A quote from each character that sums up their personality
The main characters of breaking Bad make up some of the most complex television characters in recent memory. While some are easier to characterize as good or bad, many exist in a gray area, and it’s their journey throughout the series that really shows what kind of people they are.
While certain characters like Walter White and Jesse Pinkman can sometimes hide their true self, there are certain lines in the show that really speak to who they are at the center of it all. The quotes can be quite simple or seemingly mundane, but these few words sum up the breaking Bad characters perfectly.
ten Walt Jr: “My father is my hero.”
Although not very present in the main storylines, Walt Jr. is an easy character to love. He cares about his family and wants everyone to be happy. But he also lives in ignorance of his own family.
When interviewed about his efforts to save money for Walt, Walt Jr. beams with pride in his father. It’s a heartbreaking glimpse into how Walt Jr. thinks he’s part of this happy family and is oblivious to his father’s hurt. By the final of breaking Bad, this illusion is finally shattered.
9 Todd: “Just so you know, it’s not personal.”
What makes Todd one of the most effective and disturbing villains on the show is how casually sadistic he is. He seems like this pretty normal guy who is polite and friendly with others to the point where he does something terrible.
Todd doesn’t seem to understand that he’s a villain and it shows in the brutal scene in which he kills Andrea to teach Jesse a lesson. His pathetic apology to her suggests that he doesn’t really think he should be blamed for it and talks about his chilling take on reality.
8 Marie: “It feels good to think about it.”
There are some who poke fun at Marie’s shoplifting story and see her as an unnecessary inclusion in the series. However, it’s actually an interesting way to explore how she looks like Walt, albeit with more self-control.
She has these tendencies to “break badly” but knows when it’s too much. After learning Walt’s secret, Marie tells her therapist about her fantasies of killing him, but insists they are just thoughts. This seems to directly indicate that, unlike Walt, Marie knows that every thought and impulse doesn’t need to lead to action.
7 Gus: “I hide in plain sight, like you.”
Granted, Gus Fring is the smartest villain on breaking Bad and it shows best in how careful he is in his affairs. Even in Gus’ very first scene on the show, Walt doesn’t realize that the likeable fast-food manager is the drug lord he’s supposed to meet.
Speaking to Walt, it becomes clear that these men are very similar, living these secret lives. Gus knows that the secret to his success is that he poses as the last person you would suspect to be a drug lord.
6 Saul: “Only the best and just the right amount of dirt.”
Saul Goodman is one of the funniest characters on the show and tends to say whatever he thinks about. He also doesn’t hesitate to display some of his worst qualities, especially if they can be put to good use in a criminal enterprise.
When he first meets Skyler White, Saul makes this rude comment that Walt’s liking for women is the same as his liking for avocados. Not only does this capture his obnoxious, unfiltered style, but it also shows how readily he accepts that he is a shady lawyer.
5 Mike: “No more half measures.”
Mike Ehrmantraut is a great foil for Walt as he is one of the few characters who refuses to indulge in Walt’s ego. Mike is a pragmatic, reliable, professional and always attentive operator.
In one of the best scenes of the show, Mike tells Walt a story about a time when he regretted taking a “half measure” and vowed never to do it again. Throughout the series, Mike also brings this steadfast approach to every situation, not wanting to compromise for anyone.
4 Hank: “A guy who cleans must be dirty.”
When Hank Schrader is featured on the series, he looks like a stereotypical cop. And while he can be obnoxious at times, it quickly becomes clear that he is, in fact, an exceptional sleuth.
Throughout the series, very little goes beyond Hank. Even with someone like Gus Fring, who works so hard to appear as a citizen standing upright without any suspicion, Hank can smell something dirty about him. This is a sign of his officer skills and also explains his reaction to learning that Walt had fooled him for so long.
3 Skyler: “Someone has to protect this family from the man who protects this family.”
Although the first episode features their happy marriage, the relationship between Walt and Skyler gradually falls apart due to lies and crime. Sometimes it’s like they’re enemies living under one roof.
While Walt is the one who insists it’s all for his family, Skyler is the real selfless person in the relationship. She’s ready to stay with this man she doesn’t love anymore and actually fears because she thinks it’s the only way to keep her family safe.
2 Jesse: “Like I’m coming over to you begging to cook meth.”
Jesse and Walt’s relationship is a very interesting one that starts off as a dysfunctional and reluctant duo before evolving into something much more complex. Early on, Jesse complains to Walt that he didn’t want this arrangement in the first place.
The line shows Jesse’s comedic side as a sarcastic and immature young man. But it also speaks of Jesse’s journey of being dragged through so much pain and loss. None of this is his idea and yet he is someone who is punished more than anyone on the show.
1 Walt: “I did it for myself. I liked it. I was good at it.”
When Walt starts cooking meth to support his family, it’s obvious it’s a terrible idea, but somewhat understandable. Walt does not break the law for selfish reasons, but to help those close to him. Over time, this defense becomes more and more difficult to justify.
It becomes clear that whatever the reasons Walt started out, his meth business is now all about the ego. It wasn’t until the finale, when he said goodbye to Skyler for the last time, that he confessed to her and himself what really motivated him all this time.
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