In the penultimate episode of Breaking Bad, "Granite State", after talking to his son, Walt calls the cops and indicates his location.

After that we see him having a drink as he watches his old friends on TV who say that Walt had nothing to do with their company.

After this, when the cops arrive at the bar, Walt is gone.

What exactly happened here? What would Walt have thought of that interview? Why exactly did he leave?

  • This answer should also do it.
    – Sayan
    Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 6:29

6 Answers 6


I think the other answers here are too complicated.

If you jump to the end when Walt is talking to Skyler in the kitchen, he admits his past actions were for him and not his family. You have to wonder when he came to that conclusion. It must have happened sometime after he kidnapped Holly.

Now, go back to the bar. After Junior refuses to take the money and hangs up, Walt realizes that he can't help his family anymore by just giving them money. The only way left to help them is to turn himself in and hope the authorities give up on Skyler. So he calls the DEA.

But then he sees Elliott and Gretchen and gets an idea.

Every action from this point forward is calculated to eliminate potential threats to his family: the deal with Elliott and Gretchen that keeps the money out of the suspicion of the authorities, and the poisoning and the machine gun attack to eliminate everyone else who has an interest in preventing Skyler from revealing their identities and secrets.

After the phone call with Junior, nothing is for him. It truly is about his family. And until he sees Elliott and Gretchen on TV, turning himself in is the best thing to do.

  • 1
    I almost agree with this. Everything apart from the idea after seeing Elliott and Gretchen. Walt is full of his lost potential, seeing them drove him to abandon his plan to give himself up. The difference is that in planning his revenge he was able to find a way to BOTH get revenge AND fit his plans. It's entirely possible he could have just gone for revenge at that point. Commented May 11, 2015 at 8:16
  • Note also that throughout the series (and especially the last season), Walt repeatedly insists on getting credit for the things that he's done. When Elliott is on TV, he states that Walt's only contribution to Grey Matter was Walt's name. This lack of credit where (Walt thinks) credit is due is what drives him to make his escape and engineer a situation where Elliott and Gretchen acknowledge his superiority. Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 21:18

In the moments leading up to him leaving the bar the following happened:

He called Walt Jr to say he missed him and gave him instructions about how he was sending him money. Walt Jr responded by telling him he didn't want the money and that he hoped he would die.

This destroyed Walt. He has lost family. He probably could have lived with it if he was able to give them the money he had earned but now he can't even do that. He felt as if that was it for him and called the cops giving them his location. Effectively, giving up.

He sat at the bar waiting for the cops to arrive when he saw the interview with Elliot and Gretchen. He heard them describe how he had nothing to do with Gray Matter Technologies except help come up with the name. Walt is a genius and it is never properly stated how much of an influence he had on the establishment of Gray Matter but we can assume it was a significant one. We are also not 100% sure why he left Gray Matter but in this interview with the actress who plays Gretchen she mentions he left because his relationship with her broke down.

Hearing how he had no influence on Gray Matter really damaged his ego. Walt has a huge ego. We can see this when Hank states that Gale was Heisenberg in season 4. This hurt Walt's ego and despite making trouble for himself he tells Hank that Gale was merely following instructions and the real Heisenberg is probably still out there.

He left the bar due to a number of factors. He lost his family, his legacy (the money for his family) and had his ego badly damaged. Something inside him snapped and he no longer wanted to give up. He feels as if he has something left to settle.

We'll have until next week to see exactly what this is though.

Edit Its also worth noting in the interview on TV the host says that the blue meth is still on the streets. This may also have contributed.


Walter White is dead

Think about that for a minute. Let it soak, let it permeate your brain for just a moment.

Walter White was a respectable chemist who contributed to work that eventually procured a Nobel Prize for the benefactors of this research. Co-founded a company that became worth literal billions of dollars. Started a small family in a respectable town living a decent life with this same caring family, teaching the subject he loves the most.

And then he died.

Walter White started dying when the cancer diagnosis was presented to him shortly after his 50th birthday.

Heisenberg Lives

Heisenberg started to turn into an entity of its own. One could argue that his cancer IS Heisenberg, but I digress.

Heisenberg is cold, calculating, deceitful, ruthless, egotistic, greedy, all things Walter White is not.

There are many factors at work here, there's Walter attempting to provide for his family, Heisenberg wanting to become top dog, Walter wanting to live innocently, and Heisenberg wanting his accomplishments known.

In that bar watching that broadcast is what finally killed Walter White.

His family is in ruins, his money is worthless, his legacy destroyed.

Heisenberg is all that remains. It is all that he can be, and ever will be from that point forward. And Heisenberg is pissed.

He wants his money, he wants his family, he wants his empire.

While Heisenberg can never have Walter's family, he can be sure that his family is taken care of. He can be sure that Skyler now knows the true Heisenberg. He can also be sure that no one will ever make his product ever again. And that is what really mattered to Heisenberg, that everyone knew his name, that everyone knew he was behind his product, and that his legacy lived and died with him.

After all this is Mr. Chips to Scarface, and we all know how that ended up for Tony...


After his call with Flynn/Junior Walt was resigned to giving himself up to the authorities. His "Walt" persona was finally winning over "Heisenberg" - he was tired, lonely, unable to help his family - his entire reason for doing all this has been for nothing.

However as we have seen in the past, Walt has an enormous ego - shown most animately in the "I am the one who knocks" and "Say my name" speeches. He doesn't like it when he is painted as 'the little guy'.

When he sees the interview with Gretchen and Elliot, who diminished his part in Grey Matter to 'just the name' he becomes angry at being belittled. Clearly he decides that giving himself up to the authorities is not how he wants to go out, he wants to right the perceived wrongs in his life - perhaps revenge (since we see him retrieve the ricin) who knows - only a few more days will tell us.


Agree with a lot of what was written above but would add that while seeing Elliot and Gretchen damaged his ego. It also gave him the idea of getting them to deliver the $$$ to his family that he could not. He tried a last ditch effort to send it through one of Walt Jr's friends but that wouldn't work because Jr told him he didn't want it. Seeing Elliott and Gretchen on TV talking about the $28mill donation they made to drug abuse recovery in the southwest gave him the idea that another charitable donation from this wealthy couple would not raise eyebrows to the law and his family could get his $$.


I find it odd that no one else has interpreted that scene the way I did, but I believe the reason that he leaves is for revenge.

Walt has been trapped on that ranch for months on his own, without any contact with the outside world. We know that, because he pays the guy who put him into hiding $10,000 to stay with him a little longer, just because he wants some company.

So when Walt finally ventures off the ranch and goes down to the bar, after he has spoken to his son, he decides to turn himself in because he is dying and he has nothing else to live for.

However, whilst he is watching the interview, the interviewer explains at one point that blue meth is still being distributed through the south-west, and that Heisenberg is still at large.

Walt knows that there is only one person who could make the blue meth to a standard that would be mistaken for his own, and that is Jesse. And the last time he saw Jesse was when he was supposed to be killed by the White Supremacist gang.

This is the first he would ever know of this, because as soon as Jesse was taken, Walt went into hiding, and had zero contact with the outside world since then.

He realizes that they never killed Jesse, and are now using him to cook the meth, and selling it as Heisenberg product. He realizes that before he turns himself in to help his family, there is someone else who he needs to help: Jesse.

I don't think he really cares about being disassociated with Grey Matter, his legacy now is Heisenberg. That is what is currently being taken away from him. This is why he chooses to stay by all of the meth cooking equipment in the final scene, so that he will be found and everyone will know that he is Heisenberg, and will think that it was him cooking the meth for all of that time.

Making Gretchen and Elliott give his money to Junior as a charitable donation was simply the icing on the cake. He finally managed to get his money to his family, and also got to confront his old partners and show them that he was more powerful than them, but if that was what he initially went back for, he could have done that and then gone back into hiding, gone and lived the rest of his days on an island or whatever.

His main priority was to retrieve his legacy, to die as Heisenberg, powerful and in his prime, instead of as Walter White, old and alone in the middle of nowhere. That's why he tells Skylar that he cooked the meth for himself, he was telling her who he had become over the past 2 years, and he also managed to help her out for all the terrible things that he had done to her and his son.

Whether he let Jesse leave because he realized he'd done a terrible thing to him, or to make sure that he didn't take any credit for cooking the meth is open to interpretation.

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