In season 2 episode 12 of Breaking Bad, Phoenix, Walter let Jane die. He could have saved her but inspite stood there and watched Jane die.

What was the reason behind it?


7 Answers 7


Because she was a bad influence for Jesse. Walter needed Jesse to cook.

Walt considers saving Jane, but ultimately lets her die, knowing that her death would help him gain control over Jesse as a result, and possibly stop Jesse from using drugs.

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  • 37
    Not to mention that she blackmailed him, thus being a direct threat. Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 12:56
  • 4
    I don't think this is actually correct. At this point in the series Walt is flush with cash. He just had a baby and has surgery scheduled. Walt isn't thinking of cooking at this point. Talk of cooking again doesn't happen again until the next season. Even if he wanted to cook again, he doesn't really need Jesse for that. He found a distribution channel, so he doesn't need Jesse to sell. The very next episode he saves Jesse from a drug house, and it's obvious he feels responsible for his downslide.
    – Aheho
    Commented Sep 7, 2015 at 13:12
  • 2
    He didn't need Jesse to cook the meth, White was the "genius" behind the blue crystal meth. Jesse and Jane had become heroin addicts, and eliminating Jane, meant he eliminated any future possibility of her blackmailing White for the rest of his life, what's more, Walter White now had total control over Jesse. With no other focus in his life, Jesse would obey his every command. Jesse could start selling the meth again with his side-kicks: Pete and Badger
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 13:39
  • @Mari-LouA: Your point is disproven by the fact that Walt explicitly goes against Gus' suggestion to leave Jesse behind, and even offers to split his take 50/50 with Jesse. While Walt may be the genius, he still needs a right hand man he can trust (and additionally, a scorned Jesse may resort to messing in Walt's private life). Whatever his reasons, Walt clearly wanted to keep Jesse around.
    – Flater
    Commented Feb 22, 2019 at 7:22
  • "Walter needed Jesse to cook" is pretty hash way to put it considering that he returns to this house after the bar discussion about the family, mentioning Jesse as a "nephew" and the other guy saying "you can't give up on them. Never"
    – Klesun
    Commented Nov 2, 2019 at 22:36

It's important to remember the events that had just led up to that.

  • Jane was forcing herself between Walt and Jesse.
  • She threatened and blackmailed Walt to get Jesse's share of the money back. This was money that Walt did not feel Jesse was in a state he could receive it.
  • And to top it all off, Jane and Jesse were planning on leaving the next day. They whimsically planned to go to New Zealand, the idea is they were just going to hop in the car and go. Walt simply couldn't afford that.

Any one of those is enough for Walt to want to let her die. He had too much riding on this for a junkie who could barely hold down her job to get in the way of him working with... some other junkie who could barely hold down his job.

  • 3
    Seems to be the most comprehensive answer so far. I'd just add to all those reasons that there are also questions/answers here (and I'd dig them up if I had the time) suggesting that Walt genuinely cared for Jesse to some degree and Jane certainly wasn't good for Jesse's health either.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 15:36
  • 7
    It's certainly true that he felt he was a sort of father figure to Jesse, but in the grand scheme of things I'd say Jane was actually a positive influence on Jesse for most of their relationship. It was Jesse that got her to break her sobriety, and she was the one who wanted him to quit his dangerous and risky venture while he was ahead.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 16:53
  • Oh, sure. Also true.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 17:34
  • 4
    This is the better answer -- Walt did not like being blackmailed by Jane, and knowing that she knew all of the details of his criminal activity, he ultimately did not save her, even though the "nice guy" reaction initially kicked in (he started to save her, then changed his mind.)
    – Tim S.
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 22:01
  • Let's also not forget, Walt had just entered unlawfully into Jane's/Jesse's duplex (yes owned by her father, but managed by her). If he had tried to help Jane, even though they both were high, it would've been likely that she would've panicked upon coming to and seeing Walt, and then who knows how Jesse would've reacted. Walt was already in a precarious situation as it was. Don't forget, too, Walt was clearly emotionally hit for having to watch her die. So it wasn't like he was just standing there indignant to what just happened. Commented Jun 18, 2018 at 20:20

Walter White is a man who will go to any extent to save his family.

To survive his family he needs to cook Meth and for that he needs Jesse.

And Jesse wanted/thought to quit cooking meth after he became intimate with Jane. So Jane is a threat for Walter.

Note that : Walter at first was compelled to save Jane but he didn't save her.


Over the phone, Jane told Walt that if he didn't give Jesse his money, she was going to turn him into a national news story: "High school teacher becomes meth dealer".

Before Walt handed the bag with the money to Jesse he asked "How do I know she'll keep quiet?"

Jane responded "I guess you don't".

Walt felt he couldn't trust Jane. That's why he let her die.

The other answers say that Walt needs Jesse to cook. I don't think at this point that's true. Walt isn't thinking about cooking at this point. He's flush with cash. He just had a baby and has surgery scheduled. There isn't talk of cooking until next season, and at that point it's Jesse doing the cooking alone. He returned to Jesse's house not to convince him to cook, but because he was generally concerned with the path he was on. It's clear in the very next episode when Walt pulls Jesse out of the drug house that he feels responsible for his condition.


The biggest reason is that she's untrustworthy. When Jesse says "He's my partner", she tells him she's his partner.

Jane proves this to Walt when she says he wouldn't know that she'd not expose him.

Plus, Walt couldn't afford to lose Jesse; he was his only method of distributing the meth that he'd be cooking in the future(later events say otherwise; but at this point, Gus was not really a factor in anything.)


I haven't finished the series yet so I'm not sure if the person Walt becomes, but from the person that he is I feel like people in this specific discussion are seeing him as very one dimensional. I agree that half the reason Walt let her die was because she was a threat to the business and he couldn't afford her ratting him out, and maybe part of that was her getting between him and Jesse. But I think a larger part was that he genuinely cared about Jesse. The only reason he went to his house that night was because Janes father told him he should never give up on 'family'. He feels a responsibility that he showed when he wouldn't give Jesse his money in the first place. He may have thought Jane was responsible for Jesse getting on heroin (even though she wanted them to get clean) and he was trying to also help Jesse out. (I obviously don't think he did the right thing.)


He let her die because he's a bad person at this point in the series. I think that's the first true evil thing he did. It was for selfish reasons, he'd rather have control over Jesse than save her life.

  • Can you expand on this ..... the fact that it's an evil act for selfish reasons is not the entire picture.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 17:06

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