Bad Man Rising: Walter White's Lowest Lows on 'Breaking Bad'

Chronicling his journey from warm-hearted family man to cold-blooded killer

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Rock bottom (Season Four, Episode Eleven:

8. Rock bottom (Season Four, Episode Eleven: "Crawl Space")

How low can he go? Subterranean. Frantic and on the run after blowing his last, best chance to escape Gus's operation with his life by throwing Gus's offer of clemency back in his face – even with a gun to his head and the life of his infant daughter threatened, Walter White is in capable of not being a dick – Walt dives into his crawlspace for the stashed cash he needs to go into hiding, only to discover that Skyler gave it to her genially sleazy ex-lover/ex-boss, Ted Beneke, to cover up their mickey-mouse book-cooking. Walt's ensuing break with sanity is one of the show's most terrifying moments: As Skyler looks down in horror, Walt lies there cackling, finally driven around the bend by the absurd, awful, no-exit hell his life has become. Breaking Bad has often been scary, but here it's a straight-up horror movie climax, with both composer Dave Porter's industrial score and Walt's mad laughter tipping the hat to, of all things, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The shot itself defies spatial logic as it floats up and away from our broken antihero, as though even the camera wants to get away as fast as it can.

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