There are many truly historic characters that have been and gone throughout the history of television, and many more will come and go in the years that lie ahead of us. Alas, while that may be the case, there won’t be many more that evoke a more natural reaction from viewers than Walter White on Breaking Bad.
The man at the forefront of Breaking Bad has long since been recognized as one of TV’s greatest bad guys, and yet while many of us enjoyed rooting for him, there were points when even his biggest supporters can’t deny that they were legitimately afraid of the guy.
“I’m In The Empire Business”
By this point, it truly does feel like there’s no way back for Walter White. Not only does he do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, but he actually invites Jesse into his house for a drink.
Upon being asked whether he’s in the meth business or the money business, Walt looks Jesse right in the eyes and says “I’m in the empire business”. We all knew, from that point on, that Heisenberg had taken hold of Walter and he wasn’t going to let go regardless of what happened next.
“Say My Name”
When trying to get a few more contacts due to Mike wanting to leave the business, Walt decides to take matters into his own hands.
He stands up tall like the kingpin he is and lays the law down for Declan and his men. They initially refuse to believe that he was the man who killed Gus Fring, but upon a quick nod from Mike, they soon realize what kind of man they’re dealing with. When Walt instructs them to say his name, and they do, the phrase “you’re god damn right” sends shivers down the spine every time.
Gustavo Fring seemed like he could be the man to bring Walter White to his knees, despite the fact that White seemed to be fairly invincible in the few seasons prior to Fring’s arrival.
Alas, Breaking Bad was all about telling Walt’s story, and one way or another he was always going to get the W. He did so by blowing Gus up alongside Hector Salamanca who was actually in on the plan all along. Then, when Skyler asked whether or not Walter was involved in the chaos, he simply replied with “I won”.
“We’re Done, When I Say We’re Done”
Walter White grew into the kind of criminal that knew how to manipulate people at every single turn. One person he was able to do that with on a regular basis was none other than Saul Goodman. At one point, when Saul is thinking of shutting up shop and getting out of the business, Walt makes sure to let him know one important thing: “We’re done when I say we’re done”.
He reiterates that point in one of the final episodes of the entire series, but it doesn’t quite have the same impact with Walt being reduced to a shell of his former self.
Walt poisoning Lydia was a big moment in the show’s final ever episode, but that was more of a formality than anything else.
The real kicker came when it was revealed that Walter White poisoned Brock, the son of Andrea, all in the name of trying to get Jesse back on his side. From the zoomed-in shot of Lily of the Valley to Jesse finally realizing it was Walt who did it all along later on down the line, this was superb long-term storytelling that made Walt feel like a supervillain.
“I Watched Jane Die”
Hank is dead, most of Walt’s fortune is gone and Jesse is set to be enslaved and eventually murdered by Jack’s gang. Walter White quite literally has nothing left to lose at this point and, after pretty much blaming Jesse in his own warped mind for what went down, he revealed to him that he was in the room on the night Jane died.
Not only that, but he simply sat back and watched her choke to death instead of helping her. At that point, you can quite literally see the last bit of life drain from the eyes of Jesse Pinkman as ‘Heisenberg’ walks away.
Killing The Two Dealers
Jesse was pretty annoyed about the fact that his friend Combo was murdered in cold blood – and he was even more infuriated to discover that two dealers who worked for Gus paid a young child to do the killing.
After the pair proceeded to murder the child, miscalculating what Gus had instructed them to do, Jesse tried to take matters into his own hands by hunting them down and preparing himself for a shootout that he was almost certainly going to lose. Walt knew Jesse was in danger and subsequently murdered the two dealers before instructing Pinkman to “run.”
The Prison Killings
In order to tie up some loose ends that’ll keep him out of jail, Walter White instructs Jack’s gang to murder 10 prisoners in what was essentially a two-minute window. As we saw these men being dismantled one by one, piece by piece, Walt seemed to be at peace with the decision he’d made.
There were no overwhelming concerns in his own mind that what he was doing was wrong because he was doing what was needed to protect his family. In the blink of an eye, he had managed to get the upper hand on Hank once again.
“I Am The One Who Knocks”
Just when it appeared as if Skyler and Walt were going to get back together in some weird, twisted way, it all came crashing down in a matter of minutes. With Skyler fearing for the safety of both herself and her family she made sure to let Walt know how she felt. Unfortunately, after hearing her go on a rant, Walter wasn’t in the mood to admit that they were in any kind of danger.
He responds with a calculated and stern statement that digs straight into the heart of both Skyler and every single viewer watching at home: because, after all, he is the one who knocks.
Attacking Skyler & Taking Holly
One thing that we could seemingly always count on was that Walter White would do everything in his power to protect his own family. However, when Skyler challenges him about the disappearance of Hank and slices his hand with a knife, Heisenberg takes control of the situation.
At one point it legitimately looks like he’s going to stab Skyler and if that wasn’t bad enough, he proceeds to kidnap Holly as a desperate Skyler is left in the arms of her son, Walter Jr. In short, it is peak Walter White.