by: Michael Shields
To supplement our weekly Breaking Bad recaps we take an exhaustive look into the ever present connection between Walt Whitman and Walter White….
It is impossible to ignore the many mentions of Walt Whitman that one encounters on Breaking Bad. This, to many, may be dismissed as a mere reference to the initials they both share….but that gives little credit to the brilliance of the writers who have gifted us with this cunning tale. In order to dissect and put into proper perspective the meaning of the references to one of America’s greatest and most influential poets, it is important to first recount those instances we come upon them.
The first such mention occurs in the Episode entitled ‘Sunset’, which is the episode where we first encounter Walt’s new lab partner imposed upon him by Gus, Gale Boetticher. Walt and Gale begin to speak on their beginnings, and why they are now in the business of producing crystal meth. Gale thinks back to graduate school and explains, “I was on my way—jumping through hoops, kissing the proper behinds, attending to all the non-chemistry that one finds oneself occupied with. You know that world. That is not what I signed on for. I love the lab—because it’s all still magic, you know? Chemistry? I mean, once you lose that….”