Breaking Bad remains one of the greatest television series of all time and a big part of that is down to Walter White. His character is an incredible one that really does change throughout the series as he goes through the journey of becoming a major criminal.
Some of his changes might seem very obvious, but after all, this isn’t a wild fantasy story like Game Of Thrones, Breaking Bad is grounded in reality. Because of that, you get to see Walter White as a person change, with the different situations he is going through altering what he is like.
Walter White goes through tons of changes as his character is one of the most engaging in the history of television. Within this list, we will take a look at 10 ways he changes from the start of the series to the finale.
He Falls Into The Criminal World
Let’s kickstart the list with the clear and obvious change that Walter White goes through. When we first meet the character he is a simple Chemistry teacher at high school who has never broken any laws and is just your everyday, ordinary citizen.
Of course, by the end of things, Walter is one of the biggest criminals in America. He fully transforms into a criminal and everything that the world involves, and by the end, he is a shadow of his former self.
He Becomes The Best
Because of Walter White’s incredible knowledge of chemistry, making meth was always something he was going to be good at. However, nobody expected that Walt would end up becoming the kingpin that he does when the series first begins.
While he has the skills scientifically, he doesn’t have the confidence or knowledge of that world. However, this is what develops and leads to his product becoming the number one, most in-demand product on the market as he takes control of the drug industry.
Loses His Fear
Because Walter White has absolutely no clue what he is doing when he first ventures into the world of crime, he is afraid of absolutely every circumstance. He is petrified of being caught, or killed, or bringing any sort of harm to his family.
However, as the series progresses he loses that fear and starts to actually become the danger. This is signified by the epic line, “I am the one who knocks,” where he makes it clear he is the one scaring others now, not the other way around.
He Loses Jesse
Despite the fact he didn’t think much of Jesse Pinkman when he taught him at school, Walt’s former student is his way into the drug business. The two of them partner up and while their relationship is always quite complicated, they are very successful.
Walt ends up being a father figure to Jesse, who respects him and only wants to impress. However, Walt’s actions from poisoning Brock to letting Jane die end up turning the one person he can trust against him. While Walt does save Jesse right at the end, he does lose him and the bond they grew together.
His Illness Escalates
The entire reason that Walter White ends up getting into the drug world is that he is diagnosed with cancer. Early on it takes a huge whack on his health, but as things start to steady out with money, he is able to get the necessary treatment to calm things down and extend his life.
However, because his life becomes so hectic in-terms of dealing with his drug empire, Walt’s health ends up taking the brink of it. He slowly deteriorates and even though a bullet wound is what kills him, his cancer wasn’t far behind.
He Loses Compassion
Perhaps Walter White simply becomes desensitized to things throughout his life and sees them through a different lens due to his illness. But there is no doubt he seriously loses his compassion. At the start of the series, Walt is someone who worries about everyone else and does whatever he can to please people.
However, as the series develops, that changes. He doesn’t care about issues other people have, from Marie stealing to happily mowing down gangsters and shooting them dead in the middle of the street. He no longer cares or has that feeling within him, which is a huge change for his character.
His Moral Compass Changes
Speaking of his lack of compassion, that leads to Walter White becoming a big killer. At the start, when he is forced to kill Emilio, it is something he finds very difficult morally. However, by the end, he has no problem orchestrating a mass murder in a prison or creating a machine gun weapon to murder dozens of people at once.
He starts getting his hands dirty and having no problems in doing so. His entire moral compass is flipped and he becomes the person that he was originally scared of. While he isn’t a physically dominant fighter, he is too clever, which allows him to kill plenty of people.
Throughout the series, Walt grows his business and scales it up incredibly well. He gains more power slowly as he begins to deal with bigger drug kingpins, but nothing is seemingly ever enough for him. He ends up becoming consumed by power and wealth.
Money becomes everything to him as he wants to earn as much as possible. He easily gets to the point where his family could live comfortably without him, but Walt pushes things too far because he ends up being greedy, which all goes back to the fact he was never part of the business with Gretchen and Elliot.
He Loses His Family
Walter White’s family is behind every decision he makes early on. He risks his life and breaks the law to provide money for them when he has died and he tries to keep them safe by not involving them. When Skyler does find out, she actually ends up helping him and taking the business to a new level.
However, Walt simply becomes power-mad and gets too greedy. His actions hurt his family and he alienates himself because of that. In the end, they all go against him, with even Walter Jr pushing him away, despite the fact his father is his hero throughout the majority of the series.
He Becomes Heisenberg
During the initial stages of Walter White’s drug-making, he is doing it out of a good place. He knows it’s wrong, but wants to provide for his family and tries his best to stay out of trouble or danger. Eventually, Walt creates his alter-ego, Heisenberg, which is a persona he uses to threaten others and get what he wants.
While that leads to some dangerous situations, he only becomes Heisenberg sparingly. However, by the end, the roles are reversed and Walt is Heisenberg all the time, with the normal version of himself only appearing sparingly. He becomes a hardened criminal who will stop at nothing to protect his empire, falling into the person he tried to stop himself from becoming.