A year in the life of Walter White

On Sept 29 it will be a year since Breaking Bad had its series finale. In that time my family has moved to a new house. My daughter started kindergarten, and my office transitioned through a huge paradigm shift. But compared to Walter White’s fifty-first year, I might as well have spent the last twelve months frozen in carbonite.

Breaking Bad was an incredible creative achievement. I can’t think of any other series that was so masterfully outlined from beginning to end—and executed with such unerringly focus on total viewer satisfaction. But I can’t understand why Vince Gilligan decided to stuff fifty episodes of plot into one year of actual story time. Here’s a list of major events that occurred in Walter White’s life between his fiftieth and fifty-first birthday.

health_breaking_badDiagnosed with inoperable lung cancer

death_breaking_badKills a couple of drug dealers

hired_l_breaking_badBegins a successful (and illegal) freelance business

hired_r_breaking_badReconfigures his business model after his first kingpin boss is killed

death_breaking_badOne of his employees is assassinated

hired_l_breaking_badHis pregnant wife returns to the workforce

health_breaking_badWalt’s cancer goes into remission

hired_r_breaking_badReconfigures his business model after finding a new drug kingpin boss

baby_breaking_badWalt’s daughter is born

death_breaking_badEffectively murders another victim

health_breaking_badUndergoes surgery

home_breaking_badSeparates from his wife

fired_r_breaking_badFired from his day job after sexually harassing his boss

hired_l_breaking_badReconfigures his business model with a new lab and a new lab assistant

death_breaking_badMurders a few more drug dealers with his Pontiac Aztek

death_breaking_badOrchestrates the murder of his new lab assistant

hired_r_breaking_badStarts a new (semi-legitimate) business

home_breaking_badWalt’s family is put under protection of the DEA

death_breaking_badPoisons a young boy (but doesn’t murder him)

death_breaking_badKills his boss

hired_l_breaking_badReconfigures his business model; partners with neo-nazis

home_breaking_badWalt’s wife has a nervous breakdown


That’s a lot of living for one character! More mayhem than your typical season of Scandal. Is it any wonder that he turned so cranky?

3 thoughts on “A year in the life of Walter White

  1. In my humble opinion, Breaking Bad is THE best television series of all time. I have come close to obsessing over a few other programs–The Walking Dead, Dexter, American Horror Story, Star Trek: Next Generation, and a few others–but BB will always be the love of my life in the land of TV.

    • I agree that it was awesome! I think I’d say my favorite TV drama is still Sopranos, which seemed like the exact opposite of BB as far as outlining and planning the story from Episode 1 to Series Finale.

      So I guess you can end up with a brilliant result, outline or not. Still, I think outlining is better! 😉

      • I can’t outline my way out of a box, but admire those who can. When I write, I just follow my characters lead. They tell the story; I Just put it on paper.

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