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This Breaking Bad Character Is Responsible For Heisenberg's Rise

Every villain has his origin story.

Those of the heroes get more press, what with their radioactive spiders and their exploding planets and their dead parents –– so many dead parents –– but bad guys have to start from somewhere, too. Like a lab accident. Or its close cousin, an experiment gone wrong. Or even more dead parents.

Heisenberg, the villainous alter ego of Breaking Bad's mild-mannered chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston), wasn't born in a lab accident. The lab is where things go right for him — most of the time. Instead, Heisenberg is born at a birthday party, when Walt's despair over his terminal cancer diagnosis meets the means by which he's going to provide for his family after he's gone. It's more divine inspiration than your standard hero-genesis, but the parallels between the two processes are apt.

This spark of inspiration comes from his ever-quotable brother-in-law, Hank Schrader (Dean Norris), a Drug Enforcement Agency agent who insists on turning on the news to show off the haul from a big bust (via Screen Rant). At least one person is sufficiently impressed, though it's safe to say his takeaway from the broadcast is not what Hank intended.

Hank did more than just show Walt how he might make money

Hank doesn't just provide the brainwave for Walt's master moneymaking plan. He also inadvertently makes the crucial introduction that kicks off Heisenberg's whole enterprise when he agrees to take Walt on a ride-along for a raid on a meth lab. While Hank's agents are inside arresting Emilio Koyama (John Koyama), Walt is in the back of Hank's van noticing Emilio's partner escaping out a window. He recognizes the fleeing suspect as his old student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), and tracks him down in order to blackmail him into helping him with some of the less savory aspects of the business he intends to enter.

Without Hank to unwittingly kickstart this partnership, Walt's options for trying to make the type of money he was after might have been limited to taking on more shifts at the car wash or trying to beg his way back into Gray Matter Technologies, the company he co-founded after graduate school but left before it hit it big. Without Jesse's experience and assistance, he might not have lasted long enough in the meth business to develop the ruthlessness to become Heisenberg, either.

And so, in true hero fashion, Hank ends up creating his greatest nemesis of all. Now that's a classic origin story.