Vince Gilligan Finally Reveals Why Walter White Left Gray Matter
The “Breaking Bad” creator opens up on a big unanswered question.
It’s been about three years since the show ended, but somehow we just got a huge bit of “Breaking” news.
Yeah, your life has to be pretty messed up to make you throw pizza on the roof of your house. (That’s just wasteful, bro.) Now we finally know more about how Walter White got to that point in “Breaking Bad.” Namely, show creator Vince Gilligan and co-showrunner Peter Gould filled us in on why he left his old company, Gray Matter.
In the series, we learn White co-founded Gray Matter Technologies along with his friend Elliott Schwartz. White is dating his lab assistant, Gretchen, but he suddenly leaves her while spending 4th of July weekend with her family. He sells his shares of Gray Matter to his partner for $5,000. The company is later worth billions, Elliott and Gretchen get married and White goes on to, you know, die in a meth lab. (And they all lived happily ever after.)
The real reason White left Gray Matter, which serves as part of the motivation for the character’s dark turn, has remained a mystery, but while chatting with The Huffington Post about “Yo Soy Saul,” an original song created for “Better Call Saul,” Gilligan and Gould also finally opened up about one of the biggest unanswered questions from the series:Here’s why Walter White left Gray Matter.
“Breaking Bad” actress Jessica Hecht, who plays Gretchen, mentioned in an AMC Q&A that Walt left the company and their relationship because he felt inferior. Gilligan confirmed this was true to HuffPost, saying, “She’s correct, and that’s what I explained to her and to [Bryan Cranston] before they shot that big scene between the two of them where they were at the restaurant.”
The scene Gilligan is referring to takes place in the Season 2 episode “Peekaboo.”
“It ends with him being so nasty to her saying, ‘Fuck you,’ and then she leaves tearfully,” said Gilligan. “In my mind, the interesting thing here — and I always kind of hate to nail it down so explicitly — but let’s put it this way, most viewers of ‘Breaking Bad’ assume Gretchen and Elliott are the bad guys, and they assume that Walt got ripped off by them, got ill used by them, and I never actually saw it that way.”
Gilligan explained that the truth is more nuanced. It all stemmed from White’s feeling of inferiority while spending time with Gretchen’s family.
“I think it was kind of situation where he didn’t realize the girl he was about to marry was so very wealthy and came from such a prominent family, and it kind of blew his mind and made him feel inferior and he overreacted. He just kind of checked out. I think there is that whole other side to the story, and it can be gleaned. This isn’t really the CliffsNotes version so much. These facts can be gleaned if you watch some of these scenes really closely enough, and you watch them without too much of an overriding bias toward Walt and against Gretchen and Elliott,” said Gilligan.
Gould added, “I think the interesting thing is not exactly what happened but the fact that Walt hasn’t let it go over all these years. He has no perspective on himself. He gets to the point where all he can really do is try to justify everything that he’s done.”
Gould believes Walt did finally change at the very end. “He was there for one thing: to take care of his family,” he said.
“The short answer here is that I think people tend to think of Gretchen and Elliott as the villains because they’re a couple of rich happy people, and they seemed to be arraigned against our hero, ‘Walter White,’ but the truth may be not so quite on the nose,” said Gilligan.
So there you go, Walter White. The reason you left Gray Matter had to do with feeling inferior.
Admitting that is the first part of the healing process. The second part is not throwing your pizza.
Just don’t do it, dude.