Top 10 Moments in Walter White's Transformation to Heisenberg

Tags: #WalterWhite ,   #Heisenberg ,   #BreakingBad

Julia Adams

Julia Adams

Last updated:  2021-02-23 18:26:19

Some of the best aspects of AMC's crime TV series, "Breaking Bad," are its theme song and a cast of colorful characters. Best defined among them was the main protagonist, Walter White, a timid chemistry teacher who started manufacturing drugs to provide for his family after getting a cancer diagnosis.

Of course, in the drug business, you don't want to use your real name. That's why Walt comes up with a Heisenberg pseudonym, and as the series progresses, what was just a nickname becomes an entirely new persona. Here are our picks of the top ten moments in this fascinating transformation.

10. Not Accepting Elliott's Help

When a man's pride gets in the way of him providing for his family

When Walt got his cancer diagnosis, he wanted to die so that people remember him as a victim. But then, Elliott Schwartz offered him what he felt was an insulting job. Two of them founded Gray Matter Technologies after getting their PhDs, but Walt then exited the company that became a multimillion-dollar business.

In Grey Matter, he was always in Elliott's shadow, so when he became Heisenberg, it was the first time he felt appreciated. Consequently, Walt stayed at a place where he experienced recognition and respect and became the best meth manufacturer at that point.

9. The First Time He Used the Name

For every enterprise, coming up with a compelling name is a must

One of the most critical moments in Walt's transformation to the infamous drug lord was when he used the name for the first time. Specifically, it happened in season one, once he encountered Tuco Salamanca. So, did you ever wonder why and how he chose his pseudonym?

Inspired by a German physicist, Werner Heisenberg, Walt decided it would be suitable to go by his name. This scientist was a pioneer of quantum mechanics who died of cancer. Although a Nobel Prize winner, his morals were in question since he was involved in Nazi research. These could be the reasons Walt chose this nickname.

8. Changing His Looks

Appearances also matter

To fully understand Walt's morphing into Heisenberg, the show makers used visual cues. Already in the first season, we see him shave his head as he notices a hair loss resulting from chemotherapy. After that, he decides to take control of his image and not let cancer dictate his life.

Also, we have to mention the progression in his style as the seasons went by. As he fell deeper into a Heisenberg persona, everything started to change. When we see Walt for the first time, he's wearing pale-toned clothes, but then starts going dark after a cancer diagnosis. Slowly, he's transforming to become the dangerous character he wants to be.

7. Learning How to Dispose of a Body

Good body disposal skills are useful in the drug business

The first problems for Walt and Jesse appear already in the second episode of the series. How exactly to get rid of a corpse? Not that easy, as they'll find out. 

As Emilio, Krazy-8's cousin, is dead after inhaling poisonous phosphine gas, Walt proposes using hydrofluoric acid to dissolve his body. What he does is steal the liquid from the high school lab and gives Jesse instructions. However, he doesn't follow Walt's advice to use a plastic container, and consequently, the acid dissolves the bathtub and the bathroom floor.

6. Blowing Up Tuco's Place

We literally screamed at Walt to do something

By the sixth episode of season one, the two partners agreed that one will be the silent participant, cooking meth, and the other one will distribute it on the streets. So the younger one, Jesse, goes on a meeting with Tuco Salamanca since he controls the drug territory. However, that gathering results in a beaten Jesse, who ends up in the hospital.

Then, Walt arranges a Tuco meeting, demanding money for the meth he took from them and an additional $15,000 for the pain he caused to his partner. As the quarrel intensifies, he throws a piece of material on the floor containing fulminated mercury. It explodes, and Walt establishes himself as a dominant character. As a result, Tuco agrees to make a payment.

5. Letting Jane Die

Starting up a new partnership with a bang (YouTube screenshot)

One of the most controversial moments on the show was Jane's death, as even the most religious viewers were shocked. She chokes in her own vomit after indulging in heroin while Walt passively watched. The audience couldn't stop asking why he let her die, making it one of the most memorable TV show deaths.

However, she was a danger to him, as she encouraged Jesse to try heroin, which resulted in him becoming reckless. Also, Jane blackmailed Walt asking for her boyfriend's money, threatening to reveal his Heisenberg identity. Nonetheless, he hasn't done it totally for selfish reasons, as he wanted to save Jesse from her bad influence. Well, at least that's what he told himself.

4. Killing Gus

One could also say that this was a scene of a man bullying his wife

The episode that included this scene is symbolically named "The Face Off," and it marked the season four finale. Throughout it, we could see Walter White's and Gus Fring's conflict intensifying, to the point that only one of them could live.

As the drug lord who handles the distribution in the US's Southwestern region, he was a very dangerous man. Walt works for him, but not for very long, as Gus wishes to find someone else. Of course, that means only one thing, because you just don't get out of the drug business alive. But, to kill such a figure, you'd have to be brave and creative. And luckily for us, Walt doesn't disappoint, as he plants a bomb in Hector Salamanca's wheelchair.

3. "I Am the One Who Knocks" Moment

A perfect end for a thrilling game of chess between two rivals

This was probably the most iconic moment in the series, as it was quoted many times and got turned into a million memes. You see, by season four, Walt is already more of a Heisenberg than a chemistry high school teacher. While talking to his wife, Skyler, who begs him to quit producing meth, he proudly says that he is the danger. Once again, Walt falls victim to his inferiority complex and feels the need to prove his dominance.

In fact, at that moment, he's a prisoner, constantly working under video surveillance and having people following his every move. His wife is actually right, as their whole family is in danger, and Walt refuses to accept it. Overall, he's not in control, although he would like to be.

2. Convincing Jesse to kill Gale

This deed would haunt Jesse for the rest of the show

As Victor, Gus' henchman, murders Andrea's brother, that creates a chain reaction. Since Jesse is in a relationship with her, it causes bad blood between the two sides, and he ends up on the run. Meanwhile, Gus grooms Gale to take Walt's place. Of course, sensing this, Walt talks to Jesse and presents him with the plan to kill the poor guy.

Gale is a man who is not arrogant and who will obey without question. Because of that, Walt knew that once the chemist learned the procedure to obtain high-purity meth, that would be the end for him. Consequently, he pressures Jesse to kill Gale.

1. "I Liked It," Walter Admits

Walt finally coming to peace with his own inner demons

Walter White finally comes to terms with reality at the series finale, as the story goes full circle. It was satisfying for the viewers to hear his confession and that everything he did was because of his selfish reasons. Without a doubt, greed and ambition motivated Walt, and he shares that realization with Skyler.

This scene was a true redemption moment and a fitting ending to a brilliant TV show. It's funny how Walter had cancer but eventually became that for his family, as he hurt everyone with his choices. In the end, he admits that, and everyone, including the fans, got their deserved ending.

Of course, no matter which moment was your favorite, you have to agree, it was a thrilling ride. Did you like old Walt or his adopted character better? Please let us know what you think in the comments below!

Cover photo: YouTube screenshot


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