‘Breaking Bad’: Walter White’s Famous Khaki Pants From Pilot Make a Cameo in ‘Ozymandias’

It’s no exaggeration to call “Ozymandias” the greatest episode of Breaking Bad, and possibly all of television. It’s the top-rated installment of the five-season series and received rave reviews from both critics and fans. Breaking Bad junkies claim it’s the best hour of television ever created.

This fanfare is due in part to all the subtle symbolism sprinkled throughout Breaking Bad’s third to last episode, “Ozymandias.” There’s even a poignant moment when Walter White’s pants from the series pilot make a small cameo.

‘Ozymandias’ begins Walter White’s downward spiral on ‘Breaking Bad’

Walter White at home
Walter White at home | Ursula Coyote/AMC

The entire story of Breaking Bad explores what happens when a person gets pushed to the brink. It could be argued that Walt’s cancer diagnosis made him into the monster he eventually became. But then again, it could be that he was always an immoral, power-hungry man and the terminal diagnosis came secondary.

But before all that there were khakis. The opening scene of Breaking Bad shows Walt (Bryan Cranston) frantically driving his RV through the desert. A pair of khaki pants float through the air before getting run over by the speeding RV. As with everything on the show, this moment carries so much symbolism for his character.

The khaki pants show up again in ‘Ozymandias’

Only the most perceptive Breaking Bad fans will notice how the khakis show up for the second time in the show’s most pivotal episode. Once again Walt finds himself in the desert at the end of season 5, only this time he’s rolling a barrel of money to bury there. Hidden in the dirt is that same pair of filthy khaki pants from season 1, episode 1.

There’s something so symbolic about the khaki pants, which represent Walt’s former existence as a nerdy high school chemistry teacher, lying there soiled and forgotten. The pants are more than just pants. In “Ozymandias,” they represent Walt’s innocence or even his conscience as becoming dirty and forgotten by the end of the series.

Walter White goes from mild-mannered to maniacal on ‘Breaking Bad’

At the beginning of Breaking Bad, Walter White is presented as the most harmless person ever. All aspects of his personality from his name to his clothing are meant to convey this truth.

Showrunner Vince Gilligan told GQ, “For instance in the pilot, it was intentional that Walt start off very beige and khaki-ish, very milquetoast, and he would progress through that one hour of television to green and thus show his process of evolution as a character.”

Compare that to the final season of Breaking Bad and Walter White is the opposite of that. As Heisenberg, Walt drives a different car and wears different clothes. He fully embraces the worst aspects of his character, which allows him to lie, steal, and even murder on his quest to become a drug kingpin.

The neglected khakis from the pilot episode are just one of many representations of this metamorphosis. Plus, they’re yet another example of clever symbolism that made Breaking Bad so amazing to watch.