Walter White is one of the best examples of how far desperation can push a person, taking a lovable chemistry teacher and turning him into one of the most lethal drug lords of his local community.
From the very beginning of Breaking Bad, viewers watch as White fights against the clock to ensure that he can be there for his family and attempts to afford the expensive medical treatment he needs in order to cling to his life.
Breaking Bad shows how even the best community members are capable of using their position to the deadly disadvantage of those around them.
How Did Walter White Die?
Walter White died during the 16th episode of season five after accidentally being shot by a remote-activated machine gun that he first used to kill Jack Welker and his gang.
Although White had originally been given a diagnosis of terminal cancer, it was his criminal career that ended up killing him and hurting the family that he once fought so hard to protect.
Fans of Breaking Bad were introduced to Walter White at a point in White’s life when things weren’t perfect, but they were stable and functional.
His life is quickly flipped upside down when he discovers that he has cancer, with his doctors believing that it will most likely be terminal.
White wouldn’t be able to afford the expensive treatment he needed to have a chance to survive on his high school chemistry teacher salary, and he doesn’t want to leave his family in debt if he were to die suddenly.
Without seeing another way out of his situation, White decides to begin creating meth using his advanced understanding of chemistry after running into his former student Jesse Pinkman selling meth of much lower quality.
Walter White decides to join his former student to form the most effective meth-making duo in television history.
With death staring him in the face, White sees no point in worrying about his morality anymore.
Over the course of five seasons, viewers watch White find incredible financial success at the cost of his family and his own safety.
By deciding to join the drug underworld of his local New Mexico community, White has unknowingly given himself a fate worse than death.
Viewers watch as the intense stress and Walter White’s failing health become increasingly apparent.
Although it seems that cancer will finally take White’s life, he’s instead killed by his violent lifestyle.
What Kind Of Cancer Did Walter White Have?
Walter White discovers that he has stage three lung cancer, and his doctor believes that he has less than two years to live.
When a patient reaches stage two or stage three of lung cancer, the tumor has grown large enough to spread into the surrounding lung tissue and then later into the lymph nodes.
Although White’s cancer is no longer curable at this point, it is still considered to be treatable even if surgery is out of the question.
When White informs his family that he has inoperable lung cancer, they quickly pressure him into undergoing chemotherapy and seeing whatever doctor it takes to help his condition.
Walter White discovers just how expensive it would be to get the treatment he needs, and he decides to start selling meth in order to cover his costs.
By the second season of Breaking Bad, White finally gets a follow-up scan of his chest to see if the cancer has spread to other parts of his body.
After seeing a blotch on his scan, White panics over the fact that he only has $16,000 left to afford a treatment that seemingly isn’t working.
However, White’s doctor reassures him that the blotch isn’t cancer and is instead a treatable side effect of his chemotherapy.
The chemotherapy that Walter White had been receiving actually allowed his tumor to shrink by 80%.
Although White’s shady business dealings allow him to afford the high prices that come with cancer treatment, it has greatly affected his marriage and almost led his wife Skyler White to divorce him.
White only manages to keep his wife around when he explains that his drug business is how he affords the effective cancer treatment he’s been receiving.
By season four and season five, White has achieved lung cancer remission.
Could Walter White Have Survived His Cancer?
Yes, Walter White could have survived his seemingly terminal lung cancer diagnosis if he had access to the same life-saving treatments that modern lung cancer patients have.
However, White may have still felt the need to join the criminal world in order to afford the treatment options and keep his family from going into debt over saving his life.
Breaking Bad was set and released in 2008, at a time when lung cancer patients like Walter White had limited options.
Since 2016, doctors have learned how to better treat non-small cell lung cancer and have figured out how to manage it like a chronic disease.
By using precision medicine and some intense FDA-approved immune boosters, White could continue to live without the constant fear of succumbing to his lung cancer.
Since Breaking Bad’s premiere, there have been multiple medications released and expanded to treat lung cancer patients.
Some of Walter White’s medication options could have included Tarceva and Iressa, which are also known as Erlotinib and Gefitinib.
At the time of White’s diagnosis, these drugs were considered last-ditch efforts for patients with properly matching abnormalities.
Originally, these drugs were only given to people late in their diagnosis or after traditional chemotherapy wasn’t working.
Tarceva didn’t get approved for up-front use until May of 2013, and Iressa wouldn’t receive similar approval until two months later.
Some of the other lung cancer drugs and treatments popularized after White’s 2008 diagnosis include the antibody Portrazza, updated versions of traditional chemotherapy, and the immune-stimulating blockbusters Opdivo and Keytruda.
Although the majority of these drugs would help Walter White add at least a few more years to his lifespan, the treatments may have not been enough to make White feel that they were worth the additional cost or the pain he’d have to continually endure.
Does Skyler White Die?
No, Skyler White doesn’t die during the events of Breaking Bad and manages to continue living even after the death of her drug lord husband.
Originally, series creator Vince Gilligan had planned to kill off his main character’s wife but eventually felt that it was best for the series if she lived.
When Gilligan planned on killing off Skyler White, he was going to have her and her husband get abducted and sent to a motel room where Skyler would be forced to consider what will happen if they are unable to escape the mess that Walter had made.
Skyler was going to run off to the bathroom and Walter would wait outside the bathroom, attempting to calm down his panicked wife.
Walter wouldn’t have gotten a single response, forcing him to break down the bathroom door.
Skyler would have slit her wrists and bled to death, with her husband finding her body.
Although this ending for White would have been more dramatic, Gilligan and the other Breaking Bad writers felt that it was unnecessary.
This idea was later brought back for season five when Skyler White attempted to drown herself, but the writers chose to keep her alive.
The series had already done so much to show the type of havoc that Walter White caused for his family that having his wife commit suicide would have been overkill.
Vince Gilligan also considered having Skyler White accept Ed “The Disappearer” Galbraith’s offer to give her a new identity and life, but he eventually decided against that idea because Walter Jr. would have never been on board, and Skyler never would have left her son.
Although Skyler’s death would have added more shock value to the hit crime drama series, it would have been too definite for Walter’s struggling morality.
What Happened To Skyler After Walter Dies?
Skyler White’s life was left in shambles after her husband Walter White died, which she doesn’t even know about.
From her perspective, her husband could be missing or dead and wouldn’t matter to her anymore.
White was forced to fight for her safety and the safety of her children, Walter Jr. and Holly.
Since all of the family’s belongings were seized by authorities, White is essentially forced to start her life all over again.
Skyler White had to move her family into a small apartment because it was all that she could afford after taking on a job as a taxi dispatcher.
Following the deaths of both of their husbands, Skyler and her sister Marie were able to put their differences aside in order to be the support system both of them desperately need.
While some fans would like to see Skyler and Marie go on their own crime spree to support their struggling family, it would be unlikely because Skyler was always seen doing her best to provide stability for her family.
After what she witnessed in the chaos that her husband’s criminal life caused, it would be unlikely that she would make the same mistake.
According to R. J. Mitte, Walter White Jr. would later go on to join the DEA as a way to honor his late uncle.
As a DEA officer, Walter Jr. would dedicate his life to finding Jesse Pinkman and his father, whom he believes is still alive.
Walter White originally planned to go into drug trafficking as a way to save his family from poverty, but his criminal life instead plunged them deeper into poverty and caused them to be even worse off than if he had simply put them into medical debt.
Did Jesse Pinkman Die?
Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan was originally going to kill Jesse Pinkman off during the first season of the series, but he quickly decided against doing that.
Jesse Pinkman may have been the one who convinced his former high school chemistry teacher to take on meth selling as a side gig, Pinkman quickly realizes that the mess he’s made isn’t what he wants for his life.
Pinkman’s fear of his loved ones getting hurt vastly outweighs his desire for the money he’s making alongside Walter White, but White is smarter and more manipulative than Pinkman had originally assumed.
Although Jesse at first believes that he is the one in control, he slowly realizes that there is nothing he can do to get out from under White’s control.
When Vince Gilligan was first creating the story of this troublesome duo, he planned to kill Jesse Pinkman off during the finale of the first season.
Gilligan felt that killing off Pinkman would show viewers that absolutely no one in this series was immune to death.
Pinkman was going to die during a botched drug deal, and his death was going to serve as a plot device that would carry over into season two.
Gilligan didn’t change his plan for this character until they had filmed the second episode of Breaking Bad.
Actor Aaron Paul did such a good job as Jesse Pinkman that the writers felt that the show would be losing a major asset by letting the character get killed.
Paul’s ability to portray an equally guilty and innocent character ended up saving his character’s life.
The emotional chemistry shared between Pinkman and White helped make Breaking Bad so memorable.
Who Was The Youngest Character To Die?
Tomás Cantillo is the youngest character to die in Breaking Bad and was the first child in the series to be killed off.
At the time of his death, Cantillo was only 11 years old and worked for a local gang of drug dealers.
In order to join his local gang, Cantillo was tasked with killing rival drug dealer Combo.
Combo was a friend of Jesse Pinkman and worked for Pinkman when he was shot to death, making Cantillo the first child in the series to kill someone else.
Jesse Pinkman starts dating Andrea Cantillo and discovers that her little brother has committed murder in order to appease the local gang.
After gathering more information on the event, Pinkman is able to piece together that it was Tomás who killed Combo.
Tomás is killed after a meeting between Pinkman, Gus Fringe, and two rival drug dealers.
His body was found in the 4700 block of 8th Avenue and pushed Pinkman to begin planning his revenge against Gus for the deaths of both Cantillo and Combo.
Tomás Cantillo wasn’t the only child to die in the Breaking Bad series.
In season five, Todd Alquist shot young Drew Sharp at point-blank range for unknowingly witnessing their crimes.
Although it is clear that Sharp had no clue what was going on, Alquist believes that he has to shoot the child in order to ensure that there would be no witnesses.
This extreme and unnecessary murder is enough to shock both Jesse Pinkman and Walter White.
There is a chance that there could have been a younger victim of the Breaking Bad events on one of the two planes that crashed into each other.
Viewers know that there were children on either the Wayfarer 515 or JM 21 because of the famous pink teddy bear.
Did Walter White Murder Jane Margolis?
No, Walter White did not technically murder Jane Margolis, but his lack of action when Margolis began choking on her own vomit has been considered a form of murder by some fans.
According to lead actor Brian Cranston, Jane Margolis’s death was the most tragic one to occur on Breaking Bad and still haunts him to this day.
During Margolis’s death scene, viewers watch as White attempts to decide what to do, but he is hesitant.
Inside his head, White is quickly making a list of reasons to save Margolis and reasons to let her die.
At the time of her death, White wasn’t certain that he wanted her to die and was still considering saving her.
However, his lack of action ends up making a morality-defining decision for him.
Originally, Vince Gilligan was going to have Walter White actively murder Jane Margolis.
She was originally going to start coughing on her side, and White was going to push her onto her back, placing the cause of death completely onto White.
Gilligan decided against White actively killing Margolis because the network felt that it would turn White to the evil side too quickly and too firmly.
By simply standing back in indecision on what to do, viewers could continue to question White’s morality.
Brian Cranston remembers the emotional impact that filming this scene with actress Krysten Ritter left on him and admits that the scene continues to haunt him.
As a father, it was painful for Cranston to stand back as Ritter was choking on mushroom soup.
The fear of watching your child die as you have no control or way to stop it is something that Cranston dreads more than death.
Even when Cranston retells the story to this day, he still gets choked up.
Did Mike Ehrmantraut Have To Die?
No, Mike Ehrmantraut didn’t have to die.
He could have stayed alive throughout Breaking Bad if Walter White could have better control of his temper.
Ehrmantraut died in the seventh episode of season five after White shot him through a car window and caused him to bleed out near a river.
As soon as White realizes what he’s done and that he has needlessly shot someone who was trying to help him, White rushes over to Ehrmantraut and begins to apologize.
One of the last things that this former cop said “let me die in peace” after he told White to shut up.
Mike Ehrmantraut’s death is considered to be one of the saddest because of how unnecessary it was and the fact that he had learned how to stay true to his own code.
His death was made even sadder through the additional story fans get during the spin-off series Better Call Saul.
Throughout the spin-off series, viewers watch how Ehrmantraut and Saul Goodman become long-term partners and close friends.
Viewers also get to watch Ehrmantraut pull himself out of poverty and finally be able to have the money to help his beloved granddaughter.
Ehrmantraut thought that he could outlive White’s lethal plans just as he did with Goodman.
Even before his additional backstory was released, most fans consider Ehrmantraut’s death to be one of the saddest deaths in the entire series.
The fact that his family is probably patiently waiting for him to come home as he bleeds out near a river makes his struggle even more heartbreaking.