There are plenty of memorable ‘Breaking Bad’ lines, but one in particular stands out for the man who played Walter White
While plenty of us are getting excited about the return of Better Call Saul, there are a few among us who are still hung up on the show which spawned the Bob Odenkirk vehicle.
Breaking Bad ended in 2013, capped off by a brutal final season, but the continued speculation about lead character Walter White appearing in the Saul Goodman spin-off series, shows just how fondly we remember the AMC’s Breaking Bad.
Bryan Cranston, whose portrayal of crystal meth kingpin Walter White sparked a career renaissance, has been sharing his memories of the show – specifically his favourite line of dialogue.
And as you may have guessed, it comes from that fifth and final season.
While lines such as “I am the one who knocks” might be the most popular among Breaking Bad fans, Cranston prefers a simpler, two-word phrase: “tread lightly”.
“There is an expediency to it — and economy. I enjoy brevity,” Cranston told Entertainment Weekly when justifying his selection.
However, he pointed out how the line – spoken to Dean Norris’ character Agent Hank Schrader – helps shape the events which follow its appearance in the episode ‘Blood Money’.
“In many ways, [Walt] was very careful,” Cranston recalled.
“When he didn’t follow that motto is when he failed, like shooting Mike [Jonathan Banks]. It was very emotional. And the brazen hubris of telling Jesse, ‘I watched Jane die.’ It was unnecessary cruelty and emotional vomiting from his point.
“When he didn’t follow that credo is when he found himself in the most troubling condition.”
The full exchange which precedes the two-word warning is the sort of thing that will have stayed with viewers for a very long time.
It comes just after Hank discovers Walt’s alter ego as druglord Heisenberg, and marks the point where he begins to realise just how dangerous his brother-in-law really is.
After being confronted by Hank, who tells him “I don’t even know who I’m talking to,” Walt responds with the following:
“If that’s true, if you don’t know who I am… then… maybe your best course would be to tread lightly”
It’s a comment which shows how far Walt’s character arc has taken him – his identity towards the end of season five is one which even the Walt of seasons one and two would likely struggle to recognise.
Of course, while plenty had happened up to this point, the following handful of episodes – including ‘Ozymandias’, the favourite of many fans – would end up revealing just how much more there was to come.
And perhaps that fifth season is not the last we’ve seen of Cranston as Walter White after all.