As the question asks, why can Walt just not do without Jesse in Breaking Bad? At the beginning, he needed him to get into the business and stuff but later, Jesse only proved to be nothing but trouble. Despite without having any significant benefits but rather much trouble, logically Walt should have separated paths with him long time ago. So why does he not do this?

Addendum: Actually I read that initially it was planned that Jesse was supposed to die around the end of Season 1 but due to extraordinary acting of Aaron Paul, they decided not to. So how is this decision rationalized in the story?

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    Jesse makes a good metaphor for Walt's conscience, especially how Walt abuses him/it and keeps trying (poorly) to patch things up. In the end, all of the bad guys (including Walt) get some measure of justice at Walt's hands and thus Jesse/conscience gets some salvation -- also by Walt's leave. Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 18:59
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    To be quite blunt: Jesse Pinkman plays the role of Walter White's (or more accurately, Heisenberg's) surrogate son.
    – voices
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 23:26
  • @tjt263: this should be expanded and made an answer, because I think it nails it.
    – Beska
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 12:26
  • “logically Walt should have separated paths with him long time ago.” — when exactly? Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 13:12
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    @Utku: when Walt first met Gus, he did separate from Jesse, and initially refused to give him his share of the money he made from selling all of what they’d made. He only gets in contact again after what happens to Jane, and only starts actually working with Jesse again after Jesse is attacked by Hank. Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 14:32

8 Answers 8


Walt keeps bumping into Jesse for several reasons throughout the show :

  1. When Walt needs a partner who can cook with him and help him make money (Season 1 & 2)

  2. When Walt wants to make sure that his identity remains confidential. So even when Jesse is working solo, he again brings him with him, so that Jesse does not get caught and hence does not spill the beans. (season 3)

  3. Walt constantly manipulates Jesse for achieving his own goals. He knows how often he has successfully manipulated Jesse and made him do things which Walt wanted eg. Killing Gale, Killing Gus, etc. (season 4)

  4. After Gus being gone, Walt again needs Jesse to assist him on his empire business

  5. With Mike, not being very fond of Walt, Jesse acts a mediator between them. Walt needs Mike as well to run his business after Gus.

  6. Later in season 5, Jesse acts as the primary antagonist for Walt and also becomes a very important partner for Hank in order to nab Walt.

  7. Finally Jesse again comes into picture, when Walt is on his road to redemption, where he tries to correct all the wrong that he has done to Jesse.

So Jesse was always an integral part of the story. He is kind of 2nd lead in Breaking Bad.

After the end of Gus, how exactly Walt needs Jesse to establish his empire? Why couldn't he simply part ways with him?

Walt can't do it on his own. He definitely needs more people. Mike is extremely resourceful and also provides the muscle, but it is highly unlikely that Mike would work alone for Walt, because Mike hates Walt. Remember that after the death of Gus, Mike was infuriated and it was Jesse who calmed him down. Moreover why should Walt involve new people in his business? Jesse already knows his identity and knows to cook crystal meth as well. Additionally Walt knows this very well that he can manipulate Jesse whenever he wants, because he has successfully done this so many times. So Walt just can't get rid of Jesse. Jesse is the best resource he can have.

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    Thanks but this is more like an answer to: "What is the importance of Jesse in Breaking Bad?". For example, after the end of Gus, how exactly Walt needs Jesse to establish his empire? Couldn't he simply part ways with him?
    – Utku
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 9:46
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    @Utku : Please check my edited answer
    – Ankit
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 10:25

Jesse is Walt's "surrogate Walt". In the backstory of the show, Walt feels as if he was cheated out of his chance at success, in that a company he helped to start becomes successful after he left it. His perception is that he was forced out, cheated out of everything (though the show has hints that this is just a lie he tells himself).

Thus, in his next big venture, it's important to him to not cheat someone else like he was cheated. There needs to be a "someone else" though, for that to be possible... and that person is Jesse.

He's not nice to Jesse. He has little respect for him, mistreats and uses him, harms people Jesse cares about (including small children!). No one could mistake his relationship with Jesse as that of friendship, or love, or any other wholesome thing. The only plausible explanation is that Jesse exists so that Walt has someone he can "not cheat", for Walt's own personal reasons.


I have asked myself this question many times. Maybe Walt saw a son in him, maybe deep inside himself he wanted a healthy son to hang around with. Even Hank has told Jesse that Walt loved him lots.


Main reason for Walt being in meth business was to earn lots and lots of money because he knew that he is having very short time left, so Jesse was the one who showed him the way and Jesse was having good contacts in the market.

This meth business required 2 people one for producing it and another for selling it. Within this process which started as business partners became a bonding between them and Walt was also a teacher to Jesse. So this affection led Walter to treat Jesse as one of his own. So we saw Walt took all the steps to save Jesse from being bad. I think this was the reason of the obsession for Walter White.


As much as Walt is breaking Jessie is becoming a better person. I think that it was Walt trying to fool himself into believing that there was a way back, from the path he was traveling down.


Walt is obsessed with Jesse largely for his social needs. It is becoming apparent after the fugue state. When Skyler did not talk with Walt, only Jesse was his companion. He shared no chemistry with his son or the Schraders. Jesse was his only friend. Also, Jesse obeys Walt, always. At Los Pollos Hermanos, Walt stated that reason as to why he keeps Jesse.

(Walt is an amazing survivor, he understood that any human needs a friend/family/acceptance. So he went to Jesse. What would have been the fate of him if he did not acknowledge that? Its the fate of Chuck Mcgill no less. A purely rational human cannot survive. Acceptance is a need)

Walt thought of Jesse as a son beginning with the advice from Donald Margolis. Walt had an off with Jesse briefly when Jesse decided to cook alone. But Walt required Jesse to save Hank from lawsuits, which again resulted in Jesse obeying Walt.


To remind, Jesse used to be Walter's student in chemistry class. He has not succeeded but I know that many teachers DO care about their students and want them to be successful. I believe that Walter was one of such teachers. He took it further though, he saw similarities between his son and Jesse, they both have been disabled in a certain way (his son, physically and Jesse being an addict). So he was trying to make it right while spending time with Jesse. Although I have a feeling that at certain point Walter was trying to fix his own damage done to Jesse by getting him involved.


My refutation of the accepted checkmarked answer.

  1. Wrong, since after the connection with Tuco was established Jesse was useless for both cooking and helping him (Walt) make money since he neither knows the chemistry nor is smart to help him in any meaningful way.

  2. If Walt wants to make sure his identity remains confidential he should have killed Jesse right after knowing Tuco since he is the only one that can spill the beans. A complete liability for Walt.

  3. Given that Walt became a millionaire he doesn't need a dumb loose cannon such as Jessie to help him achieve any goals since he can hire anyone to do anything for him via Saul/Mike and his connections.

  4. No he didn't need Jesse to assist him, Saul could've helped him much more so than Jesse ever could

  5. Walt/Gus/Mike doesn't need Jesse, no one needs Jesse since he doesn't do anything other than cause trouble for them and is patently a liability because of his recklessness, impulsivity and emotional breakdown he keeps on having because of being in the meth business. This line of work clearly doesn't suit him.

  6. In the end after all Walt has done for him he snitches to the cops, regardless whether or not how much Walt has manipulated or hurt him it doesn't justify what he did. Simply the consequences of outing Heisenberg never outweighs the justification that's cited which is Walt's manipulation towards Jesse other than Walt wanting to kill him. I mean he's such a tool that he keeps on getting manipulated by everyone including Walt, Gus, Mike, Hank, etc.

  7. How is that a reason that justifies Walt's fondness for Jesse?

The actual reason for Walt's fondness towards Jesse is bullshit writing since the writer Vince says that the only reason Jesse is a main character is because of the actor that's portraying him received praises from the audience and hence he decided to NOT kill him off during season 1.

Yes he was suppose to be killed off in the first season but bullshit reason prevailed. Otherwise why would Walt even want to work with Jesse?

He doesn't know the chemistry, completely an utter buffoon in terms of intelligence and doesn't have any connection other than Krazy 8 and so wouldn't be able to help Walt in his drug empire in any meaningful way.

Walt is very cold and calculating and so for his character to get entangled with someone such as Jesse Pinkman and then develop some sort of pseudo father-son relationship is simply because the plot demands it for bullshit drama the writers wanted to cook up and it worked.

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