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The Walter White detail you never noticed in Breaking Bad

As Breaking Bad played out over five seasons, we watched Walter White morph from dorky chemistry teacher to meth-cooking mastermind to full-on kingpin — and then fall down the other side.

Walt's bad turns change him, with each crime standing out as another step in his long fall from grace. For example, if you agree that the worst thing Walter White did on Breaking Bad was let Jane (Krysten Ritter) die from a heroin overdose, you'll probably also agree that that moment marked a turning point for the character. Walt went from killing people who posed a physical threat to playing god with someone who threatened his meth empire. And knowing Walt was keeping the secret from Jesse took him another step from desperate to plain old evil.

But what only true fans know about Breaking Bad is that in addition to the Machiavellian tactics playing out in the main plot, the show is full of hidden symbols and indicators. The Breaking Bad creators also had some of Walt's crimes change him in more subtle ways. This is the Walter White detail you never noticed in Breaking Bad — and the implications it could have had for another character.

Walter White takes on traits of his victims

Did you notice that Walt seems... different after committing some of his murders? And not just regarding the sociopathic glint-in-the-eye he develops as the show goes on.

One of the many bold Breaking Bad fan theories that has gained traction online goes all the way back to season 1, with Walt's very first murder. His hapless victim was Domingo Gallardo Molina, a.k.a. Krazy-8 (Maximino Arciniega), the drug dealer who Walt and Jesse (Aaron Paul) chained up in the basement after he and his cousin Emilio (John Koyama) tried to steal their meth formula at gunpoint.

Walt makes his captive a sandwich, and he notices that Krazy-8 removes the crusts of the bread. When snacktime rolls around again, Walt cuts the crusts off before serving the sandwich to him. After that, things escalate, and Walt ultimately chokes Molina to death. The sandwich incident is all but forgotten, until the first episode of season 3. Walt makes himself a sandwich, and with almost surgical precision, he cuts the crusts off.

This isn't the only time Walt mimics one of his victims. Another food-adjacent instance: after murdering Mike (Jonathan Banks), Walt switches his whiskey-drinking style from neat to on the rocks, like Mike used to take it. After he murders meth emperor Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), Walt starts driving a Volvo — the same make of car that Fring drove. There are also mirror scenes showing both of them laying down towels for their knees in a hauntingly similar way while coughing up various substances.

This detail led to another wild fan theory

We don't often get a definitive answer as to whether Breaking Bad fan theories are correct (or at least intentional). But in this instance, creator Vince Gilligan has partially confirmed that the writers did indeed have Walt pick up some of his victims' traits. In 2013, he told The Hollywood Reporter that some of the examples were unconscious, but confirmed the towel detail.

However, what started as a neat little fan theory grew legs and ran off into wilder territory. A few months before Gilligan's Hollywood Reporter interview, a Breaking Bad fan by the name of Bob Ducca posted a suggestion that took the implications of this theory to their not-quite-logical extremes. And yes, it involves food.

Back in the very first episode, Skyler (Anna Gunn) arranged Walt's bacon into a '50' for his birthday. In the fifth season opener, Walt is in an Albuquerque Denny's, alone, and he arranges the bacon into a '52,' telling the waitress it's his birthday. Ducca suggested that this proved he'd already murdered Skyler, and this was another example of him taking on a victim's eating habits.

To be fair to Ducca, he posted this theory before the season (and series) had even ended, during the frustratingly long mid-season break when fans were hungry to know what happened next. Although it's not obvious exactly when the Denny's scene takes place, given that we see Skyler alive (if not exactly well) in the final episode, it's more likely that Walt is just feeling sorry for himself. He's simply repeating a tradition that makes him feel connected to happier times. But now that you know the theory, see if you can spot any more of Walt's adaptations on your next rewatch.