‘Breaking Bad’: All the Terrible Symbolism of the Pink Teddy Bear, From the Eyeball of Morality To ‘Schindler’s List’
Breaking Bad is rife with symbolism, from the colors characters wear to the subtle references they make. Part of what made the series so popular was the intricate weaving of storylines and secrets throughout, rewarding perceptive fans with little clues during all five seasons.
Some hidden meanings are more obvious than others. Not all fans realize that the charred pink teddy bear with the missing eye from the second season had more than one meaning in the series.
The pink teddy bear first appears in season 2 of ‘Breaking Bad’
Some of the creepiness of the bear comes from its inherent innocence in being a children’s toy. Breaking Bad explores themes of right and wrong, plus blame and guilt, which makes the bear a natural prop to help highlight those deeper truths.
The pink teddy bear first appears in season 2 at the end of a music video for Jesse Pinkman’s band TwaüghtHammër. Fans can also see an image of the bear in the last episode of the second season in a mural on Jane’s bedroom wall.
This helps connect the future plane crash to Jane since it’s caused by her father following her death via overdose.
The bear is a creepy remnant from the plane crash
Perhaps the most obvious and chilling appearance of the burnt pink teddy bear occurs in “Seven Thirty-Seven” when the pink bear floats in Walter White’s pool. Walt finds an eyeball in the pool filter and keeps it, and later, NTSB fishes the whole bear out of the pool as evidence of the plane crash during season 2 episode 4, “Down.”
The stuffed animal is part of the wreckage from the plane crash Walt inadvertently caused by allowing Jane to die. Because of his inaction, Jane’s father Donald Margolis has a breakdown at his job as an air traffic controller and allows the midair plane collision to happen.
Vince Gilligan says the pink teddy bear symbolizes judgment on Walter White
Breaking Bad showrunner Vince Gilligan added the bear to be symbolic, though the meanings were so numerous it’s almost hard to keep track.
“The teddy bear eyeball that Walt found in his swimming pool is symbolic. It’s very, very symbolic. However, I’m not sure I can tell you with 100% certainty of what the symbolism is, what it represents,” Gillgian said, according to WikiFandom.
“On the face of it, when we were coming up with that eye as an image, it probably, represented some form of the eye of the universe, the eye of god, the eye of morality, I suppose judging Walter White…And so symbolism like the eyeball, I’m not sure what it means to me completely but I’m always interested in hearing what it means to viewers of the show.”
In season 4, Skyler finds the eyeball in a drawer during the episode “Box Cutter.”
More symbolism of the ‘Breaking Bad’ teddy bear
In one memorable flash forward scene, the bear is shown in pink while the rest of the scene is black and white, which references the girl in the red coat from Steven Spielberg’s classic Holocaust drama, Schindler’s List.
And the pink teddy bear is a foreshadowing of what will happen to Gus Fring in season 4. With its burnt face and single eye, the bear looks eerily like Fring after he gets his face blown off by Hector Salamanca suicide bomb.
It’s just another example of deep, disturbing symbolism on Breaking Bad.