Walter White was found dead on Sunday due to complications from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He is survived by his wife Skylar, his daughter Holly, and his three sons.
The relationship between father and son can be twisted. Something innate activates in a man when he realizes he will have a male offspring. He sees this small and helpless boy as the potential for his own longevity, for his own immortality. Perhaps it is the same with mothers and daughters, but sons are to their fathers the very glass into which one can pour their best self. In the days when men had farms and businesses, their sons were the ones to ready it for, to add “and son” to the sign, to pass it onto.
White’s first son, sometimes called Walter Jr. and sometimes called Flynn, will graduate from his father’s former employer, Wynne High School. He was, at times, proud of his father, and at times horrified by him. He has grown into a man, perhaps one of the few men, to stand up to White throughout his rampage. From his father he learned to be sweet and caring and right. It is Flynn’s soft hand that lands on Holly’s head, that finally speaks a prideless truth to Skylar, that steers through life with a moral compass which says that family is more important than money, that risk is not always worth reward, that being a teacher is a higher calling than pioneering a new industry.
White’s second son, Jesse, came into Walter’s life when he first learned he was dying. A boy already separate from his own family, whose potential had never been tapped and who had seen his best days left in the past. Jesse is the great idea, the master plan, the true self that White abandoned for the security of family. He does not want money, but thrills. He tastes, but cannot digest anything familial, any nesting. Even his friends, those closest to him, are a distant (always distant) echoing. He is the pure focus and application of skill, and the only one remotely able to carry on White’s dynasty. Screwed up from the start, he was last seen laughing maniacally, flying through a fence and headed, like a laser, away from everything.
White’s youngest son was born around the same time as his daughter Holly. Unnamed until the final song, but sometimes called blue magic or blue sky, we know him simply as Baby Blue. There is little chance he survived the incident that took White’s life, but more than Flynn or Jessie, Blue is likely to be well-known for a long time. Into this child Walt poured his imagination, his precision, his expertise, and the child gladly received. He never fought back or disappointed. He never fled or lashed out angrily. No, Baby Blue simply paid attention and did what he was told. For that, he ended up every bit as ideal as any father or any school teacher could imagine, the apprentice that listened intently.
Walter White died with a smile on his face, most likely because despite his transgressions, his violations of law and morality, his wife and his daughter and his three sons survived. And what more could one man ask for, then to leave a gift for each of his sons. To one he gave his heart, his sacrifice and his morality. To one he gave his freedom, his talent, and his industry. And to one he gave his reputation, his story, which will live on forever, his fame, his infamy.