It’s not often you watch a TV show because of the villain but in Breaking Bad, the line between protagonist and antagonist is blurred. Walter White, for that matter, serves as both the hero and the villain of the show and how he transforms from Mr. Chips to Scarface. Although, some might argue that his transformation actually began long before the events of Breaking Bad.
Suffice to say, he might have already done some bad things prior to the show. Still, there are many dimensions to Walter White aside from being Heisenberg. While we do remember that facade of him more dearly, you have to remember that he was a good person as well… to a certain extent. So, to remind you just how volatile Walter White really was, here are some of his good deeds for a change. If only the people around him appreciated these deeds, he likely wouldn’t have broken bad.
PASSIONATE CHEMISTRY TEACHER
He could have been the next Nikola Tesla or Albert Einstein or at the very least, a Nobel Prize candidate given his intellect and mastery of chemistry. Instead, he merely became “Mistah White” in Albuquerque High, gradually reaching a boiling point teaching basic chemistry to uninterested teenagers.
As sad and depressing as that situation might be, Walter White still poured his passion and enthusiasm into teaching chemistry. His classes didn’t even look dull and his teaching methods look decent either. In fact, he was grossly overqualified to be a high school teacher. Even so, that didn’t diminish his passion one bit.
WORKING TWO JOBS
Apart from being a chemistry teacher, Walter White was also a hardworking man who supported his family many times over financially. His first job as a high school teacher was already draining him of his life energy but he still managed to work part-time in a car wash.
Walter White did all this in order to support his pregnant wife and his disabled son. It might not be as hard or as commendable as it seems these days but you have to take note of the fact that Walt’s other boss in the car wash was a piece of schnitzel. He endured working under such conditions just for his family.
BEING A PARENTAL FIGURE TO JESSE
As soon he broke bad, Walter White immediately rekindled with an old acquaintance in the form of Jesse Pinkman, everyone’s second (or first?) favorite character in Breaking Bad. Jesse has enough personal issues within him to fill in the pages of a lifetime supply of magazines. However, the worst of them all is his broken relationship with his parents.
He never did have much of a parental figure after being estranged from them. Walter White did provide Jesse’s much needed firm and guiding hand though the manner of how he did it is highly questionable. Still, it was enough to straighten Jesse out and give him a direction in life.
Apart from being Jesse’s best mentor, you have to admire how Walter White always sticks his neck out just to save Jesse’s life. Walt has been instrumental in keeping Jesse alive throughout the show many times. He even makes some rash decisions sometimes to save his partner and protege.
The most notable time that this happened was when Walter White killed two of Gus Fring’s men in cold blood by running them over with a Pontiac Aztek just to save Jesse from an impending gunfight. Other times, Walt also kept saving Jesse by refusing to work for Gus as a condition.
HELPING WITH JESSE’S REHAB
One might argue that Walt’s concern for Jesse is purely calculated and was something he only did for strategic and tactical benefits. However, Walt has proven at least once that his concern for Jesse was real and not utilitarian. This happened near the end of Season 2 after Jane Margolis’s death.
Jesse relapsed heavily back into being an addict and Walt went out of his way to find and comfort him at the lowest point in the young man’s life. Walt could have easily let Mike Ehrmantraut do the work for him but he still elected to bring Jesse back by himself. It goes to show that Walt isn’t always heartless towards Jesse.
GENUINE CONCERN FOR HANK
Apart from Jesse, Walt has also displayed genuine concern for other characters in the show, namely members of his family. Hank was likely the most distant member in Walt’s familial circle since they really have nothing in common. Moreover, Hank was also Walt’s sworn enemy ever since the name Heisenberg started popping up on the streets of Albuquerque.
Even so, Walt made it his mission to keep Hank alive and to look after him. The biggest proof of this was when Jack Welker and his neo-fascist group gunned down Hank and Steve Gomez. Before Welker deals the killing blow, Walt did everything in his power and capability to spare Hank’s life, even offering all of his 80 million dollars to save him.
There’s no doubt that Walter White is a role model of a father. Even though his original ideal family plans never bore fruit, he still worked hard to keep them all sheltered and cared for. In fact, one of the biggest reasons Walt reluctantly delved into the drug trade is to make his family’s future secure in the event of his demise to cancer.
He might have been detached emotionally from his family due to his own personal issues, but he set them all aside in order to give his family a good life. This became more evident as soon as Molly was born and Walt cradled her in her arms like a treasure– even showed her the fruits of his labor… drug money.
You have to give it to Walt. Even though Skyler placed the final nail in the coffin of their marriage, he still manages to think strategically for his family’s sake. Now that is true emotional and intellectual genius on his part. Walt could have easily brought Skyler down with him but chose to absolve her of being an accomplice.
The fact that he did all of this through a phone call makes it more impressive and masterful. It was one of Walt’s final benevolent acts for his family. It made Skyler look like an innocent and clueless wife in the eyes of law enforcement; it’s basically Walt putting all the blame on himself.
A PROVIDER TILL THE END
In addition to being a good father and a more or less a good husband, Walter White is the best provider ever on television. Well, that’s assuming you take time into consideration; Walt essentially made his family secure in the span of two years. That’s not something a regular spouse can do– even in real life.
The way Walt did was even more incredible considering what he gave to his family was drug money. He made it so that what the White family would be receiving appeared to be charity funds from Gretchen and Elliott Schwartz– two of the people Walt hates the most. That’s poetic justice.
TOOK DOWN A DRUG EMPIRE
Alright, this one is highly debatable but you just have to give Walt some credit for taking down the notorious and bloodthirsty grip of the cartel on Albuquerque. Granted, Gus Fring was their “satellite” their but his operation wasn’t really that clean, to begin with. Let’s not discount the fact that his underlings used children for street-level drug trades.
Walt basically took down all of that until it became a clean slate and he replaced it with his own empire. It did take a pile of bodies to do and most of the credit goes to Fring (for taking down the cartel) but Walt dealt the coup de grâce. In the end, it all worked out and Albuquerque became clean… until the next big kingpin comes along.