Walter White is one of the most iconic characters in the history of television. He is the perfect example of an anti-hero who does some horrendous things yet was beloved by everyone who watched Breaking Bad—for the most part, at least. He drastically changes from the man who appears in the first episode, and, while they make him a fun character, they don’t necessarily make him a better one.
Even though fans loved the danger that he got into and really enjoyed moments where he tapped into Heisenberg and became a true criminal, the fact is he did become a worse character. Over the course of the show, he turns into a true monster as his personality takes on some huge changes.
Gets Into Cooking Meth
The first and most obvious way that Walter White gets worse as a character is the fact that he becomes a criminal. When audiences first meet him, Walt is just a very ordinary guy who is a science teacher and has little excitement in his life. However, after his cancer diagnosis, he quickly makes drastic changes.
He happily jumps into the drug trade as soon as he notices just how much money can be made in it. This obviously makes him worse as a character, as he becomes someone that audiences traditionally would associate with being a villain.
He Becomes Desensitized
Early on in the show, it is easy to tell that Walter White doesn’t belong in a world of drugs and criminals. Everything about it stuns him, and he struggles to deal with all the violence and danger that takes place. This is why audiences connected with the character because they knew that he was doing it for a good cause and that he was a duck out of water.
However, the longer he stayed and the deeper he got into the drug world, the fewer things shocked him. Walt was no longer surprised by anything and was willing to stoop to horrendous lows to achieve his goals.
At the start of Breaking Bad, Walt would never have dreamed of scaring or threatening his wife. He gets into cooking meth specifically to give her an easy life and to provide for her after his death, but he becomes so wrapped up in things that he ends up turning against her.
Walt threatens Skyler constantly, especially with his famous, “I am the danger” line. The fact that they get into an actual fight with Skyler pulling out a knife shows how scared of him she was, and proves how much he changes.
Consistently Puts His Family In Danger
Walt is very naive when it comes to how things work in the criminal world. It isn’t where he comes from, and, while he’s a smart man, he doesn’t understand how these dangerous people operate which is why he is foolish to think that his family would never get hurt.
However, Walt’s inability to stay in line and just be the cook and nothing more is actually what ends up putting his family in danger. Walt always has to go above and beyond, and that is what ends up with people at his door hunting for him and why Hank ends up being killed, as he gets in over his head.
Loses His Trust
It’s not easy for a criminal to trust people due to the nature of the business. Therefore, it isn’t a huge surprise that Walt does end up not trusting anyone. However, in Jesse, he really had someone who wouldn’t lie to him and would always help out if needed.
However, Walt ends up becoming so engrossed in his own life and trying to be the most powerful man in the meth business that he loses track of who he is. He stops trusting Jesse, and it isn’t until his dying attempt to save him that he realizes how much he means.
Becomes A Killer
When Walt originally jumps into the world of meth cooking, he wants to simply cook, and that is it. He washes his hands of actually meeting people and selling the product because he finds it to be less of a criminal act and more scientific if he is just making it.
He ends up being forced to kill early on, but it’s something that he doesn’t want to do and really struggles with mentally and emotionally. However, as he builds into the criminal underground, he learns that violence and murder are how things get done, and he ends up being completely fine with it.
Loses His Principals
Even though Walt becomes a true criminal throughout the series, he does try to follow a set of principles and morals as best he can. One of those is that he doesn’t want harm to come to children, which is a big issue for Jesse. They’re both stunned when Tod shoots the child on the bike after the train heist, proving he wasn’t totally morally corrupt.
However, things quickly change when he decides to poison Brock. Even though he gives the right dosage that he knows won’t kill the child, the fact he is even willing to do that showcases his evil metamorphosis.
Becomes A Terrible Father
For large portions of the show, Walter White is a great father. Even though he is a criminal kingpin and has a secret life, he does enjoy spending time with his kids, helping his son learn to drive, and trying to be a great role model without revealing what he really does.
But, as he gets deeper into the criminal life, he becomes much worse as a father. Whether it’s kidnapping his daughter or fighting Skyler in front of his son, he does plenty that shows that he changes. While he does still care for them, it’s less out of love and more out of desperation.
When Walter White initially enters the drug world, he does so in order to provide just enough money for his family for the inevitable moment when he dies due to his terminal diagnosis. However, he manages to make more than they would ever need, but he doesn’t stop as he had originally planned.
That’s because he finally gets a taste of money and understands what being rich feels like. It’s a life he feels like he should have always had due to his role in Gray Matter, and, instead of trying to save himself, he becomes engulfed by the money.
He Turns Into Heisenberg
The main way in which Walt gets worse is because he actually stops being Walt. Initially, when he creates the Heisenberg alter-ego, this is something he uses and taps into when he needs to do something drastic and dangerous, using this other, darker side of his personality to make sure he can do it.
He only uses Heisenberg rarely, but, throughout the show, he transitions and becomes Heisenberg all the time and only rarely taps into being Walt. It’s a full turn to becoming truly evil, having no problem in killing or hurting people, and only showing his kindness on rare occasions.