In 4 Days Out, 9th episode of the 2nd season of Breaking Bad, Walt and his family are told by his doctor that his cancer is in remission, which is obviously a very happy moment for his family. Walt is initially shown to be happy - and rather in a relieved disbelief of this fact - but when he looks at his reflection in the towel dispenser just minutes later, a frustration suddenly builds inside of him, causing him to punch the dispenser? What is the reason for this frustration? Is it:

A. He realizes that all the bad things he's done are for naught, and since he isn't dying he can't justify them to himself

B. He has entered a life that can only be escaped through death, i.e. if he lives on, he'll have no option but to continue living a "bad" life

Or is it both (or something else)? Further, what impact does this have on Walt's future decisions, e.g. him deciding to cook for Gus even though he no longer needed to?

1 Answer 1


I would attribute it to a little bit of both reasons you give and a dash of "the ends justify the means". If you are no longer dying of cancer, then the moral justification that you gave yourself for entering a lucrative but illegal venture to provide for your family as you would no longer be able to do so normally is now gone.

Another common adage is "You live by the sword and you die by the sword". I don't recall just how many people Walt has dispatched at this point but certainly at least one (Crazy8?) In the business he was in, you can't just bow out and sit on your laurels. Gus would have certainly come calling if he hadn't already or any other of his competitors would have eventually found Heisenberg and his extremely high quality crystal meth.

It impacts his decision-making in simplifying it, as he later told Skyler. He comes to the realization that he does what he does because he likes it. He played it safe most of his life and got results he was not satisfied with. Now that he is living a very risky (and illegal) way of life, the payoffs and recognition (albeit for his alter ego) are massive.

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