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What really happened to Walt's family at the end of Breaking Bad

Almost eight years after it aired its series finale in 2013, Breaking Bad remains one of the most popular and critically beloved television shows ever produced. Across five seasons, Breaking Bad wove together an epic crime story of corruption, desperation, betrayal, and ultimately, redemption. The show's many plot lines and themes all came together in its final season, when Walter White's meth empire reached unfathomable heights, only for both Walt's criminal and personal lives to crumble in the series' final stretch of episodes.

Much to the delight of its dedicated viewers, the Breaking Bad series finale saw Bryan Cranston's Walt get revenge on the criminal colleagues who had previously betrayed him, and even make a few amends for his own past transgressions along the way. But with that being said, the destruction that Walt wreaked upon the lives of his family members has always been something fans have had a difficult time grappling with, especially since many of them weren't given the same kind of cathartic ending that Walt was granted. However, one Reddit user argues that Walt's family may actually be better off at the end of the show than they were at the start of it.

How did life change for Walt's family?

On the surface, the lives of Walt's family members seem changed only for the worse at the end of Breaking Bad. Not only is Skyler (Anna Gunn), Walt's wife, living in a depressing condo with her son and infant daughter, she's also had all of her assets seized by the authorities, and is under constant surveillance by the DEA. Marie (Betsy Brandt), meanwhile, is living as a widow at the end of the series, relatively cut off from the rest of her family following the murder of her husband, Hank (Dean Norris), at the hands of Walt's former crime associates in the infamous Ozymandias episode. Walt Jr. (R.J. Mitte) has also had his image of his family totally shattered after learning of Walt's criminal activities at the same time that he's mourning the death of his Uncle Hank.

Now, Walt does find a way to leave Skyler and Walt Jr. some money before he dies, which will pay for Walt Jr.'s education and hopefully finance an overall better life for the family he leaves behind. He also gives Skyler the location of Hank's body in the desert, in the hopes that she can use it as a bartering chip to get out from under the DEA's thumb. But despite all that, it's probably still fair to say that Skyler, Walt Jr., and Marie would have likely preferred to continue living the relatively peaceful, if mundane, suburban lives they had at the start of the series, rather than face the traumas and uncertainty that they experienced because of Walt's reign as Heisenberg.

However, one Reddit user disagrees, arguing that Walt's family are actually better off after the events of the Breaking Bad series finale — at least in some ways.

The future of Walt's family

User giganticpete speculates on Reddit that Skyler will likely be able to sell a memoir of her experience of being married to Walt for quite a bit of money in the future, which stands in stark contrast to the little-read short stories she'd write and the tiny profits she was making selling on eBay at the start of the series. Additionally, Walt Jr. has taken to going by the name of Flynn full-time, and in general, seems far more independent and capable at the end of the series than he did in the pilot. Not only that, but both he and Skyler have a substantial amount of Walt's money still heading their way down the line.

Meanwhile, the user also argues that, despite the tragedy of his death, the White family won't have to suffer through any more of Hank's inappropriate jokes or conversations any more. That's a pretty cold take, though — no matter how exasperating he may have been at times, the loss of Hank will no doubt continue to weigh on the entire family, in addition to causing a rift in Skyler and Marie's relationship that may never heal. 

So while it's true that Skyler and Walt Jr.'s financial future may be positive, and they both may have grown in some important ways over the course of the series, the impact of their experiences in Breaking Bad will no doubt continue to weigh on themselves and many others in the years ahead. In all, it's tough to say that Walt's family was truly better off by the end of the series.