It should go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: If you’re a “Breaking Bad” viewer and haven’t yet seen last Sunday’s episode, then you may want to just skip to the next post, because there are serious spoilers ahead.

Are they gone? Yeah? Good.

Chemistry-teacher-turned-drug-kingpin Walter White has done some sketchy things in his day, but facing imminent death with no financial safety net for his family, it wasn’t too difficult to give him a pass. But over the course of the second season, this has changed. Walter’s cancer is in remission, and he’s scheduled for a surgery that could cure him completely. But instead of winding down his life of crime, he insists on expanding it. Part of the problem is that he’s realized how boring his life is without it. His marriage is teetering on the edge of disaster, and producing meth is the one thing in his life that he has mastered.

In last week’s episode, “Mandala,” Walter chose to make a huge transaction (~$1.2 million) instead of rushing to the hospital to be with his wife as she gave birth. But in Walter’s mind, it was no choice at all. If he didn’t make the deal, he would miss out on any future opportunities with one of the biggest (and most careful) drug runners in the Southwest. You see, for Walter, it’s no longer about the money or providing security for his family. It’s more about his being a success, despite what his friends and family think.

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