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The 16 Worst Things Walter White Has Done On "Breaking Bad"

In his transition from father and high school chemistry teacher to dangerous drug lord, Walter White has made some questionable choices. Here are his biggest transgressions, which will make you wonder if he deserves to make it through Breaking Bad alive. WARNING: Major spoilers through the first half of Season 5.

16. Forcing Jesse to cook meth by threatening to turn him in otherwise.

Doug Hyun / AMC

Episode: “Pilot” (Season 1, Episode 1)
This is how it all begins — “You know the business, I know chemistry.” But Jesse doesn’t partner up with Walt willingly, at least not at first. It’s only after Walt threatens to turn Jesse in to Hank that his former student agrees to cook with him. The only mitigating factor here is Walt’s desperation: He’s just gotten his cancer diagnosis, and he knows he needs to come up with fast cash.

15. Pressuring the laundromat employees to clean his lab and getting them deported.

Ursula Coyote / AMC

Episode: “Cornered” (Season 4, Episode 6)
Walt’s entitlement knows no bounds, as when he goes against Gus’s wishes by enlisting laundromat employees to clean the lab. He sits back and watches them work, even raising his cup to the surveillance camera, oblivious to the fact that he is sealing their fate. The women are eventually sent back to Honduras, which Walt at least acknowledges is entirely his fault.

14. Refusing to leave Skyler alone.

Ursula Coyote / AMC

Episode: “I.F.T.” (Season 3, Episode 3)
“It’s my house, too, Skyler, and I’m staying.” Walt’s stubborn insistence on invading Skyler’s space continues throughout the series. Once Skyler learns the truth about Walt’s business, she makes it clear she doesn’t feel safe around him — but that only makes him assert his dominance more. When Skyler later calls herself Walt’s hostage, she’s not far off.

13. Kicking Jesse out of the business.

Ursula Coyote / AMC

Episode: “Más” (Season 3, Episode 5)
As awful as Walt is to Skyler, his treatment of Jesse is consistently reprehensible, based entirely on how much he needs him at any given moment. When Walt is working for Gus and no longer needs Jesse as a partner, he snaps, “That is the last money you’ll ever earn in this business. I’m in, you’re out.” It’s a brutal send-off to someone who considered him a friend.

12. Turning Jesse away when he had nowhere else to go.

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Episode: “Down” (Season 2, Episode 4)
Or how about when Jesse was broke and homeless and turned to Walt for help? Sure, Walt has his family to think about, but he’s still unusually cruel to the “pathetic junkie.” “Your problems are just that,” Walt tells Jesse. “Your problems.” By the end of the episode, the two are working together again — but that’s, of course, when Walt wants to cook again.

11. Ratting Jesse out to Saul and trying to have him arrested.

Ursula Coyote / AMC

Episode: “Half Measures” (Season 3, Episode 12)
Walt may think he’s protecting Jesse when he tries to stop Jesse from poisoning dangerous drug dealers — but he’s putting Jesse’s life in serious danger. When Walt rats Jesse out to Saul, suggesting there might be a way to get Jesse arrested, he’s also ratting his partner out to Gus and Mike. They could have easily taken Jesse out to prevent a turf war.

10. Driving Hank and his car into traffic.

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Episode: “Crawl Space” (Season 4, Episode 11)
Walt will do anything to prevent Hank from finding out the truth about his secret life, even if that means nearly killing them both in an accident. But it’s the careless disregard for Hank’s life that’s really shocking, especially given how much Hank has already suffered in pursuit of Heisenberg. Remember, this is a man who just learned how to walk again.

9. Locking Emilio and Krazy 8 in the RV with poison gas.

Lewis Jacobs / AMC

Episode: “Pilot” (Season 1, Episode 1)
Again, this is a product of Walt’s desperation, and it’s basically self-defense. At the same time, it’s the first instance of our “hero” taking someone else’s life. (He intends to kill both men, but Krazy 8 survives. At least initially — see below for his ultimate fate.) Walt’s murder of Emilio, however necessary, sets a dangerous precedent for his drug business.

8. Strangling Krazy 8.

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Episode: “…And the Bag’s in the River” (Season 1, Episode 3)
After nearly killing Krazy 8 in the pilot, Walt finishes the job in the third episode. It’s still self-defense — and even more pressing, as Krazy 8 is trying to stab him with a shard of broken plate — but it’s horrific. And unlike the more passive homicide by poison gas, it requires Walt to really get his hands dirty as he squeezes the life out of his victim.

7. Running over and shooting the drug dealers.

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Episode: “Half Measures” (Season 3, Episode 12)
On the one hand, he’s saving Jesse’s life. On the other hand, he’s killing two people in cold blood. The brutal conclusion of “Half Measures” is a major turning point for Walt, who takes on a much more active and aggressive role in his business. Running the men over is shocking, but shooting one in the head leaves the audience speechless.

6. Killing Gus with a bomb at a nursing home.

AMC

Episode: “Face Off” (Season 4, Episode 13)
Gus had to go. But did he have to die at the risk of injuring a bunch of elderly people at a nursing home? Relax, the innocent people escaped unscathed. And yet, it takes a truly single-minded individual to put so many bystanders in danger just to get rid of one man. Walt’s plan to kill Gus is satisfying for the audience, but it speaks to his utter lack of morality.

5. Ordering the murders of nine inmates and Mike’s lawyer.

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Episode: “Gliding Over All” (Season 5, Episode 8)
In a montage reminiscent of The Godfather, Michael Corleone — er, Walter White — cements his role as drug lord by ordering the murders of nine prison inmates and Mike’s lawyer in order to protect his empire. They’re all criminals, but that doesn’t justify their awful deaths. Nor does it vindicate Walt, who can only do this because he’s already killed Mike. (See below.)

4. Shooting Mike.

Ursula Coyote / AMC

Episode: “Say My Name” (Season 5, Episode 7)
And we’ve finally reached the point where Walt kills not because he has to but because he feels like it. Shooting Mike is pure ego, a decision he makes out of anger over Mike’s supposed disrespect. Mike himself was not a good guy, but he had his own code of honor, which makes Walt murdering him all the more shameful. (Mike is also, it’s worth noting, a fan favorite.)

3. Making Jesse kill Gale.

AMC

Episode: “Full Measure” (Season 3, Episode 13)
One of the worst murders Walt commits isn’t done by his own hand. But forcing Jesse to become a killer — something Jesse had avoided up to that point — destroys two lives. Even if Walt believes he has no other choice, there’s no excusing the murder of Gale, a true innocent, and the unbearable burden it places on Jesse’s conscience.

2. Letting Jane choke to death on her own vomit.

AMC

Episode: “Phoenix” (Season 2, Episode 12)
Walt may not have intended for Jane to die, but he had ample opportunity to save her. Instead, he makes a conscious choice, perhaps believing he is doing the right thing. And yet, Jane’s death carries tremendous consequences, sending Jesse further into addiction, and ultimately causing the collision of two planes and the deaths of their passengers. All because Walt wouldn’t turn her on her side.

1. Poisoning Brock.

AMC

Episodes: “End Times” and “Face Off” (Season 4, Episodes 12-13)
It’s hard to imagine a lower point for Walt than when he poisons a little boy. Brock is not an enemy but merely a pawn to get Jesse back on Walt’s side in the war against Gus. Walt’s righteous indignation when accused of the crime only makes things worse: By this point, he has fully crossed over to the dark side, where poisoning an innocent child is a necessary evil.

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