Breaking Bad is often regarded as one of the greatest TV shows of all time, and that’s in large part due to the brilliance of Walter White. Walter White is one of the greatest protagonists in television history, and Bryan Cranston’s performance will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the best (if it hasn’t already).
Walt was both scary and pitiful, likable and intensely detested. One thing he remained throughout the show was smart. While Walt is supremely arrogant about his intelligence, he is right to be arrogant. He is incredibly smart and conniving – as these brilliant plans prove.
It’s not your everyday person that can make poison out of beans. Then again, Walter White is much smarter than your everyday person. Walt conspires to poison Tuco with ricin, which he proceeds to concoct with the beans of the castor oil plant. Of course, Walt and Jesse never actually get the chance to use the ricin, but it was incredibly smart and resourceful nonetheless. Many people probably didn’t even know what ricin was before Breaking Bad.
Even by the show’s final season, Walt was still concocting various schemes. One of his most brilliant was the purchasing and utilization of Vamonos Pest. The employees of Vamonos Pest were known to burglarize the houses that they fumigated, and Walt realized that a pest-removal company would make the perfect front for a mobile meth lab. The decision was ingenious – especially when it came to the houses’ funny smells and outgoing fumes. Of course, Todd would later prove more trouble than he was worth…
Getting Skyler Off The Hook
Ozymandias is often considered the greatest episode of Breaking Bad – for a wide variety of reasons. One of those reasons is the genius way that Walt gets Skyler off the hook for her involvement in the family business. Knowing that he is being listened to and thinking quickly on his feet, Walt decides to berate Skyler for not trusting him and for not taking part in his meth empire. The realization of what Walt is doing slowly dawns on Skyler’s face, and Walt cries in utter pain. It’s tragic, but it’s also wickedly smart (and weirdly touching).
This is certainly one of Walt’s most despicable plans, but a very smart one nevertheless. With Hank cornering both Walt and Jesse in the mobile meth lab, Walt knows that it’s only a matter of time before they’re caught. He thinks quickly, and he comes up with a warped and sick plan right on the spot.
He phones Saul and gets his secretary to pretend to be an employee from the hospital. She then phones Hank and tells him that Marie has been in a horrible accident. Hank flees the scene, and Walt and Jesse escape. Even Saul shows disgust at this plan, and that’s saying something.
Forming An Uneasy Alliance With Hector
Walt needs to get rid of Gus, and he knows that Gus has a rocky relationship with Hector. As such, he forms an uneasy alliance with the elderly man and convinces him to essentially act as a suicide bomber. Walt has a history with Hector, and even though Hector hates Walt, he hates Gus even more. As such, he agrees to act as a suicide bomber and allows the bomb to be placed underneath his wheelchair. With this particularly violent and deadly plan, Walt finally outsmarts Gus and disposes of him for good.
The Breaking Bad finale is one of total bombast – full of death, destruction, and even a pivoting machine gun. Knowing that he would be searched upon entering to Jack’s compound, Walt unleashes one final, brilliant plan by placing a pivoting machine gun in the trunk of his car. Walt activates the machine gun with the simple push of a button, and it proceeds to spray bullets through the car’s trunk and the compound walls, killing nearly everyone inside. It would prove Walt’s final scheme, as he was hit by a stray bullet and died soon after.
The Prison Massacre
This is another one of Walt’s most dastardly yet brilliant schemes – and perhaps the one that finally tilted him into full-on villainy. Walt makes the grim realization that a large chunk of his meth money is going to Mike’s men in prison as a form of “hazard pay”.
Not liking this one bit, Walt conspires to have them all murdered in prison through Jack’s Aryan Brotherhood connections. The scene is very reminiscent of The Godfather – an obvious connection that speaks volumes about Walt’s character.
Disposing Of Gale
The season three finale serves as a major turning point in both Walt’s character development and his relationship with Gus Fring. Knowing that Gus plans on “disposing” of him, Walt sadly decides to kill Gale, knowing that the leverage he and Jesse have in Gus’s operation will result in their safety (albeit temporary safety). While held at gunpoint, Walt phones Jesse and orders him to do it. The plan works flawlessly, and while Gus is left in obvious frustration and anger by the betrayal, it does result in their temporary safety and prolonged employment.
Laundering His Money
Gretchen and Elliott played an important role in the earlier seasons, providing some necessary backstory for Walt and serving mainly as Walt’s financial front (as they had offered to pay for the cancer treatments). And while their role diminished in the middle seasons, they were brought back in spectacular fashion in the series finale. Walt successfully launders his money through them, knowing full well that the IRS would be suspicious of Walt Jr.’s sudden influx of millions. It’s an absolutely brilliant move that wrapped up one of the show’s final loose ends.
Turning Jesse Against Gus
Most of season four concerns the massive chess match between Walt and Gus. Everything was pointing towards a Gus victory – that is, until Walt had the genius but horrifying plan to poison Brock. He poisoned Brock with an everyday household plant, convinced Jesse that Gus had poisoned him with ricin, and effectively flipped the loyal Jesse against Gus. It was a complex and brilliant plan, and it proved the beginning of the end for Gus Fring.