Why Does Walter White Like Jesse Pinkman So Much? | Complex Friendship Explained

In Breaking Bad, the enigmatic relationship between Walter White and Jesse Pinkman is a cornerstone of the series. Walter, a high school chemistry teacher turned methamphetamine manufacturer, and Jesse, a small-time meth cook and former student, form an unlikely partnership that evolves into a deep and complex bond. Walter White develops a strong liking for Jesse Pinkman due to their shared past as teacher and student, the complementary skills they bring to their partnership, and the emotional support they provide each other. This unlikely bond becomes a central element in Breaking Bad, driving the narrative and character development, adding depth and richness to the series' exploration of the consequences of life-altering choices.This article delves into the reasons why Walter White develops such a strong liking for Jesse Pinkman, despite the vastly different worlds they come from and the moral challenges they face.

Mentorship and a Shared Past

At the beginning of Breaking Bad, Walter White enters the drug trade with little knowledge of the illegal underworld. As he ventures into this dangerous territory, he seeks a partner who can navigate the criminal world. Jesse Pinkman, one of his former students and a seasoned meth cook, emerges as the perfect candidate. Walter's connection with Jesse through their shared past as teacher and student lays the foundation for their relationship

Complementary Skills

Walter White, with his scientific expertise, possesses the chemistry knowledge necessary to produce exceptionally pure blue methamphetamine. On the other hand, Jesse Pinkman is street-smart and has experience in the meth business. Their distinct skills make them a formidable team, with each complementing the other's weaknesses.

Emotional Support

Throughout the series, Walter White faces numerous emotional challenges as he delves deeper into the criminal world. The stress of leading a double life takes a toll on his mental and emotional well-being. Jesse, despite his own troubles, becomes a source of emotional support for Walter. He listens to Walter's problems, offers empathy, and even stands by him when others turn away.

Protective Instincts

As the series progresses, Walter White develops a paternalistic and protective attitude towards Jesse Pinkman. He views Jesse as a younger, vulnerable individual caught in a dangerous world. This sentiment becomes more pronounced as Walter becomes increasingly involved in criminal activities and feels responsible for Jesse's well-being.

A Sense of Control

Walter White's life dramatically changes after his cancer diagnosis, and the knowledge that his days are numbered motivates him to seek control over his life and legacy. Partnering with Jesse Pinkman allows Walter to assert control in a chaotic environment. He becomes the mastermind behind their operations, further cementing his attachment to Jesse.

Identification with His Past Self

As Walter White embraces his alias "Heisenberg," he undergoes a transformation from a meek teacher to a ruthless drug lord. His admiration for Jesse, who embodies the rebellious and adventurous spirit of his past self, becomes a way for Walter to reconnect with the life he once led, albeit in an altered and dangerous form.


The multifaceted bond between Walter White and Jesse Pinkman is a central element in Breaking Bad, driving the narrative and character development. Walter's fondness for Jesse stems from their shared past, the complementary skills they bring to their partnership, and the emotional support they provide one another. As the series unfolds, their connection becomes more profound, culminating in a relationship that intertwines mentorship, protection, and a desire for control. Breaking Bad's exploration of this complex bond adds depth and richness to the story, making the show an unforgettable journey into the human psyche and the consequences of life-altering choices.

Header image source: Newsweek