Breaking Bad created a lot of iconic characters, some of which have continued to be explored in the prequel spin-off Better Call Saul. One of the most underrated characters from the series is Walt and Skyler’s son, Walter White Jr.
The character had quite an interesting arc across the show, but there were a number of subtle elements in the script and in RJ Mitte’s performance that really developed Walt Jr further. While many of these choices may have seemed small at the time, looking back on the series there’s clearly a number of interesting details that went unnoticed.
The Flynn Symbolism
Walter White went through quite the transformation across the show. In many ways, Walt Jr’s reactions to this reflected the feelings the audience felt to the character.
The Flynn name was a symbolic way to demonstrate how much Walt Jr accepted his father and therefore how well Walt was seemingly doing as a dad. It also demonstrated how much ‘Flynn’ wanted to be associated with his dad, eventually taking the name once more, disowning his family.
Always Seeing The Good
Walt Jr was deliberately one of the last people to find out about Walt and Skyler’s secret criminal empire, as his character forever saw the good in people first.
He was especially naive towards his dad who he had only just started to rekindle a relationship with after he had accepted getting his cancer treatment. Walt Jr had a good heart and his naivety reflected the exact opposite qualities that his parents demonstrated.
Relationship With Hank
Throughout his life, Walt Jr. found himself far closer to his uncle Hank than he did with his own father. He liked the strength that Hank portrayed and his heroic spirit, something his father never really possessed.
It was only when Walter White started becoming more ruthless that Walt Jr started to respect him more. It’s why Hank’s death was so symbolic of Walt Jr rejecting his father; just before this, he was seeking ways to try to understand and defend him, clinging to his naivety.
Despite everything going on in his life, it’s clear the writers actually created a great support network for the character. It’s actually one of the many parallels that Walt Jr and Jesse have with one another.
They both have super supportive friends, with Walt Jr’s buddies even teaching him to drive and helping him out after his family pretty much collapsed in on itself.
New Father Figure
Walt Jr was always looking for a father figure to cling on to. Hank was perhaps the best symbol of that. Because of this Walt understood that he now had to step into that role.
Throughout the show, his relationship with his younger sister Holly is shown, with Walt Jr becoming a very loving older brother. It’s likely that the small signs shown throughout the series demonstrate he will soon step into that father figure role more for Holly.
Rejecting His Mother
Skyler White was a complex character that fans have been split on for years. It seems that Walt Jr also rejected his mother in many ways, with plenty of signs pointing to a level or distrust or perhaps annoyance with her.
He often jumped to defend his father first, even siding with him in the divorce. Even when their criminal activity became apparent he somehow made her seem just as bad. He only finally accepted his mom when he called the police on Walter White, consequently picking a side.
He’ll Never Take The Money
Flynn is an incredibly intelligent character who will be able to see his father’s tricks from a mile off. Walter White tried to get him to take his money on multiple occasions with Walt Jr refusing.
It eventually got put into some kind of fund for his future but, based on the behavior throughout the show, Walt Jr will likely never accept the money, especially since he will quickly work out its origin. All of Walter White’s work was probably for nothing.
There’s plenty of memorable scenes throughout the show, but strangely many of Flynn’s have one thing in common. Many of his scenes actually feature some reference to breakfast.
The morning meal has a lot of symbolism in the show, linking to family and to Walter White’s age. By having Walt Jr continue to love breakfast it creates subtle links of the family that will eventually be torn apart. Plus it’s an interesting character detail!
Walt’s Separate Worlds
There’s been a lot of parallels made between Jesse and Walt Jr, with many hints to the fact that perhaps Jesse was the son Walter White had instead hoped for.
What’s interesting about this is his two ‘sons’ are kept apart for the entirety of the show. Walt Jr is one of the only characters to never meet Jesse at any point!
Growth Of Independence
When Breaking Bad started Walt Jr seemed to rely on his family a lot. But as the series went on he found more independence. These were in subtle choices like learning to drive or working at the car wash.
Throughout all of the huge moments, Walt was quietly growing in every way. It seems that the writers were preparing him for the final collapse of his family and the new roles he would take on because of this.