The beauty of Breaking Bad was that it very subtly captured exactly what happens when a person because obsessed with power. The Walter White we see in Season 1, Episode 1 is nothing like the monster he becomes by the dramatic series finale. But it’s not just about comparing a naïve high school chemistry teacher to a meth empire kingpin. The beauty of Breaking Bad is the slow transformation from good to evil.
One of the reasons Breaking Bad won so many awards and has so many fans even now is that Vince Gilligan perfectly captures how good intentions can lead to disastrous results. But is there one moment that we know Walter White is really a bad guy? Fans say they’ve narrowed it down to a single scene in the series.
Walter White has good intentions that go horribly wrong
When we’re first introduced to Walter White, we learn that he’s been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. This couldn’t come at a worse time — Walt’s wife, Skyler, is pregnant with their second child. The couple also has a disabled son to care for.
Over the course of the series, we learn that Walter White got cheated out of money by signing over his shares of a multi-billion dollar company (Grey Matter) he helped found. Even though his former business partner offers to help Walt’s family financially, he’s too proud to accept the money.
Instead, Walter White comes up with a brilliant plan: He’ll spend a few months as a drug dealer manufacturing meth. He planned to stop once he had enough money to care for his family. The only trouble? Nothing is as simple as it seems.
Walter White becomes Heisenberg in this one scene
The transformation from Walter White, innocent do-gooder father to Heisenberg happens in small moments and decisions. But Walt finally admits who he is to himself and to his terrified wife in this one scene.
Season 4, Episode 6 is called “Cornered” and features Walt making the transition into full Heisenberg. Skyler is trying to convince Walt to go to the police for his own protection. She pleads with Walt, saying she’s worried he could get shot just by answering the door. That’s when Walt delivers the line “I am the one who knocks! I am the danger!”
At that moment, it’s clear that Walt knows he’s Heisenberg. And from that point on, he doesn’t try to justify his actions as much. After all, he is the danger and willing to admit it.
Walt finally admits to Skylar that his motivations changed
For the majority of Breaking Bad, Walt tries telling everyone – including himself – that he’s only making meth to help his family. But the audience sees long before he does that his motivation for manufacturing drugs and besting his enemies changes over time.
In the dramatic series finale, Walt finally confesses to Skylar that he reached a point when he wasn’t pursuing meth empire status for her or his kids anymore. He was doing it selfishly.
“I did it for me. I liked it.” Walt says while visiting Skyler for the last time at her apartment.
Scenes like this prove why so many fans love Breaking Bad so much. The show is a masterpiece of human emotion and, ultimately, proof that the quest for power can corrupt even the most innocent people.