No matter how perfect something is, there will always be some flaws. Walt Junior, son of Walter, is that one hole in the perfect sailing boat that is Breaking Bad.
If something is to be termed as the definition of perfection, it has to be AMC’s Breaking Bad. The show, that has been often regarded as one of the greatest on TV ever, has also been hailed as the most perfect thing ever created on screen. From every frame to the story arc, the show sailed smoothly in the journey of rising of a character and empire, and then the fall.
However, in this perfect boat of Vince Gilligan, there was a minor snip — Walt Junior. His burden of his faulty character fell on all others. But, how did the master creator fail?
- How did Breaking Bad fail with Walt Junior?
- Why Walt Junior’s character was so important?
- Not a worthy addition to the character ensemble
- A straight-line character that did not do much for the show
How did Breaking Bad fail with Walt Junior?
There were a great many things like writing, cinematography, direction, acting, and music, that made Breaking Bad a perfect show. However, it somehow fell short with Walt Junior, played by RJ Mitte.
No doubt that the Standing up for Sunny actor did a phenomenal job of portraying Walter “Flynn” White Jr. in the show. Yet, somehow it was the character and the job assigned to him that failed to create the impact desired, leaving the space empty and creating a hole in a rather perfect world of Breaking Bad.
Why Walt Junior’s character was so important?
Walt Junior was the son of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), the lead of Breaking Bad. White’s character went through an entire arc from being financially broken as a chemistry teacher, battling with cancer, to then enter the world of meth, and eventually becoming The Heisenberg. All in all, Walter White became one of the greatest characters in history.
However, what motivated Walter to begin this journey was his love for his family and his incapability to keep them financially happy. Walt Jr, who unfortunately suffered from cerebral palsy, served as a crucial factor in Walt’s decision making. From Walt’s decision to drop his job and begin cooking meth, to his decision to come back at last and arrange for money to reach his son, was all for Walt Jr.
Not a worthy addition to the character ensemble
The biggest issue with Walt Junior was the fact that he had nothing much to do in the show. Compared to the other such juniors in the show who left a heart-breaking impact with the comparatively lesser screen space, Walt just happened to be there.
Remember Jesse’s heartbreaking ‘peeka-boo’ with the kid? Ever felt bad for him? Don’t say that you didn’t cry. And those sweet little moments of Broke and Jesse’s love for him.
If you change the perspective a little, you’ll find that Walter and Jesse Pinkman’s relationship also served as a father-son relationship. And it was as moving in some places that you would ever expect.
Now compare that to the character of Walt Junior. The boy was already suffering from cerebral palsy. His father couldn’t take care of all the financial needs. He gets diagnosed with cancer. Later it’s revealed that his father is in the meth business and his uncle, Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) is on his father’s back. His uncle later dies for his father’s mistake. His parent’s marriage falls apart. And then his father dies. It’s the definition of tragedy.
Yet, do we feel bad for Junior’s character? Probably no. Because while everything was falling apart around him, his character was just there, reacting sometimes, and having breakfast most of the time. There were no efforts made to make things right.
Flynn White and a straight-line character
Another flaw in Walt Junior’s character was the arc. Character arcs and internal journeys of the characters are one of the key pillars of Breaking Bad, and that’s where Walt Junior’s character failed.
Each and every major character in Breaking Bad went through a certain degree of evolution. The arcs of Walter and Jesse are still unmatched on TV. Even Skyler had a very vibrant one.
But when we observe the progression of Walt Junior’s character throughout the series, it remained unchanged. Even after so much of the suffering and shift in surroundings, one cannot precisely point out the arc of the character. And this makes the character look flat among the crowd of some of the most interesting ones.
But again, the question remains. How did Vince Gilligan fail with Walt Junior in Breaking Bad? What are your thoughts on it?