Breaking Bad did a wonderful job of portraying its characters as flawed and fallible, and this made their redemptions all the more rewarding to watch.
Redemption isn’t just the act of correcting a wrong; it’s overcoming an obstacle that has plagued someone for so long that it either successfully or almost consumes their character. All TV series always include a character arc that viewers can see a huge difference from the beginning to the end.
AMC’s Breaking Bad is all about character arcs, some of which may actually be taking a turn for the worse. However, there are some major and also minor moments when certain characters redeem themselves.
Jesse’s Addiction Recovery
Jesse has a personal health redemption when it comes to his drug addiction, and his ability to finally leave the criminal realm can be attributed to his new mentality after he quits using.
His use of heroin with his girlfriend Jane become a much larger problem than what it was in the beginning when he used to be called a “junkie.” Jesse spirals out of control with the newfound drug addiction, and losing his girlfriend only augments the problem. Rehab and time contribute to his full health redemption.
Walt Admitting The Truth To Skyler
This was one of the most impactful points in the show. From the beginning and until the series finale, Walt always says he entered the meth business to financially support his family. This is basically Walt’s crutch in his journey to embracing his alter-ego, Heisenberg.
When he tells Skyler that he did all of this for himself, he admits to wronging his family, yet this is still a redeeming moment. The character is now done with his performance of the sweet family guy who only thinks of his loved ones. Walt (or Heisenberg) can finally be truthful, and, therefore, this is his personal redemption with Skyler.
Jesse Finding Happiness With Andrea
After losing his love, Jane, Jesse falls into a tumultuous depression. It’s difficult to dig himself out of this mental hole, as he blames himself for playing a part in her relapse.
Meeting Andrea only happens after he comes to terms with Jane’s death. Letting a new person in is difficult, yet it’s a rewarding and essential point for Jesse to reach. She and Brock help him grow, thus redeeming himself from his guilt and depression over Jane.
Jesse Finally Confessing About Walt
This defining point is a redemption because Jesse, at last, gets a grip on who Walt has become. Doing the justifiable thing by confessing is Jesse’s acceptance of who “Mr. White” is now.
Being that confessing also reveals what Jesse participated in, he is aware of the price he might have to pay. Moreover, he now accepts that his former partner is nowhere near trustworthy—and that he, in fact, likely never was.
Walt Saving Jesse’s Life In The End
Walt definitely redeems himself in this ending moment because he tricks the audience a little in his actions. For several episodes, he wants Jesse dead and even blames him for Hank’s murder. Walt looks like he will gladly watch Jesse die at any given moment.
But, in the end, when Walt comes to trap Jack and his entire crew, he body-slams Jesse to the ground, purposely saving them both from the gunshots. Jesse realizes Walt saved him, redeeming his initial intentions to kill him, though he certainly wasn’t about to forgive him for everything that he’d done.
Skyler Admitting It All To Hank & Marie
This is a seriously difficult task for Skyler, as she had just turned on her sister and brother-in-law to protect her criminal husband. Going along with Walt’s tape creation pointing the finger at Hank makes Skyler look like a huge threat to Hank and Marie, who certainly don’t feel like a family anymore after watching that tape.
Skyler redeems herself with her family when she outwardly turns on Walt. Viewers question whether or not she actually is against him, but she nevertheless acts like she is against him and sides with Hank and Marie to apologize.
Mike Embraces The Family Sacrifice
Mike has a more complex way of redeeming himself because he only does his criminal-protection job for the sake of his family. One of the first moments with his family seen in Breaking Bad is with his young granddaughter.
This character got himself into a lot of trouble as a corrupt former cop, but his main redemption is the fact that he is devoted to his family and not necessarily to the criminal world—the total inverse of Walt.
Hank’s Personal Journey To Overcome The Injury
The rage and frustration Hank feels in the latter episodes of Breaking Bad are understandable, as an injury has sidelined him from hunting down one of the greatest players in the New Mexico drug ring. He feels weak and can’t stand having his wife take care of him due to his physical inability. He is snappy and easily agitated by what Marie tries to do for him, such as when she is overly cheerful when he is with his physical therapist.
However, Hank picks himself up at some point and manages to make amends with Marie once he is physically capable of going back to work and walking around on his own. He redeems himself by eventually, privately appreciating his wife’s care and admitting to himself that he is fallible.
Jesse Quitting The Drug World
This is one big moment for this young character. After years of being in the meth business, selling and cooking the drugs, Jesse realizes he needs to completely disassociate himself from the illicit business.
Over time, Jesse witnesses cruelty at its finest moments, such as when Todd murders an innocent child in cold blood. This and other things contribute to Jesse’s recognition of how unhealthy this business is for his life. He fully redeems himself by doing this, as he establishes a future for himself away from such a cold-blooded and cruel lifestyle.
Walt Trying To Save Hank
Walt may be a monster, but even he can’t stand to watch his former best friend be killed in cold blood. When Walt sees that his brother-in-law is about to be murdered, Walt completely breaks down.
Walt tries his best to make a deal with Jack and his henchmen when they’re about to shoot Hank, with the drug kingpin desperately pleading with them to take his money to let Hank live. This point in time is when Walt finally realizes that someone he loves has their life hanging in the balance and he feels he should do anything to stop his death from happening. Although Walt is responsible for this, he does everything he can to save Hank’s life in his brother-in-law’s final minutes. It may not exactly redeem him, but it does show that he never quite lost touch with his human side.
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