I Am The Danger

Breaking Bad, arguably the best television series mankind has ever made/will ever make. This show was basically a science experiment; to make the most perfect TV show ever. Results were above positive expectations. There is nothing about this show which has fallen short. Even after 8 years since it’s season finale, no show has even come close to the level Breaking Bad is sitting at. Well, one show did but they blew it off in their final season. I hope Joe Biden signs an executive order for the creators of *that* show to remake *that* season. Anyway, that’s a rant for some other time. 

Be advised, major plot spoilers ahead, you have been warned. 

Colours are a recurring theme in Breaking Bad. The clothing colours that characters wear represent various themes and their relationships to each other in each scene. For example, white represents goodness and cleanliness, while black represents evil and death. In this particular scene Skylar, Walt’s wife, is seen wearing a combination of purple and white, indicating purity and innocence. While Walt is seen wearing red, signifying aggression, violence and criminality. 

The dialogue I will be breaking down is a famous line spoken by Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston in the episode “Cornered.” This line is delivered in a scene between Walter and his wife, Skyler. The missus isn’t totally in the loop on everything Walt’s involved in; all she knows is that it involves drugs, so it’s bad news. But as for the violence that Walt’s been on both ends of, she’s pretty much in the dark.

“Walt, I’ve said it before, if you are in danger, we go to the police. I do not say that lightly. I know what it could do to this family. But if it’s the only real choice we have, if it’s either that or you getting shot when you open your front door. You’re not some hardened criminal, Walt, you are in over your head. That’s what we tell them. And that’s the truth. A school teacher, cancer, desperate for money, roped into working, unable to even quit. You told me that yourself, Walt. Jesus, what was I thinking? Walt, please! Let’s both of us stop trying to justify this whole thing and admit you’re in danger.” Skylar tells him.

Walt is wearing red to show that he is part of the criminal underworld. So, we have someone pure, Skylar, appealing to the inner goodness of a crook. But then he stands and like a snake shedding his skin reveals an even darker shade of red, signifying that he has no inner goodness, underneath the criminal exterior, he’s actually an evil man who feels powerful frightening his wife. 

“Who are you talking to right now? Who is it you think you see? Do you know how much I make a year? I mean, even if I told you, you wouldn’t believe it. Do you know what would happen if I suddenly decided to stop going into work? A business big enough that it could be listed on the NASDAQ goes belly up, disappears. It ceases to exist without me. No, you clearly don’t know who you’re talking to so let me clue you in. I am not in danger Skylar, I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot and you think that of me? No, I am the one who knocks” Walt replies. 

That’s a great way to calm your wife’s nerves there, Walt. 

One way to interpret the change in colour and his personality could be that a normal shade of red signifies oxygenated blood, meaning feeling alive, having emotions. The darker shade of red could mean deoxygenated blood, meaning dead and being apathetic. 

The reason Walt’s dialogue hits so hard is because on the first watch, we as the audience may see him as a complete badass but in reality, he’s a paranoid nerve wreck. He knows Gus is after him, he is losing Jesse, he got publicly beaten up and humiliated by Mike. In season 4 Walter just couldn’t get a break. So, when Skyler walks in and tells him to quit, he snaps. Because she hasn’t realized what he has, he can’t walk away from it anymore. All the talk about being danger itself is just Walter trying to convince himself that he can pull through all of this, because in reality he is as scared as Skyler, if not even more. It is at this moment rocks turned into minerals. I believe that in this very scene, his transformation from being an underachiever Walter White to a drug kingpin Heisenberg is consummated. It’s obvious that it isn’t just about paying for his cancer treatment anymore, he’s taking pride in what he does.

I’ve seen this scene so many times but still whenever I hear the line “I AM THE ONE WHO KNOCKS” my heart stops beating for a second due to the power in the delivery of this line. Bryan Cranston, actor who plays Walter White, is at a separate league of his own. 

He then proceeds to calmly hop in the shower like he didn’t say some iconic piece of dialogue while his wife gives him a spine-chilling look which, funnily enough, is the same look my mom gives me when I tell her that I have ordered McDonald’s right after lunch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAjJYkUnTEs – The Scene

Akshit Mehta

I’m a Savage. Pyaasa, Gamer, Average.