initially because he refused treatments, for all the reasons he brought up during the Talking Pillow Intervention. But he needed it after he caved into Skyler's and Junior's desire.

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Are they saying there are different "class" of cancer treatment?

If I'm remembering this right (darn, now I'm itching for a rewatch!!!), Walt went out of network to see a renowned oncologist recommended by Marie.

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To recap: After seeing an in-network doctor, Walt was told he had two years to live. After seeing a doctor too fancy for his insurance, Walt's cancer was successfully treated.

 

Except not. It was what, a year or so in the show's timeline when Walt's cancer came back again, just as bad as before? The thing the treatment bought Walt was a couple of more years, which he squandered herself by giving himself over the greed and immorality. 

 

I just finished my second rewatch, and the turning point for me is when Walt refused to accept Skyler's rejection and demand of divorce. His manipulation, abuse (including an attempted rape) and literally taking Skyler hostage because he refused to let her go showed to me that all of Walt's talk of "doing it for his family" was bullshit. He had already made more money than his family could spend and yet refused to leave the business for his own ego. He refused to retire even when he knew he put his family in danger. Assassins in his home, remaining in the same business that actively threatened his loved ones? Who cares, he wanted an "empire." Walter treated his family not as loved ones, but as possessions. He literally didn't care about Skyler, her life or her feelings. He preferred her as his miserable prisoner, rather than to let her go and allow her to be safe and happy. The only feeling I sensed Walt had toward Junior at the end was also one of possession - he liked Junior's hero worship and that seems to be it. 

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I have to admit - Walt was the character I understood least. At first, his dealings were understandable (not wanting to be a burden to his family), arguably even noble, if you could accept that drug manufacturing as an acceptable way to make money. But by the time he was taking in millions and talking of building "An Empire" you began to ask "WHY?" - he already had more money than he could spend and he had nobody to leave his "empire" to (since he didn't want his family involved and he'd burnt his bridges with any of his surviving colleagues). Very fitting that the ante-penultimate episode was entitled "Ozymandias" because his Walt's empire would fade even faster than Ozy's had!

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To me it looked like Walt became addicted to the money, and then the power, as soon as he first saw the pile of money and realised he could cook meth.  He had the same look on his face that I recognise from my own addiction and his thinking and behaviours, eg the lying, always wanting more, leaving wreckage in his wake etc all looked like addiction to me.

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I have to admit - Walt was the character I understood least. At first, his dealings were understandable (not wanting to be a burden to his family), arguably even noble, if you could accept that drug manufacturing as an acceptable way to make money. But by the time he was taking in millions and talking of building "An Empire" you began to ask "WHY?" - he already had more money than he could spend and he had nobody to leave his "empire" to (since he didn't want his family involved and he'd burnt his bridges with any of his surviving colleagues). Very fitting that the ante-penultimate episode was entitled "Ozymandias" because his Walt's empire would fade even faster than Ozy's had!

I thought almost all of Walt's actions were understandble, though not justifiable, until he rejected the $5 million buyout from Declan.

Up until that point, he was either trying to provide for his family, stay out of prison or save his own life or the lives of his family and Jesse.

The buyout would have allowed him to retire and walk away with more money than his family would ever need and he and his family would have been safe.

That was the one decision that was pure ego and greed with no element of self preservation or protecting his loved ones involved and it led to numerous deaths.

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I don't think it was ever about trying to provide for his family, imo that may have been a secondary goal, he certainly used that as an excuse for appalling behaviour, but to me it was all about being a hero and being seduced by the high of money, power and danger.

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While the initial motivation was about money for his cancer treatment, in the end, it was about proving he was the smartest guy in the room who could outsmart all the bad guys and that he was a great chemist with overall skills and knowledge well beyond what his former partner, Hank, Gus, Saul, Tuco or anyone could controls or demonstrate. It was about proving he was the best at something

A few quotes from the series sum up his motivations

Hank tells him right before he dies, paraphrasing, he always not just has to be the smartest one in the room, he has to prove it to everyone

The best part of the whole freakin' series and one of the great moments in TV history, him telling Skyler "I am the one that comes knocking." Not only saying it, but also not being the least bit sad or apologetic for it. On the contrary, being proud of it

In the desert, the shorter but equally compelling "Say my name", "Heisenberg", "You're God damn right!"

And at the end, he says why he did it was because he was good at it.

It was not about money or cancer. It was about power. But he did not want power just for the sake of being power hungry. He wanted power over his own life. In the beginning he was a downtrodden and mentally beaten man who had followed the path he did not expect.

It's really not just a story of a simple man becoming or transforming to evil. As we learn in flashbacks, in the time before the story begins that we see, he was a gifted and talented chemist full of promise, a life full of hope, with so much potential. At the start of the story we see, he is at his lowest point, facing potential death from lunc cancer and having seen all that potential and promise vanished over the years, for various reasons. A handicapped child, a domineering wife, a job teaching that I am sure at least he viewed as beneath his skill set, a brother in law that while friendly seemingly had little respect for him. Hank had the cooler job and the bigger house and was the more confident one, almost the type of person we see Walter is in flashbacks in the beginning. We see his former partner is now in control of a huge company he helped to found and is now worth a fortune. We see former students of his with poor chemical knowledge producing be meth

The choice of dealing meth as the "answer" and choice is influenced by all these things. It is the perfect new "career path" to prove combat all these different people and aspects of his life, at least in the way he sees it :

He proves to his former partner he is a better chemist and can make a huge amount of money as well on his own

He takes one of his former students and makes him into a top notch meth producer, showing what a great teacher he really can be

By being a meth dealer when his cooler, seemingly more successful brother in law is a DEA agent, he is going head to head basically in a Mano a Mano, show me who comes out on top match to the end

He becomes the kingpin of it all just to take control of everything, as he seemingly has lost control and ceased control of most aspects of his life to others at the start of the series.

The chemistry itself, its the best, again, just to show he is the smartest person of all in this area.

All of this plays into it.

In an odd way, this series is much like the movie Mr Hollland's Opus. A teacher with a disabled child and never able to finish his "life's work", as he views it. The two diverge sharply in the paths taken as a result. In Mr Holland's opus, he learns it's not the great composition he always meant to write but the influence he had on so many people around him that is his great accomplishment. That's the lesson Walt never learns. What he views as his failure is not seen that way by his family and those around him. They know his brilliance and strength and other great qualities even if it's not obvious to everyone. Walter's problem is he felt a need to prove all these things to the world, everyone had to know it about him. It wasn't enough to be a brilliant person and scientist. He wanted to the recognition and notoriety for it as well.

There is a parallel in the opposite direction as well with Hank that I won't get into. Hank grew on me tremendously as the series proceeded.

It's just a brilliant portrayal of Walter White and great storytelling beginning to end. In my opinion the best TV series start to finish for that reason. The reasons for his transformation are multilayered and varying, not straightforward or simple.

Edited by DrSpaceman73
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I loved Walt as a character. Compare him from the first episode of being on his knees washing the rims of his student's car and getting humiliated to later in the series when he's Heisenberg and a total badass.  Of course he's totally flawed but he represents that side of our humanity which doesn't suffer fools and sick of the injustice of dumber people being more successful.

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That's the interesting thing about Walt as a character. I wouldn't want anything to do with someone like him in real life, but as a character I enjoyed him, and, to take it one further, never once thought he was the most evil evil who ever eviled

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I just recently finished watching the series on Netflix, and I have to give a standing o to BC for his portrayal of Walter White (I know the writing also had a lot to do with it). He morphed so well from a downtrodden guy to an evil drug lord that I had trouble remembering that I felt sorry for the guy in the first few episodes.

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For me, Jesse becomes more unlikable with each rewatch.  With all of them, I have a "you made your bed, now lie in it" mentality.  Well, all but 3...Marie, Walt Jr/Flynn, and Holly.  Those 3 IMO did nothing to deserve the crap that was heaped on them (yeah, Marie was annoying at 1st with her shoplifting, but I thought she got much better as the series went on).

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