‘Breaking Bad’: 4 Things You Forgot About the Pilot Episode

Breaking Bad fans will attest that they can binge all five seasons of the show over and over, and then over again. With so many hidden meanings and details in the Emmy Award-winning drama, there’s always something new to learn. Watching Walter White (Bryan Cranston) transform from a high school chemistry teacher into a murderous drug kingpin never gets old.

The series begins with a lot of action and some important setup for the shocking story to come. Even the most fervent Breaking Bad fans may not remember these details from the show’s pilot.

 Walt and Jesse are never equal partners on ‘Breaking Bad’

Most of Breaking Bad involves Walt manipulating various people in his life, but probably the most egregious example of this behavior is his treatment of his business partner, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul). The two begin the series on unequal ground as Walt is Jesse’s former teacher and has a natural air of authority to match. But that’s not all.

Jesse is skeptical about teaming up with Walt in the pilot episode. He understands that Walt needs money for his family in the wake of a terminal cancer diagnosis. But Jesse questions if Walt truly understands what he’s signing up for by becoming a meth cook.

Ultimately, Jesse goes along with Walt’s plan because Walt knows he’s Cap’n Cook, the dealer that DEA Agent Hank Schrader is looking for. Their partnership is based on blackmail, not on mutual respect or appreciation.

Hank Schrader is a catalyst for Walter White going rogue

The cancer diagnosis pushes Walt over the edge. But that’s just one incident in a string of events that made Walt feel emasculated and want to reclaim his power. In the pilot episode, viewers see Walt being completely overshadowed by his wife’s brother-in-law Hank. Even though it’s Walt’s 50th birthday party, Hank is the star of the show, proving how Walt feels in most areas of his life.

The future Heisenberg is depressed, overlooked, and ignored too many times until he finally breaks. And then Hank literally becomes the reason for Walt turning to the drug trade. Because of Hank’s boasting about how much money the DEA seized in a recent raid, Walt realizes how much cash he can make using his scientific knowledge to make meth. It all amounts to the perfect storm of bad decisions.

Walt almost kills himself in the pilot episode of ‘Breaking Bad’

He’s always had a flair for the dramatic.

When Walt thinks the cops are coming for him after he and Jesse cook meth in the desert, he pulls out a gun, puts it under his chin, and pulls the trigger. The gun doesn’t fire because the safety is on. However, it’s clear that Walt was prepared to kill himself rather than go to jail for his crime.

Walt later dies in the last scene of the last episode of the series. But by then he’s caused a lot more death and destruction than we saw in that first episode. It all would have been avoided if Walt’s initial attempted suicide was successful.

The ‘Breaking Bad’ pilot is chock full of foreshadowing

Walter White in Breaking Bad
Walter White in ‘Breaking Bad’ | Doug Hyun/AMC

Breaking Bad is perfect for TV fans who love foreshadowing and tiny clues. The first episode is full of them. First, the flying khaki pants that open the series make another appearance in the final season, showing that Walt has come full circle. Perceptive fans also notice that Walt lives for exactly two years, until the age of 52, which is what the doctor told him when he was diagnosed with cancer during the pilot.

There’s a scene in the first episode when Walt is staring into the pool in his backyard. The pool comes into play several times throughout the series as an ominous symbol, like when Skyler tries to drown herself and when debris from the plane crash lands there.

Critics claim Breaking Bad starts off too slowly and may not capture the audience’s attention enough. But looking back, it’s clear this series was thoughtful from the start.

RELATED: ‘Breaking Bad’ Has So Much Color Symbolism, From Walter White’s Name to Sky Blue Meth