Spoilers are all relegated to below the fold, but if you haven’t seen any Breaking Bad (and plan on doing so at a later date) then you should just avoid this whole post.
Breaking Bad is two episodes from it’s conclusion and we’ve just seen what is arguably the best hour of television ever. Things are getting tough to watch, but as always the debate over how we should view Walter White rages on in select corners of the internet.
We’ll hear from both sides in this post. First, Team Walt gives us some sympathy for Mr. White and explains how he’s making the best out of a terrible situation. Then, a rebuttal from those who aren’t drinking the cool blue kool-aid. You know, the sane people.
Spoilers aplenty beyond the ‘Continue’ link, so watch out!
First off in the excuse-a-rama: Walt does his best to save Hank from certain death, up to and including offering his 80 million dollars! I mean, look at this face:
Sure, Walt precipitated Hank’s death in every way — including calling in the neo-nazis and, well, getting in the ’empire business’ in the first place. And, sure, his futile efforts are totally ineffectual, but his culpability is null as long as his heart is in the right place. Being a terrible person is kinda like being racist or sexist: if you don’t realize you are being one it doesn’t really count.
Secondly: Jesse. Walt may have accented to his death a half-dozen times, but it’s all for the best. If Jesse had been allowed to escape, Jack and the swastika pals would’ve stopped at nothing to find him, including hurting those Jesse cares about the most such as Andrea and Brock or even his estranged family. In his run from the gang he might’ve even faced a slower, more painful death! (You know, some real torture.) Really it was considerate of Walt to give him the cleanest death possible.
Thus, Walt was just thinking three steps ahead when he ratted Jesse out — plus, he knew the gang would need to interrogate Jesse which would give him time to think up a rescue plan. (Walt’s attempt to rescue Jesse is clearly what is being teased a year later in the flash-forwards. Clearly.) Telling Jesse about Jane was just a move to make the white supremacists think that he still hated Jesse when in actuality he’d already decided to train his sights onto them.
While rolling his barrel through the desert Walt paid way above market value for that truck. Way to be kind-hearted again Mr. White, you are truly a pillar of the local economy!
Walt’s next move was to help his family and remain the wonderful patriarch he has always been. Despite Walt’s heroic attempt to save Hank having failed, he could still save his family (uh, minus Marie) now that things were getting out of hand. However, like the fools they are the fam turned on Walt: Skyler told Flynn everything and ruined his plans again. This is why the White family can’t have nice things.
So, Walt took Holly. This was, once again, thinking three steps ahead of everyone else. He knew his plan would now have to be to protect his family by getting The Danger as far away as possible, both literally and metaphorically. So he decided to act deranged — and we all know how great an actor he is! — and the ruse worked. The phone call where he said all of those terrible things (which he totally didn’t mean) to Skyler (who totally deserved it, the ungrateful jerk) was the end-game of this move.
Now, after dropping off Holly with the firemen, Walt can leave Albuquerque assured that what is left of his family is as far away from The One Who Used To Knock as possible. The heat, the burden, and the responsibility is on him while Skyler, Flynn and Holly relax in the paradise he has left for them (while probably cursing his name, the churlish hypocrites).
And that’s the case for not giving up on Walter White so quickly.
And now for a quick rebuttal: Nope, that’s all bullshit. The defense ascribes superhuman levels of genius to Walt but really he’s still just following his most base emotions in an attempt to survive. He’s a monster and everything he’s done has been to save his own skin and everything he’s done has been done to further delay the consequences of his actions which have now finally about caught up with him. But not yet, because as long as Walter White is still in control of his own actions he’ll be making terrible decisions based on greed, revenge, and pride.
And some psychopaths (i.e. the Todds of the world) will be cheering him on.
Last word goes to Hank, the wonderful Dean Norris himself:
Hey you "rooting for Walt" folks. Got some John Wayne Gacy art for sale! Retweet if you'll pay top dollar you sick fucks!
— dean norris (@deanjnorris) September 13, 2013