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|“||Who are you talking to right now? Who is it you think you see? ...Do you know how much I make a year? I mean, even if I told you, you wouldn't believe it. Do you know what would happen if I suddenly decided to stop going into work? A business big enough that it could be listed on the NASDAQ goes belly up; disappears, it ceases to exist without me. No, you clearly don't know who you're talking to, so let me clue you in. I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot, and you think that of me? No, I am the one who knocks!||„|
|~ Walter White|
Walter Hartwell White, Sr., also known by his alias Heisenberg, is the main protagonist and anti-hero of the critically-acclaimed television series Breaking Bad. A brilliant but underachieving chemist working as a high school science teacher, Walt is diagnosed with terminal cancer, which spurs him on to use his chemistry knowledge to cook and sell crystal meth to provide for his family after his imminent death. As the series progresses and he becomes more involved in the drug world, the formerly mild-mannered and unassuming teacher slowly changes and transforms into an increasingly sinister, dangerous and ruthless criminal driven more by ego and greed than his stated altruistic motives. He is portrayed by Bryan Cranston, previously best known for his role as Hal Wilkerson in Malcolm in the Middle. Cranston won four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, tying him with Dennis Franz for the record in this category.
Walter White is a talented chemist who, as a graduate student at the California Institute of Technology, contributed with the research that helped a team win a Nobel Prize in Chemistry. After graduating school, Walter founded the firm Gray Matter Technologies with Elliott Schwartz, his former classmate and close friend. Around this time, Walter dated his lab assistant, Gretchen. However, he abruptly left both Gretchen and Gray Matter Technologies, retaining financial interest in the company. Gretchen and Elliott later married and made a fortune using Walt's research; Walt remains friendly with them, but secretly harbors a great dea of resentment against them. By the start of Breaking Bad, Walt has been forced to work as a high school chemistry teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico, providing instruction to uninterested and disrespectful students. The job pays so poorly that he is forced to take a second job at a car wash, which proves particularly humiliating when he must clean the cars of his own students. Walter is married to Skyler White; they have a teenage son named Walter Jr., who has cerebral palsy. Skyler is also pregnant with their second child, Holly, who is born at the end of season two. His other family includes Skyler's sister, Marie Schrader, and her husband, Hank, who is an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The day after his 50th birthday, Walt passes out while working at the car wash. He is then rushed to the hospital via ambulance where he is eventually diagnosed with stage-three terminal lung cancer and given less than two years to live. Walt decides he must take extreme measures to provide for his family's long-term financial security. After being invited by his DEA agent brother-in-law, Hank, to accompany him on a live raid on a methamphetamine lab, Walt has a circumstantial encounter with one of his former students, Jesse Pinkman, whom he finds out is a meth dealer and manufacturer, also referred to as cook, who goes by the name "Captain Cook". With this information, Walt blackmails Jesse into helping him also enter the illegal drug trade on the production side, using his chemistry knowledge to cook remarkably potent and chemically pure "crystal" meth with Jesse to help him distribute it.
Operating out of an RV in the desert, the two must defend themselves against two dealers, Emilio Koyama and Krazy-8, formerly Jesse's distributors, who accuse Walter of being a DEA agent. Walt stalls for time by offering them his recipe, and then creates phosphine gas and attacks the dealers with it, killing Emilio and gravely injuriing Krazy-8. He then drives away with an injured Jesse in tow. Walter and Jesse soon discover that Krazy-8 is still alive, and restrain him in Jesse's basement. After a coin flip, Jesse is tasked with disposing of Emilio's corpse, and Walt with killing the other, a prospect that sickens him. Ignoring Walt's instructions on using a specific plastic container, Jesse dissolves the dead body in a bathtub of hydrofluoric acid, but the acid eats through the tub and the floor beneath it, spilling dissolved entrails in the hall.
Meanwhile, Walt has begun providing food and a latrine to Krazy-8, whom he also confides in, attempting to find any excuse to spare his life. Due to his illness, Walter passes out briefly while delivering food in one such instance, breaking a plate. Awakening later, Walter picks up the broken plate and goes to get the key to set Krazy-8 free. However, while upstairs, Walt has a sudden realization that there is a large sharp piece of the plate missing, which Krazy-8 picked up and hid on his person while Walt was passed out. Realizing that Krazy-8 intends to kill him the second he sets him free, Walt decides that he has no choice but to kill the dealer, which he does by pulling back on the bike lock around his neck holding him in place until he chokes to death. Following the disposal of the body, Walt severs ties with Jesse.
At a dinner party with his family, Walt finally reveals his cancer, having first told Skyler about his condition some time before. They implore him to visit specialist doctors and undergo chemotherapy. At first adamant to decide his own fate, to die honorably instead of suffering the indignities of chemotherapy side-effects, Walt finally agrees to treatment after his family pleads with him. He pretends to accept financial assistance from his wealthy friends Elliott and Gretchen as a cover story to explain the source of payment for his chemotherapy. In reality, he approaches Jesse to rebuild their business arrangement and so pay for the treatments himself as a matter of pride. Jesse, unable to replicate Walt's recipe, accepts his partnership and agrees to their clearly defined roles: Jesse the salesman and Walt the cook. Jesse learns that Walt has lung cancer and, realizing his goals of helping his family after his death, develops a newfound respect for him.
Walt sends Jesse to negotiate with Tuco Salamanca, a violent psychopath with links to the Mexican cartels who has taken over local drug distribution after the death and disappearance of Krazy-8. During their first meeting, Tuco refuses to pay up front for the product and savagely beats Jesse when he attempts to end the deal. With Jesse in the hospital, Walt confronts Tuco with the demand for up-front payment, using the pseudonym "Heisenberg." As Tuco prepares to assault him, Walt detonates a concealed explosive (Mercury(II) fulminate), blowing out the top floor of the hideout and intimidating Tuco into surrendering payment with a promise for future business. Jesse recovers from his wounds and the two resume cooking meth, this time circumventing the restrictions on over-the-counter drug pseudoephedrine products by stealing a large drum of methylamine from a chemical warehouse and using an alternate method of synthesis. Now able to produce four times as much crystal meth as before, and of higher quality, the two begin steady business with the increasingly unstable Tuco.
Fearing for their lives, Walt and Jesse devise up a plan to kill Tuco. White creates a batch of ricin, a potent poison they hope will kill Tuco after they trick him into ingesting it under the pretense that it is a new batch of meth. As they devise a scheme to deliver the poison to Tuco, Tuco kills one of his own deputies and a DEA raid shuts down his operation in Albuquerque. Tuco kidnaps Walt and Jesse, planning to take them to a "superlab" in Mexico. He first takes them to a hideout, a shack in the desert just outside the Mexican border where he keeps the two captive. Tuco tells them that he and his cousins plan on taking White to cook more meth in a Mexican lab. Tuco insinuates that he will kill Jesse, but White manages to convince Tuco that he needs his partner in order to cook. Time is running out and fearing that the cousins will kill Jesse as soon as they arrive, the two discuss ways of killing Tuco. They realize that they have the ricin poison with them, and they tempt Tuco into taking a hit. Jesse convinces Tuco to snort a line but during the conversation, Tuco grows suspicious about the product. Jesse goes in to tell Tuco that it has a special ingredient, Pinkman's old trademark signature of adding chili pepper to his meth. Tuco, upon hearing this, says he hates chili powder and doesn't take the drug. After they try unsuccessfully to poison Tuco's food, he figures out that they are trying to harm him, so he takes Jesse out back to kill him. Angry and desperate, Walt and Jesse manage to incapacitate Tuco, and hide when they see a vehicle approaching the house. To their surprise, Hank emerges from the vehicle, having tracked them from the lowjack in Jesse's car. A shootout ensues, and Hank is forced to kill Tuco in self-defense. Walt and Jesse run off into the desert.
With Tuco out of the picture, Walt decides that it's time that he becomes the new meth kingpins, expanding into Tuco's old territory. Things seem to be on track until one of their dealers, Skinny Pete, is mugged by two junkies, forcing Jesse to confront the perpetrators. One of the junkies is killed when his wife drops a stolen ATM on his head, but Jesse takes credit for the killing, earning him a fearsome reputation and further solidifying "Heisenberg" in the area. Another dealer, Badger, is arrested by the DEA during a sting operation, forcing Walt to deal with a crooked lawyer named Saul Goodman who can offer only an expensive solution to keep Badger from snitching while also keeping him alive. Saul demands a cut of the meth profit in return for being Walt and Jesse's legal counsel and advisor in their drug operation, further eroding their income.
Meanwhile, Gretchen Schwartz discovers Walt has been lying to his family about her and Elliott paying for his cancer treatment. She is saddened when an angry and bitter Walt accuses them of getting rich off his research, but she continues to keep secret Walt's refusal of their financial assistance, for his family's sake. Skyler goes back to work for Ted Beneke, her former boss, who apparently once groped her while drunk. She increasingly relies on Ted for emotional support due to Walter's constant absence and strange behavior.
After Walt notices a large blotch on a scan of his chest, he believes the cancer has spread. Having only $16,000 remaining of the meth money after the numerous setbacks, he and Jesse spend several days in the desert cooking 38 pounds of meth to sell off before Walt dies. At the doctor, Walt discovers that the blotch is only a treatable side effect of the radiation and that his tumor has shrunk 80%. He plans to quit his meth partnership once the 38 pounds are sold off, but he finds himself bored with the return to his mundane life, missing the thrill and power of being a drug dealer.
When one of Walt and Jesse's dealers, Combo, is killed by rival dealers, Jesse is sent spiraling into heroin addiction, jained and enabled by his girlfriend Jane, a recovering addict. With their remaining dealers backing out, Saul uses his connections to introduce Walt and Jesse to a new meth distributor, Gus Fring, the owner of a fast food franchise called Los Pollos Hermanos, which he uses as to launder his drug money. Gus reluctantly offers to buy Walter's products for $1.2 million, but offers him only a one hour time frame to deliver. Walt attempts to contact Jesse to complete the exchange, but he and Jane are too stoned to help. As he tries to rush to the deal, Walt receives a text message from Skyler that she is giving birth. Walter is forced to complete the trade by himself just as Skyler goes into labor. He narrowly manages to complete the transaction, but he misses the birth of his daughter, Holly.
Walter loses trust in Jesse, and promises to give him his share of the payout only if he agrees to quit using. Jane threatens to blackmail Walt, prompting him to turn over Jesse's share of the money. Jane's father, growing suspicious of his daughter's recent behavior, catches Jesse and Jane using. He demands she return to rehab immediately, but Jane manages to convince him that she will go first thing the next morning. Jesse and Walt agree to go their separate ways, but Walt feels obligated to help Jesse. Walter gives Jesse his money and Jesse and Jane plan on running away before her father can take her to rehab. With almost a half million dollars, they decide to go to New Zealand and get clean. They plan to destroy their remaining supply of drugs, but they decide to use one last time.
After a coincidental meeting with Donald, Walt returns to Jesse, only to discover that he and Jane have taken heroin again. Walter attempts to wake Jesse by shaking him, knocking Jane from her side to her back. When Jane begins to cough and vomit, Walt does nothing to help her, and watches as she dies. Jesse wakes up and realizes Jane is dead. Gus' right-hand man Mike Ehrmantraut arrives to help him deal with the police. Later, Walt is confronted by Skyler, who has finally discovered his numerous lies. She leaves him, even when Walt offers to tell her everything, saying, "I'm too scared to know." The next day, two airplanes collide in the sky right above Walt's house. Before any of the other wreckage reigns down, a pink teddy bear splashes directly into his swimming pool.
A week after the Wayfarer Flight 515 collision, Walt finally moves out of the house and into his own apartment. The next day, Skyler comes to visit him and hands over divorce papers and revealing her deduction that Walt is a drug dealer, and this is how he has paid for his treatment. Walt concedes and specifies that he is a crystal meth manufacturer, not a dealer, but Skyler still wants a divorce, saying she won't tell the police as long as he stays away from the family. After visiting and consoling Jesse about the plane crash, Walt meets with Gus, who makes Walt an offer of $3 million for three months of his time, but Walt turns him down as he wants to get his family back.
Walt confides in Saul that Skyler knows about his double life, leading Saul to ask Mike to bug the White house. Walter Jr. sides with Walt during the marital spat, even packing a bag and going to Walt's new apartment in an effort to live with him, which Walt puts a stop to. However, Walt does eventually break back into his house after Skyler changes the locks to forcibly move back in with the family. Skyler responds by beginning an affair with Ted Beneke and informing Walt right away.
Walt reacts with furious anger at the realization that his wife is having an affair, and goes to Beneke Fabricators to talk to Ted. While waiting outside his office, Walt notices Ted peeking through the blinds and attempts to force his way into the office by throwing a large potted plant at the window. Security escorts him out and Mike picks him up and takes him straight to Saul's office, revealing they both knew about the affair because of the bugs.
Walt fires Saul for bugging his house, and cancels the website money laundering. Walt tries to get back at Skyler by making a pass at his supervisor, Carmen, who suspends him indefintely. Walt refuses to leave the house despite Skyler's affair. Gus eventually pulls him back into the meth-cooking business with a ploy pitting Jesse and Walt against one another, and showing him the state-of-the-art super-lab he has just installed in one of his buildings. Once he has decided to go back in, he moves back out of the house and signs Skyler's divorce papers.
Hank informs Walt of his impending investigation into Jesse and the RV, prompting Walt to get involved in the destruction of the RV, barely managing to not be discovered by Hank thanks to a well-timed phone call. After Jesse lands in the hospital due to Hank's beating, Walt manipulates Gus into making Jesse his partner, replacing Gus' employee Gale Boetticher. Soon afterward, Gus sends his assassins Marco and Leonel Salamanca to kill Hank, but they succeed only in gravely injuring him. Skyler forces Walt to pay for Hank's medical care, and tells Marie that he earned the money counting cards and gambling in backrooms.
When Hank recovers, he lets the family know he received a warning call one minute before the ambush informing him of it. Walt concludes that Gus has orchestrated this entire series of events: steering the assassins away from him and onto Hank while also saving Hank's life, creating a firefight that would put heat on the cartel and allow him to corner the meth market in the Southwest. Walt meets with Gus at the Pollos Hermanos industrial plant, letting him know he has come to this conclusion and is grateful. Gus in return extends Walt's contract to $15 million for a year's work, along with a guarantee of safety for his family.
As Walt begins to write checks for Hank's medical bills, Skyler decides to become involved in the money laundering side of things, meeting with Walt and Saul and asserting her own demands. Walt also becomes friendlier with Gus, eating dinner with him on occasion. However, when Jesse discovers Tomas, his new girlfriend Andrea's preteen brother, murdered his friend Combo, and is working for dealers who work for Gus, he demands retribution. Gus agrees to stop using children in his organization, but Tomas then turns up dead in a playground. When Jesse seeks vengeance against the two dealers who murdered him, Walt intervenes and kills them both, telling Jesse to run, fearing Gus's wrath.
Walt meets with Gus and Mike in the desert, asserting that what he did was necessary and Jesse is in hiding, not to be given up by Walt. Gus rehires Gale as Walt's lab assistant, secretly planning to replace Walt with Gale as his skills at running the lab increase. Walt begins to suspect this, and has Jesse lie in wait near Gale's apartment with a gun. When Mike and Victor kidnap Walt, planning to kill him, he promises to give up Jesse, but instead orders him to kill Gale, saving both their lives and keeping their jobs safe. Jesse goes to Gale's apartment, and reluctantly shoots him dead as the season ends.
After Jesse shoots Gale, he and Walt are brought to the lab and held together until Gus arrives and slits his henchman Victor's throat for being seen at the murder scene. Walt fears he will be next, and begins plotting to get rid of Gus in order to ensure his safety and that of his family. Walt buys a .38 Snub Nose Revolver from a guns dealer and starts practicing his draw. He also tries getting Mike to help him get an audience with Gus so he can assassinate the drug lord.
Walt worries that Gus is trying to set Jesse against him. Lately Jesse has been tasked with helping Mike and has met with Gus, so Walt creates some ricin and gives it to Jesse hoping that he'll be able to get close enough to poison Gus. After giving him the ricin, Walt places a GPS tracker on Jesse's car, confirming that Jesse went to Gus's house yet didn't poison him. When Jesse seeks Walt's help regarding how to teach the cartel how to make meth, Walt confronts him about the ricin and they get into a fist fight.
While Jesse is in Mexico, Walt continues cooking meth in the super-lab under the supervision of Gus' lieutenant Tyrus. He also drives Hank out to Gus' farm and to the industrial laundry as part of Hank's investigation. Tyrus tasers Walt and brings him before Gus, who says that he's going to be taking care of Hank and that, if Walt interferes, he'll kill Walt's family. Immediately Walt goes to Saul to get the phone number of an associate who makes people disappear and instructs Saul to tip-off law enforcement about the threat against Hank. At home, Walt is horrified to discover that he doesn't actually have enough cash to pay the guy to make his family disappear.
He has Saul make an anonymous tip to the D.E.A. threatening that The Cartel was seeking to kill him in retaliation for his killing of The Cousins. The D.E.A. sends agents to Hank's house to guard him and Marie. Walt sends Skyler, Walter Jr., and Holly with them until he can figure out how to kill Gus.
When Andrea's son Brock, to whom Jesse is a father figure, is poisoned with what appears to be ricin, Walt convinces Jesse that Gus is the culprit. Together they plan to have Jesse refuse to cook and lure Gus to the hospital so Walt can use a radio-activated pipe-bomb to blow up his vehicle and kill him. The attempt fails, however, when Gus senses something is wrong and refuses to get into his car. Jesse is immediately taken in for questioning by federal agents for suspicion of possessing ricin.
Walt has Saul visit Jesse while he's under arrest and he tells Saul about Gus' archrival, Cartel patriarch Hector Salamanca, who is paralyzed from a stroke and lives in a retirement home. Walt goes to the home and suggests that Hector surely hates Walt for what happened to Tuco, Leonel and Marco, but surely Hector must hate Gus more for killing his friends and family. Walt convinces Hector to let him strap the pipe bomb under his wheelchair once he returns from a meeting with Hank, which succeeds in luring Gus to the retirement home. Hector later detonates the bomb Walt strapped to his wheelchair, killing Hector and Tyrus instantly and fatally wounding Gus.
Later that same day, Walt kidnaps one of Gus' henchman and forces him to escort them down the elevator to the main Super-Lab under the laundry where Jesse has been taken hostage and forced to cook the meth. Walt guns down both men and then rescues Jesse, who assists him in dumping all the chemicals and starting a huge fire before they evacuate all the immigrants working in the laundry.
Back on the rooftop of the hospital, Jesse reveals to Walt that Brock wasn't poisoned with ricin, but a plant called Lily of the Valley. Walt is relieved that Brock is okay and tells an uncertain Jesse that, even though Gus did not poison Brock, he still "had to go". After Jesse leaves, Walt calls Skyler, who is curious about what happened to Gus. Walt simply tells her, "I won..." and then drives off, pausing for a moment to gaze at Gus's Volvo, still in the parking garage, and smile.
The final shot of Season 4 zooms back in on the potted Lily of the Valley plant in Walt's backyard, revealing that Walt had poisoned Brock to manipulate Jesse into helping him kill Gus.
After Gus' death, Walt returns home and disposes of all evidence from the pipe bomb and Lily of the Valley poison. Walter Jr. and Skyler return home and while Jr. is excited about Hank's return, Skyler tells Walt that she is afraid of him, especially after Sau's henchmen have badly injured Ted. Walt enjoyed a glass of scotch in celebration when he suddenly remembered Gus' cameras in the super-lab.
Walt and Jesse stop Mike in the desert and, after a heated argument, the three work to devise a plan to destroy Gus' laptop, which is being held in the local police evidence locker. They manage to destroy the laptop by powering up a giant magnet inside a moving truck outside the police station. They escape, but have to leave the truck.
Walt visits Saul at his office, and Saul tries to fire him as his client. Unmoved, Walt tells him "we're done when I say we're done." Returning home, Walt tells Skyler he knows what happened to Ted, hugs her, and says "I forgive you.".
Before helping Jesse search for the missing ricin cigarette, Walt hides the poison in his bedroom's electrical outlet and placed a dummy cigarette in Jesse's roomba. Jesse is now convinced that Brock's poisoning was his fault, and bursts into tears of guilt over having wanted to kill Walt. Walt "forgives" him, and they go back into business together. Walt and Jesse extend an offer to Mike to form a new meth operation, which Mike reluctantly accepts after the DEA takes the money he had stashed away over the years.
Walt, Jesse, and Mike work with Saul to sort out a new front for the meth manufacturing. They agree on a mobile lab inside houses that are being bug bombed by their front company, Vamonos Pest Control. The mobile lab yields less meth per cook than they were making for Gus, but they each receive a larger cut. However, Mike takes "Legacy Funds" from each cook to recoup the lost savings of Gus' former employees. Walt doesn't take to this decision kindly, but reluctantly accepts it.
Walt sells his Aztek to his mechanic for $50 and buys himself a new Chrysler 300 and Jr. another Dodge Challenger. He tells Skyler to launder another $20,000 and she tells him that she wants the children out of the house. He refuses. The next morning, Skyler reluctantly makes a "51" with bacon on Walt's eggs to celebrate his birthday, and throws him a small party. As Walt gives a speech thanking his family for their support over the last year, Skyler walks into the pool and sinks to the bottom. Walt dives in to save her. Hank and Marie offer, on behalf of Skyler, to take Walter Jr. and Holly for a few days. Walt deduces that Skyler's "suicide attempt" was in fact a ruse designed to get the children away from him, and tells his frightened wife that he will have her committed to a mental hospital if she tries it again. Skyler replies that she will simply wait for Walt's cancer to return.
Walt finds a GPS tracker his car, and suspects Lydia Rodarte-Quayle, the liaison between Pollos Hermanos' corporate office and Walt's meth operation. He has Mike kidnap her and plans to kill her, but she convinces him that she had nothing to do with the GPS tracker, and suggests they steal methyl-amine from a train that runs through New Mexico to increase their supply and profits tenfold. Jesse comes up with a plan to siphon off 1,000 gallons of metylamine from the train and replace it with water. With help from Cartel assassin Todd Alquist, they narrowly pull off the heist. A young boy witnesses the theft, and Todd kills him as a horrified Walt and Jesse look on.
After disposing of the boy's bike and body, Walt, Jesse and Mike debate what to do with Todd. They vote to keep him close so he won't do anything rash. Walt tries to tell Jesse that their operation is now i"smooth sailing", but the next day Jesse and Mike inform him they are selling their share of methylamine for $5 million each and bowing out of the meth trade. Walt refuses to join them, even when Mike's contact refuses to buy unless he gets all 1,000 gallons. Walt invites Jesse to dine with him and Skyler; when Skyler sullenly leaves the table, he tells Jesse that his family no longer loves him, and his drug empire is all he has left. Walt then heads to the Vamonos HQ where he is tied up by Mike so the methyl-amine can be sold without Walt's interruption. Walt escapes and hides the methyl-amine, promising—at gunpoint—that he has a solution where "everybody wins".
At a meeting with rival meth dealer Declan, Walt offers to sell Mike's 35% stake in the crew and responsibility for distribution for $5 million. After the deal is sealed, Walt and Jesse retrieve he methyl-amine from the car wash. Jesse reminds Walt that he is done with the meth trade too, but Walt tries to convince him that throwing his talent away is a mistake. Jesse willingly leaves Vamonos without a penny. Walt then begins training Todd on cooking meth. Walt removes the bugs from Hank's office and overhears that the DEA is going to arrest Mike. Walt tips off Mike and later meets him to hand off a "burn bag" of cash, a gun, and a passport. After handing over the bag, Walt demands Mike give him the names of the nine men in prison who would likely flip on Walt, since their legacy funds stopped flowing. Mike refuses and, in a fit of rage, shoots and mortally wounds him. Horrified by his actions, Walt drops the gun and staggers to Mike. He attempts to apologize but shuts up on Mike's dying request.
Walt and Todd dispose of Mike's car and body. Walt makes an arrangement with Lydia to sell Blue Sky to the Czech Republic in exchange for the names of Gus' former ten henchmen. Walt pays Todd's uncle Jack Welker and his Neo-Nazi gang to murder the henchmen. The plan is executed perfectly and no one is able to squeal to the DEA. Walt and Todd continue to cook meth flawlessly and effortlessly for three months, until Skyler shows Walt a giant pile of cash in a storage unit and asks him to get out of the meth business. After a visit to the doctor, Walt visits Jesse a visit and gives him two duffle bags of cash. He then tells Skyler "I'm out".
During a family cookout, Hank flips through a copy of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass in Walt's bathroom and discovers that it is dedicated to "W.W." by "G.B." As Hank recalls a conversation with Walt regarding the initials from his earlier investigation, surmising that "G.B." is Gale Boetticher, he realizes that Walt is Heisenberg.
Hank begins to secretly investigate Walt. Walt discovers a tracking device on his car and realizes Hank knows he is Heisenberg. He confronts Walt, who reveals that his cancer is back and he will likely be dead in six months, making an arrest pointless. Hank offers to negotiate if Walt gives him and Marie custody of the children, but Walt refuses and tells him to "tread lightly".
Hank meets with Skyler and asks her to go on record with a confession, but she refuses. Marie learns the extent of Skyler's involvement with Walt's operation. With Skyler's approval, Walt records a "confession" in which he says that the meth operation was all Hank's idea, to use as insurance should Hank keep up the investigation. Walt buries his money in the desert. Jesse, overwhelmed with remorse over the blood on his hands, attempts to dispose of his money by throwing it in people's front lawns. Police bring him in for questioning, but Jesse refuses to inform on Walt.
Declan supplies methamphetamine for Lydia's Czech connections, but she is dissatisfied with the product's quality. Walt rebuffs her attempts to lure him out of retirement. She arranges to have Declan and his associates killed in an ambush and reinstates Todd as cook. She remains dissatisfied with Todd's product, but he promises to improve.
Walt meets Jesse and Saul in the desert and offers Jesse money to leave town and assume a new identity. Jesse agrees, but then realizes Walt poisoned Brock and framed Gus. Jesse agrees to help Hank catch Walt. Walt contracts with Todd's uncle Jack to order a hit on Jesse. The "price" is one more cook, to teach Todd how to improve his product.
Jesse calls Walt to tell him he will get him "where [Walt] really lives". Walt receives a picture on his phone, staged by Jesse and Hank, showing an opened barrel of money, identical to the ones Walt buried in To'hajilee. Jesse calls Walt and offers him an ultimatum: meet Jesse at the site of the buried money, or Jesse will burn every barrel. Walt frantically drives to the reservation. Realizing he has been set up, Walt hides, calls Jack, and tells Jack to bring his men as soon as possible. When Hank and his DEA partner Steven Gomez arrive with Jesse, Walt tells Jack not to come and surrenders to Hank. Walt waits handcuffed in the back of the SUV as Hank calls Marie to inform her of Walt's capture. Despite Walt's instructions, Jack and his crew pull up to the site, take cover and draw their weapons on the outnumbered Hank and Gomez. Helpless, Walt watches as the gang kills Gomez, but begs them to spare Hank. Walt tells Jack that the location he gave them referred to the place where he buried $80 million. Hank, however, resigns himself to his fate, and Jack shoots him dead. Jack steals almost all of Walt's $80 million, leaving Walt with one barrel with $9 million. As Jack's men take Jesse away, Walt spitefully tells him that he let Jane die.
Marie confronts Skyler and tells her Walt is in custody. She offers her and Hank's support, provided Skyler turns over all of Walt's false confession tapes implicating Hank and tells Walt Jr. the truth about his father. Skyler agrees and tells Walt Jr. everything about his father. They return home to find Walt hastily packing their bags. He explains they need to flee. Skyler realizes Hank has been killed and pulls a kitchen knife on Walt. They fight over the weapon, with Walter Jr. defending his mother and eventually calling the police on his father. Walt escapes with Holly. After taking full responsibility for the meth business during a call to Skyler that is monitored by the police, he leaves Holly at a fire station and assumes a new identity through Saul's contact and moves to a secluded cabin in New Hampshire.
After six months in complete isolation, Walt goes to a local bar and calls Walter Jr., offering to send him some money; Walter Jr. angrily rejects the gesture, however, and hangs up. Feeling hopeless, Walt calls the Albuquerque DEA office in order to surrender, but moments later sees Elliott and Gretchen Schwartz on Charlie Rose, in which they both deny Walt made any major contribution to Gray Matter. With renewed purpose, Walt leaves the bar, steals a car, and heads back to Albuquerque.
He coerces Elliott and Gretchen into using his remaining 9 million dollars in drug money to create an irrevocable trust fund for Walter Jr. He proceeds to purchase an M60 machine gun and recover the vial of ricin from his now-abandoned house. He constructs a remote-activated machine that allows the M60 to fire unmanned. Walt then visits Skyler, gives her the location of Hank's body so she can get out of trouble with the police, and admits that he had entered the drug business for himself, not his family. Skyler allows him to see his children one last time.
Walt meets Lydia and Todd at a coffee shop under the pretense of wishing to discuss a new business proposition. He previously laced the only packet of stevia sweetener in the container on her table with the ricin. Lydia dismisses Walt as she adds the ricin to her tea.
Walt confronts Jack and his gang at the compound. They bring out a shackled Jesse, whom they have forced to cook meth for them by killing Andrea and threatening to kill Brock. Walt, feigning anger, tackles Jesse to the floor as he triggers the M60 mounted in the trunk of his car. The hail of gunfire rips through the wall, killing all of the gang members except Todd and Jack. When the gunfire stops, Jesse strangles Todd with the chain of his handcuffs, finally breaking Todd's neck. Jack tries to bargain for his life, but Walt shoots him dead.
He asks Jesse to kill him, but Jesse refuses. Walt then sees that he has been mortally wounded by a ricocheting round from the machine gun. Moments later, Lydia calls Todd's cell phone, which Walt answers. Walt coldly informs Lydia that he has poisoned her with ricin, and hangs up. Jesse drives away from the compound, crying with relief. Walt walks to the lab, and smiles nostalgically as he takes a final look around. He then collapses to the floor and dies, a satisfied smile on his face.
Personality and Traits
An extremely complex character, the entire story of Breaking Bad shows Walter White's transformation from well-meaning and sympathetic anti-hero to a ruthless and loathsome villain of his own story. It also charts his constantly shifting personality and motivations as they become darker and more selfish as the series goes on. His turn to villainy, and the gradual reveal of the darkness that was within him all along over the course of the series, has led him to be commonly compared by critics to a number of Shakespeare villains, most prominently Macbeth.
At the beginning, after being diagnosed with lung cancer, Walter's stated motivation was to make enough money to leave behind for his family. While this was true to some degree, holes could be seen in this motivation as early as the first season, where he turns down the seven figure job from his former business partners out of pride. While the money he could leave behind continued to be an important driving point for him for the rest of the story, he gradually reveals that he sincerely enjoys the thrills and feelings of power that being a criminal brings, and he has such great pride in his near perfect blue meth. He mentions early on in the series that he never felt like he had any say in his life, and so his work as a drug dealer is the first time he's had control. He also feels that he is making up for his rash decision to leave his former business partners for a $5,000 buyout, abandoning a company that is now worth billions of dollars, creating a meth empire to give himself a similar feeling. He reveals to Skyler in the end that everything was done for himself, as it made him feel alive.
Walter was an extremely prideful and arrogant man, to the point of being a narcissist. Nearly everything he does is driven by his massive ego, leading a very smart man to making very stupid decisions. This ranges from turning down the aforementioned job offer to cluing his brother-in-law, Hank, in that his primary suspect for being Heisenberg, was most likely not the real Heisenberg, not wanting anyone else to take credit for his work, even at the risk of being captured later. As a result of his ego, Walter takes criticism extremely poorly; this is best shown when Mike calls him out for turning on and killing Gus Fring because he thought he could run his business just as well, but turned out to be wrong. While he was absolutely right, Walter became so angry that he shot and killed Mike in an ego-driven rage. His very partial redemption at the end comes from letting go of his pride to a degree, though it was still his pride that drove him to make his final moves, when he saw his former business partners discrediting him.
As the series moved forward, Walter became more ruthless. The man who sobbed as he strangled Krazy 8 in self-defense was eventually able to poison a young child without remorse in order to begin his final plans against Gus. The decay of his morality was noticed by both Skyler and Jesse, making Skyler terrified of him despite helping him before, and disturbing Jesse into wanting to leave the meth trade altogether.
Despite his ruthlessness, Walter still refused to ever physically hurt his family, growing angry at the idea of Saul's suggestion to kill Hank after he realized who Walter was. Before Jack killed Hank, Walter begged and bargained for Hank's life and was utterly broken when Jack fired the shot. Getting revenge on Jack became one of his driving motivations in the final episode of the series. He was also greatly against the idea of killing Jesse until it seemed necessary to him, and at the end took a bullet to save Jesse's life. This did not stop him from being emotionally abusive and manipulative towards them. His relationship with Jesse in particular was as an abusive father-figure who kept Jesse loyal to him through manipulation and blackmail.
As much as he loved his family, it is made clear that he loves one thing more. While dying, he strolls through the meth lab, examining the equipment lovingly, signifying that his one true love was his precious blue meth.
- Emilio Koyama
- Krazy 8
- Jane Margolis (Caused)
- Rival Dealers
- Gale Boetticher (Caused)
- Hector Salamanca (Caused)
- Tyrus Kitt (Caused)
- Gustavo Fring (Caused)
- Mike Ehrmantraut
- Dan Wachsberger (Caused)
- Ron Forenall (Caused)
- Dennis Markowski (Caused)
- Jack McGann (Caused)
- Andrew Holt (Caused)
- Anthony Perez (Caused)
- Isaac Conley (Caused)
- William Moniz (Caused)
- Harris Boivin (Caused)
- Raymond Martinez (Caused)
- Steve Gomez (Indirectly Caused)
- Hank Schrader (Indirectly Caused)
- Andrea Cantillo (Indirectly Caused)
- Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (Caused; Presumed)
- Todd Alquist (Caused)
- Jack Welker
- 167 unnamed Wayfarer 515 crash victims (Indirectly Caused)
- Two of Gus' henchmen
- 2 unnamed white supremacists
- Drew Sharp (Indirectly Caused)
|Breaking Bad Villains|
Krazy 8 | Emilio Koyama | Tuco Salamanca | No-Doze | Saul Goodman | Ted Beneke | Gustavo Fring | Mike Ehrmantraut | Marco & Leonel Salamanca | Hector Salamanca | Lydia Rodarte-Quayle | Todd Alquist | Jesse Pinkman | Walter White