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At the end of the Breaking Bad episode "Hazard Pay" (S05E03), Walt is very upset about the financial outcome they get from their first new batch of meth, especially Mike's "legacy cost". He talks about this to Jesse afterwards, referencing Victor's death:

Walt: How are you feeling about the money?

Jesse: You're looking at it wrong. When we were working for Gus we were cooking 200 pounds a week. This last batch was great, but we didn't even crack 50 pounds. Maybe we cleared less money but we got a bigger piece of the pie. It's like you said, we're owners, not employees.

Walt: I've been thinking about Victor...All this time I was sure that Gus did what he did to send me a message. Maybe there's another reason...Victor trying to cook that batch on his own? Taking liberties that weren't his to take? Maybe he flew too close to the sun, got his throat cut.

Then he walks away and Jesse looks after him with quite a puzzled or worried look. But I didn't get what Walt was actually saying with this. I mean, I know what he means why Victor was killed. But how is Victor's death and its possible reasons related to their current situation and what did Walt or at least the writers want to say with this quote in that particular situation?

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I always took this to be about Mike. One of the biggest reasons Walt is upset at this moment are the "legacy costs" that you mention and Mike's insistence on paying them. This money is cutting into what Walt thinks that they should be making. Also, Mike says something along the lines of "I'll run the business side and the two you will just cook," which doesn't sit well at all with Walter "I'm in the Empire Business" White. Essentially, I believe that the line about "Taking liberties that weren't his to take..." is Walt thinking aloud about his thoughts on Mike demanding "Hazard Pay" for his guys and his assertions that he will be making the business decisions. I always saw this as the beginning of Walt deciding that Mike needs eliminated.

  • I also considered this after thinking more about it, but the idea of getting Mike out of the business or even "sending him to Belize" isn't really considered by Walt afterwards, not until Mike is about to get out himself. – Napoleon Wilson Oct 21 '14 at 10:34
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    I think Walt definitely "considers" it. He and Mike have an adversarial relationship at best. I think that Walt would like to get Mike out of his business (though maybe not dead) almost immediately but he needs Mike, at least in the short term. However, I think this was the first time that Walt begins to see how much a "problem" Mike is actually going to be for Walt. Once they get to the riverside, it becomes clear that Mike is never going to be of use to Walt again (and may actively be against him) and that is when Walt actually goes through with it. – djmadscribbler Oct 21 '14 at 17:24
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Like Icarus, Victor was doing OK until he tried to go higher, e.g., promoted, get a higher pay.

He could be referring to theirselves: Walt, Jesse and maybe Mike.

As Jesse just mentioned, they all used to be employees, but now they are all owners, and thus getting a bigger piece of the pie.

The first 2 episodes were about closure of the previous season. On this 4th episode, this could be the writers' way of preluding what's about to happen for the rest of the season: they are now at the peak, and they are all about to get burned.

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Yea I agree.. Taking libertys that weren't his to take. Pretty much Walt was pissed all of his money was getting pissed away through all the fingers in the pie lol but most of all when the legacy cost had to get paid now Walt is starting to think Mike is stepping over boundarys. Mike was with the attorney when the visited the dealers in prison. Mike promised them all that "THEY WOULD BE MADE WHOLE". but unknown to the rest Mike had failed to communicate that. Its so funny Jesse is such a gutless turd what does he do "GO AHEAD TAKE MINE IDC" He is such a tool. But not to get off track At that point Walt was considering Mike had to go for giving out legacy cost without consulting with him

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When Mike says "Just because you shot Jesse James it doesn't make you Jesse James." Walt near his end times wanted to leave a legacy. He wanted to be the best meth business man ever. He was on a power trip! Hence leading to buying the cars shortly after. He wanted to be better and more powerful than Gus. This is when Walt had completely changed from protagonist to antagonist. He was on the dark side and there was no coming back. Funny thing is we thought Gus was the bad guy. Turns out he knew Walt was turning into a monster this whole time. So did Mike.

  • This is all nice and interesting, but can you somehow link this back to the actual question in order to make this more of an answer and less of a comment? – Napoleon Wilson Sep 22 '16 at 9:34
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It can only be referring to Mike, I thought that was pretty obvious. Jesse wasn't being gutless, and he certainly isn't. He has stood up to both Mike and Gus, he just got sick of the arguing over the money between Walt and Mike, and Jesse is not near as money driven as Walt or even Mike. Also it backed Walt into a bit of a corner as he felt awkward about letting Jesse pay it all so had to pay his share in the end. But definitely agree Mike should have told them beforehand about the legacy costs, he is sort of in breach of verbal contract. Walt does not really follow up his threat, how he killed him was totally different circumstances and reasons, and Mike had left the business already. But I think Mike had given him more than enough motive by the end. Circumstances were such but any other time killing Mike would certainly be easier said than done, even Lydia's hitman failed miserably on that count

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