Yes, we know, drug kingpins are not known for their mental normativeness, but let’s try and figure it out still.
If you ask the fans what made them fall in love with ‘Breaking Bad’ they will tell you it was because of the show’s well-crafted and emotionally deep characters, most specifically, the lead protagonist Walter White himself. ‘Breaking Bad’, Vince Gilligan’s magnum opus, is now considered one of the best shows of all time. The show ran for 5 seasons (62 episodes) from 2008 to 2013 on AMC and then later streamed on Netflix too.
- From school teacher to drug lord: Walter White’s story
- Analyzing Walter White’s character development & changes in personality
- What do psychologists/psychiatrists say?
The show is so well written that most people do not really question Walter White’s shifts in priorities and motivations that take place midway through the show. Walter White goes from cooking meth to secure his family’s future after his death from cancer to raking in millions and expanding operations throughout the States, putting him at odds with other major drug operations and gangs and cartels.
Was he normal?
Or was he a born psychopath?
Surely if he was it would clear several things up for us. So, let’s find out!
From school teacher to drug lord: Walter White’s story
Walter White was a man of talent, that much is indisputable. However, instead of working at a state of the art research facility in some cutting edge science lab, he was teaching chemistry at a high school in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He also worked a second job as a cashier at a car wash where he was regularly humiliated by his Greek boss. To add to that, he finds out that he has terminal lung cancer, despite being a non-smoker for his entire life.
To cope with his mortality and the prospect of his family going broke after his death, he decides to manufacture methamphetamine or simply “meth” alongside his accomplice and former student Jesse Pinkman. At first, the duo tries to strike a deal with ‘Krazy-8’ a local drug distributor, but end up having to kill him and his cousin Emilio when they accuse Jesse of being a snitch. Later on, they find work with Tuco Salamanca, a completely deranged and maniacal cartel dealer who also gives the duo a lot of trouble. As the story progresses, we see the transition of Walter White from a precarious and worrisome amateur drug dealer to an emotionally manipulative and a hardened drug dealer.
Analyzing Walter White’s character development & changes in personality
The first time that the viewers feel as if Walter White did a morally bad thing is when Walter peeks into Jesse’s bedroom and sees Jesse’s girlfriend Jane Margolis choking on her own vomit, while both of them are high on heroin. Walter’s first instinct is to move in and help her but he stops and lets her choke and die. While his first killing, the murder of Krazy-8 can be thought of as a move in self-defense, letting Jane die while being in the same room was in no way excusable.
A similar pattern can be observed when we take into account Walter’s usage of the ricin poison. While at first, he uses it to try and poison Tuco Salamanca, a dangerous and violent threat to him, his family, and Jesse; Walter does not hesitate in using a similar trick to poison Andrea’s innocent and doe-eyed son Brock. He apparently did that so Jesse would, in his trauma, get on and over with killing Gus.
What do psychologists/psychiatrists say?
The character of Walter White has been analyzed by thousands of ‘Breaking Bad’ fans all over social media, be it Twitter, Reddit, Youtube, or any other platform. But here we have Dr Todd Grande, a Youtuber and an expert in mental health, giving his take on Walter White’s persona in a video. Other experts have also chimed in on the discussion and claimed that Walter White, apart from possibly being a psychopath, also had OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder).
This behaviour was highlighted in the scenes where Walter gets frustrated and yells at Jesse due to his poor work ethic and professionalism. Perhaps the best example of this was in the episode where Walter does nothing but tries to kill a fly that had gotten inside his lab without success.
Walter White had captured the imaginations and emotions of the show’s millions of fans all over the world. Some fans consider him a psychopath to excuse his action, but is it true? Head on over to the comment section below to let us know what you think about Walter White being a psychopath!