‘Breaking Bad’ Fans Have an Interesting Theory About What ‘Fly’ Really Represents

One of the most controversial episodes of Breaking Bad is all about a common housefly. Some fans love it, seeing the deeper meaning and subtle character development that the series is known for. But critics insist “Fly” is boring, unnecessary, and lazy. So which is it?

Ultimately, loving or hating “Fly” comes down to a matter of preference. But fans are torn over the symbolism in the episode. They can’t decide if “Fly” was just a serious cop out or if it was a brilliant artistic effort in the middle of Breaking Bad.

‘Breaking Bad’ broke the mold for television drama

There were plenty of popular dramas before Breaking Bad came along. But somehow, the AMC series managed to challenge the genre in all new ways. Breaking Bad relied heavily on character development, foreshadowing, and hidden meanings interwoven with explosive action and violence. Fans responded positively to the incredible story of Walter White becoming Heisenberg.

However, not every episode included the same amount of action sequences as others. Season 3, Episode 10, “Fly,” is a bottle episode that’s filmed in one location and doesn’t include any major moments. That’s one of the main reasons fans have such a love/hate relationship with it.

‘Breaking Bad’ writers did ‘Fly’ to save money

Walter White
Walter White | Ursula Coyote/AMC

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Ultimately, “Fly” happened because Breaking Bad was over budget and out of options. But showrunner Vince Gilligan still defended his decision to slow down the pace at that point of the story.

 “We were hopelessly over budget … And we needed to come up with what is called a bottle episode, set in one location,” Gilligan told Vulture.

He explained that by limiting the cast and sticking to one location, they were able to save a lot on filming.

“Even if financial realities didn’t enter into it, I feel as a showrunner that there should be a certain shape and pace to each season, and the really high highs that you try to get to at the end of a season — the big dramatic moments of action and violence, the big operatic moments you’re striving for — I don’t think would land as hard if you didn’t have the moments of quiet that came before them,” Gilligan explained.

‘Fly’ could represent Walter White losing his moral compass

On the surface level, “Fly” follows Walt as he battles insomnia and struggles to catch a fly that risks contaminating the lab. But like everything on Breaking Bad, the fly is not just a fly. It’s deeply representative of some deeper truth and at least one Reddit sleuth has a theory.

By season 3, Walt is fully on the road to becoming Heisenberg, abandoning his previous goal of just making money for his family. He becomes obsessed with power and status and eventually alienates everyone he loves. According to one fan theory, the fly represents the slow corruption of Walt’s character and his subconscious realization that it’s happening.

Flies can indicate evil and decay

On a more basic level, flies can represent irritation, corruption, decay, illness, and disease. It’s no coincidence that Walt is battling a fly in particular and not some other insect. The fly could represent the final showdown between good and evil that’s occurring for Walt before he ultimately succumbs to darkness.

Either way, “Fly” has been described as the most polarizing episode of Breaking Bad. But more fans could warm up to it if they understood the deeper truth it was telling.