- Revenge led to Jesse becoming a meth slave and enduring more trauma.
- Seeking revenge turned Mike into a heartless killer he never wanted to be.
- Chuck’s desire to disbar Jimmy ruined his own law career.
Throughout Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, vengeance played an instrumental role in how their most pivotal characters fell through the cracks. Both shows delved into how a person can be motivated to commit evil deeds. A common motif in their motives was getting back at the person who wronged them. No matter how human their reasoning may have been, both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul showed that the better choice would have been to let them go. Even when their characters succeeded in attaining their vengeance, the consequences of their actions typically outweighed everything else.
What makes it harder to stomach is knowing that their desire for vengeance was entirely identifiable. The person who wronged them harmed, threatened, or abused them or someone that the character had strong admiration for. Some of them even lost a loved one along the way. Regardless of their justification, revenge is ultimately what brought down several of the show’s principal characters.
8. Jesse Pinkman
Wanting To End Walt Led To Him Becoming A Meth Slave
When he realized that it was, in fact, his former Chemistry teacher and partner who poisoned Brock Cantillo to manipulate Jesse into turning against Gus, Jesse wanted revenge. Out of pure desperation to hurt Walt in any way he could, Jesse partnered up with Hank to bring Walt down. It looked like their sting on Walt had succeeded until Jack’s gang showed up, where they not only took out Hank and Steve Gomez, but kidnapped Jesse and turned him into their own slave. Even though Jesse was saved in the end, his actions led to him suffering even more trauma.
Making matters even worse is the notion that Jesse had multiple chances to avoid his fate. If he hadn’t been so paranoid about Walt potentially killing him when he wanted to meet in public, Walt would have been caught and Jack’s gang would have been none the wiser about what was going on. Had Jesse even gone to Alaska like he originally planned, he would have been out of the game completely, avoided further trauma, and Andrea Cantillo would still be alive.
6. Mike Ehrmantraut
Seeking Revenge On Hector Turned Him Into The Heartless Killer He Never Wanted To Be
Hector was the most despicable character among the Breaking Bad cast and characters, and threatening Mike’s family gave him more than enough reason to kill Hector without a second thought. However, Mike was stopped by Gus, who offered Mike the chance to get his revenge on Hector by slowly destroying him piece by piece. Unfortunately, Mike’s involvement in Gus’ operations led to him compromising his morals so much that he became a hired hitman. By doing so, Mike turned into the very thing in Breaking Bad that he abhorred when Better Call Saul started.
5. Chuck McGill
Wanting Jimmy Disbarred Led To Him Ruining His Law Career
Chuck’s repulsion at his little brother becoming a lawyer stemmed from his deep-seated envy that Jimmy was more well-liked despite Chuck being the “better man.” That’s why Chuck was hellbent on getting Jimmy disbarred at the first chance that presented itself. Getting Jimmy disbarred would have played out as the best revenge Chuck could ask for, but Jimmy managed to turn the tables on his former idol when he exposed his mental illness as psychosomatic. With that, combined with his unhinged rant, Chuck ended his law career. If Chuck had left Jimmy alone, he would have been fine, but his motivation to get back at Jimmy was his undoing.
4. Gus Fring
Ruining Hector’s Life Led To His Death
Gus had wanted revenge on Hector for killing his partner Max decades ago, and after impressively biding his time for as long as he had, Gus finally got just that. Leaving Hector alive after that proved to be his lone and biggest mistake. Hector got the drop on Gus after Walt sneaked a bomb onto his wheelchair undetected, setting the course for his kamikaze attack on Gus. Even if the plan from the get-go was to inflict as much pain on Hector as possible, killing Hector should have come shortly thereafter. Not doing so killed Gus before he could revel in wiping out the cartel.
3. The Salamanca Cousins
Wanting To Kill Walt Led To Their Deaths
As hardened killers, Lionel and Marco Salamanca had every intention of killing Walt after his association with Tuco led to Tuco’s death. Because of Gus Fring’s influence, they never got the chance. In fact, they were tricked into ambushing Hank instead when Gus’ plan all along was to have them killed. Since they knew all too well in the worst way possible that “Family is all” from their uncle, it’s identifiable why they wanted to get revenge for their cousin’s death. Had they stayed in Mexico to conduct cartel business, they would have been fine. The same would be the case if they had simply ignored Gus.
2. Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman
Projecting His Hatred For Walter White Towards A Cancer Patient Got Him Exposed
Despite making millions off him, Jimmy took no pleasure in working with Walt, knowing the monster he was combined with how Walt would coldly threaten and dismiss him. Jimmy finally got to show how he really felt about his former associate when he realized he was running a con on a cancer patient. Despite his partners pleading for him to bail out, Jimmy not only refused, but seemed to take pleasure in ripping off someone who was on death’s door because of his built-up resentment towards Walt. This led to Better Call Saul season 6 ending with Jimmy getting caught when he could have quit while he was ahead.
Knowing the lengths that Jimmy took to avoid law enforcement after his association with Walt was exposed, it almost seems poetic that how he got caught stemmed from his contempt for Walt after what he had put him through. Jimmy had every right to feel that way, knowing how Walt talked down to him, but he was taking it out on the wrong person. Worse yet, it appears that what fueled Jimmy’s hate for Walt was his previous rivalry with Chuck.
1. Walter White
Getting Revenge On Jack’s Gang Led To His Death
For murdering Hank and stealing almost all the money he made from his drug empire, Walt was hellbent on killing Jack and the rest of his gang. Walt knew he was a dead man walking anyway, so ultimately it didn’t matter whether he was in the crossfire. However, it didn’t seem as though Walt was expecting to get shot in the process, considering his original plan was to kill Jesse too. Even though Walt’s death was on the horizon, the unexpected bullet killing him begging the question of what Walt was going to do next had his original plan succeeded shows that he arguably wasn’t expecting to die right then and there.