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!
|― Walt telling Skyler who he is|
Walter Hartwell "Walt" White Sr., also known by his clandestine pseudonym "Heisenberg", is the main protagonist of Breaking Bad. He was a chemist and a former chemistry teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who, after being diagnosed with Stage 3A inoperable lung cancer, started manufacturing crystal methamphetamine to both pay for his treatments and provide for his family in the event of his passing. He is the central character of the series, and is portrayed as a protagonist, antagonist and antihero. As the series progresses, Walter gradually becomes darker and takes on a more villainous role.
Walt was once a promising chemist who, in graduate school, contributed research to a Nobel Prize-winning experiment. After graduate school, he co-founded the company Gray Matter Technologies with his friend Elliott Schwartz and his then-girlfriend Gretchen. Walt abruptly left the company and sold his financial interest for $5,000. Gretchen and Elliot later married and made a fortune. Walt resents Elliot and Gretchen for profiting from his work without crediting him.
Knowing nothing about the drug trade, he enlists the aid of his former student, Jesse Pinkman, to manufacture and, more importantly, sell his meth. Walt's scientific knowledge and dedication to quality lead him to produce crystal meth of unrivaled purity. Walt eventually devised an alternative chemical process utilizing methylamine, giving his product a distinctive blue color. His crystal meth, christened "blue sky" by dealers and users alike, instantly began to dominate the market. While Walt was initially squeamish about the use of violence, he gradually came to see it as a necessity and eventually developed into a ruthless drug lord motivated largely by vanity, ego, and greed. Not only does Walt become more sinister throughout the series, but he rises in power. In Season 1, he and Jesse make thousands of dollars street dealing, but by Season 5, Walt is a millionaire drug lord that supplies crystal meth all across the South-West USA and as far as Eastern Europe. He achieved this by killing Gustavo Fring, establishing his own drug empire and then going into partnership with a neo-Nazi gang.
After accumulating an $80 million fortune, Walter finally decided to retire from the drug business permanently. However, his brother-in-law Hank eventually discovered his criminal secrets and embarked on a mission to bring White down. After aligning himself with Jesse (who betrayed Walt after learning of his poisoning of Brock), Hank nearly succeeded in bringing Walt to justice, however he was saved at the last minute by Jack, Todd and their neo-Nazi gang who killed both Hank and Steven Gomez and took Jesse hostage. After being turned on by his entire family, Walt was forced to go into hiding in New Hampshire with the help of Ed and would remain in hiding for months.
Eventually, he returned to Albuquerque and was able to leave his remaining millions to his family and personally confronted Jack and his crew which resulted in all of their deaths, Walt setting Jesse free and he himself dying from injuries sustained during his own attack.
Walter Hartwell White was born on September 7, 1958. When Walter was young, his father's health rapidly deteriorated upon developing Huntington’s disease, and all the good memories that friends and family tried to implant in the boy’s head never supplanted the terrifying memory of visiting his father in the hospital just before his death (""). He remembered the twisted body, the empty eyes that didn't seem to focus on him, the terrible disinfectant smell of the hospital, and his breathing: Walter described it as “this rattling sound like if you were shaking an empty spray paint can—like there was nothing in him” (""). He recalled being tested for Huntington's disease as a child.
Walter studied at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) with Elliott Schwartz, where he proved himself a brilliant chemist with a specialty in X-ray crystallography (""). In 1985, Walt's groundbreaking research regarding photon radiography contributed to a project that was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, awarded jointly to Herbert A. Hauptman and Jerome Karle for outstanding achievements in the development of direct methods for the determination of crystal structures ("").
Following his education, Walter went on to co-found Gray Matter Technologies with his friend, Elliott Schwartz. At this time, he was dating his female lab assistant, Gretchen (""). Though the two were briefly engaged, Walter abruptly left her without explanation after meeting her family on a Fourth of July weekend, unable to cope with the feelings of inferiority their wealth and success stirred up in him.(""). Soon after, Walt sold his share of the company to Elliott for $5,000 (""). Gretchen eventually went on to marry Elliot, and Gray Matter became a highly successful, multi-billion dollar company. Walter would come to feel that the fruits of his hard labor had been stolen from him and bitterly blamed Elliott and Gretchen for his financial problems and overall lot in life, despite the fact it was his own decision to leave. Walter refused to acknowledge his own failures for leaving Gray Matter and regretted his decision of leaving and selling out, which would later become a contributing factor in his decision to build a meth empire.("")By the turn of 1990, Walt was working in Application Labs (""). He also worked in a chemical lab near Los Alamos, where he met his wife Skyler Lambert, who worked as a hostess in a neigboring restaurant (""). He moved to Albuquerque to work for Sandia Laboratories just prior to his firstborn's birth (""). In Albuquerque, he and his wife settled into a home at 308 Negra Arroyo Lane, despite his desire for a larger house in light of recent business success.
Walt eventually went on to become a chemistry teacher at J. P. Wynne High School where his son, Walter White Jr., also attended as a student. Financially, this job was not enough to support his family, so Skyler did side work writing short stories and selling items on the internet. When Skyler became pregnant with their second child, however, Walt took on a second job at the A1A Car Wash.
On September 8, 2008—the day after his 50th birthday—Walter passed out while working at the car wash. He was then reluctantly rushed to the hospital via ambulance where he was eventually diagnosed by Dr. Belknap with stage-three terminal lung cancer and given less than two years left to live. This grim prognosis caused a dramatic change in Walt's usually mild-mannered demeanor, and he decided that 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 Schrader, to accompany him on a live raid on a methamphetamine lab, Walt has an encounter with one of his former students, Jesse Pinkman, whom he finds out is a meth dealer and manufacturer known by the alias "Captain Cook." Walt, who has decided to enter the illegal drug trade to develop a sufficient inheritance for his family before he succumbs to his cancer, blackmails Jesse into helping him enter the meth manufacturing business. Operating out of an RV in the desert, Walt uses his chemistry knowledge to cook remarkably potent methamphetamine ("").
The two attempt to sell their product to a drug distributor, "Krazy-8", who believes that Walt is an undercover cop and attempts to kill him. At first offering them the recipe for his crystal meth, Walt instead gasses his assailants with phosphine gas and leaves them to suffocate in the RV, before driving away with an injured Jesse in tow. When the RV careens the RV down a desolate highway, Walt climbs out of the RV and records a video of himself, sending a farewell message to his family, and stating to the authorities that this "is not an admission of guilt." With sirens heard in the distance, Walt picks up Krazy-8's gun and awaits the incoming approach of emergency services. Walt then attempts to shoot himself but fails to remove the safety. Back at the White Residence, Walt's first attempt at selling meth leaves him exhausted. He meets Skyler's troubled queries with atypical sexual aggression which leaves her somewhat stunned ("").
Walt and Jesse soon discover that Krazy-8 is still alive. Jesse finds that Krazy-8 has escaped from the RV, and Walt finds him roaming the neighborhood. Krazy-8 runs into a tree at the sight of Walt, which allows Walt to carry him to his car. Walt and Jesse restrain Krazy-8 in Jesse's basement with a bike lock. After a coin flip, Jesse is tasked with disposing of Emilio Koyama's body, 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 ("").
Walt begins to contemplate on moral issues about killing Krazy-8, writing a checklist on what is right, and what is wrong. Unable to bring himself to kill him, Walt has begun providing food and a latrine to his prisoner, whom he has taken on as a confidant, fervently searching for any excuse to spare his life. Walt passes out briefly while delivering food to Krazy-8, breaking a plate. Awakening later, Walt 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. Walt, deeply disturbed by the ordeal, breaks his 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 consult specialists 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 receive treatment. Walt later crosses paths with an obnoxious businessman, while the businessman is in the office, Walt destroys his car ("").
Walt and Skyler go to the birthday party of Elliott Schwartz, Walt's long-time partner and founder of Gray Matter Technologies, with his wife Gretchen Schwartz. Elliot tells other guests at the party about Walt's contributions in the forming of Gray Matter Technologies. Walt and Elliot later chat about the old days and is offered a job in the company, to which Walt declines. Elliot reveals that he knows about Walt's cancer, and states that the job offers a good life insurance. After leaving the party, Walt grows angry at Skyler for asking for charity from Elliot and Gretchen. After a tense discussion about Walt's decision to do chemotherapy, Walt finally accepts ("").
Walt is offered financial assistance from his brother-in-law, Hank, who is a DEA agent, and from Elliot, but turns down both offers. Instead, Walt decides to return to producing meth and to pay for the treatments himself as a matter of pride, while telling his family that the money he earns is actually from Elliot. Jesse, unable to replicate Walt's recipe, accepts Walt's partnership once again (""). The two agree to their clearly defined roles: Jesse the salesman and Walt the cook. Parallel to this, Walt has his first session of chemotherapy, using the money that was obtained from his drug trafficking. As a result of the chemotherapy, Walt begins to suffer nausea as a side effect. Jesse learns that Walt has lung cancer and, realizing his goals of helping his family after his death, develops a certain respect for him. Jesse goes out to sell the product (and smoke some of it), but Walt is disappointed of the results. Walt goes on to state that they need a distributor to move their product in wholesale. Jesse later discovers that Skinny Pete has met a psychopathic local drug distributor Tuco Salamanca while he was in jail ("").
During a session in class, Walt receives an unexpected visit from Hank, who informs him that the gas mask found in the desert once belonged to the school. Hank reviews the inventory and discovers that another gas mask had been missing, with several glassware looking sparse, and Erlenmeyer flasks missing. Hank suggests Walt to keep better control of his turf, and that students shouldn't be underestimated ("").
Walt begins to notice his side effects of chemotherapy, starting with his complete hair loss. When Jesse goes to meet with Tuco, 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 orders Skinny Pete to tell him everything he knows about Tuco. Walt confronts Tuco with the demand for up-front payment, using the pseudonym "Heisenberg." Tuco questions Walt's lack of street sense but Walt detonates a concealed explosive (fulminated mercury), blowing out the top floor of the hideout and intimidating Tuco into surrendering payment with a promise for future business ("").
Walt begins to come to terms with his secret lifestyle. Meanwhile, Walt and Jesse face difficulties producing the large amount of meth promised to Tuco. Walt informs Jesse that instead of using the pseudoephedrine method as it is difficult to use the method to produce in large quantities, they will instead use methylamine, giving Jesse a list of what to buy. After Jesse manages to buy everything on the list, Jesse states that he couldn't get methylamine, because it is found only in a chemical warehouse. Covering their faces with wool masks, Walt and Jesse use thermite to break into the warehouse, where they steal a large barrel of methylamine. They deliver the promised amount of meth to Tuco, but during the transaction, one of Tuco's associates makes a seemingly innocuous comment, prompting Tuco to beat him until he is bloody and unconscious ("").
Having completed their deal with Tuco in the junkyard, Walt and Jesse realize just how unstable and violent he can be. Jesse is convinced that he has seen Tuco's black SUV going up and down his street. Walt puts it down to paranoia—until he sees a black SUV parked just down the block from his house. Jesse's solution is to shoot Tuco before he kills them, but Walt has a better idea using ricin. Panic sets in, however, when they think Tuco is killing his associates. Tuco kidnaps Jesse and Walt ("").
Having been kidnapped by a crazed Tuco, Walt and Jesse are held prisoner by him in a desert shack where he often hides out and takes care of his sick uncle, "Tio". Walt's brother-in-law Hank and the DEA have rolled Tuco's entire organization, and Tuco thinks that one of his associates may have been a source of information. Walt unsuccessfully tries to feed Tuco the poison he prepared. Hank, meanwhile, remembers that Jesse Pinkman was Walt's source of marijuana and tries to track him down. Tuco's mute wheelchair-bound uncle alerts him to the fact that his prisoners are up to something, and it looks like he's going to kill Jesse. Hank shows up looking for Jesse, and is confronted by Tuco. A brief firefight ensues and Hank shoots Tuco dead. Walt and Jesse run off into the desert ("").
Having gotten away from Tuco, Walt and Jesse now have to get home and explain where they have been. Walt has a plan and they split up. He goes to a supermarket and strips naked while walking around the aisles. He is hospitalized and claims to have no memory of where he has been for the last few days. Jesse returns to his house to clean out the basement and get rid of the RV. When the DEA track him down, he claims that he has been shacked up with a prostitute for the weekend. With some of his problems now behind him, Walt is keen to start cooking again ("").
Walt continues his treatment and is starting to feel better but is concerned at the growing medical bills. Jesse begins to re-establish himself, paying off his debts and getting a new place to live. He develops an interest in his new next-door neighbor and landlord Jane Margolis. Walt and Jesse soon rev up the RV and are cooking again. Jesse's not keen on selling the meth on the street and suggests he and Walt take over Tuco's role as a distributor. Meanwhile, Hank and the DEA have come across the name "Heisenberg" and aren't sure if he is real or just an urban legend ("").
Skinny Pete has been ripped off by a drug-addicted couple, and Walt has made it plain to Jesse that unless he does something about it, word will get around pretty quickly that Jesse and his crew are an easy mark. Jesse isn't a very effective enforcer, however, and soon finds himself in over his head. Walt goes back to work, but not all is going smoothly. Walt's story starts to unravel when Skyler gets a call from Gretchen Schwartz and Skyler thanks her for paying for Walt's treatment. Gretchen doesn't reveal the truth, but Walt's bitterness at their past relationship—personal and business—comes out ("").
Walt has trouble getting in touch with Jesse, who's been avoiding him since his encounter with Spooge. Jesse is also not providing product to his dealers, so Walt arranges to deliver it. He learns that the word on the street is that Jesse killed Spooge and, thanks to his new reputation as a cold-blooded killer, they're having no problem at all collecting payment. Walt decides the time has come to expand their territory and put Jesse's new reputation to good use. Meanwhile, Skyler goes back to work for Ted Beneke, her former boss. She increasingly relies on Ted for emotional support due to Walter's constant absence and strange behavior ("").
Walt and Jesse have yet another problem to deal with when one of their dealers, Jesse's friend Badger, is arrested by the Albuquerque police. They end up hiring a shady lawyer, Saul Goodman, who has a unique way of ensuring that Badger gets off with a light sentence without having to give away Jesse or Walt's identity. As Walt learns however, it may come at a very high price. Walt's brother-in-law Hank, the DEA Agent, is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder following the bombing in Juárez, and is having trouble just getting out of bed in the morning. Walt has some suggestions for him ("").
Walt is convinced that his medical condition is deteriorating. He continues to have coughing fits and is now coughing up blood. Having only $16,000 remaining of the meth money after the numerous setbacks, he and Jesse set off for the desert for a marathon cooking session over an extended weekend. He and Jesse end up cooking 38 pounds of meth to sell off before Walter dies. Jesse continues to mess up, this time by leaving the keys in the ignition and inadvertently draining the RV's battery. They find themselves stuck in the middle of the desert, cold and without much water. Walt's knowledge of chemistry again saves the day, as he constructs a mercury battery galvanic cell to help them. At the doctor, Walter discovers that he is in remission - his tumor has shrunk by 80% ("").
Despite the good news about his condition, Walt is feeling out of sorts and is generally unhappy, verging on anger. Skyler decides to throw a party to celebrate the news and thank all of their friends for their support, but Walt gets drunk and then into an argument with Hank that puts a damper on things. He is embarrassed about his behavior and tries to make amends all around, but it's proving to be a challenge. He tries to channel his energies but eventually realizes what the problem is. Walt also tells Jesse the good news and tells him that he is finished with their little enterprise after the 38 pounds is sold off. Jesse's relationship with Jane continues to grow, but he is taken aback when her father drops in to see her and she doesn't introduce him as her boyfriend ("").
After one of their dealers, Jesse's friend Combo, is murdered by a rival gang, Saul proposes new distribution method for Walt and Jesse's product. Under stress, Jesse tells Jane what he does. Saul puts Walt in touch with a meth distributor named Gustavo Fring, a cautious yet successful businessman who is skeptical of Jesse's dependability but agrees to purchase Walt's product. However, Gus expresses concern about Jesse's drug problem, which has escalated into heroin use due to Jane's relapse. Walt receives a large offer for the short-notice delivery of the remainder of their inventory, but at the same time receives a call from Skyler, notifying him of her imminent labor ("").
Walt delivers the inventory in time, but misses his daughter's birth. Jesse confronts Walt about his share of the payment, but Walt refuses to disburse the funds until Jesse can prove his sobriety. Jesse and Jane's addiction is discovered by Jane's father, Donald, who agrees to give her one day to settle her affairs before going to rehab. In an effort to minimize the cost of Walt's upcoming surgery, Walt Jr. sets up a website to gather donations for his father's medical expenses. It is quickly used by Saul as a way to forward Walt's earnings without raising suspicion. After discovering that Jesse deserves a cut of the sale, Jane blackmails Walt into delivering Jesse's share. Later, Walt returns to Jesse's to attempt to help him break his addiction, tries to shake Jesse conscious and knocks Jane on her back in doing so. Shortly after, Jane begins asphyxiating on her vomit. He does nothing to help and allows her to die ("").
Jesse awakens, discovers Jane's demise, and contacts Walt. Walt contacts Saul, who sends his PI/cleaner Mike Ehrmantraut to mitigate Jesse's involvement with Jane's death. Subsequently, Walt must rescue Jesse from self-destruction. Walt's funds are funneled into his son's website, SaveWalterWhite.com, which attracts the attention of the media. Walt's secretive behavior is made prominent once again when he accidentally references multiple cell phones while under the initial effects of anesthesia moments before his surgery. This prompts Skyler to investigate deeper, thereby revealing many of Walt's lies, which spurs her to leave him. Jane's father, an air traffic controller, distracted by the grief over his daughter's death, causes a mid-air collision, resulting in debris and human remains raining down onto the White residence, as well as the rest of Albuquerque ("").
All of Albuquerque is in shock in the aftermath of the mid-air plane collision. Walter White is living in his home alone, at least for a while longer. His wife Skyler has moved out with their son and newborn daughter to give Walt a chance to pack his things. She speaks to a divorce lawyer about making the split permanent but seems unsure when the attorney says she will uncover any money Walt may have hidden. When she confronts Walt about the divorce, she also uncovers for the first time just how he made his money. When all is said and done, Walt decides to get out of manufacturing and tells his principal contact, Gus, that he's getting out of the business. Gus has an attractive offer - $3 million for three months of his time - but Walt turns him down. Meanwhile, two dangerous looking men cross over into the US from Mexico ("").
Walt is having difficulty adjusting to his new life. He doesn't want to be the bad guy and refuses to get into drug manufacturing again. He has an encounter with a police officer but manages to avoid charges courtesy of brother-in-law Hank's intervention. Skyler still won't let him set foot in the house and Walt Jr. in particular is having trouble understanding how his mother can treat him this way. His sleazy lawyer-partner Saul Goodman wants him to start producing meth again and takes steps to encourage him in that direction. Unbeknownst to him, the Mexican cousins now know where he lives. ("").
Walt moves into the house and tells Skyler he has no intention of leaving. She won't hear of it but Walter Jr. is thrilled that his Dad is back. It doesn't stop her from calling the police however in an attempt to have him thrown out. She also decides to pursue her own interests. 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 furiously fires Saul for bugging his house, who cancels the website money laundering. Following an attempt by Walt to initiate an affair with Carmen Molina, he is suspended indefinitely with pay, and 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 superlab 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 to replace the nerdy Gale so Jesse will drop the charges on Hank. Later, Skyler forces Walt to pay for Hank's hospital bills after she deduces he is the reason behind the attack on Hank, lying to Marie and telling her that Walt earned the money counting cards and gambling in backrooms, providing a less extreme lie to account for his behavior and finances.
When Hank comes around, 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 cousins 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 dollars 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 Tomás, Andrea's brother, murdered Combo, and is working for dealers who work for Gus, he demands retribution. Gus agrees to stop using children in his organization, but Tomás 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 despite his pleas, shoots him as the season ends.
Season 4Walt and Jesse are held hostage in the lab by Victor and Mike, anxiously awaiting Gus' reaction to the murder of Gale. Gus shows up, changes into a lab suit, slits Victor's throat with a box cutter, then changes back to his work clothes and tells Walt and Jesse to get back to work, then leaves. Walt is more shaken than Jesse, who later tells Walt that they don't need to worry about being killed when it's as if, stuck in their situation now, they're already dead. ("").
Walt then illegally buys and begins carrying a snubnosed revolver but Mike soon tells Walt he'll never see Gus again. Walt goes to Gus' home, presumably to kill him, but receives a call from Mike telling him to go home. Walt later follows Mike to a bar, tells Mike that he might be in danger as well, then asks Mike to get him in a room with Gus and Walt will "do the rest". Mike punches Walt, kicks him twice on the floor, then leaves ("").
Walt furiously notices that a motion-detecting surveillance camera has been installed in the lab. Later that day, Skyler convinces Walt in a meeting with Saul to buy the car wash by mentioning how the owner insulted his manhood. She devises a plan to trick Bogdan into selling, and she is eventually successful ("").
Walt and Skyler plan to tell Hank that they paid for the car wash with illicit gambling winnings. They rehearse the story and even attend a support group for gambling addicts, but Walt remains too distracted to put much effort into the charade. During a family dinner, Hank tells Walt that he is informally consulting on a murder case for the local police and reveals evidence that implicates Gale as cook of the high grade blue meth that's been turning up in the Southwest. Hank also asks Walt about the mysterious initials "W.W." in Gale's notebook, to which Walt points out that they stand for "Walt Whitman," a favorite poet of the deceased meth cook ("").
Fearing for Jesse's safety, Walt tries to confront Gus at Los Pollos Hermanos, but Gus is not there. Mike assures Walt that Jesse is safe, and he takes Jesse with him while he collects drug money for Gus. Walt and Skyler purchase the car wash, after which they have sex. Following this, Skyler asks Walt to move back into the house. Jesse, after fighting off two attackers at one of the money collections and appearing to be a hero, informs Walt that he will be making pick ups with Mike as a second job from now on. Gus and Mike discuss the attack on Jesse, and reveal that Gus set up the attack, planning for Jesse to win the confrontation. When Hank suggests to an intoxicated Walt that Gale was a genius, Walt's pride gets the better of him and he tells Hank that he believes Gale more likely copied another's work. Hank's pursuit of the case is renewed, and he expresses his puzzlement at finding a Los Pollos Hermanos napkin in Gale's belongings, as he was a vegan ("").
When Walt wakes with a hangover, Skyler tells him she thinks his scoffing off the Gale-is-Heisenberg theory to Hank was a self-sabotaging "cry for help." Walt angrily denies that, telling her he's not in trouble because "I am the danger." Alarmed, Skyler leaves. Walt, worried, buys a flashy new car (2009 Dodge Challenger) for Walt Jr. Walt picks up the keys to the car wash from Bogdan, who tells him he must be a "tough" boss; Walt, seething, refuses to let Bogdan take his framed first dollar from the business. Walt then breaks the glass and uses the dollar to buy a soda from the vending machine. Walt tells Jesse that he suspects Gus is driving a wedge between him and Jesse and Jesse's heroic stopping of the stick-up was a set-up; he tells a fuming Jesse that "it's all about me!" Skyler drives to the Four Corners and flips a coin—it lands twice on the Colorado side but she reluctantly decides to return home. She tells Walt he must return Walt Jr.'s new car tomorrow and that "Someone has to protect this family from the man who protects this family" ("").
After Skyler tells Walt she's negotiated the return of the car to the dealership, Walt, angry, drives the Challenger to a parking lot near the airport, burns donuts and crashes into a parking block, then stuffs the ownership papers in the gas tank, lights them afire, and blows up the car. Saul covers up the outburst, which costs Walt $52,000. When Walt drops off more than $250,000—his fortnightly take—to Skyler, she's stunned by the amount, unsure how she'll launder his meth-lab earnings (over $7 million annually) through their car wash. Walt convinces Jesse to kill Gus and concocts a ricin poison in the lab that Jesse then hides in one of his cigarettes. At the sit-down with the cartel, though, Jesse hesitates and doesn't add the poison to the coffee he makes for Gus ("").
Though Gus's explanations and alibi for Gale's murder are accepted by the DEA and local law enforcement, a still suspicious Hank has Walt drive him to Gus' restaurant; once there, he tells Walt of his suspicions and tells him to slip a tracking device onto Gus' car. With instruction from Gus, Walt plants the device and Gus later removes it. Walt, alarmed by Hank's investigation into his boss, tells Jesse to poison Gus as soon as possible but he suspects Jesse's been putting it off ("").
Walt drives to Gus' restaurant with an eager Hank to retrieve the tracking bug he left on Gus' car. Hank's suspicious when the bug only shows Gus driving between home and work: "He's so clean he must be dirty." Meanwhile, Gus calls the cartel, giving in to their demands; Gus invites Jesse over for dinner and asks him if he can cook Walt's formula. The next night, Jesse calls Walt to come over; he then explains that Gus is sending him to Mexico to show the cartel how to cook Walt's formula. Walt responds by asking him if he poisoned Gus; Jesse says he didn't see him. Walt knows he saw him, he says, because he put a bug on Jesse's car that showed he was at Gus' house. Jesse, furious at Walt's distrust, throws the bug at him, cutting his forehead open. The two fight and Jesse gets the upper hand, punching Walt repeatedly in the face, then telling him to leave and never come back ("").
Skyler shows Walt Jr. his sixteenth-birthday present, a PT Cruiser, but he's quietly disappointed. He goes to his dad's place, and Walt, recovering from his fight, lies about his injuries, saying they came about because he was gambling again. He breaks down, confiding to his son: "I made a mistake. It's my own fault." Meanwhile, Skyler urges Ted to pay the IRS with the money she gave him, but he refuses ("").
While Jesse is in Mexico, Walt continues cooking meth in the superlab under the supervision of Tyrus Kitt. Walt drives Hank to scope out the Los Pollos Hermanos Factory Farm again but, en route, Hank tells him to go to an industrial laundry he's linked to Gus and Gale. Walt, panicking that he'll find the meth lab there, pulls into oncoming traffic, causing an accident and giving Hank whiplash. Walt realizes someone's been cooking in the lab, goes to Jesse's house, and begs him for help, saying Gus will kill him if Jesse replaces him. Jesse spurns Walt, and Gus' henchmen (Tyrus included) stun-gun him, driving him to the desert, where Gus tells Walt he's fired. Walt retorts that Gus can't kill him because Jesse won't let him. Gus says he'll now take care of Hank and, if Walt interferes, his family will die. Walt rushes to Saul and gets the number of a man who'll help him and his family "disappear"; he tells Saul to tip off the DEA about a hit on Hank. When Walt gets home and goes down into the crawl space, he finds there's not enough money for disappearing; Skyler tells a frenzied Walt that she gave it to Ted. Walt, in disbelief, starts laughing hysterically as Skyler, horrified, takes a call from Marie about sudden police-protection of Hank after there was a tip that the cartel's gunning for him ("").
Skyler, Walt Jr., and Holly go into DEA protection at Hank's and Marie's insistence. Hank harries ex-partner Steve into investigating the laundry; as Steve looks around there, Gus calls Jesse in the lab to tell him what's happening is Walt's fault, but Jesse still refuses to "sign off" on eliminating Walt. Saul summons Jesse to his office, where he's anxiously packing up, saying it's the "end times"; he gives Jesse's savings to him and tells him Gus threatened Walt's family. Andrea calls Jesse to the hospital because her son Brock is in critical condition with a mysterious flu-like illness. Jesse, suspecting what has happened, fishes for a cigarette, finds the ricin vial missing and tells Andrea to have the doctors treat Brock for poisoning. Jesse goes to Walt's house, where Walt has barricaded himself inside with just a revolver for protection. As Walt rambles, Jesse picks up the gun and accuses Walt of poisoning Brock; Walt pleads for his life and tells him Gus must be behind the poisoning. Walt presses the revolver against his forehead, daring Jesse to kill him but Jesse can't, as he believes Walt. Jesse is now determined to kill Gus, but Walt tells Jesse to let him help. Walt rigs small explosives and plants them on Gus' car while Gus meets with Jesse in the hospital chapel. Gus walks back to his car in the garage, while Walt watches from a nearby rooftop through binoculars, ready to detonate the explosives. However, Gus seems to suspect something and walks away from his vehicle, dashing Walt's plan ("").
After Walt's car bombing plan fails, Walt pays a hefty bribe to Saul's secretary Francesca to get in touch with Saul, and with Jesse's help they realize that Gus may be vulnerable if he visits Hector Salamanca at the nursing home Casa Tranquila, where Gus has gone in the past to torment Hector about the deaths of his family members. Walt visits Hector and offers him a chance for revenge against Fring: "I know that you despise me, but I'll bet that I know someone you hate even more." Hector then requests a meeting at the DEA office, but tells them nothing; he only crudely insults Hank. Tyrus has been tailing Hank and sees Hector leave the DEA office, and informs Gus. Jesse is released after no ricin is found in Brock's bloodwork, but as he leaves the police station he is kidnapped. Tyrus visits Hector's room and sweeps it for any bugs; he informs Gus that it's clean. Gus arrives and berates Hector for speaking to the DEA, calling him a "crippled rata" and prepares to kill him. Hector finally looks him in the eye and then rings his bell, detonating a bomb that he has allowed Walt to plant in his wheelchair. The door is blown off of the room and Gus walks out into the hall and straightens his tie - the entire right side of his face having been blown off - before dropping dead ("").
Meanwhile, Jesse is working at the lab under duress and under guard, when Walt arrives and executes Jesse's two captors. Walt and Jesse then flood the lab with chemicals and set it ablaze, wiping their fingerprints off the door as they leave. Later, Walt meets Jesse at the hospital parking garage, and Jesse tells him Brock's going to pull through and was poisoned by a Lily of the Valley plant, not ricin. When Jesse leaves, Walt calls Skyler, who's watching coverage of the nursing home bombing on the news. She asks, "Was this you?" Walt replies, "It's over. We're safe. I won." As he leaves the parking garage, he smiles at Gus' car, still parked there. In the final scene, on the deck of Walt's swimming pool, the camera slowly zooms in on a potted plant—a Lily of the Valley—implying that Walt had poisoned Brock to win back Jesse's loyalty by convincing him that Gus was responsible ("").
After Gus' death, Walt returns home and disposes of the Lily of the Valley plant and his bomb-making materials. Skyler and Walt Jr. return home. While Jr. is excited about Hank's vindication, Skyler tells Walt that she is afraid of him. Walt enjoys a glass of scotch in celebration when he suddenly remembered Gus' cameras in the superlab. Walt and Jesse stopped Mike in the desert and, after a heated argument, work with Old Joe to devise a plan to destroy Gus' laptop which was being held in a police evidence room. They manage to destroy the laptop by powering up a giant magnet inside a truck outside the police station. They escape, but are forced leave the truck. In the car, Walt tells Mike that he was certain the magnet worked "because I said so." When Saul tries to sever ties with Walt as his lawyer, Walt tells him "we're done when I say we're done." Returning home, Walt tells Skyler he knew what happened to Ted and, hugging her, says "I forgive you" ("").
Before helping Jesse search for the missing ricin cigarette, Walt hides the ricin in his bedroom's electrical outlet and places a fake cigarette in Jesse's Roomba. Walt consoles Jesse after he has an emotional breakdown about nearly killing his partner and closest ally. Walt then uses Jesse's guilt and vulnerability to convince him to continue working together. Walt and Jesse extend an offer to Mike to form a new meth operation and accept his decision to decline. When the DEA cuts off Mike's funds, he reluctantly changes his mind. Walt smugly accepts his partnership ("").
Walt, Jesse, and Mike work with Saul to sort out a new front for the meth manufacturing. They end up agreeing on a mobile lab inside residential houses that are bug bombed by Vamonos Pest. The mobile lab yields less meth per cook than they were making for Gus, but they each receive a larger cut. However, Mike deducts "Legacy Funds" from each cook to recoup the lost savings of Gus' former underlings. Walt doesn't take to this decision kindly at first, but reluctantly accepts it ("").
Walt sells his Aztek to a mechanic for $50 and leases himself a new 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT-8, with Jr. getting another Dodge Challenger. He tells Skyler to launder another $20,000, but refuses her request to keep the children out of the house. The next morning, on Walt's 51st birthday, Skyler reluctantly makes a "51" with bacon on Walt's breakfast. In the evening, Walt, Skyler, Walt Jr., Hank and Marie finish a low-key birthday dinner in the Whites' back yard. After Walt Jr. excuses himself, Walt points out that it's been a year since his cancer diagnosis. As he reminisces about the early days of his treatment and thanks the family for their support over the last year, Skyler slowly descends into the pool, fully-clothed, and sinks to the bottom. Panicked, Marie and Hank rush around the edge of the pool until Walt plunges in to pull her out ("").
Later, Hank and Marie offer, on behalf of Skyler, to take the children for a few days. Walt angrily confronts a frightened Skyler, but she tells him that her only choice is to wait for his cancer to return and keep the kids away from as much crime as she can. The next day, Walt insists to Mike and Jesse that the cooking must never slow down, no matter what. Outside, Jesse gives Walt a brand new TAG Heuer watch. At home, Walt shows the watch to Skyler and tells her that she will come around, just as Jesse did ("").
After Walt, Jesse, and Mike interrogate Lydia Rodarte-Quayle—an executive from Los Pollos Hermanos' parent company involved in Gus' drug business—she suggests they steal methylamine from a train that runs through New Mexico. Jesse comes up with a plan involving siphoning off 1,000 gallons and replacing it with water. The plan is a success, but Walt and Jesse are forced to watch as their accomplice Todd Alquist murders a bystander who witnessed the heist ("").
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 in the "smooth sailing" mode, but Jesse and Mike soon 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. After forcing Jesse to have an awkward dinner with him and Skyler, Walt admits to Jesse that his family has left him and his drug empire is the only thing that matters to him now. Walt heads to Vamonos Pest, where he is tied up by Mike so the methylamine can be sold without Walt's interruption. Walt escapes and hides the methylamine, promising—at gunpoint—that he has a solution where "everybody wins" ("").
At the meeting with Declan, a Phoenix-based competitor, Walt offers to sell Mike's 35% stake for $5 million. After the deal is sealed, Walt and Jesse retrieve the methylamine from the car wash under the glare of Skyler. Jesse reiterates that he is done with the meth trade, 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 demanded Mike give him the names of the nine guys in prison who would likely flip on Walt since their legacy funds stopped flowing. Mike refused and in a fit of rage Walt storms up to Mike's car and shoots him through the window. 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 disposed of Mike's car and body. Walt made an arrangement with Lydia to sell Blue Sky to the Czech Republic in exchange for the names of Gus' former ten henchmen. Walt paid Todd's uncle Jack and the incarcerated members of Jack's White Supremacist Gang to murder them all in the span of two minutes. The plan was executed perfectly and no one was able to squeal to the DEA. Walt and Todd continued to cook meth flawlessly and effortlessly for three months until Skyler showed Walt a giant pile of cash in a storage unit and asked him for her children back. After a visit to the doctor, Walt learns that his cancer has returned and it's likely that he won't live for longer than six months. Having a presumed change of heart thanks to this revelation, Walt paid Jesse a visit and gave him two duffle bags of cash. He then told Skyler "I'm out". Some undetermined time later, Walter and Skyler have made up and announced to Hank and Marie how they were going to Europe in a lunch with their kids and Hank and Marie. Hank excuses himself to the bathroom, where he comes to the realization that Walt is Heisenberg ("").When Hank returns, he asks Marie to leave, since he is not feeling very well. Sometime later, Walt is seen working at the car wash when he is visited by Lydia, who demands him to return to the meth business, since she is not able to find anyone capable of cooking meth as pure as the blue sky. Walt coldly refuses her offer, Skyler notices Lydia's presence and tells her never to show her face near Walt again. Saul calls in, revealing that Jesse is planning to give away his share of the money, so Walt visits Jesse and tries to convince him to keep the money. Jesse is in total sorrow and is suspicious that Walt killed Mike, just like he did to the prisoners. Walt promises Jesse that Mike is fine and living outside New Mexico, and that he may even come back someday in the future. It's not enough to convince Jesse, though. Later that night, Walt excuses himself from dinner to throw up in the bathroom, and notices that his copy of Leaves of Grass is missing. He searches everywhere, and grows suspicious that Hank may have found the book earlier on when he used the bathroom during the family lunch. It turns out that not only Hank found the book, but he planted a tracker onto Walt's vehicle, meaning that he is looking into Walt. Walt decides to pay Hank a visit, Hank locks them inside the garage and punches Walt, accusing him of being Heisenberg, Walt swears to God that he is innocent and also reveals that his cancer is back and he will be dead soon anyway. When Hank questions how much he knows Walter White, Walt tells him to "tread lightly" ("").
Immediately after leaving Hank's garage, Walt tries to call Skyler but Hank already has her on the line. Walt races to the A1A Car Wash and finds Skyler gone. He then waits at Saul Goodman's office where Saul tells him to lose his cell phone. Huell Babineaux and Patrick Kuby empty the White's storage locker full of cash and Walt drives the cash to the middle of the New Mexican desert where he spends the majority of the night burying it. He arrives home in the early morning hours and collapses on the floor of his bathroom as Skyler promises she told Hank nothing. He wake up hours later and Skyler tells him she knows his cancer has returned. He offers to turn himself in if she promises to keep the money, else his hard work and bad deeds will have been for nothing. She tells him Hank has no solid evidence and he should stay quiet and ride it out ("").
Back at home, Walt convinces Walt Jr. to stay at home with him by informing him that his cancer has returned, rather than visit Marie and Hank for "computer troubles". A short time later, Walt creates a confession tape, and attends a dinner with Hank, Marie, and Skyler. At the dinner, Hank tells Walt to fess up and admit to all of his wrongdoing, to which Walt responds by handing him a DVD before departing. The DVD is an elaborate lie, pinning Hank as the mastermind behind Walt's meth empire - he manages to weave several true events into his story, making it seem airtight and extremely convincing, putting Hank in a vice. He meets with Saul and Jesse in the desert a short time later to find out what Hank and the DEA knows about him, but this leads to Jesse emotionally breaking down and telling Walt that his only motivation is to remove Jesse for his benefit. Walt embraces Jesse and convinces him to go as it's for the best. He later tells Skyler that this worked, but frantically returns a short time later upon learning from Saul that Jesse now knows that it was he who poisoned Brock. He opens up a nearby Coca-Cola machine after telling Skyler that there is a problem with the latch, and takes out a revolver before putting it into his pocket ("").
He arrives at his house a short time later and sees Saul's car parked in the driveway. After entering through the backdoor with his gun drawn, he finds the living room soaking with gasoline but no Jesse. Huell picks up the car and cleaners attempt to clean up the gasoline but Walt has to lie to his son and wife about the scent, claiming a broken pump at a gas station covered him with gas. He suggests the family stay at a hotel to stay safe where Skyler calls him out on his lies and although Walt previously met with Saul to find Jesse to keep him safe (despite Saul's suggestions to put him down) Skyler suggests that Walt kill Jesse. Later that night, Walter sits at the hotel pool, contemplating his next move, when Walter Jr. comes to sit with him. Walter Jr. expresses his concern for Walter's cancer being back, who convinces him that he isn't going anywhere. After Walter Jr. leaves, he calls Jesse and leaves a voicemail, telling him that he'll be at Civic Plaza the following day at noon, and that he'd like to meet him there to mend their current issues. As he waits on a park bench at Civic Plaza the next day, he gets a call on his cell phone from Jesse who tells him that he knows the meeting was a set-up, and that he's going to go after him where he "really lives". Walter, left with no other options, calls Todd and tells him he has some more work for his uncle ("").
Todd sets up a meeting between his Uncle Jack and Walt, and Walt tells him the new target is Jesse. Meanwhile, Hank and Gomez use police tactics on Huell to figure out more info about Walt and his money. Huell reveals to them that Walt and the rental van were dirty when he returned from the desert. Walt meets with Uncle Jack and his gang at their headquarters and discuss the hit, Walt tells them he wants it done painless and fast. When Walt brought up payment for the hit, he says he will pay triple from last time but instead, Jack wants Walter to do another cook for Todd to try and bring the blue color back into the meth. Walter agrees and devises a plan to flush Jesse out into the open. At Andrea Cantillo's home, Andrea is seeing Brock off to school while Walter comes into their house. He tells her he cannot find Jesse and is worried for his safety. Walt gets Andrea to call Jesse's new phone and leave a message, he then departs. Outside the home; Walt calls Kenny, who is parked on the opposite side of the street, he says he does not want Andrea nor Brock to see Jesse's body if they have the chance to kill him. In the mean time, Hank receives the phone call from Andrea on Jesse's phone and dismisses it. At the car wash, Saul talks to Walt about the hit and his fear of Jesse's anger, Walt tells him to stop worrying and that he will take care of Jesse. Moments later, Walt reeieves a photo text of a pile of money surrounded by sand followed by a call from Jesse saying he found all of Walt's barrels in the desert. Walt runs out of the car wash, into his car, and starts speeding out to the Tohajiilee Navajo Reservation while still on the phone with Jesse. Jesse says if Walt loses the connection or hangs up, he will burn all of Walt's money. During the call, Walt reminds Jesse of everything he has done to save his life, who the money really belongs to, and the poisoning of Brock, but Jesse begins to speak less and less by the end of the call. Walt arrives at To'hajiilee and in seconds notices Jesse has outsmarted him; Jesse is not there and there has been no sign of any person at the burial spot. He soon takes the battery out of his phone to stop the GPS track Hank placed on it. Walt flees behind a large bush when he notices a SUV coming towards the burial spot and puts the battery back into his phone. Suspecting Jesse is in the SUV, Walt calls Jack and tells him the coordinates from the lottery ticket, hoping Jack and his gang will arrive there and kill Jesse. While pleading with Jack to come quickly, Walt sees Jesse is with Hank and Steven Gomez, prompting Walt to tell Jack not to come. Walt understands he cannot run from Hank or Gomez and gives himself up to them. Hank slaps his cuffs on Walt's wrists and gives him his Miranda rights, then places him in the back of his truck. Soon after, Jack and his gang arrive heavily armed. After a brief stan off between Jack and Hank, Jack and his gang begin to shoot at Hank and Gomez. A colossal gunfight erupts between the two parties ("").
After Jack's gang stops firing, Walt watches as Hank crawls toward Gomie's shotgun, only to have it taken away by one of Jack's men. After identifying Hank and the now deceased Steven Gomez as DEA agents, Jack elects to finish Hank off, which prompts Walt to exit the vehicle and plea for Hank's life. Jack then asks Walt why he hid the fact that he had a DEA brother-in-law from them, as Walt asserts that it's none of their concern and that the DEA wouldn't get involved, causing Hank to promise that the very opposite would happen. As Jack attempts to proceed with the execution, Walt becomes desperate and offers to pay him for Hank's life, revealing the location of the eighty-million dollars he has buried away. Jack, now amused asks Hank if he'll accept that offer, only for Hank to reject it and tell Jack to "go fuck himself." Walt desperately pleas with Hank to let the whole situation go and walk out with his life, before Hank reveals to Walt that he is in fact the smartest man he ever knew, but that he was too stupid to realize that Jack had already decided to kill him ten minutes ago. Walt watches in horror as Hank fearlessly tells Jack to go on with the execution, before Jack shoots Hank in the head, killing him. Grief struck, Walt falls onto the ground and sobs in agony, collapsing emotionally and mentally over the death of his brother-in-law. Now knowing about the buried money's existence, Jack and Kenny again check the GPS coordinates given by Walt and they use a shovel found inside Gomez's SUV to start digging. Soon they find one of the barrels full of money, and all the other white supremacist gang members help Kenny dig up the $80 million, before two men return after failing to find Jesse. The gang members proceed to load up seven barrels into their truck after Todd convinces his uncle to leave one for Walt as an apology for what they did to Hank. Walt then notices something beneath his car. They then help him up, take the handcuffs off of him and Jack shakes hands with him, saying that there are no need for bad feelings about what happened. Walt tells Jack that he still owes him a hit on Jesse, in which he reveals that Jesse was hiding under his car. The gang members drag Jesse out from his hiding spot and Jack puts him at gunpoint. Before the gang members drag him away, Walt reveals to Jesse that he watched Jane die, and that he could have saved her but he didn't.
While driving back to Albuquerque, Walt's car runs out of gas in the middle of the desert. A bullet from the shootout has pierced his gas tank. Walt then decides to roll his barrel of money through the desert until he arrives at a Navajo man's house and buys the man's truck with $10,000. Back at home, Walt runs inside the house and frantically packs suitcases for his family. The family enters the house and Jr. demands what is going on, and asks about him being a drug dealer. Walt screams at his son and promises all the questions would be answered when they leave. Skyler demands to know how Walt has escaped Hank's grasp, and concludes that Walt has killed him. Walt, distraught at Hank being murdered, tells Skyler that he tried to save him, and that they must leave in order to be safe. As Walt continues to pack, Skyler grabs a knife from the counter. Walt passes by her and she shields Jr. behind herself. With the knife pointed at Walt, Skyler tells Walt to leave and never come back. Walt attempts to reason with her and Skyler slashes Walt's hand. A furious Walt attempts to attack Skyler, and they both wrestle. Jr. interferes by tackling Walt and shielding his mom. Walt yells at Skyler, telling her "What the hell is wrong with you? We're a family!" Walt's expression changes as he looks at the sight of his own son shielding his mom with his arms, and that he could have killed his own wife. Walt Jr. calls the police and reports that his father has attacked his mom with a knife. Walt grabs Holly and runs out of the house and Skyler screams for Holly as Walt drives away. Walt changes Holly's diaper in a restroom, and throws her bloodied diaper in the trashcan. Walt emotionally embraces Holly as she utters her first words: "Mama." Back at the White residence, the police call for an Amber Alert for Holly, while Skyler, Jr., and Marie sit on a couch. The residence receives a phone call from Walt, demanding for Skyler to pick up. The police officers instruct Skyler to tell Walt that there are no policemen listening. Walt, knowing that Skyler is lying, tells her that he had warned her not to cross him, and that he killed Hank. Skyler, realizing that Walter was deliberately giving her an alibi, simply tells him that she is sorry. At the Albuquerque fire department, a fireman finds Holly inside of his truck. The next day, Walt waits with his luggage and a barrel of $11 million for the extractor. The car arrives, and Walt packs his things in and it drives off ("").
The extractor's red van arrives at a vacuum shop. The extractor's name is revealed to be Ed, and Saul asks about how Walt is doing. Ed tells Saul to see for himself, in which Ed shows him a monitor with live footage of Walt angrily walking around the bunker. Walt plans to exact revenge against Jack and his gang for them murdering Hank and stealing all of his money. Saul advises Walt to turn himself in otherwise the police will go after Skyler and squeeze her for everything until she gives Walt up. Ed then calls for Saul, telling him that he is good to go for Nebraska. Walt interrupts and tells Ed that there has been a change of plans, and that Saul will come with him, to which Saul refuses. Walt attempts to intimidate Saul the same way he did before (""), but is interrupted mid-sentence to excessive coughing. Saul, no longer intimidated, leaves. Walt is then transported to New Hampshire with a new name: Mr. Lambert, his wife's maiden name. He enters his new home — a cabin with no external utilities. Ed then tells Walt that he will return monthly with groceries and supplies in exchange for $10,000. Ed then continues to say if he leaves the property, he will be caught by the police and will not be returning again for his own safety. Ed then takes off and tells Walt that the cabin is an ideal place for Walt to take his mind off things. After Ed departs, Walt finds his Heisenberg pork hat and heads towards the gate. Walt stops himself and mutters "tomorrow."
Months later, Walt opens the property gate as Ed arrives for another supply drop. Walt has now grown a full beard and a full head of hair. Ed tells Walt that Skyler is living at a place just off Eubank, and that she now works as a part-time taxi dispatcher, still having custody of both children. Ed performs makeshift chemotherapy and prepares to leave. Out of loneliness, Walt offers an extra $10,000 dollars for him to stay a while longer. Walt asks Ed if he would give the barrel of money to his family if he dies, to which Ed replies "If I said yes, would you believe me?" Later, alone again, Walt's wedding band falls off his thinning finger, and Walt loops a string through it to make a necklace. He then spots the box of Ensure that Ed has left for him and uses it to put in $100,000. In the morning, Walt heads towards the property gate and leaves the reservation, walking along the snow-covered road to the nearest town. At a tavern, Walt calls J. P. Wynne High School and asks for Walt Jr., posing as Marie. He then asks Walt Jr. if Louis Corbett still lives at the same address, so Walt can drop off his money there and have Walt Jr. pick it up. Jr. retaliates telling Walt to die. Walt, defeated, calls the Albuquerque DEA Field Office and turns himself in, leaving the phone hanging so they can trace it and send police to arrest him. Walt then goes to the bartender and asks for a neat Dimple Pinch Scotch Whiskey. While Walt is drinking, he watches Elliott and Gretchen being interviewed by Charlie Rose, who asks them about their recent donation of $28 million to fund drug rehab clinics throughout the American Southwest. Rose then asks Elliott and Gretchen about their association with Walt, and they both falsely claim that Walt's contributions were only for the Gray Matter name (Gretchen and Elliot are truly only doing this to protect their company's reputation and do not want to be associated with a meth kingpin). Rose then asserts that the blue methamphetamine is still circulating around the southwestern United States and even in Europe, which implies that Walter White is still active in the meth business. Walt becomes visibly angry and leaves the tavern just in time before the police arrive ("").
After leaving New Hampshire in a stolen car, Walt uses a payphone to call Gray Matter under the alias "David Lynn" from The New York Times who was looking to do another interview with Gretchen and Elliot. After discovering from a woman named Susan that Gretchen and Elliott will be home tonight, Walt immediately departs for the Schwartz residence.
After waiting for the couple to arrive, Walt sneaks into their house behind them while they are busy chatting about their stocks. While examining their home and various photographs, Walt is quickly discovered by Gretchen and then Elliott after hearing her scream. After Walt greets his former colleagues, Gretchen asks him why he is there, to which Walt responds by letting them know that he had seen them on Charlie Rose. After questioning if Walt is there to hurt them, Walt corrects the two and tells them that he has something to give to them instead. Elliott points a short-bladed kitchen knife at Walt which he dismisses, causing the couple to submit.
After getting $9 million out of his car, Walt presents the money to Gretchen and Elliott and tells them to make sure the money reaches his son on his 18th birthday with the hope that he uses it for his family's well-being, which is quickly shot down by the two of them. However, they eventually end up agreeing when Walt tells them to pass it to his son as a gift from their foundation. After shaking on it, Walt makes a signal and two lasers start shining on Gretchen and Elliott. Walt uses this for reassurance by telling them that he used $200,000 to hire hitmen to kill them at any point in time should the money not find its way to his son. Walt leaves moments later after scaring them sufficiently and gets in the car with Badger and Skinny Pete. It is revealed that they are the ones who used laser pointers on Gretchen and Elliott, an act that makes the two uneasy until Walt pays them. After inquiring about his signature blue meth still being on the streets, Walt comes to the conclusion that Jesse had partnered up with Jack and his gang and was now cooking for them ("").
Walt visits a New Mexico Denny's restaurant the next day to celebrate his 52nd birthday. A waitress tries to make conversation with him, but Walt keeps to himself and gives her a fake name (Lambert, which is Skyler's and Marie's maiden name) and shows her a fake ID from New Hampshire. Excusing himself to the restroom, Walt then trades an envelope of cash for a set of car keys in the bathroom with Lawson, his previous gun dealer. Before exiting the restroom, Walt lets out a slight cough and takes some medication. The keys belong to a car in the parking lot with an M60 machine gun in the trunk ("").
A short time later, Walt returns to the White family residence, which has become unoccupied and vandalized to the point of being ruined, with graffiti all over the walls. Inside, the house is abandoned, empty and quiet - the word "HEISENBERG" is spray-painted across the living room wall. Teenagers are using the empty pool for skateboarding outside. Walt quickly sneaks through the empty house and retrieves the ricin that he hid in the electrical socket, making his way out before being noticed by his former neighbor, Carol, who looks at him in shock as Walt casually greets her (""). Walt immediately leaves, and Carol reports him to the police, prompting a city-wide manhunt as many more sightings of Walt are reported. Various prank callers or people Walt hired to phone the police had made various threats toward the city.
Walt returns to the diner where he conducted his meetings with Lydia and poisons a packet of Stevia with the ricin, knowing full-well that Lydia would put it in her tea, while making sure it is the only packet left on the table where she is bound to sit. Walt waits there until Lydia and Todd arrive and confronts them immediately with an offer to produce crystal meth without methylamine. Lydia asks Walt how he knew they would be there, to which Walt responded by telling Lydia how predictable her habits are. Todd tries to dismiss Walt's offer, but Lydia questions Walt on how much it would cost them before Todd attempts to dismiss him yet again. After offering to visit his uncle to discuss it with him, Lydia sends Walt off as the waiter comes to take their order, before adding the ricin-spiked Stevia into her tea. In the middle of the desert, Walt modifies his M60 machine gun by creating a homemade contraption to make the weapon automatically fire in a wide radius. He attaches the modified weapon to the trunk of his car.
Afterwards, he confronts Skyler in her home. Marie calls soon after, warning her that Walt is back in town, for which Skyler calmly thanks her. Giving Walt five minutes to talk, Skyler asks if he killed or hurt anybody sneaking into her home. Skyler notes how terrible Walt looks, which he does not deny but assures her that he feels good. Questioning why he came back, Walt tells Skyler that it is over and that he needs a proper goodbye in contrast to their last phone call. Asking if he is going to turn himself in, Walt assures her that the police would indeed be coming for him. Not reassured, Skyler asks if the people who broke into their house would come after them if he is in custody. Walt adamantly tells his wife that after that night, they would not be coming back, which prompts even more questioning from Skyler, who inquires what would happen. Walt hands Skyler a lottery ticket with the GPS coordinates to where Hank and Steven's bodies are located and reveals the truth that he was not the one who killed them. Walt tells her to trade the ticket to the prosecutor in order to get herself out of the ordeal he left her in before reminding her that all the things he did were for the family.
No longer impressed by Walt's justification, she denies this, and Walt agrees, saying that he did it for his enjoyment, that he was good at what he did, and truly felt alive while he was doing it. Skyler tells him that Walt Jr. will be home soon before he asks her if he can see his daughter one last time, a request she allows. After spending one last moment with Holly and Skyler, Walt leaves the house and watches his son arrive home before leaving to confront Jack and his gang.
After arriving at Jack's hideout, Walt is promptly checked for weapons and allowed entry to see Jack. Upon arriving, Jack is surprised to see Walt with a full head of hair, calling it impressive but that the rest of his physical appearance is poor. Walt asks to talk business, but Jack rejects his offer, telling him that they are not really in the market because they can get more methylamine through Lydia quite easily.
Walt, now desperate to distract them, asks Todd to tell his uncle the benefit of his offer, but Todd apologizes to Walt and tells him that he should not have come back before Kenny pulls a gun on him. Jack orders him to take Walt out back before Walt tells him that he owes him, since he partnered up with Jesse in order to cook their product instead of killing him like they promised. Enraged that Walt would suggest that he is a liar, Jack tells Walt that Jesse being alive does not make them partners.
Ordering Todd to bring Jesse in order to show Walt exactly what has become of him, Walt picks up his car keys while they wait. As a broken and defeated Jesse is brought in, Jack asks Walt if he looks like a partner to him. Mockingly calling Jesse "50/50 partner" and "buddy," Walt sorrowfully notices the sorry state Jesse is now in, concluding that he did not willingly start cooking meth for Jack. Walt tackles Jesse to the ground, but before Todd can get them up, he activates the modified M60 machine gun in the trunk of his car, which massacres Jack's entire gang within seconds, with the exception of Jack himself, who is gravely injured, and Todd, who remains unharmed by ducking down just in time. After it is over, Walt watches as Jesse strangles Todd to death in the same manner in which he killed Krazy-8 (also the same manner in which Jesse witnessed Mike kill Gaff). Walt walks up to Jack after Todd is killed, pointing a gun at him as Jack tries to get him to stop, picking up his cigarette and smoking one last time. He tells Walt that if he wants his money back, he will need to let him live, before Walt shoots him in the head anyway in the exact same manner Jack killed Hank.
After Jesse gets out of his cuffs, Walt passes his gun to Jesse and tells him to shoot him, since it is what he wanted. Jesse refuses, tearfully saying he will only do it if Walt himself says he wants it. Walt, now ready to die, assures Jesse that he wants it. Jesse however, notices Walt's wound and concludes that he will die anyway, and leaves the gun with Walt, telling him to do it himself.
Hearing Todd's phone ring with a custom ringtone for Lydia, Walt answers the phone as a now sickly Lydia, thinking Walt is Todd, asks if "he's gone". Walt assures her that they are all gone, which causes Lydia to panic and ask who it is. Walt reveals himself and tells Lydia that he poisoned her with ricin using the Stevia she put in her tea. Saying one final farewell to a horrified Lydia, Walt hangs up the phone and sees Jesse off. After his former partner leaves, Walt looks down at his wound, aware of his impending death. Walking into Jack's lab, Walt examines the equipment blissfully, smiling and placing his bloodied hand on a tank before passing away peacefully, knowing his family's physical and financial safety is now ensured. The police arrive moments after, discovering Walt's dead body laying on the floor ("").
In a flashback, Jesse and Walt spend the night in a hotel after their misadventures in the desert (""). During breakfast, Walt tells Jesse that he should enter college and use his abilities for something else other than selling drugs. Looking at the RV parked outside, Walt comments that Jesse is lucky in that he didn't have to go his whole life before he did something extraordinary.
In the present, Jesse, Skinny Pete and Badger see and hear several news reports about the aftermath of the massacre. In one report, Walt's poisoning of Lydia is mentioned and although Lydia is still alive, she is not expected to survive. The same report mentions that Walt was found dead by the police in aftermath of the gang massacre which claimed the lives of nine people. In the news reports, Walt's Drug Empire is called the largest meth manufacturing operation in US history ("").
Personality and traits
- "Walter White is a brilliant man and an accomplished liar who lies best to himself."
- ―Vince Gilligan
Walter White starts off as a milquetoast, overqualified high school chemistry teacher. He lives with his family in a modest house, but has trouble making ends meet. To earn extra cash, he works a part-time job at a car wash after school. Though hired to work the register, his boss forces him to wash cars outside, where he's humiliated by one of his students (who drives a much nicer car than Walt does). At home, his sex life appears to be passionless; Skyler seems more involved in selling their household items on eBay than sharing an intimate moment in the bedroom, and Walt has trouble getting "inspired" in any case. Furthermore, Walt has an alpha-male brother-in-law, Hank, who has a flashy job as a DEA agent and is infinitely more impressive to Walt Jr. than his own father.
It is clear from the start that Walter is suffering from a mid-life crisis. He feels beaten down, stretched thin, passed over, cheated, emasculated, exploited, and unfulfilled. Even the field where he has the most skill, chemistry, falls on the deaf ears of his disrespectful, apathetic students. Even before his diagnosis, Walter felt like a failure, unable to adequately provide for his family and fulfill the role expected of him by American society. The news of his terminal lung cancer leaves Walter numb and he shows almost no emotion upon learning of it, as if he was already dead. Learning that his life will be unexpectedly cut short, coupled with the knowledge that he's going to leave his already financially struggling family bankrupt, is the final slap in the face, the last humiliating insult life can dish out.
When Walt partners up with Jesse to make meth, he claims that his motivation is his family. He says that before he dies he wants to be able to take care of his loved ones. He wants Skyler to be able to pay off the mortgage, to cover college educations for his children, and medical bills for the whole family. At one point he even calculates an exact figure of how much money he needs to make in order to provide the essentials for his family over the next 20 years ($737,000), and then he'd quit selling drugs once he reaches that number. While deciding to make meth is morally dubious, the anger Walt feels about having to scrounge for every dollar while being trapped in an monotonous cycle, his life passing by day by day without any job or fulfillment, is legitimate, and it's compounded by the importance placed on the "traditional" patriarchal family unit, as well as the pressure and expectation put on men to provide for their families.
After surviving his first foray into the dangerous drug underworld - a foray that was life threatening, terrifying, and violent - Walt feels invigorated for the first time in years. He goes home and sleeps with his wife. Skyler, surprised by his sudden sexual advance, asks, "Walt, is that you?!" as she gasps for breath. When Jesse questions Walt about his decision to enter the meth business, Walt reveals that he feels "awake." (Incidentally, this is the same phrase used by former mousy wife, Thelma (Geena Davis) in "Thelma and Louise", at one crucial segment of their cross-country crime spree.)
Walter more frequently uses the concept of family as a justification for his actions and crimes, but his true motivations are gradually revealed to be personal satisfaction, pride, authority, and power. He wants to shed the image of the nerdy science teacher who can't take care of his family. Walt wants respect, and wishes to seek revenge against the society that he views as having screwed him over, undervalued his worth, and overlooked his potential. Walt does what he does to give himself a sense of worth and pride, and he justifies his murderous greed by claiming he's just doing it for the good of his loved ones even as he pushes them away. Underneath that thinly veiled altruistic excuse is a naked desire to dominate others for the sake of unfettered growth and power. Walter finally reveals to Skyler in the final episode of the series that truly everything he did was for himself, admitting he enjoyed it and that it made him feel alive.
Series creator Vince Gilligan has described his goal with Walter White as "turning Mr. Chips into Scarface", and he deliberately made the character less and less sympathetic over the course of the series. Gilligan said, "He's going from being a protagonist to an antagonist. We want to make people question who they're pulling for, and why." Over the course of the series, Walter has evolved - or devolved - into a ruthless, dangerous and amoral drug kingpin; a man willing to ruin and even end lives in the pursuit of greater riches and, more importantly, the nourishment of his own ego. As he says, he's in the "empire business." He wants to conquer, dominate, to bend the world to his will, and enrich himself without limit for the sake of obtaining power, everyone else be damned.
- "We had a good thing, you stupid son of a bitch! We had Fring, we had a lab, we had everything we needed, and it all ran like clockwork! You could have shut your mouth, cooked, and made as much money as you ever needed! It was perfect! But no! You just had to blow it up! You, and your pride and your ego! You just had to be the man! If you’d done your job and known your place, we’d all be fine right now!"
- ―Mike's angry rant at Walt.
Walter is an extremely prideful, egotistical, arrogant and megalomaniacal man, yet deeply complex and insecure. When he and Skyler need to buy a business to launder their drug money, Walt gradually becomes determined to purchase the very same car wash that wounded his pride when Skyler mentions that the owner, Bogdan, insulted his manhood. Walt also refuses to let Bogdan keep his framed dollar on the wall, and out of spite he decides to use that dollar to buy a soda from the vending machine (""). Walt's pride is what keeps him from accepting any form of financial aid such as Gretchen and Elliot's "charity" (offering to pay for his treatment) and an offer to return to Gray Matter and is further shown by his barely concealed fury and disgust at his son asking for donations through the website SaveWalterWhite.com. Furthermore, he tells his son Junior that he doesn't want to be remembered as a weak, dying man (""). While drunk at Hank and Marie's house, Walt's can't stand listening to Hank (who has ended his involvement with the case) laud Gale's genius. A prideful Walter insists Gale was not a genius, but was rather copying off someone else's work and that this genius could still be at large. This action convinces Hank to re-open the case, which eventually leads him to evidence incriminating Gus ("") and eventually to evidence incriminating Walt himself.
It is evident that Walter is also a complete hypocrite to a degree and his beliefs and claimed moral standards rarely conform to his own behavior. His hypocrisy is mainly exemplified by his common excuse and justification that his reasons for becoming a meth manufacturer and kingpin are to provide for and protect his family when in reality it is all for his own interest and pure enjoyment, with his family's welfare being a second priority. Walter also rarely, if ever, admits responsibility for problems that are clearly his own fault and is quick to blame others and find an excuse for said problems. Notable examples of his arrogance in this regard include him bitterly blaming his former colleagues Gretchen and Elliot for ruining his life and stealing his work all the while completely ignoring the fact that he himself chose to leave the business he helped to co-fund, later revealed to be due to feelings of inferiority to Gretchen's family and set himself down pathways to failure. Another noted example is evident when he blames Mike for screwing up and putting the DEA on his own trail while refusing to admit that his killing of Gus did nothing but cause disaster and put the DEA on all of Gus' former associates. Walter's severe arrogance makes him almost the polar opposite of Jesse who actually faces and feels remorse for what he has done and accepts responsibility for it. This is highlighted by Jesse blaming himself for Jane's death (even though Walt is responsible) and the subsequent aircraft disaster caused by her father, Donald while Walt is quick to point out other variables such as a possible radar malfunction and poor technology and overall claiming he blames the government for the disaster rather than himself.
Every time Walt comes up against someone with more power than he does, instead of retreating he systematically destroys them directly or indirectly and takes their place, starting with Krazy 8, then Tuco, Gus, and finally Mike, until only he is left holding the keys to the kingdom. He is shown to possess a kingpin's unbeatable survival skills: sociopathy, cunning, emotional manipulation, meticulousness, and violence – or at least the threat thereof. Bryan Cranston said by the fourth season: "I think Walt's figured out it's better to be a pursuer than the pursued. He's well on his way to badass." Over the course of the series, he’s evolved as a businessman, but he’s turned into a sociopath in both his personal and professional lives. He’s shed basic empathy and has no idea how much his colleagues and wife loathe him.
As Walt delves deeper into the criminal underworld he increasingly sees people as expendable pawns, who he either manipulates to further his interests or eliminates. Early on such as in Season 1, Walt has great difficulty bringing himself to murder, but by the end of Season 4, he barely gives killing a second thought and was also capable of poisoning a young child without any remorse at all. Nothing can stand in the way of his growing empire, and being in the position of power numbs his empathy for other human beings. He also comes to find his new status as a drug lord as psychologically rewarding, leading him to become less and less reluctant to resort to criminal acts such as theft, extortion, money laundering, and murder, showing pleasure, enthusiasm and even a sort of depraved indifference in these acts to a degree. Walt's Machiavellian descent into the criminal underworld reveals a surprising level of repressed ambition, rage, resentment, vanity, and an increasing ruthlessness which has alienated him from his family and colleagues.
Walter proves himself to be a natural liar. According to Vince Gilligan, "[Walter] is a man who lies to his family, lies to his friends, lies to the world about who he truly is. But what I think makes him a standout liar is that first and foremost he is lying to himself." It is also interesting to note that Walt appears on numerous occasions to be itching for the chance to tell his DEA agent brother-in-law Hank that he is Heisenberg, the mild mannered chemistry teacher that everyone's always overlooked and laughed at, who's been the mastermind behind the legendary blue meth all along.
Despite his evolution in a ruthless, amoral drug kingpin, Walter still refused to ever physically hurt his family, growing angry at the idea of Saul's suggestion to kill Hank after he realized that Walter was Heisenberg. Before Jack killed Hank, Walter begged and bargained for Hank's life with his $80,000,000 fortune and was utterly broken when Jack fired the shot. Getting revenge on Jack and his men became one of his driving motivations in the final episode of the series in order to avenge his brother-in-law's death and protect his family from being harmed by the murderous gang, although it can be argued that his final actions were also driven by his pride as the only reason he returned to Albuquerque was after seeing his former colleagues discredit him on television. Walter 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 from Jack, Todd and their crew, leading to his own demise.
Walt borrowed his "Heisenberg" pseudonym from the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Werner Heisenberg, a chemist who was also diagnosed with cancer. The German physicist is most famous for the Uncertainty Principle, which in its most basic form speaks to the general probabilistic, uncertain nature of quantum mechanics - Heisenberg's uncertainty principle holds that even if some properties are known, other equally important properties will be uncertain.
- "There was a moment nobody ever really wrote about in the first or second season...when he was in remission from his cancer and he decided even though his hair was growing back, he decided to shave his head some more. And that was big thing for me because it made a statement that he was truly accepting this new life of his."
- ―Bryan Cranston about Walter White
The Heisenberg persona is first "born" when Walt goes to confront Tuco after Tuco beat up Jesse and took his meth without paying. As a result of hair loss caused by chemotherapy, Walter shaved his head earlier that episode. When Tuco asks him who he is, Walter introduces himself as "Heisenberg" for the first time (""). Bryan Cranston said, "I think he takes on that name - and that look - in order to not recognize himself. That as long as he doesn't recognize the man in the mirror, he can sort of keep going." As his first action as Heisenberg, Walt throws a piece of fulminated mercury onto the floor, triggering a large explosion. Vince Gilligan said, "For my money, this is the moment in the series where he really breaks bad."
In his entire adult life, Walter had been capping his emotions, and he begins to feel more as he embraces the darker side of his personality. The sides of Walter's personality have been described as "sociopath and family man, scientist and killer, rational being and creature of impulse, entrepreneur and a loser." Walter eventually transforms fully into his Heisenberg drug kingpin persona, which makes him confident, strong, authoritative, patient, manipulative, and cruel. As Heisenberg, Walt prefers to die in a fight and leave a legacy (good or bad) instead of giving in. The argument can be made that the cancer was merely a catalyst for Walt (generally family-oriented, employable, and mild-mannered) embracing another side to his personality—the Heisenberg side, the side that is gratified, feared, ruthless, and powerful—that was there all along.
The change of Walter White more and more embracing his "Heisenberg"-side is visualized in this video with the appropriate name.
- "Technically, chemistry is the study of matter. But I prefer to see it as the study of change. Just think about this. Electrons. They change their energy levels. Molecules. Molecules change their bonds. Elements. They combine and change into compounds. Well, that's all of life, right? It's the constant, it's the cycle. It's solution, dissolution. Just over and over and over. It is growth, then decay, then transformation. It is fascinating, really."
- ―Walter White
Walt's chemistry lesson in the Pilot has often been used to sum up the themes of the series and Walt's own character arc: he says, "Technically, chemistry is the study of matter, but I prefer to see it as the study of change” – this change can be thought of as Walt's change from decent teacher to mighty drug kingpin. Walt also mentions that chemistry is "growth, decay, and transformation.” Throughout his journey, Walt reaches heights then descends into chaos – notably it occurs between Season 3 and 4; from working safely in the super-lab with a steady relationship with Gus (growth), Walt ends up in seemingly hopeless situations following Gale's murder, left with little money, facing betrayal by Jesse and Gus threatening to murder his entire family (decay), to the triggering a new type of Heisenberg, a ruthless leader that has realized that "it's better to be the pursuer than the pursued" (transformation).
Walt's transformation - his embracing of the dark and ruthless "Heisenberg" kingpin side of his personality - is a slow process that is advanced every time Walt crosses a line deeper into depravity (e.g. poisoning Brock). At the beginning of the series, it was clear to the viewer when Walt was making a conscious decision to become Heisenberg (wishing to keep his identity secret around other criminals, wearing the trademark black hat and sunglasses, etc.). Towards his family, he remained, for the most part, the same Walter White (although his mercurial, erratic behavior in the early seasons does raise some suspicions on the part of Skyler and Walt Jr.) However, as the series progresses, the line between Walt and his Heisenberg persona is increasingly blurred: even in his civilian life, he begins embracing his crueler, more vindictive side. The difference between Walt in the early episodes and Walt in the later episodes is stark, not only in his appearance (such as his shaved head and attire) but in his psychological traits as more, notably his view about causing harm to other human beings.
Murders committed by Walt
- Emilio Koyama: Poisoned with phosphine gas. ("")
- Krazy-8: Strangled with a bike lock. ("")
- Rival Dealers: Ran over them with his car, then shot one of them in the head. ("")
- Two of Gus' Henchmen: Both shot to death. ("")
- Mike Ehrmantraut: Shot in the stomach. ("")
- Kenny, Matt, Frankie, Lester, and two unnamed White Supremacist Gang members: Shot by remote-activated M60 machine gun. ("")
- Jack Welker: Shot in the head. ("")
- Lydia Rodarte-Quayle: Poisoned with ricin. ("", "")
Murders connected to Walt
- Gale Boetticher: Shot by Jesse on Walt's orders so that Walt and Jesse would be the only meth manufacturers available. ("")
- Gustavo Fring: Blown up by Hector Salamanca. Walter supplied the bomb. ("")
- Tyrus Kitt: Blown up by Hector Salamanca. Walter supplied the bomb. ("")
- Gus's 10 former employees: Murdered by Jack's White Supremacist Gang on Walt's orders. ("")
- Hank Schrader and Steven Gomez: Gave Jack Welker and his gang the coordinates of the Tohajiilee reservation, which lead to the shootout that lead to the deaths of Hank and Gomez. ("")
- Andrea Cantillo: Walt let Andrea's relationship to Jesse be known to Jack Welker and his gang and her location was previously given by Walt. This information allowed her to be executed by Todd Alquist as punishment for Jesse trying to escape and to force him to cook again. ("")
- Todd Alquist: After Walt shot all of the other members of Jack's Gang with the remote-activated M60 machine gun, Jesse took a distracted and horrified Todd by surprise and snapped his neck with his chains. ("")
Deaths connected to Walt
- Jane Margolis: Passed out after intravenously injecting a large amount of heroin. Soon after, Walt inadvertently rolled her onto her back, causing her to asphyxiate. Walt watched these events unfold, but ultimately made the difficult decision not to save her. ("")
- 167 People aboard the Wayfarer 515: Due to Walt's decision not to save Jane as she asphyxiated, Donald Margolis (Jane's father), grief-stricken and consequently unfocused, caused Wayfarer Flight 515 to collide with another plane while working as an air traffic controller. ("")
- Hector Salamanca: Voluntarily blew himself up in order to assassinate Gus. Walter supplied him with the bomb and orchestrated the assassination. ("")
- Himself: Triggered the mounted machine gun to kill the Neo-Nazis and got himself shot in the side while shielding Jesse. Later, Walter claimed to Jesse he wanted to die. ("")
- Walter: "You lost your partner today. What's his name - Emilio? Emilio is going to prison. The DEA took all your money, your lab. You got nothing. Square one. But you know the business and I know the chemistry. I'm thinking...maybe you and I could partner up."
- Jesse: "You, uh...you want to cook crystal meth? You. You and, uh...and me?"
- Walter: "That's right. Either that...or I turn you in."
- ―Walter blackmailing Jesse into cooking meth with him.[src]
- "Look, Skyler, I just haven’t quite been myself lately. I haven’t been myself lately, but I love you. Nothing about that has changed, and nothing ever will. So right now, what I need is for you to climb down out of my ass. Can you do that? Will you do that for me, honey? Will you please, just once, get off my ass. You know, I’d appreciate it. I really would."
- ―Walter calmly confronts Skyler to stop meddling in his affairs.
- Walter: "[whistling sharply and grabbing the pillow] All right, I've got the Talking Pillow now. Okay? We all, in this room, we love each other. We want what's best for each other, and I know that. I am very thankful for that. But what I want? What I want, what I need, is a choice."
- Skyler: "What does that mean?"
- Walter: "Sometimes, I feel like I never actually make any of my own. Choices, I mean. My entire life, it just seems I never you know, had a real say about any of it. Now this last one ... cancer ... All I have left is how I choose to approach this."
- Skyler: "Then make the right choice, Walt. You're not the only one it affects. What about your son? Don't you want to see your daughter grow up?"
- Walter: "I just - Of course, I do. But Skyler. You've read the statistics sheet, these doctors talking about surviving, one year, two years, like it's the only thing that matters. But what good is it to survive if I'm too sick to work? To enjoy a meal? To make love? For what time I have left, I want to live in my own house. I want to sleep in my own bed. I don't want to choke down 40 or 50 pills every single day, and lose my hair, lie around, too tired to get up, and so nauseated that I can't even move my head. You cleaning up after me. Me... me some um... some dead man, some artificially alive, just marking time... No. And that's how you would remember me. That's the worst part. So... that is my thought process, Skyler. I'm sorry, it's just I choose not to do it."
- ―Walt confesses his true emotions to Skyler.[src]
- Walter: "Let's get something straight. This - the chemistry - is my realm. I am in charge of the cooking. Out there on the street, you deal with that. As far as our customers go, I don't want to know anything about them. I don't need to see them. I don't want to hear from them. I want no interaction with them whatsoever. This operation is you and me, and I'm the silent partner. You got any issues with that?"
- Jesse: "Whatever, man."
- Walter: "No matter what happens, no more bloodshed. No violence."
- ―Walter talking to Jesse about their operation.[src]
- "You got one part of that wrong. This is not meth."
- ―Walter's reply to Tuco after being criticized for bringing more meth after Tuco stole their batch and beat up Jesse.
- Therapist: "So, being found naked in a supermarket, that was your way of giving credibility to a lie? Of avoiding questions about your disappearance? Why run away? What did you feel you had to run from?"
- Walter: "Doctor, my wife is seven months pregnant with a baby we didn't intend. My fifteen-year old son has cerebral palsy. I am an extremely overqualified high school chemistry teacher. When I can work, I make $43,700 per year. I have watched all of my colleagues and friends surpass me in every way imaginable. And within eighteen months, I will be dead. And you ask why I ran?"
- ―Walter telling the "truth" to the therapist about his disappearance.[src]
- Walter: "I have spent my whole life scared – frightened of things that could happen, might happen, might not happen. Fifty years I spent like that. Finding myself awake at three in the morning. But you know what? Ever since my diagnosis, I sleep just fine."
- Hank: "Hmm... okay."
- Walter: "What I came to realize is that fear, that's the worst of it. That's the real enemy. So, get up, get out in the real world and you kick that bastard as hard as you can right in the teeth."
- ―Walter White to Hank Schrader.[src]
- "Stay out of my territory."
- ―Walt threatening two amateur drug manufacturers.
- "I'm saying that I lived too long. You want them to actually miss you. You want their memories of you to be... but she just won't... she just won't understand. I mean, no matter how well I explain it, these days she just has this... this... I mean, I truly believe there exists some combination of words. There must exist certain words in a certain specific order that can explain all of this, but with her I just can't ever seem to find them."
- ―Walter White to Jesse Pinkman
- "No, no, it's, uh... Oh, that was the moment. That night. I should never have left home. Never gone to your house. Maybe things would have... Oh, I was... I was at home watching TV. Some nature program about elephants... and Skyler and Holly were in another room. I can hear them on the baby monitor. She was singing a lullaby. Oh, if I had just lived right up to that moment... and not one second more. That would have been perfect."
- ―Walter reconciling a moment in the past.
- "Alright, let's talk about Gale Boetticher. He was a good man and a good chemist. He didn't deserve what happened to him. He didn't deserve it at all. But I'd shoot him again and tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. When you make it Gale versus me, or Gale versus Jesse, Gale loses! Simple as that. This is on you, Gus, not me, not Jesse. I mean really, what'd you expect me to do? Just simply roll over and allow you to murder us? That I wouldn't take measures – extreme measures – to defend myself? Wrong! Think again."
- ―Walter to Gustavo Fring.
- "Then what else should I not worry about, Saul, hm? Should I not worry that Gus plans to murder me at the first chance he gets? Should I not worry that my drug-addicted partner doesn't seem to care whether he lives or dies? You should see his house. It's like skid row! He has actual hobos living there! Now how long before Gus decides that he's too big of a risk? That guy Mike, that grunting dead-eyed cretin, sucker punching me in the face! I've got Gus wielding a box cutter! I mean...Western Union! Message received! Let me ask you, when did this stop being a business, hm? Why am I the only person capable of behaving in a professional manner?."
- ―Walt complains to Saul Goodman.
- "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!"
- ―Walt explaining who he is to Skyler.
- "He had Huntington's disease. It destroys portions of the brain, effects muscle control, and leads to dementia. It's just a nasty disease. It's genetic. Terrified my mother that I might have it, so they ran tests on me when I was a kid, but I came up clean. My father fell very ill when I was four, five. Spent a lot of time in the hospital. My, heh, my mother would tell me so many stories about my father. I mean, she would talk about him all the time. I knew about his personality, how he treated people, I even knew how he liked his steaks cooked; medium rare, just like you. I knew things about my father, I had a lot of information. It was because people would tell me these things. They would paint this picture of my father for me and I always pretended that was who I saw too, that I remembered. But it was all a lie. In truth, I only have one real actual memory of my father. It must have been right before he died. My mother would take me to the hospital to visit him. And I remember the smell in there. The chemicals. It was as if they used every single cleaning product they could find in a fifty mile radius, like they didn't want you smelling the sick people. There was this stench of Lysol and bleach, you could just feel it coating your lungs. Anyway, there lying on the bed is my father. And he's all... he's all twisted up. My mom, she puts me on her lap, she's sitting on the bed next to him so I can get a good look at him, but really he just scares me. And he's looking right at me, but I can't even be sure he knows who I am. And your grandmother is talking, trying to be cheerful as she does, but the only thing I could remember is him breathing. There was this...this rattling sound, like if you were shaking an empty spray paint can. Like there was nothing in him. Anyway, that is the only real memory that I have of my father. I don't want you to think of me the way I was last night. I don't want that to be the memory you have of me when I'm gone."
- ―Walt speaking to his son about his father.
- Walter: "You didn't set out to hurt anybody. You made a mistake, things got out of control, but you did what you had to do to protect your family and I’m sorry, that doesn't make you a bad person. It makes you a human being."
- Skyler: "I don’t need to hear any of your bullshit rationales. I’m in it now, I’m compromised, but I will not have my children living in a house where dealing drugs and hurting people and killing people is shrugged off as ‘shit happens!’"
- ―Walt and Skyler arguing.[src]
- "I'm sorry you feel this way. I want to beat this thing, I do. I'm back on chemo and I'm fighting like hell. But the truth is... in six months you won't have someone to prosecute. Even, even if somehow you were able to convince anyone that I was capable of doing these things. You and I both know I would never see the inside of a jail cell. I'm a dying man who runs a car wash. My right hand to God, that's all that I am. What's the point?"
- ―Walter White to Hank.
- Hank: "I don't even know who I'm talking to right now."
- Walter: "If that's true, if you don't know who I am, then maybe your best course... would be to tread lightly."
- ―Walter's subtle threat to Hank.[src]
- "If you're watching this tape, I'm probably dead, murdered, by my brother-in-law Hank Schrader. Hank has been building a meth empire for over a year now and using me as his chemist. Shortly after my 50th birthday, he asked that I used my chemistry knowledge to cook methamphetamine, which he would then sell using connections that he made through his career with the DEA. I was astounded, I always thought Hank was a very moral man, and I was particularly vulnerable at the time, something that he knew and took advantage of. I was reeling from the cancer diagnosis that was poised to bankrupt my family. Hank took me on a ride along and showed me how much money even a small meth operation could make. I was weak, I didn't want my family to go into financial ruin, so I agreed. Hank had a partner, businessman named Gustavo Fring. Hank sold me into servitude to this man. When I tried to quit, Fring threatened my family. I didn't know where to turn. Eventually, Hank and Fring had a falling out and things escalated. Fring was able to arrange.. I guess you call it a hit.. on Hank and it failed, but Hank was seriously injured. So I wound up paying his medical bills, which amounted to a little over 177,000 dollars. Upon recovery, Hank was bent on revenge. Working with a man named Hector Salamanca, he plotted to kill Fring. The bomb that he used was built by me, and he gave me no option in it. I've often contemplated suicide, but I'm a coward. I wanted to go to the police, but I was frightened. Hank had risen to become the head of the Albuquerque DEA. To keep me in line, he took my children for 3 months he kept them. My wife had no idea of my criminal activities, was horrified to learn what I had done. I was in Hell, I hated myself for what I had brought upon my family. Recently, I tried once again to quit and in response, he gave me this. I can't take this anymore. I live in fear every day that Hank will kill me or worse, hurt my family. All I can think to do is to make this video and hope that the world will finally see this man for what he really is."
- ―Walt's fake confession.
- "Open your eyes! Can't you see that I needed you on my side to kill Gus. I ran over those gang bangers, I killed Emilio and Krazy-8, why? I did all of things to try and save your life as much as mine! But only you're too stupid to know it!"
- ―Walt to Jesse about how much he cares for him.
- "I watched Jane die. I was there. And I watched her die. I watched her overdose and choke to death. I could have saved her. But I didn't."
- ―Walt revealing to Jesse that he watched Jane die.
- "What the hell is wrong with you?! We're a family! We’re a family..."
- ―Walter, after Skyler attacked him with a knife and Walter Jr. intervened in favor of his mother.
- "What the hell is wrong with you? Why can’t you do one thing I say? This is your fault! This is what comes with your disrespect! I told you Skyler, I warned you for a solid year, you crossed me there will be consequences. What part of that didn’t you understand? Maybe now you’ll listen. Maybe now you’ll use your damn head. You know, you never believed in me. You were never grateful for anything I did for this family. ‘Oh no! Walt! Walt! You have to stop! You have to stop this! It’s immoral! It’s illegal! Someone might get hurt!’ You’re always whining and complaining about how I make my money, dragging me down while I do everything. And now, now you tell my son what I do? After I’ve told you and told you to keep your damn mouth shut? You stupid bitch! How dare you?"
- ―Walt orchestrating his phone call as a ploy to release all possible charges and suspicions against Skyler.
- "I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And, I was really... I was alive."
- ―Walt to Skyler, about his true motivation for manufacturing meth.
- "He's alive isn't he? And he's cooking for you! What are you gonna lie?"
- ―Walt to Jack about Jesse during their final confrontation.
- Walter: "Do it. You want this."
- Jesse: "Say the words. Say you want this! Nothing happens until I hear you say it."
- Walter: "I want this."
- Jesse: "Then do it yourself."
- ―Walter telling Jesse to kill him.[src]
- Walter: "How are you feeling? Kind of under the weather? Like you've got the flu? That would be the ricin I gave you. I slipped it into that Stevia crap that you're always putting in your tea."
- Lydia: "Oh my god..."
- Walter: "Well, goodbye Lydia."
- ―Walter's last words.[src]
- Walter sold his share of Gray Matter to Elliot for $5000, towards the end of the show, his share would be worth upwards of 720 Million Dollars. This was inspired by the real life story of Apple co-founder Ron Wayne selling his interest in Apple to Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs for $2300 missing out on billions of dollars.
- According to show Creator Vince Gilligan, the estimated amount of money inside the storage space is between 50 and 80 million dollars.
- In 2016, Vince Gilligan finally revealed the true reason for why Walter left Gray Matter. He revealed that Walt left Gretchen and Gray Matter because he felt inferior to her and her wealthy family, thus confirming that his ego and pride were the reasons why.
- Walt's car was a well-used 2004 Pontiac Aztek that had been repainted in a non-factory color chosen by series creator Vince Gilligan, perhaps to mimic the look of a badly-faded factory paint job or as symbolic of Walt's previously bland existence. The windshield has been broken and replaced several times due to various acts that have been a result of Walt's descent into the drug world. The show's production team has at least 2 Azteks equipped for different filming situations.
- Walt is 5'11" (180 cm) and 165-170 lbs (75–77 kg) ("").
- "Heisenberg", the actual Werner Heisenberg from which he derived his criminal alias, was born on December 5, 1901, at Würzburg, and was a German theoretical physicist who made foundational contributions to quantum mechanics. He was also 'investigated' by the SS before his acceptance into the Nazi controlled scientific reich. One of his main contributions to science was the uncertainty principle (hence, this being the probable cause for Walter choosing Heisenberg as his alias). Heisenberg died of cancer in 1976.
- Walter is one of two characters (along with Jesse Pinkman) to appear in every episode.
- Walter was born in 1958, because Jane Margolis' father mentions she was "twenty seven next month" and that her date of birth was April 1982, so the year is 2009. So "" takes in 2008, since the most recent occurrence of Walter's birthday, in September, must have happened in the year before, and Walter turns 50. So then, "" takes place in 2009, and "" in 2010. This is further confirmed by Vince Gilligan in an interview that Better Call Saul takes place "in 2002" and "6 years before Saul meets Walter White".
- Walt has killed (inadvertently or otherwise) 201 people (including himself).
- Walt and Jesse are the only main characters to have killed another main character.
- Walt has the last on-screen death of the show.
- In addition to his chemistry expertise, Walter was shown to be a good mental calculator, as he calculated most of the numbers to his deals within his head and with no calculator.
- Bryan Cranston developed most of Walt's backstory, and also partially chose his attire. When he developed Walt's mustache, he said he wanted it to look like a dead mouse.
- Walt's vehicles include:
- Walt died the day of his 52nd birthday, exactly 2 years after the beginning of the plot, on his 50th birthday. Which shows the plot lasted exactly two years from September 7, 2008 to September 7, 2010.
- Walt's doctor told him he may live two years in the best scenario: He lived almost two years after his diagnosis, missing the 2 year mark by a single day.
- In 2013, a real person named Walter White from Alabama was arrested for dealing Meth and was put to 12 years in prison. He gained the nickname "The Real Walter White".
- Walter White is also the real name of an air traffic controller involved in the fatal mid air collision of Aeromexico Flight 498 in August 1986. The collision occurred over Los Angeles with a total of 82 fatalities, including 15 on the ground. The accident bears many similarities to the events in the final episode of Season 2.
- Walt's gunshot wound in the end is actually at his right side of his lung and is also on the opposite side of the same spot where he shot Mike.
- After the series ended, fans of the show put an obituary for Walter White in an Albuquerque newspaper.
- The obituary states that Walt died on a Sunday, which is a reference to the day the final episode aired as, as opposed to the actual day of Walt's death, as in the context of the show, Walt died on September 7 (his birthday) 2010 which was a Tuesday, which given that Walter Jr. is seen coming home from school before the final act of Felina, Walt clearly died on a weekday.