Everyone knows the story of Breaking Bad, even if you weren’t a hardcore fan of the show. Walter White, an average high school chemistry teacher, gets diagnosed with cancer and starts cooking meth in an attempt to pay for treatment and leave his family a nest egg when he’s gone. It doesn’t have a happy ending.
Something you may have forgotten about, though, is the little matter of Walter’s former start-up company. He co-founded Gray Matter Technologies with his college buddy Elliot Schwartz, but left the company with a $5,000 buyout after some sort of mysterious falling out with Elliot and lab assistant Gretchen. Walter and Gretchen were originally a couple, but suddenly broke up after visiting her family on a Fourth of July weekend. Walter sold his stake in the company (which would end up being worth billions) and Gretchen ended up marrying Elliot. It seemed that Walter never got over whatever it was that happened.
But what exactly did happen?
In a recent interview with The Huffington Post, series creator Vince Gilligan gave some further details about Walter and Gretchen’s fallout.
“I think it was kind of situation where he didn’t realize the girl he was about to marry was so very wealthy and came from such a prominent family, and it kind of blew his mind and made him feel inferior and he overreacted. He just kind of checked out. I think there is that whole other side to the story, and it can be gleaned. This isn’t really the CliffsNotes version so much. These facts can be gleaned if you watch some of these scenes really closely enough, and you watch them without too much of an overriding bias toward Walt and against Gretchen and Elliott.”
So it turns out that it wasn’t some shady affair or a diabolical plan to screw Walter out of the company. He just didn’t like feeling inferior to his girlfriend, and dumped her because of it. When we see how much he enjoyed the power of being Heisenberg in Breaking Bad, we probably should have guessed as much.