Top Antagonists in Breaking Bad


Carmen Santoyo

 The bad guys. They are heartless, cold, cynical, and ruthless killers. We aren’t supposed to root for them, but Breaking Bad completely changes that truth. With so many antagonists, you can’t help but wonder, which one is the best bad guy? Which one is the smartest? Which one hurts others easier? And which is the best at getting what they want? 

   Breaking Bad is the number-one-rated drama show of all time. The show follows Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher, who finds a new purpose in life after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. He begins to live a life full of crime to provide for his family before he dies. Throughout his journey, he meets many dangerous people that alter his life forever. 

   The show’s audience has grown to ten million people. Breaking Bad goes through dramatic ups and downs that feature characters who carry out evil actions for their own gain. Some of the evilest characters are Walter white, Gustavo Fring, and Todd Alquist. They each have unique characteristics which make them so corrupt.

 What makes a great bad guy? The ability to lead, and create fear. Their Intelligence, flawlessness, and their ruthlessness.

   Being a leader is not easy. The ability to command others to do what you want and for them to do it willingly is impressive. No one leads better than Gustavo and Walter. 

  Gus has two separate businesses, each carefully crafted with trustful employees. His legal business is a chicken restaurant that he uses to launder his drug money. The workers never find out or even question Gus’s intentions. Most look up to him and want nothing else but his approval. 

   Then there’s his illegal business, selling and distributing narcotics. He worked with the Mexican drug cartel until he decided to eliminate his dependence on them, and became a solo kingpin. He almost died taking out the cartel, but he took the risk just so he could be his own leader, and continue to lead those around him into doing unimaginable atrocities. 

   Walter White leads differently. He doesn’t have a multi-million dollar business or numerous loyal workers, he does, however, have a good-hearted young man whom he is able to manipulate and use to his advantage. White successfully, sought out Jesse Pinkman and convinced him to partner up. The word partner is used loosely as Walter made almost all the important decisions with or without Pinkman’s approval.  Together they produce the purest Meth on the market and quickly become well known. Walter goes to tremendous lengths to manipulate Jesse, even going as far as poisoning his girlfriend’s kid, all to convince Jesse that it was Gus’s doing so Jesse would kill Gus for Walter. Walter uses Jesse as a puppet and controls and influences his decisions by acting as the leader.  

   Some say that love is the universal language that transcends countries, borders, barriers, and differences. However, fear is the true universal language. To create fear and force others to do what you want is a powerful trait that all great antagonists possess. 

   Gus worked with men as powerful and sinister as himself, and in his line of business, there was no room for emotion. Gustavo always remained calm and controlled, even while threatening others’ lives, and creating fear to achieve his goals. For example, once Walter started interfering with Frings’s business, Gustavo only saw him as a problem he had to solve. His solution was to threaten Walter with the safety of his family. ¨If you try to interfere, this becomes a much simpler matter. I will kill your wife. I will kill your son. I will kill your infant daughter.¨ says Fring. Gustavo is willing to do evil things in order to protect and run his business as best he can, there is no room for errors, and certainly no room for morals. 

   Like Gustavo, Todd Alquist uses fear to control others’ actions and is willing to eliminate anyone who poses a threat to his criminal career. Todd is a ruthless sociopath so creating fear and threatening the lives of others’ is easy for him. Since Walter is no longer producing meth, Jesse is forced to cook so he can be observed and used to perfect Walter’s meth formula. Jesse is put into chains and tortured by Todd to comply. When he isn’t cooking he is detained in an underground cell. 

   To motivate Jesse into doing what he is told, he threatens his former love interest Andrea, and her kid son Brock. He creates distress and terror in Jesse, however, this is not enough. Jesse attempts to escape from his never-ending torture but fails, as a result, Andrea is shot and killed in front of Jesse. Since then Jesse went through more torment than ever and yet, he never tries to escape again in fear of what Todd may do. Todd and Gustavo both used their disturbing ability to create fear and distress as an advantage to exploit those around them.

   Intelligence is what sets aside the great antagonists from the bad. Walter White is an extremely overqualified, and knowledgeable chemistry teacher. Walter transforms and adapts his intelligence to his criminal life where he immediately excels and outsmarts his enemies.

   For example, when he first started cooking with Jesse, they decided to cook in an RV out in the desert, so they wouldn’t be seen. They cook here for some time before Jesse runs into some trouble and is forced to lead two of his fellow drug distributors to their makeshift lab. They proceed to point their guns at Walter and Jesse. But before they shoot, Walter offers something they can’t refuse. He offers to teach them his recipe for the purest meth on the market. With a gun pointed at him the entire time Walter begins to mix chemicals into a deadly vapor, unknowingly Crazy 8 and Emilio watch closely thinking that Walter is showing them how to make his meth. He adds the last ingredient into the deadly mix as Walter covers his mouth and quickly rushes out before breathing in any of the deadly fumes.

 In a life-and-death situation, Walter is able to carefully think of a plan to outsmart his enemy, and to save his and Jesse’s life.  Being able to quickly think and come up with a solution is an incredible skill that only the best antagonists have. 

   No matter how evil a character is, if they aren’t careful and attentive then they’ll just get caught. The best antagonists don’t make mistakes. 

  Though Walter is extremely smart, he made many mistakes due to his own pride and ego. There are many instances where his ego gets hurt and he couldn’t let it go. One instance is when Hank his D.E.A. brother-in-law believed that Gale Boetticher was Heisenberg. Saul Goodman, Walters criminal lawyer came up with the name and title of Heisenberg. Heisenberg would become well known in the crime world as the creator of the purest meth. Walter could easily use this situation to his advantage since it could play out nicely for Walter. However, he let his ego take over. At dinner Hank bragged about finally catching the famous Heisenberg, Hank continues to mention how intelligent Gale was, and Walter could not take it. He lets Hank know that he thinks Heisenberg is still out there. 

   Gustavo on the other hand, is a perfectionist. He doesn’t make petty mistakes. He doesn’t let his emotions overcome him. He is a cold-hearted man that wants nothing else but success. His one flaw is his determination to get revenge. 

   Breaking bad is a masterpiece of a show. It is filled with intense moments and amazingly evil characters. Each antagonist is evil in their own way and each lets their vile and immoral actions rain down on the rest of the characters without care.

 But there is one antagonist that outshines the others, one so terrible, yet intelligent, and careful. Gustavo Fring. He is insanely smart, always ten steps ahead. He is ruthless, taking matters into his own hands when needed, and he creates fear, threatening what is most important. He leads and commands. He says jump and his minions answer how high? Gustavo was always in control of his emotions and never let his ego or pride step in the way. Gustavo Fring is the best antagonist in Breaking Bad.