Follow TV Tropes


Fridge / Breaking Bad

Go To

As a Fridge subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

Fridge Brilliance
  • Heisenberg actually ends up being something of an accidental hero: his actions end up with the collapse of not 1, not 2, but 4 major crime syndicates: The Cartel, Los Pollos Hermanos, the Arizona Neo-Nazis, and the Blue Sky cook. He arguably did more for the War on Drugs than the DEA, in universe. Not only that, but also more impact on gangs in general than the FBI by taking out an entire state’s worth of non-imprisoned Nazis. In addition, Walt also takes Saul's criminal network along with him. Without Saul acting as their middle-man, the career criminals of New Mexico will now have a much harder time finding work.
  • In the intervention scene in “Gray Matter,” Hank tries to give Walt a pep talk using poker as an analogy. Where does Skyler later claim their sudden influx of cash has come from? Walt's gambling addiction. The moment could even serve as a retrospective, in-universe explanation for what 'inspired' Walt in the first place (ignoring the fact of where the money really comes from).
  • The tag of the final season is Remember My Name. In the penultimate episode, Walt is about to surrender when he sees on TV Elliot and Gretchen dismissing Walt's contribution to Gray Matter and Heisenberg's reputation as a drug kingpin. Their insult to Walt's name kicks off the series finale.
    • It also generally applies, since the final season sees the destruction of Heisenberg and his empire. With nothing to show for it, all that's left would be the legend and his name. The tag is talking directly to us, the viewers.
    • It also again invokes the poem Ozymandias, where a guy's legacy crumbles and the only thing that's left of him is the name.
  • When Mike tells Walt that paying off the guys in prison is “what you do”, Walt dismisses it as Mike wasting money on an unnecessary personal code, and opts to have them all killed instead. Except, in a later episode, Hank is pretty easily able to flip Huell by convincing him that Walt wants him dead as a “loose end”. This actually echoes several real life cases where crime bosses killed too easily and their remaining subordinates sought police protection out of fear that they'd be next. In other words, Mike's code is the intelligent, reasonable way of dealing with the world of drug-dealing. Mike knew what he was doing, and Walt just didn't have a clue. It's a subtle but key example of how Walt brought about his own downfall by trusting his own judgement above everyone else's, even though he really doesn't get how the criminal world works.
    • This also applies to the series finale: Why, despite everything, is Walt able to get Badger and Skinny Pete to help him bluff the Schwartzes? Because in season 2, when Badger got stung by the cops, Walt made a point of getting Badger released from jail rather than have him killed. Badger is grateful enough to Walt to continue to trust him, and naturally enough, Skinny Pete, as a friend of Badger's, trusts Walt as well.
  • Teddy bear with a face that is half burnt off after an explosion? Gus Fring, anyone?
    • It was missing an eye … Walt carries around said eye … Gus was missing an eye … Gus's actions continue to affect Walt posthumously … Holy crap!
  • In the episode “Blood Money”, Badger's monologue about his Star Trek fan fiction may seem to be a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment, except for the fact his story hinges on the Enterprise's transporter system. In the Star Trek universe, a key component of the transporter is the “Heisenberg compensator”, the function of which is to compensate for Werner Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. The uncertainty principle is, symbolically, a defining feature of Walter White.
  • Why is Walt annoyed by the cash register sound effect used by Walter Jr.'s donation website? Maybe it's not because the sound is disturbing Holly, but because it's the exact same sound effect used for Hector Salamanca's bell, and Walt sees it as a painful reminder of his and Jesse's time in Tuco's captivity.
  • In “Half Measures,” Mike tells Walt that back when he was a cop, he took a serial wife-beater out to the country to scare him straight by threatening to kill him. The man later killed his wife, leading Mike to promise himself he would never use a 'half measure' (scaring him) rather than a 'full measure' (killing him) again. Except, he and other characters later on end up losing everything because they take a half-measure, Mike included:
    • Come Season 5, Mike decides against killing Walt because Jesse begs him not to. This ultimately plants the seeds that cause Mike's death.
    • In “Crawl Space,” Gus takes Walt out to the desert and threatens him instead of killing him due to Jesse's intervention. This plants the seeds for Gus's death.
    • This motif debatably carries over to Walter in the second half of season 5 twice:
      • Saul presents the option for Walter to kill Hank, but Walter scoffs at this because he can't bring himself to kill a family member. Instead, Walter elects to make the tape, which stalls Hank temporarily, but does not solve his problem.
      • Multiple characters urge Walter to kill Jesse, but instead, he elects to simply try to talk to him. Dragging his feet on killing Jesse arguably starts Walter's demise more than anything else. Ironically, it's the few times late in the series where Walter actually tries to be a decent person again that lead to his destruction.
      • In a way, one could say that just as the 'Heisenberg' persona was the downfall of Walter White (separating him from his life/loved ones), it's the kinder 'Walter White' persona which is the downfall of Heisenberg (not taking action against Hank and Jesse)
    • There is also a very clear inconsistency in this theme, however. Mike takes an obvious 'half-measure', if not two, with regard to Lydia Rodarte-Quayle, but Lydia's continued presence has no real negative consequences for Mike or anyone else. The only possible exception is saying that the Mike's men in prison would've been better off but, had the prison hit not happened, things would've just ended badly for Jesse, Walter, and possibly even Mike anyway. So it's kinda six-in-one and half-a-dozen in the other.
    • Hank's half-measure is that instead of taking his suspicions/evidence directly to SAC Ramey, he waits until he knows he can personally fully pin Walter. The second he does, he ends up getting killed by the Aryan Brotherhood.
  • The season two finale has a massive Genius Bonus: the midair collision is similar to a real-life incident in 1986, when an Aeromexico jet and a private plane flew into each other over Los Angeles. The air traffic controller in the incident: his name was Walter White!
  • In “Rabid Dog,” Jesse momentarily examines a book called Dutch on a bookshelf in Hank's house. In gambling, a “Dutch book” is a term for a wager that's guaranteed to yield a profit no matter what the outcome is — in other words, it describes Hank's intended gambit with Jesse. As long as Jesse approaches Walt, it doesn't matter what happens. Either way, Hank will get new evidence against Walt.
    • The presence of the book itself is also a bit of a Genius Bonus: Dutch is a biography of Ronald Reagan, the president who started the war on drugs and massively expanded the DEA. Hank may very well owe his career to him.
  • What does Walt build to use against the Neo-Nazis in the finale? A robot, which is a reference to a previous line in “4 Days Out”.
  • In the very first scene of the pilot, Walt's video message to his family includes the line “I only had you in my heart”. Both meanings of that phrase: that Walt cooks meth to provide for his family, and Walt's Lack of Empathy to people outside his family, are significant parts of Walt's character.
  • Walt takes his alias, “Heisenberg”, from the famed German physicist Werner Heisenberg, who became infamous late in his career for working to help the Nazis develop nuclear weapons during World War II. In season 5B, Walt ends up working with a gang of neo-Nazis.
  • Another historical reference is neo-Nazis trafficking meth. In real life Nazi Germany distributed amphetamine to its soldiers and Morell, Hitler's personal physician, injected him with amphetamines.
  • Perhaps borders on Fridge Horror, but the show was essentially about turning Mr. Chips into Scarface. As Walt's actions gradually get worse and worse, he keeps giving rationales for said actions. Since Walt started as an Escapist Character, the audience probably is too. However, at one point in the series, Walt probably will cross a line that you would be unwilling to cross. Since the viewer is (presumably) as normal as Walt would be in the beginning, we get to see how far we'd be willing to go to break bad. When we finally see him do an action we would be unwilling to do.
  • In “Cancer Man,” Walt tells the story of how he met Skyler. She was a hostess at a restaurant he frequented, and he noticed her filling out crossword puzzles in her downtime. Seeing an opportunity to set up a Meet Cute for the two of them, he started doing the puzzles himself and asking her for help. On the surface, this seems sweet, and the result of a shy man dragging his feet on talking to his crush, but look more closely. He used his intelligence and power of observation to identify something about her, then he used that information to attract her with manipulation and lies. Harmless lies about needing help on a crossword, admittedly, but it's still a very calculated and somewhat underhanded way to get her attention that demonstrates early on how he conducts himself when he wants something.
  • The bullet that kills Walt hits him in his right lung. Walt was living with terminal lung cancer, and that means that in a way, the organ that he was told would kill him in due time ultimately did kill him.
  • When Gus threatens Walt in “Crawl Space”, why does he not threaten to kill Walt, but rather, threatens his family? It's simple, because he knows Walt's cancer is coming back. How do we know this? Not only is it the fact that Walt's “cancer cough” has returned, but because Gus has the super-detailed medical information of his most important employees. Seeing how the impromptu medical clinic earlier in the same episode had the correct blood types on hand for everyone who got wounded during the escape from the cartels' compound. Gus knows Walter is a dead man and threatening to kill him would accomplish nothing, so threatening his family, in Gus's mind, is the only way to go.
  • Gus threatens loved ones of targets because he himself suffered at the loss of his “loved one” in Max's traumatizing death.
  • Why did Victor try to cook meth by himself, only to get killed by Gus? Because Victor knows he's partially responsible for letting Gale get killed. He and Mike had unknowingly allowed Walt to find out where Gale lived, while Walt hid Jesse under their noses and carried out another act against Gus. Victor had to have known that Gus was probably going to kill him as a penalty for failing to protect Gale and for being seen by witnesses. Also, Victor probably knew that someone in his position is pretty easily replaceable. That would at least explain why Victor decided to cook that batch of meth: he's making a desperate effort to prove to Gus that he was more valuable than Walt, and that he could take Walt's place and Gus would instead change his mind and kill Walt. Sadly, it just didn't work.
  • When Gus is questioned in “Hermanos,” it's clear that he anticipated his prints being in Gale's house. But you wonder, where did Hank get the comparison prints from? But then you realize, Gus was a Chilean immigrant. Even though Hank does admit that immigrant background checks weren't as thorough prior to 9/11. Even in the 1980s when Gus did enter the United States, all green card and naturalization applicants were fingerprinted when going through an FBI background check and these prints remain on file permanently. So Gus clearly knew his fingerprints were already on file. Meaning that Hank's whole cup ruse was practically unnecessary. Maybe Hank just didn't think of that, or he did it (and it happened offscreen), since he was basically conducting his own investigation and didn't want to send in an official request for the prints.
  • Walt's windshield: notice in “Caballo Sin Nombre” that in every shot before the cop pulls Walt over, the windshield appears to be perfectly intact with no Wayfarer 515 damage. It's not until the police officer points out the damage to Walt that the damage actually appears. Seems like a continuity error, or, alternately: the damage was always there, but Walt was so off in his own little world that he didn't notice it until the cop pointed it out to him. The windshield looking intact was showing it as Walt would've imagined it.
    • The camera was probably mounted on the dashboard and not the hood, that's why we can't see damage; because we can't see the windshield in the first place.
  • Hank realizing Walt is Heisenberg is an interesting one: While it definitely seems like an oversight for Walt to leave incriminating evidence like a copy of Leaves of Grass from Gale Boetticher lying in plain sight where anyone could pick it up. It's all it takes for Hank to put two and two together, that actually happens more often than not. In investigations of this nature, it often only takes just a tiny clue or slip-up to send the police in the right direction and ultimately crack the case open. It was just the tiniest of mistakes by Walt. By itself, it wasn't really anything and Walt might have been able to explain it away, but it wouldn't matter because the damage was already done. Up to that point, for Hank, the idea of Walt being Heisenberg was about as foreign as Marie being Heisenberg. It was just utterly absent from Hank's mind, even though there were plenty of other clues right in front of his face. That slip-up with the copy of Leaves of Grass implanted the idea in Hank's mind that maybe it was Walt all along, and all Hank had to do was think about it: “Hmm, Walt is a brilliant chemist. Yet no one can find him whenever other important things are going on [like Tuco's death or Gus's death]. And he insisted on staying at his home in the wake of Fring's threat on my life rather than come with the rest of his family to my home for protection. Meaning, for a couple of days he was completely by himself, during which Fring was killed. And oh my god, that lame-ass story of his and Skyler's about counting cards for how he suddenly was able to afford to purchase the car wash he used to work at. A story that in my opinion seems to be a bit too good to be true? And his connections to Jesse Pinkman, a man who I've personally investigated on several occasions for meth manufacturing/distribution? FUCK!
  • When Gus, annoyed with the Cousins' intimidation tactics, tells them to meet him at sunset in the desert, notice that even though they act together and kill together, the two Cousins can be told apart by subtle differences in their behaviors. Marco looks calm and collected, while Leonel looks aggressive and paranoid. Once you see the flashback of Hector nearly drowning Marco, you can understand why Leonel (as the one who had to hit Hector repeatedly to get him to let Marco go) is acting like that.
  • Saul's freakout in “Full Measures” when Mike threatens to break his legs to get information on Jesse's wherabouts seems kinda out-of-character. But after viewing the scene in Better Call Saul where Jimmy/Saul has to watch as Tuco breaks two skateboarders' legs because they insulted his grandmother, it makes sense that Jimmy may still have traumatic memories of what happened.
    • It's also the fact that Mike is threatening him. While the two probably wouldn't call each other friends, they've worked together on-and-off since 2002 and are genuinely willing to stick their neck out for each other; see also Mike saving Jimmy's life in the desert with his sniper rifle, then trying to comfort him when he's traumatized (insofar as Mike is capable of comforting someone). The fact that Mike is threatening to hurt him just to get to Walt is when Saul realized that Walt fucked up beyond repair. The only options were to go along with Walt's plan to get Mike away or sell out a client, which he will never do no matter what.
  • For Walt's 51st birthday, Jesse gets him a TAG Heuer Monaco watch. The watch is forever linked to and made famous by Steve McQueen in the movie Le Mans. Steve McQueen died in 1980 of a rare, inoperable lung cancer.
  • It's not visible on the surface, but when you think about Hank's home-brewery, you realize that he and Walt have subtle similarities. Walt felt like a failure in his life and career, and made meth to make up for it and compensate. Hank also felt like somewhat of an underachiever at the DEA, as he wanted to become an ASAC (before deciding that field work was his talent), and brewed beer.
    • Both cooking meth and brewing beer are complex chemical processes that can be done (with wildly varying levels of quality) by individuals with the right equipment. Both result in mind-altering substances. But Hank's concoction is legal, and he only produces it in small quantities for friends; Walt's is illegal, and he's always insisting on producing more.
  • Skyler slept with Ted, then helped him cook his books. If you think about it, Skyler helping Ted with illegal activity may have gone some way to helping her understand what Walt did and why, and factored into her aiding Walt's operation with the purchase of the car wash. That said, Ted cooked his books and Walt cooked his meth — there's a big difference (even though both are crimes).
  • Knowing the events of Better Call Saul makes clear that even though Jimmy has become Saul thoroughly, parts of Jimmy McGill still poke through, like:
    • Scenes where Saul is appalled by Walt's poisoning of Brock.
    • The scene where he screams to Jesse: “I never would have agreed to it if I knew Walt was going to poison him! You've gotta believe me, Jesse! I didn't want any of THIS!”
    • His scene in “Granite State” and the way he tries to give Walt proper legal advice for a change.
    • The scene where he's racking his head before Ted arrives in his office, saying: “This is a bad idea … this is a bad idea … this is a bad idea...” as if he knows Ted is probably on the same league of idiocy as the Kettlemans or Daniel Warmold. Likewise, the whole scene involves Saul informing Ted that he's unexpectedly received an inheritance from the estate of a great aunt he never heard of. As Better Call Saul shows, Jimmy originally worked in elder law before he transitioned to criminal law, and would still have some knowledge of estate law.
    • The scene where he went out of his way to tell Jesse that he should go see Andrea and Brock in Season 4.
    • The scene where Walt tells Saul: “I can't be the bad guy anymore” in Season 3 and Saul sits in his car afterward, looking bothered.
  • During the attempted truck hijack in “Bullet Points”, Mike's actions while crouched in the back of the truck — or the way he immediately goes for his gun the moment the truck stops completely — make it clear he seems to know the hijackers' M.O. Seems to make more sense after the Better Call Saul episode “Nailed” reveals that Mike knew their methods … because he himself once hijacked an ice cream truck smuggling Hector Salamanca's drug money.
  • Before the “Dead Freight” heist, Mike remarks that there are two types of heists: perfect ones, and ones that leave a witness behind. Now, this has meaning in Breaking Bad because Todd kills Drew Sharp for stumbling upon the train heist. But maybe Mike is drawing from experience because in Better Call Saul, he hijacked one of Hector Salamanca's trucks and stole drug money from it, but he didn't kill the driver. Subsequently, when a Good Samaritan came along afterward, he cut the driver loose and the driver called Hector in. Hector then took the Samaritan out into the desert and shot him point-blank in the head.
  • The attacks on Gus's refrigerator trucks early season 4; considering that both incidents ended in a shot up refrigerator truck on the roadside with a dead driver (and two dead guards armed with assault rifles in the second robbery). The bodies and truck were just left there, not disposed of, how come there was no police investigation into either attack? But look in the episode of Better Call Saul where Mike attacked one of Hector's trucks, ostensibly trying to put the cops on Hector. When Mike is confronted by Nacho after the fact, Mike asks why the robbery wasn't in the papers, and Nacho mentions that Hector's crew cleaned up the scene and removed the truck, making it look like nothing happened. Hector's operation may be small fry compared to Gus's operation, Gus might have a similar service on hand to make sure they don't end up with newspaper articles headlined “Los Pollos Hermanos Refrigerator Truck Attacked”, “Police Seek Suspects in Los Pollos Hermanos Truck Ambush”, “Three Killed in Los Pollos Hermanos Truck Robbery”, and so on.
  • Walt's memetic “I AM the one who knocks!” line seems kinda Narmy. It seems up there with Tony Montana's “Say hello to my little friend!” in Scarface (1983). Walt idolizes Scarface, and even watches it with Walt Jr. in a season 5A episode, saying “Look how cool this is!” Walt intentionally imitated the bravado from a movie, regardless of its real world appearance. It's symptomatic of a much larger truth: Walt sees his life like a movie, he sees himself like the big boss, despite the realities crashing in around him.
  • Hank's relentless drive to capture Heisenberg, even attempting to use Skyler and actually using Jesse, stems from the fact that it was him that spurred Walt into being Heisenberg. Hank takes him to that fateful drug bust to show him how everything ends, but which ends up giving him the idea to cook meth to support his family. He realizes that Heisenberg was accidentally his creation as well, and trying to stop him was his redemption for the act.
    • And the risk to his career as ASAC as well, as George Merkert showed in the Season 5A premiere.
  • For a hardened drug kingpin who kills a lot of people, Walt begs for his life and pleads a lot. Nearly pissing his pants many times, he's as scared or worse than someone like Jesse half the time. But that element of Walt makes more sense when you consider he's not a hardened drug kingpin. As mentioned with the Scarface example above, Walt constantly acts like someone who got his ideals from TV shows and movies. The fact that he acts this way when trapped in a corner may have been intentional to drive home a simple point Krazy 8 mentioned: Walt was never really meant to be a drug dealer, much less a kingpin. He just never “got it” and that's why everything was constantly falling apart for him. In fact, for all his faults in the emotional department, Jesse actually understood what their role was in the underworld. It was Jesse who warned against doing business with Tuco, Jesse who was against expanding into new territory (which got Combo killed). Jesse was against meeting in the middle of nowhere, Jesse was against continuing the operation after being offered a buyout, etc.
    • In fact, it's hard to be a successful, hardened “bad guy” when you're a family man on the side. Too much collateral, as Tuco put it. Just compare Walt to the other “successful” bad guys in both this show and Better Call Saul. The closest thing any of them has to a family would be Mike with his daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Better Call Saul also showed how having family complicates things, both with Mike's family and with Nacho's father. Walt only survived as long as he did through sheer luck and by outsmarting people on the technical/mechanical side of things, not because he actually understood the drug game. This lack of understanding of the drug game also means that even at his peak, Walt would never be able to create a meth empire akin to Gus'. That takes a lifetime of patience, creating connections, and establishing a chain of command.
    • It also ties in with the theme of the whole show: Walt is a genius but an amateur. One day he is making brilliant moves, the next he looks like a complete idiot (expanding his territory in Season 2 in a way that got Combo killed, etc.). In fact, it explains his and Mike's conflicts. Walt is much smarter, but Mike is savvier. Mike catches Walt going to Gus's house, trying to sneak into the warehouse, etc. All amateur moves. But Walt out thinks them with tactics like his orchestration of Gale's murder, or having Hector be a fake snitch (which was helped by Mike being out of commission).
  • In “Bullet Points”, Hank, still thinking Gale was Heisenberg, tells Walt that he really wanted to catch the guy, overtly styling himself as a modern-day Popeye Doyle. Walt points out that Popeye never actually caught his suspect. In hindsight, Hank never did either, as he was killed just as he was about to bring Walt down for good.
  • Gus is a man who would keep his friend close and his enemies closer. That is why he's friends with the DEA: because he's the last person the DEA would suspect to be running drugs.
  • Gus doesn't look concerned when he learns that Hank is installing a tracker on his car and tells Walt to “Do it”. He's not concerned because, as seasons 3 and 4 of Better Call Saul shows, he used trackers to monitor Mike before recruiting him into his business. Gus knows, therefore, the tricks you can use to throw off a tracker when you need to do shady business.
  • Gus Fring is a major-organized crime guy, and he is very much The Chicken Man. He gets blown up with a bomb. Almost like a shoutout to an infamous mobster from Philadelphia named Salvatore “Chicken Man” Testa, who was blown up with a bomb in the 1980s.
  • In Season 3 Saul strongly pushed laser tag—that is, a game in which lasers serve as fake guns—as the best way for the Whites to launder their drug money. How does Walter finally manage to launder his remaining money to his family? By having Badger and Skinny Pete point lasers at the Schwartzes under the pretense that they are fictional snipers.
  • Skyler is very similar to Walt regarding biting off more than she can chew. When she decides to carry the task of laundering Walt's money by using the car wash instead of the Laser Tag business Saul offered. While it's less suspicious to go with the car wash and her managing the business, it's much less effective in actually covering Walt. It's easier to relate the wash to him, rather than have someone else appointed to manage the laser tag and having to do actual police tier digging to realize Walt owns it. Not to mention that a Laser Tag business is much cheaper to kick-start than buying an already existing Car Wash, so is easier to explain. If something goes bad, Skyler is tying herself and the rest of the family with the money laundering operation. Skyler is just as an amateur compared to the pros as Walt is.
    • In fact, if the theories about the high executives of Madrigal knowing about Gus' operation and Peter Schuler taking the blame are to be believed, then Saul was probably aiming for something similar. While it would have been hard to explain to the family, it would provide Walt with a fall guy as unrelated to him as possible.
  • In "Over," Jesse admits to Jane that he once created several hilariously lame superheroes when he was a teenager, including “Kanga-Man” (a human-kangaroo hybrid who carries a Kid Sidekick in his pouch), “Rewindo” (who has the power to move backwards really fast), and “Hover Man” (who can glide and surf with air cushions under his feet). It's funny at first—but as we really get to know Jesse over the course of the show, those lame superheroes can really seem like serious Wish-Fulfillment figures in hindsight. “Kanga-Man” represents his desire to find a nurturing father figure, “Rewindo” represents his desire to walk away from the negative influences in his life, and “Hover Man” represents his desire to rise above his background and make his own choices.
  • A key part of Walt's characterization is that he sees cooking meth as a creative outlet just as much as a business. He takes immense pride in the unrivaled quality of his meth—just like you'd expect of any other creative person, like a painter or a musician. Jesse even calls him an “artist” in the very first episode. With this in mind, his relationships with Saul Goodman and Gus Fring can come across very differently. Saul is a networker who helps Walt make connections with people who can actually sell his product, while Gus is a wealthy businessman who sells and distributes his product—which is where the real money is. So not only does Walt frequently behave like an artist, Saul essentially serves as his agent, and Gus essentially serves as an executive.
  • Watch the scene where Saul meets with Jesse's parents and their lawyer to negotiate repurchasing Jesse's house on behalf of his client. Now rewatch this scene after watching Better Call Saul, and suddenly Saul's disdain for the Pinkmans' lawyer seems more like it's due to the lawyer embodying everything Saul / Jimmy hated about Chuck. Hell, Mr. Gardner's reaction of “What is this, a joke?” you see a look on Saul's face that almost makes it seem like he's recalling Chuck's breakdown in “Chicanery” (“And he gets to be a lawyer? What a sick joke!”).
    • You can even tell he was triggered a bit after that. They way he drops his head for a bit, and lowers his voice as he goes in for the kill. He can probably still remember that day clearly.
  • How is Saul able to accurately predict to Walt that he'll end up managing a Cinnabon in Omaha? For starters, the owner of that particular Cinnabon is in the game. The real Gene Takavic was a guy so far in over his head in gambling debts he could never pay off, and was killed for it. But: Takavic had no one, no friends, no family, no one to find it unusual that he's been missing for so long. He made his money remotely, or maybe living off some kind of windfall - the point is, the authorities have no reason to believe he’s dead. So when the real Gene is killed, the identity is kept alive in the record books to sell to people like the vacuum guy. And when vacuum guy needs to set up a new life for a client, people like the owner of the Cinnabon can, for a price, provide the client a landing spot. Saul must have paid extra to make sure that he'd end up in a solid landing place, not a free-but-uncertain future like Jesse Pinkman's. And when Saul opts to disappear, he watches a few Cinnabon training videos, the owner fires or reassigns the current manager, then brings in Saul, introducing him to the rest of the crew. Nothing suspicious.
    • Speaking of the vacuum guy, the code to request a pick-up is that you need “a new dust filter for a Hoover Max Extract Pressure Pro, Model 60.” That particular appliance is a wet carpet cleaner with a cyclonic vacuum. It doesn’t use a dust filter. Few people (other than a professional vacuum salesman/repairman) would know that it's a bogus request.
  • In the prequel series, it's established that Saul would go on to inherit a criminal network that offers assassination as a service (which Mike himself was once contracted to do). As such, when he tells Walt that he doesn't know any hitman in the main series, he's definitely lying to protect the criminals in his network. On both occasions when Walt asks him for some hitmen (the first is against Gus, the second against the Neo-Nazi), it's to fight much stronger gangs that can easily kill anyone Saul sends his way. Being a principled criminal who believes in honor among thieves, Saul refuses to send his guys to certain death.
  • In “Felina” Walt intimidates Gretchen and Elliot by pretending to have hired assassins when in reality he hired Badger and Skinny Pete to point lasers at them. It’s possible Walt considered hiring a real assassin, but didn't do it for several reasons.
    • While Walt is mad at the Schwartzes for trying to minimize his contributions, he realizes they don't deserve to have a sniper rifle pointed at them. Spooking them is revenge enough.
    • Considering how badly hiring Jack went, not to mention how all of his other criminal relationships backfired horribly, Walt realized that working with an actual assassin is too risky. Even Ed the Cleaner wasn't honorable enough to not take Walt's money. Badger and Skinny Pete are benign crooks who would never do anything to the Schwartzes. Hell, they even feel bad for scaring an innocent couple, until Walt pays them.
    • The professional assassin could turn Walt over to the feds, and Walt doesn't have the luxury of trust.
  • An early hint that Walt really did poison Brock: He admits that Gus's plan to turn Jesse against him is “brilliant” and, considering how ego-driven Walter is, he would only ever give that honor to himself.
  • Hector dinging out explicit language at Hank instead of just saying nonsense or even refusing to say anything isn't just because of his refusal to rat out Gustavo Fring: it's also because he's being asked to give information to the man who shot and killed both Tuco and Marco. No wonder the dude's so pissed at him!
  • Heisenberg executing Jack mid-sentence when he's trying to bargain with him is more than just disgust at the man for killing Hank. It's also an emphasis of him taking Mike's speech about “half measures” into account. After all, Walt was once able to manipulate Mike into not killing him by concocting a scheme that convinced the man he's too important to kill, lest it fuck up Gustavo Fring's drug operation. It ended with Mike's death, and any chance of him getting the money he had to his granddaughter lost. Here, Heisenberg recognizes that Jack is trying to do the same thing to him by offering to help him find his money, and knows exactly where it's going to end up going. So he applies a “full measure” to silence Jack as a threat for good.
  • In the final episode, we see Walt abandon his worst trait: his pride. And this is why he becomes the MVP for the first time in his life: because it no longer clouds his judgment.
    • In “Ozymandias”, he furiously rages at his family for “ditching” him. But in Felina, he accepts Skyler no longer wants him in his life and leaves after the promised five minutes. He ensures his money can be given to his family without them, and chooses to give his son one last look instead of worming his way back into his life.
    • He stops caring about his image and reputation and just decides to bring Jack down.
    • Letting go of his grudge and saving Jesse is not only the right thing to do, but in a twisted way, it is what allows Walt to die without being captured.
    • He abandons his most infamous accessory: the pork pie hat. The hat represented Heisenberg and Walt's romanticization of criminal life. With it gone, it not only keeps him from being identified but shows his has finally broken from his naive entitlement.
  • Gus's “sixth sense” when Walt attempts to kill him with a car bomb seems oddly convenient and out-of-nowhere, but after the reveal in “Face Off” that Walt was the one who poisoned Brock, this makes much more sense. Watch the scene again where Jesse confronts Gus about Brock; Gus's confused/outraged “What?” reaction is completely genuine—but it also gives Gus enough information to connect the dots. He knew there was only one person that would have put that idea in Jesse's head, so knowing Walt was planning something along with his gut feeling that something was amiss was enough to lead him away from his car. Him glancing over and briefly seeing Walt hiding on the other building confirmed his suspicions.
  • Skyler’s a sharp woman who’s usually able to see through her husband’s lies, perhaps because her lie detecting skills were honed on Marie, her compulsive liar sister. She’s probably used to being lied to by a close loved one.

Fridge Brilliance - Metastasis

  • Walter Blanco is compared to William Blake instead of Walt Whitman. Considering the violence in Blake's works, it is very appropriate.

Fridge Horror

  • Remember how Wendy was around Once a Season? The last episode she was in was when she was part of Jesse's attempt to kill the two drug dealers who'd corrupted Andrea's brother. At the end of the episode, they've killed said little brother, and Wendy's not been seen since, either. She's probably been killed, or overdosed.
  • Can you imagine how much it must've destroyed Walt seeing the aftermath of the airplane crash and realizing through the TV coverage that he had inadvertently caused 150+ deaths by letting Jane die? Even worse, when he eventually pieces together that he met Donald Margolis at a bar right before he went and basically killed his daughter.
    • Walt’s speech in the school gym might reflect this. We never get an answer for why Walt gives an impromptu speech he memorized a mountain of air crash statistics for. However, notice how desperate he is to downplay the death toll and how much he’s stumbling over his words during it. While Walt can turn on the empathy trigger statements regarding it if need be and is shell shocked by the actual carnage itself, nothing about him ever remotely implies he would care nearly as much about it as he does. Certainly not to the point of researching its ranks in the list of air disasters. The most logical explanation is that he looked it up trying to reassure himself that he did something too horrible. Hence, his repeated insistence in the speech about how it could have been worse and there are so many worse ones. He’s just trying to ease his guilt over the massacre.
  • Hank beating up Jesse in “One Minute” reflects the worst fear of a DEA officer or any police officer who are assigned to a drug task force — the identities of themselves and their family member being exposed. Having the identities exposed means that cartels' members are able to retaliate on those officer who arrested them in the past. They can even have their family threaten as a way to blackmail them not to participate in their arrest or coerce them to sabotage the investigation. Fortunately, Jesse’s not as harmful or ruthless as other drug dealers in the show.
  • Eagerly on in Season 5, Lydia says that she can not die because she has a little girl to take care of. If she does die or goes missing, her daughter will end up in foster care, which she knows will be horrible for her. In the series finale, Walt poisons Lydia with the ricin he hid in the cigarette, meaning she only has a few more days to live, dooming Lydia's daughter to the fate she described.
    • Though Lydia does at least get her wish in that she won't disappear, and her daughter won't think she abandoned her. The nature of the poison at least gives her time to arrange things.
    • Of course Lydia could have feigned some elements of her story to keep Mike, who has a granddaughter himself, from killing her. But however this played out in the end, Lydia's daughter would lose a parent. The only other, admittedly far-fetched, outcome could be Lydia being hospitalized by the last minute. This seems like a loophole for the writers as well, because even in El Camino Lydia isn't dead, just not expected to survive.
  • Jesse does not seem to be in the best mental state, to put it mildly, when he escapes in the finale. Will he be able to recover? If so, how will he support himself? Has he gone too far into the drug world and thus had his reputation and chances for another life utterly destroyed?
    • This plot thread and all the following speculation is addressed in its entirety in El Camino.
    • Additionally, isn't he in trouble with the DEA now? Any deal he might have had presumably died with Hank, and he's unlikely to be able to make a new one with Heisenberg dead and his empire in shambles; Jesse simply doesn't have anything of value to offer. Not to mention the fact that he's totally broke, and his lawyer just fell off the face of the earth.
      • Some people have suggested that it would actually look embarrassing for the cops to prosecute Jesse after he spent the better portion of a year in a Neo-Nazi dungeon. Especially if he said he got coerced into working with Hank and Gomez. He might be able to get a settlement and possibly even therapy. If word gets out that Jesse was basically enslaved by Jack Welker and his gang and then escaped after killing one of his captors, the media would almost certainly portray him as a victim. Also, Badger and Skinny Pete are still alive, and they'd probably be willing to help Jesse.
    • Jesse most likely would go to Alaska, where he originally begged Saul to “disappear” him — mirroring Walt's exile to New Hampshire. Jesse liked to watch “Ice Truckers”, which mirrors Jesse's function to “move 'ice'” in the meth biz with Walt — maybe a new occupation for him. Alaska is home to many fugitives and is America's “final frontier.” Not Badger's Star Trek transporter. Jesse's ragged and rugged appearance hints this in the finale and will let him blend in and “hide in plain sight.”
  • In “Full Measures”, Gus is offended when Walt questions if he could have ordered the hit on Tomás, leaving it rather ambiguous if Gus had anything to do with Tomás’ death. One season later in “Crawl Space,” Gus threatens to kill Walt’s entire family including his infant daughter, meaning that he doesn’t seem to have a problem with killing children. Could that answer the Thomás question?
  • What happened to Brock? Is he living with another family relative we don't know about after Andrea was killed? Is he in foster care? Did Jesse pick him up and adopt him after he escaped from Jack and his goons? Or did Jack's neo-Nazis kill him anyway and not inform Jesse about it, so he could still cook for them under the assumption that Brock was still alive?
    • Not to mention, how could he have been killed in that case, considering he's a Hispanic boy surrounded by Neo-Nazis. The problems that his death would imply an acid bath isn't far from possible, neither throwing him in while still alive.
      • In real life, the Aryan Brotherhood is allied with the Mexican Mafia. It's likely him being Hispanic is not a priority for them.
    • There is his grandmother who he and Andrea are living with when they are introduced.
    • And in the last episode, Gretchen makes a seemingly throwaway remark about her maid, Juana, being upset on account of her daughter. Juana could possibly be the mother of Andrea.
    • They probably didn't kill Brock. They've already killed Andrea. Since Jesse is already cooking under the assumption that Brock is alive, what advantage would the Neo-Nazis gain by killing Brock at a later date? And if Brock had something to tell the police, he would have likely already told them before the “later date” arrived (he may be young, but he'll remember Todd's face very clearly from when he visited to shoot Andrea). He would also be harder to get at by that point. Potentially, they would have had to kill other people to get at Brock. Not to mention that killing Brock would introduce a chance that Jesse finds out about it somehow. What if a newspaper page could blow into his cage, or perhaps a radio playing within earshot of Jesse's cage broadcasts news of the murder? There's no risk of Jesse discovering the murder if there is no murder. Killing Brock would just create unnecessary risk for Jack and his gang.
    • The worst part is he doesn't know why it's happening to him or that Jesse is indirectly responsible.
  • Ken Wins's car burns up next to a gas station in Season 1. Only Rule of Funny keeps the entire station from going up.
  • In season 2's “Peekaboo” episode, we run across some truly repugnant meth-addicted parents when Jesse tries to get back the money and drugs they stole from his dealer. Jesse bonds with their kid a bit and chastises the mother for being so sucky. This episode is one of the first to show that Jesse cares about kids and doesn't like to see them hurt. However, he and his partner are putting out the purest meth their state has ever seen. These parents were addicts before Blue Sky, but how many families are going to end up similar to these thanks to Jesse and Walt's product?
  • The whole series has disturbing implications about the kind of terrible things normal (or seemingly normal) people are capable of under the right circumstances.
  • What makes the show so chilling is how damaging lies and deceit can really be. The consequences for Walt lying gradually worsen as the series progresses, and by the fifth season, the White family is completely shattered. Nothing about it is genuine.
  • When we last saw Ted, he was in the hospital with a broken neck or spine. There's a possibility that he'll end up as a quadriplegic.
    • Also consider the fact that his head appears to have been shaved. That's because they'd have to do so to get into his brain to stop the swelling.
  • Gus's death has some chilling undertones to it. Like, Walt’s lucky the bomb only killed Gus, Hector, and Tyrus. The force of the blast blew down the door and threw it into the hallway. If a caregiver was wheeling a resident down the hall in front of Hector's door at the time of explosion. Or maybe a caregiver came to Hector's door to check on him at the time of the explosion. Anyone in that vicinity would have had a bad day. No wonder Hank was furious when he learned that Walt was Heisenberg.
  • There had to be a lot of fallout from Gus's death that the show never dwelled on. With the death of Gus, and the exposure of his drug empire, Madrigal is going to be in a lot of hot water. This isn’t tax evasion or liability for a faulty product, but narcotics production and trafficking on an industrial scale. In fact, Madrigal is lucky that the United States government or EU didn't have them dissolved.
    • In fact, this could factor into what little we see of Peter Schuler. It's obvious that Schuler and Gus knew each other personally, as evidenced by the photo shown of the two together on a game fishing trip(?). His role seems to possibly have been to launder Gus's meth money through Los Pollos Hermanos. This lends real legitimacy to LPH as a Madrigal corporate franchise (which is not too far-fetched, as there are plenty of actual so-called local food franchises that are owned by conglomerates). By suicide, Schuler may not have just been avoiding a prison sentence, but he may also have done so to protect Madrigal as a whole from prosecution. Schuler implicated only himself in the operation by not throwing anyone else from Madrigal under the bus in a plea deal.
  • The way Saul acts in “Granite State”, it's clear that his real personality as Jimmy McGill is coming back. It's as if all of Saul's goods have been stripped away: his job, his flashy clothes and car, and even his name — fake though it is — and without them, he is just another working slob, doomed to the kind of life he had always avoided.
  • The death of Drew Sharp after the train heist was shocking enough. But it had to have been worse for Mike. That's because he probably still remembers the fallout from his attack on Hector's ice cream/money smuggling truck from Better Call Saul: an innocent Samaritan got killed by Hector for stumbling upon the tied-up truck driver. Mike hasn't forgotten that. And Drew Sharp probably reminded him of that Samaritan — someone in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • Jesse and Skinny Pete's reactions to Combo's death really speak volumes about both men's vastly different backgrounds, and about the subtle psychological effects of a life of crime. Jesse, who seems to have been relatively sheltered as a child, is so devastated by his death that he refuses to leave the house for days, and can't even bring himself to attend Combo's funeral. But when the veteran drug dealer Skinny Pete calls Jesse after the funeral, he excitedly raves about it like it was just another party, even gushing about the impressively large casket that Combo's family paid for. It's a small but telling look at the mindset of a professional drug dealer. People like Combo and Skinny Pete know damn well that their careers come with a low life expectancy, and they live with the possibility of death every day; for many of them, a lavish funeral is the closest thing that they'll ever get to a retirement party.
    • It’s possible that Combo and Skinny Pete had the same background - this could easily be an illustration of how Jesse likely would have ended up if his previous trajectory continued uninterrupted.
  • In “Half Measure,” Walt wants Jesse put in jail for a couple of months to keep Jesse from going after the dealers that killed Combo. Saul asks Mike to do the job, and Mike discusses the plan with Walt.
    Mike: Have a seat, Walter. I spoke to Goodman about Pinkman and this plan of yours.
    Walt: And?
    Mike: I'm not gonna do it.
    Walt: Why?
    Mike: Because it's moronic.
    Walt: Saul said you've done things like this before.
    • In Better Call Saul, Mike and Gus had a similar scheme to get Lalo locked up. It backfired in a big way, as Lalo was still able to give orders and harm Gus's operation from jail. After the blowback from that scheme, it makes sense that Mike would be hesitant to do another “get someone incarcerated” job and see it as a half-measure.
  • “You're WELCOME …!!” Mike could have just kept walking, instead of confronting Walter. Mike would have survived, and had a clear conscience that he didn't give up his men (Walter would have soon figured out he could have gotten the names from Lydia).
  • The scene where Huell and Kuby enter Ted Beneke's house. The audience knows that it relates to the money problems, but it’s likely that Ted himself doesn't realize that until they mention Skyler. Thus, when they initially walk in (without his consent) and Huell warns him to do what he's told and Kuby insists on getting Ted's check book. Ted thinks that a random, bizarre duo of thugs is trying to steal his (considerable) wealth. Which, when one thinks about that, makes an amusing scene even more amusing from the perspective of the audience and more terrifying from Ted's POV.
  • As unexpected as some plots are, they do sort of play out in a very realistic way, especially in regard to white privilege. One example of this is seen in Todd threatening Jesse's Latina girlfriend, as opposed to Jesse's biological and white family in the burbs. The horrifying reality of POC being expendable and killed without justice is a certainty you can bet on, and the deaths of Jesse's family would warrant unwanted attention from the police.
    • This may have less to do with race and more to do with Andrea having a history of drug abuse. It also may be the only lead the gang has. It very well could be a race thing in this specific circumstance because the perpetrators are Neo-Nazis. But Andrea being easier to disappear and her death being less likely to be investigated due to her history of addiction would be a factor in deciding who to kill regardless of race. It's also easier to explain away the death or disappearance of a meth cook's girlfriend as opposed to his family. If you're in a relationship with someone in the drug trade, you're a lot more likely to be okay with it and possibly involved yourself than their parents.
      • Jack's crew wanted to hit Jesse where it really hurt for being disobedient. Jesse wasn't on good terms with his parents after they kicked him out of his aunt's house in season 2, so it makes sense that Jack would go after Andrea instead, since Jesse cared much more for her.
  • It's a good thing that Walt and Jesse end up being discovered by Tuco while trying to poison him. Have they successfully gone through with their plan, Tuco would have taken at least five days to die. By the time that happens, Jesse and Walt would have been deep in Mexican territory under the control of the Cartel, with no one having any clue as to where they are.
  • The pink teddy bear becomes even worse when you realize that it's unlikely an adult would own it.
  • Despite being supposedly Chilean, Gus seems to have a strong preference for speaking English even when talking to other Spanish speakers. Juan Bolsa comments on this at one point. Considering the DEA can find no records of his existence in Chile, this adds to the speculation about his background. Perhaps Gus was born and raised in another country, moved to Chile, and obtained a new identity with the help of the Pinochet government.
  • Elliot and Gretchen being terrified of Walt in the finale becomes hilarious once we learn that it was all a ruse from Badger and Skinny Pete, meaning they were never actually in any real danger. But imagine just how terrified they'll be for the rest of their lives once they learn that Walt massacred an entire gang with a machine gun the literal next night.
  • It's easy to see how Walt's actions have hurt Skyler, Flynn, and Marie by the end of the series, but what about Holly? When she grows up, how will she grapple with the fact that her father was Heisenberg? The only context she'll have for Walt will be from her family and the videos he made from her, contrasted with news broadcasts and articles about this cruel and ruthless drug lord. Or maybe they won't tell her, instead saying that her father died of cancer when she was a baby, hiding the truth from her until she happens to find out about Heisenberg on her own or from someone else. We know how much Walt loved her, but how will she see him and his actions?
  • Jesse being enslaved by Todd and his uncle's gang is a scene that deserves a gender studies thesis. The scene where he gets locked onto the dog runner is uniquely chilling because it's framed like the lead-up to a rape scene in a way that is uniquely tailored to work around how differently an audience interprets a male being sexually assaulted by another man, especially among criminals by exploiting Men Act, Women Are: Jesse is brutally beaten and tortured, restrained, imprisoned, released only long enough to be chained to a fixed point adjacent to a workspace where his captor will exploit him physically, and the horrible realization ends with the sound of a man (who Jesse once trusted!) pulling his zipper as an indication that this will begin Jesse's torment: he will be forced by a man he once trusted to do something against his will that he once enjoyed, until he is no longer physically capable of doing it anymore, at which point he'll be killed. The Women Are trope would express a woman in this position as a Sex Slave because she's being misused as an object, but being male. It's Jesse's work ethic and desire to do right by a woman and child, his own idea of mature masculinity, being violated.
    • On the subject of rape, this all-male, violent, unempathetic gang of neo-Nazis have a hole in the ground of their headquarters for keeping prisoners. It isn't far-fetched to assume that Jesse wasn't the first person to be trapped in that hole. Given that these people took sadistic pleasure in tormenting Jesse by spraying him against the wall with a water hose or forcing him to try and (painfully) escape his tether in the meth lab, keeping actual sex slaves wouldn't be too far out of their realm. Which means Andrea's fate could've been even worse that night.
  • Following Andrea's murder, it's unlikely that the Aryan Brotherhood really have wanted her body where anyone could discover it. Given this, they probably took a page from Walt's book and dissolved her so that no one would ever find her (especially given Todd witnessed it happening with Drew's body). And worst of all, as a final twisting of the knife, it's entirely probable that they forced Jesse himself to do the deed.

Fridge Logic

  • Why did Saul vanish with the full identity change at the end of the series? Sure, he was Walt and Jesse's lawyer, but there doesn't seem to be any evidence tying him to criminal activity. Gus and associates are dead, and Jack's gang has no reason to hold a grudge against him. Why wouldn't he just stick with his law practice?
    • Walter White becomes really infamous, which means lots of attention on his lawyer at a federal level. In his case, he would probably be caught on something, and they'd throw the book at him hard, even if just a technicality. It's possible that later seasons of Better Call Saul will cover his return, if he makes one.
    • By the time that episode aired, the Better Call Saul spin-off had already been announced, and his character would revert to Jimmy McGill, his true identity. Saul's final remarks were uncharacteristically honest and humble, hinting at the man he started to be in his checkered career before he morphed into Saul.
      • He's looking at charges of criminal conspiracy and money laundering since he knowingly handled Walt's drug money. Under RICO statutes, he could also be charged with anything that he had Huell and Kuby carry out.
      • And as far as he's concerned, even for that moment while he was getting an identity change, he's not Saul anymore. He's just Jimmy.
      • Not to mention, he had extensive business with Skyler as well, not just Walt. Saul could be worried that Skyler might throw him under the bus with everything she knows he's done to aid in Walt's business to get a more favorable deal for herself (whether she would is a different discussion).