Breaking Bad Characters: 7 Deadly Ways to Break Bad

Breaking Bad Characters: 7 Deadly Ways to Break Bad


“No. I am the one who knocks.” What does it really mean to “break bad”? “Some straight like you,
giant stick up his ass, all of a sudden at age what, sixty,
he’s just gonna break bad?” “Breaking Bad — to break bad,
is an old Southern expression that I heard a lot growing up
in my home state of Virginia. And what it means is
to raise hell.” A man gets a cancer diagnosis
and decides not to go quietly, but instead to raise hell —
to cause trouble, to go wild, to make a real disturbance. Essentially, when we talk
about “breaking bad” we’re talking about leaving behind
moral and social norms — abandoning the law or ethics
as constraints that stop us from doing
what we feel like doing. Generally when people think of
the title Breaking Bad, they think of it
purely as description of Walter White’s transformation
into the evil Heisenberg. But if we look closer,
we realize that Walt isn’t the only one this title relates to — the motley crew of characters
around Walt also break bad, to some degree,
in one way or another. “I’m not saying it’s not bad.
It’s bad. But it could be worse.” Strikingly, almost all of
the featured characters on the show offer a mirror of Walt’s journey
in some way — whether they embody a form of evil
he adopts along the way, a philosophy Walt uses
to justify himself, or a different path
Walt defines himself against. St. Augustine wrote that evil was
just the absence of good, but in practice, wickedness takes
all kinds of different forms and identities. While they range on “badness scale”
from flawed but decent to deeply evil, all together the supporting characters
of Breaking Bad yield an almost encyclopedic study
of evil. So in this video, we’ll look at
the unique type of wrong that each of 7 supporting Breaking Bad characters
brings to the table. We’ll start with the most minor,
seemingly harmless transgressors on the list, and work loosely toward
the more serious forms of evil — a little like Dante descending
through the circles of hell. “If you believe that there’s a hell.” Before we go on we want to share
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to make your internet connection secure. Walter, Jr. represents
the wrong of ignorance. This kid’s “sins” are more or less
universal to teenagers — he is obscenely rude to his mother, “Why — Why you gotta be such a — a bitch?” and interferes with her efforts
to protect him. “It’s my mom’s fault.
My–My dad– he is a great guy.” Everything remotely “bad”
that Walter Jr. does stems from the fact
that he does not know better. He’s completely in the dark
about his father’s doings until the episode “Ozymandias.” “If–If this is true,
how can you keep this a secret?” As a result he misunderstands
most of what’s going on between his parents
and makes Skyler’s life a lot more difficult. This seems like an innocent enough fault
compared to the others on this list, but on the other hand,
in Dante’s Inferno, ignorance is one of the three blasts
of Satan’s wings in the center of hell — the inverse of God’s omniscient
or all-knowing nature. For Dante, sins of the intellect
were punished even more severely than sins that were
purely of the will. So in other words, not knowing or understanding
what you do, or believing in some false justification,
doesn’t get you off the hook. “I–I read online,
she’s not even allowed to be mad at you.” Within the story, Walter Jr —
this lightest of sinners — represents us,
the audience, and our willingness to explain away
Walt’s bad behavior, “Badass, dad.” long after we’ve been given
plenty of reason to face the light about who Walt really is. “They say that you’re
some kind of drug dealer?” “No, just–come inside,
please, now.” “I’m gonna make you a deal, Walt. I won’t tell Hank…
and I won’t tell your children… or anybody else,
and nobody will hear from me.” Skyler White demonstrates
the philosophy of necessary evil. She believes it is morally necessary
for her to do bad things, for the good of protecting her family. Skyler is a controversial character
with audiences, so it’s worth taking a moment to clarify
what we’re counting as her actual bad deeds. When the show aired, some judged her most
for getting in Walt’s way, but when Skyler’s nagging her husband
she’s still on a morally upright path; and when she sleeps with Ted,
it’s hard to condemn this as “infidelity” when Walt has already destroyed
all trust in their marriage and used a combination of
force and manipulation to prevent her from divorcing him. Instead, Skyler’s transgressions
of morality and law come when she decides
to aid Walt. She helps cover up Walt’s activities,
suggests a money-laundering scheme, cons Bogdan into selling the carwash, “U.S. Code Title 15, Chapter 53–”
“Sub-chapter 1–” “Section 26-06.” “Satisfied?” and then does the actual laundering. Skyler breaks bad for one reason —
to keep her family safe. The irony is that while Walt is
always proclaiming that he’s doing all this for the family,
that is actually Skyler’s priority. “Someone has to protect this family
from the man who protects this family.” Initially she wants nothing to do
with Walt or his drug money. “I’m out, but I will provide
for my family.” “Not with that money.” But after the cousins attack Hank, Skyler sees how much danger
she and her family are in. “Something tells me
that Hank is here because of you.” From there on out, her priorities
shift from doing what is right, to doing what is best
for her loved ones. “I don’t want my son to find out
that his father is a criminal.” So Skyler shows how easy it is
for people who consider themselves virtuous to do bad things with the justification
that there is no other way. “Why would you go along?” “I’ll be asking myself that
for the rest of my life.” We see Walt using this logic
of necessary evil all the time to rationalize his behavior, even though in his case
it’s far less genuine over time. “Everything that I do, everything,
I do it protect this family.” “So buying a car…
that was protecting your family?” “Damn. Chick’s got an ass
like an onion.” Hank Schrader is guilty
of commonplace, everyday evil. As we discussed in our Hank video, this guy eventually becomes
something of a hero in the show, but Hank at the start embodies
the kind of mean, inconsiderate behavior we encounter all the time
in mainstream society — like casual racism, “Eh please señor sente!
Eh, no DEA, please, eh?” sexism, “You ever smoke anything, Wendy?
Sausages don’t count. [Laughs]” bullying, “Sky, got any more chicken?
Emeril here is going to need a fresh pack. Bam!” and other obnoxious
dehumanizing treatment. “Siéntete!” So this early Hank represents societal evils,
expressed in small, commonplace ways. “Gomey, go beat your piñata.” His tendency to stereotype
and put people in boxes doesn’t just make him unpleasant;
it makes him less effective as a detective — “Try rolling it, morons!
It’s a barrel. It rolls! Jesus.” it’s a big part of why it takes him
so long to catch Walt. “Nothing personal, Walt, but you wouldn’t know a criminal
if he was close enough to check you for a hernia.” Even if any one of his transgressions
isn’t that big of a deal, “I want Shania Twain to give me a tuggy.” cumulatively they show that normalized,
socially accepted unkindness can be insidious. “That’s why they hire men. Hey, it’s not gonna bite you, alright? Looks like Keith Richards
with a glass of warm milk.” Just look at how deeply
he gets under Walt’s skin, feeding the spite and resentment
that drives Walt’s start in crime. Over time, while Hank overcomes
this side of himself to become a better detective
and a better man, we see Walt adopt this bullying,
toxic behavior more and more. “Right now, what I need
is for you climb down out of my ass. Can you do that?
Will you do that for me, honey?” “The people who work here
are like family. I can’t let that all fall apart
because of a couple of bad years.” Ted Beneke’s type of wrongdoing is
taking the easy way out. Skyler’s boss, lover
and major pain in the neck might seems like a small fish troublemaker
compared to others we meet. Nevertheless,
Ted commits major tax fraud that results in $617,000 worth
of back taxes and fines. Ted wants to keep his dad’s business afloat,
so he takes a shortcut — “My priority is getting my business back,
and putting my employees back on the payroll so they can pay their mortgages.” “Right.” an illegal one. When confronted about the money
he’s hidden from the IRS, Ted refuses to hold himself accountable. “Maybe there’s some way you could, uh,
undo what’s in there.” “You want me to un-cook your books?” Again he’d rather chose
the easy path of denial. “What if your kids found out?” “You know what, truth is,
I haven’t thought that far ahead, Skyler.” Then, after Skyler gives Ted
an actual way out by giving him money, “To the tune of $621,552.33.” instead of doing the right thing,
he just does what makes him feel good — “Is that yours, outside?” blowing the cash on a fancy car. “You know, I can’t be driving
a piece of crap to customer meetings. You got to present
that successful image.” Ted represents how easy it is
to slip into serious wrongdoing by refusing to analyze your actions
and opting for shortcuts. “There will never be a better deal, Ted. The deal is you pay your back taxes,
you pay your penalty, and you don’t go to prison.” And this is exactly what we’re seeing
in Season-three-Walt, as he likewise gives into flashy purchases,
tortures Skyler with his inflated ego, and is in deep, deep denial
about why he does what he does. “I am not a criminal.
No offense to any people who aer.” “My husband is an illustrator
so we travel a lot, Paris, Italy, Denmark…” Marie reflects the evil of ego, which we might argue is
the core source of Walt’s evil. “Say my name.” As we discussed in our Marie video,
Marie is kind of a scaled down version of Walt. She’s spiteful, dishonest,
self-obsessed and megalomaniacal. “I’m sorry, but these–these scans are
not that difficult to read. I could take one look at Walt’s
and tell you immediately how he’s doing.” “Really.” Most of us probably know
someone like Marie, who’s a narcissistic,
selfish and impulsive person — but essentially harmless. “I have aged shockingly well,
haven’t I?” Marie’s worst qualities are kept in check
by her loving relationship to Hank. “Do it now!
Give her back.” But Walt takes this self-obsession
to the extreme, demanding that the world bend to his will
and causing innumerable casualties in the process. “We’re done when I say we’re done.” So while a little ego and self-centeredness
is something most of us can forgive, if it’s not tempered by positive forces
like a moral code or a powerful love, this form of evil can rapidly
grow out of control. “Consenting adults want what they want.” Gale Boetticher represents the evil
of avoiding responsibility for your actions. The karaoke-loving chemist
Gus recruits to create his lab is a timid, good-natured man
with a genuine appreciation for opera, vegan cuisine and, famously,
Walt Whitman’s poetry. “When I heard the learn’d astronomer; When the proofs, the figures,
were ranged in columns before me.” He is a self-described libertarian, “I’m definitely a libertarian.” which means he believes in political liberty
and freedom of choice above all else. And while Gale leads a progressive,
eco-conscious lifestyle, his political outlook allows him
to feel no qualms about mass-producing
highly addictive meth. “I’m not supplying it,
they will get it somewhere else. At least with me, they’re getting
exactly what they pay for.” At first, Walt sees
a kindred spirit in Gale, “I.. love… the lab,
because it’s all still magic.” and — before he comes to
see Gale as a threat — Walt likes this mirror of himself:
he’s a professional, intelligent chemist who makes it look perfectly civilized
to engage in this kind of work. “Jumping through hoops,
kissing the proper behinds, attending to all the non-chemistry
that one finds oneself occupied with. You know what world.” Gale is a neat, sanitized,
friendly version of a criminal, and he almost seems like an innocent,
a man just doing a job he’s been hired for, who doesn’t really deserve
to be taken out. But Gale reflects the falsehood of
ignoring the consequences of your actions — pretending that evils
you’re participating in don’t exist, because you’re not personally
connected to the results of your labor. Just like everyone else
in this ecosystem, Gale made the choice to engage in the highly damaging, dangerous
and illegal drug trade for profit. So Gale makes us think about the way
that ideals that sound good in the abstract, can be dangerous and ultimately evil
if taken to their logical outcome in practice — freedom of choice without any restraints
leads to a society that fails to protect its citizens
from boundless danger and greed. “Gale loses. Simple as that.” “[Laughs] [Screams]” Jesse Pinkman represents evil
that repents and wishes to be good. He genuinely cares about being good, even though he keeps getting pulled back
into doing bad things. “It’s gonna have to be you.”
“What?” “Jesse, do it now!
Do it fast!” Jesse never stops punishing himself
for all the bad things he’s done — he even punishes himself for bad things
that aren’t his fault. “A friend who worked for me got murdered. It was my fault.
I put him on that corner.” Jesse demonstrates the toll evil actions,
both intentional and unintentional, take on a good person’s soul. “I don’t know what’s wrong
with me, Mr. White. I–” “Hey.” [Crying] “I don’t know
how I could be so stupid.” But his remorse can’t undo
the destruction and death his actions have caused, so it doesn’t make anything better;
it only makes him suffer. Jesse’s repentance serves to highlight
Walt’s growing darkness. And perhaps the fact
that he embodies this repentant evil is one of the key reasons
Walt keeps Jesse around — he likes to think this desire
for good is part of his makeup, when in reality Walt declines
to repent or suffer for his sins. “Really, I blame the government.”
“You either run from things, or you face them.” In our next video, we’re going from bad
to worse, with 7 Deadlier Ways to Break Bad. We’re going to look at
the remaining supporting characters on Breaking Bad to decode the kinds of bad they embody
and how they reflect Walt’s moral descent. “Maybe your best course would be
to tread lightly.” Hey guys, today’s video is sponsored
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100 thoughts on “Breaking Bad Characters: 7 Deadly Ways to Break Bad”

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  • THANK YOU for pointing out that Walt was basically forcing Skyler to stay married even when she asked him multiple times for a divorce. It upsets me that people always refer to her as a whore and an unfaithful wife but the cheating part happened after Walt refused to get divorced. Also don't forget that she stood by his side helping him and also putting herself at risk because of this sociopathic man.

  • Denice Carla Gordon says:

    I'miss "Breaking Bad" so much it was the best show on AMC and I'm still watching it on Entertainment demand, bug also I like 'Bettet call Saul" a lot and i hope that "Better call Saul" can have more seasons to come.

  • MrOmareffendy says:

    So , if you are working for a company that sells booze or weapons, you are an evil person cuz your product is toxic and can destroy people? Wtf

  • Pipe dream plumber says:

    Heisenberg uncertainty principle is about duality. Breaking bad is about the duality of everyone. The mind/body problem.

  • ThisIsMyName says:

    no matter what I will hate Skylar she is character I could barely watch and she even tried to force veggie bacon on her kid VEGGIE BACON like come on man

  • Manuel Antuña says:

    I don't understand why everytime screenprism want to portray Walt's "toxicity" they show the escene of him saying "I need you too climb out of my ass". What part of that is an unacceptable behavior?

  • Your comments on Skyler breaking bad for the family are incorrect, as she already did something illegal by helping her boss with his taxes. And, when you say she was justified in cheating, you're coming across biased, there was no need for her to cheat. Leave, go to the police, sure, but cheat, no.

  • "Ignorance is a small sin, but it's one of the wings in Dante's inferno."

    ….So what? It's not like being part of an unrelated literature has any bearing on Breaking Bad's depiction of it. It's just an analogy and it doesn't fit. Ignorance was not a sin.

  • Should have used the bible as the moral compass vs. Dante's Inferno, Ignorance isn't evil. This throws your entire video off.

  • WonderWoman VC says:

    I like how Vince represents the evil in its different faces. Not the typical bad guy for no reason, every character has their own reason, motivation.

  • Disturbed Pyro says:

    I never blamed Skylar for cheating on Walt,that was understandable. I blame her for being a hypocrite! She doesn't want Walt to soend the money he earned. But it was completely fine for her to use it to pay for Hank's medical bills! She had plenty of oppurtunity to leave the monster that Walter became.

  • I think you can also blame skyler for inaction. In the first two seasons there are many instances where she isn't sure what's going on and then, rather than talking with Walt just leaves and drives somewhere like a bratty child. Of course Walt would lie to her but only we as an audience know what he did, skyler doesn't do a good enough effort to find out imo.

  • Steven Polkinghorn says:

    Hanks comments are racist. Him and Gomey are best friends, they enjoy each other's culture but through bro nagging.

  • These videos are interesting but damn you'll do anything to explain away female characters doing shitty things but then criticise men for apparently doing the same with male characters.

  • Skyler, like all characters in BB, is highly complex. She was not a "good" character to begin with whose "bad" characteristics were only triggered by Walt. Her flaw from the beginning was her self-righteousness and sense of moral superiority. She is a strong, calculating figure who does all the "right" things- not just out of the goodness of her heart… but to ALSO use them as bargaining chips for when she needs something in return. This is shown in the scene where she is giving Walt a weak, emasculating hand job while browsing the internet- she does this just to "check" it off the list, like its a wifely chore as opposed to anything with care or love. And further, she relishes when someone 'wrongs' her because it gives her even more bargaining power to play with. This is how she yielded power in her relationships- and particularly over her sister and Walt. Its why she uses the 'silent treatment' over people who have wronged her- to make them squirm with guilt while she relishes in her resentment. This is also why she doesn't separate herself from Walt as soon as she finds out his secret- she stays in the relationship to a) see what she can get out of the situation (financial perks etc.) while b) using his "wrong" to yield further power over him via guilt-tripping etc. Her affair with Ted was part of the power-play with Walt; she engages in her own 'secret' to intensify Walt's guilt + she knows Walt can't do anything about it because of his own secrets. This is also shown when her sister gives her the stolen item as a gift. She is a supporting, loyal person but all her good deeds have conditions- they make her feel superior to everyone, and that the world owes her something. She's like a mafioso- will do something for you, but they'll come back to you for payment. She is happy so long as she has the one-up over everyone, and that her power isn't challenged.

  • Simple:
    Walter Jr:The Unknowing
    Skyler:The Hypocrite
    Hank:The Bully
    Ted:The Oportunist
    Marie:The Mini Heisenberg
    Gale:The "Innocent"
    Jesse:The Victim

  • David Staneart says:

    All these years later and I still feel that emotional impact of Jessie crying and driving into his new freedom

  • The part about Hank shows that the narrator is a liberal, overly sensitive idiot. Hank is representative of your avg guy. Just because someone doesn't PC up everything they say doesn't mean they're sexist or racist.

  • Walt's a badass, he should've just went to Mexico with Tuco and started a new family rather than dealing with his ungrateful bitch wife and dumbass kid.

  • It is so stupid and sexist to consider skyler as controversial let alone as a nasty woman nor as anyone to hate

  • Jackie Corpron says:

    I agree that Hank did show minor improvement throughout the series but I still think there was still an unpleasant undercurrent of nastiness and pride in him that ultimately led to his death. I completely understood why he wanted to put Walt away but where Hank loses me is his willingness to do it at all costs. He didn't care about the damage putting Walt away would do to Skylar and his niece and nephew. He also didn't care if it got Jesse killed. I believe that Hank capturing Walt was more about Hank's ego being bruised than any true desire to do good.

  • Jackie Corpron says:

    Ted's a coward but should rank much lower on this list. Ted's crime was tax evasion and not caring how his actions affected Skylar. Skylar helped launder blood money and told Walt to kill Jesse. Those crimes are MUCH worse. Skylar is one of the most evil characters on the show, people just don't see it because of her holier than thou attitude.

  • William Olofsson says:

    14:55 Authoritarian bullshit. Victimless crimes. People wouldn't be killed in the drug trade if it was legal. Do doctors and pharmaceutical directors go kill each?

  • westcoast willy says:

    It´s kinda funny that most people (like myself) reply Skyler when beeing asked for the character they hate the most when in fact she might have the purest intention of all, besides maybe Hank. But I just can´t stand her "seven days rain"- face.

  • I've lived in Louisiana my entire life and I've never heard breaking bad used that way.

    I think the irony of the entire story is how Walt is universally seen as a ruthless criminal by the end of the show. However, by the end of the show, he had laid waste to a huge, toxic criminal operation that spanned multiple continents.

  • china type2 bass rocker says:

    It breaks me up that Walt can never remember Badgers or Combos names. Just makes him more detached and believable.

  • I stopped watching around the 8 minute mark, when the host started babbling her SJW nonsense terms (directed at a white man of course) like "casual racism", "sexism", "bullying" (and my 2 favorites) "STEREOTYPING" and "PUTTING PEOPLE IN BOXES" when describing the kind of "white men" that you commonly run into on a day to day basis in modern society. When is this hypocritical, leftist, SJW brainwashing bullshit finally going to die out??? Unsubscribed. I'll come back when you get rid of this deplorable (hey look…somebody finally used the word deplorable correctly) hypocritical, leftist, SJW, and most of all TOXIC host, and replace her with a more human one.

  • Skyler cheated on Walt, Walt did not. And she was thinking about doing him as soon as Walt told her about the cancer. She was looking pictures of them together. Masculinity is not toxic.

  • II think the characters I find most loathsome, just on a gut level, are Gale and Todd. They're maybe a half-twist away from each other. Gale is really just a cooler, more calculating, more polished Todd.

    Walt is disconnected from the results of his actions—in his former, good-guy role, and in his new, evil one. Gale is also disconnected from the results. But where Walt hated that as the good guy, and mostly ignored it as Heisenberg, Gale likes the disconnection, and uses it to his advantage.

  • Skylar broke bad because of her greed for money. You missed the crucial scene when she properly inspects the money, and it's clear she desparately wants it. She doesn't do it for her family either, she wants the money. Walt wants the power.

    And poor Flynn just wanted a family.

  • MemoryOfTheRose says:

    Walt seemed responsive to the craziness of the situation for a while. Like he was still human. But at some point all that went away and he became cold and bitter like a statue without any hint of empathy or regret

  • Targaryen Dynasty says:

    Skyler is self righteous and hypocritical
    A her husband is dying but she’s the victim
    B her sister has mental health problems but she’s the victim
    C she’s the victim of everything bad Walt does
    D her controlfreek nature lead to Walt developing his ego in the first place

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