Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Breaking Bad: Walter White - Grey Matter and His Motivation

Walter White, one of the main "protagonists" of AMC's Breaking Bad was born in 1959. He studied at Caltech with Elliot Schwartz, where he was a chemist specialising and crystallography. In the year 1985, Walt's groundbreaking research regarding photon radiography contributed to a project that was awarded the Nobel Prize. Walter then went on to co-found Gray Matter Technologies with Elliot. At this time, Walt was dating his lab assistant, Gretchen. For currently unknown reasons, Walt suddenly left Gretchen during a vacation with her family; he left his research behind and sold his share of the company to Elliot for a measly $5,000 USD. Gretchen eventually married Elliot, and Grey Matter Technologies became a highly successful company using Walter's Research. He secretly feels like his work was stolen from him, and he blames Elliot and Gretchen (in some ways justifiably) for a lot in his life.

Walter White then worked in Application Labs and also worked in a chemical lab near Los Alamos. Once he met Skyler, they moved to Albuquerque to work for Sandia Laboratories. He eventually went on to become a chemistry teacher at JP Wynne High School. Oh, and then, he made meth after being completely dissatisfied with what he had become in life.

This article will discuss the reasoning as to why Walter White wanted so much to continue creating methamphetamine even after money was no longer an issue. Before watching Buyout, I believed that Gray Matter would play a huge part into the evolution of Walter. In the Season 5 episode "buyout", Walter talks to Jesse about why he does what he does. He shares the story about how he sold his stake in the company for a $5000, and that it's all he has left in his life since his marriage went south.

Listening to Walter pour his heart out to Jesse; giving his final pitch and explanation was beautiful, but it showcased the embarrassment and regret he has for leaving Grey Matter. HIS ideas, HIS creations, and he barely has anything to show for it. In Season 1 of Breaking Bad, we're introduced to Mr. White as a chemistry teacher. Shit pay, worse conditions; would YOU want to be a chemistry teacher?

Part of it could be greed. Walter wants money. But what he really wants more is credit for his work. His Crystal Meth is 99% pure. In real life, and in the show, that can't be matched by anyone except possibly Jesse if he continued to synthesise. Walt said himself he's not in the "meth business or the money business", rather he's in the "empire business". He idolised Gus in a way, before realising he had to be taken down. Gus had it all covered, and Walt wanted to be like that. Of course we know that just can't and won't happen, but he can sure try.

We see in the flashback in Season 3 where Skyler and Walt are looking to buy a house. We see Walter being pushed around by Skyler to buy the house, and he adds that this house could be a "starter home". How did that turn out? It's not just that. Walter is constantly pushed around by Skyler early in the series. I'm not one of the fans that thinks Skyler is the worst person on the show, but damn, I hate the way she WAS a complete bitch to Walter early in the show. People need to look back and see how trapped Walter was. It's because of these reasons, that Walter loves the CONTROL of making meth and being in charge. He wants control, and he got it.

Sure, it completely screwed up his marriage and cost the lives of many, but hey, he got what he wanted. Kind of.

1 comment:

  1. I was waiting for a Breaking Bad Post. I actually learnt a bit because of this, especially the little details. To be honest, if you were good at cooking Methanphetamine and nobody could stop you, why would you stop yourself.

    Apart from the fact that it's illegal of course.

    You are always posting quality content, keep on posting so I can keep reading!