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Breaking Bad Fans Highlight Mike's Big Mistake That Came Full Circle

"Breaking Bad" set the world of television on fire over the course of its five seasons, earning rave reviews from critics and audiences alike (via Rotten Tomatoes). The awe-inspiring crime odyssey didn't just help AMC make a name for itself in terms of its original content, but it also led to the incredibly successful spin-off series "Better Call Saul" and the Netflix film "El Camino: A Breaking Bad Story."

Much of what made the series so compelling was its talented cast of actors playing a wide range of characters on a morally gray spectrum. Walter White (Bryan Cranston) begins the series as a likable everyman going about his life in an uncaring society. However, the character grows into a true villain as the story continues, one so ruthless that he would even gun down any number of associates in cold blood. 

Such is the sad, final fate of Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), a business partner that Walt and Jesse (Aaron Paul) meet through their growing connections in the meth underworld. Interestingly, though Mike meets his end halfway through the final season of "Breaking Bad," some fans think he could have avoided this sad end.

Fans think Mike should have kept his mouth shut

In the r/BreakingBad subreddit, fans weighed in on the argument between the characters that ends with Walt shooting Mike to death. After the two disagree over whether Mike's crew should be killed to avoid any risk of the group becoming informants for the DEA, Mike finally unloads all of his stored-up rage on Walt from his time working with the drug kingpin. Mike screams at Walt, excoriating the former high school science teacher for his massive ego and for killing Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito).

"If Mike had just ignored Walt and kept walking, he more than likely would've saved his own life," observed u/Beginning_Oil2876. "However, since he took offense to this, he got in a verbal altercation with Walt that ultimately ended in his death." Interestingly, other users suggested that Walter might have killed Mike anyway. "I feel like Walt only went because he knew it'd be his last chance to kill Mike so that he could kill the prisoners without looking over his shoulder," u/CoyoteHP said. 

However, a number of others disagreed with this assessment, insisting that Walt let his pride get the better of him after Mike's tirade tore down his own grandiose image of himself. "I think the show depicts it as a rash decision by Walter," u/YoteViking said. "He even tells Mike it was unnecessary since Lydia had the names." While Mike seemingly could have saved himself by keeping his mouth shut, it also seems likely the two would have butted heads again in the future regardless, meaning things may have ended up going the same way, no matter what.

So, what does the actor who plays Mike think about his exit?

Jonathan Banks has his own assessment

In the aftermath of Mike's death in Season 5, Episode 7 ("Say My Name"), Jonathan Banks sat down with Uproxx to discuss Mike's fate and whether he was ready to go when the time came. "As far as Mike letting his guard down so often this season, it's when I don't shoot Lydia in the head," Banks said of his character's waning resolve. "If anybody had seen the half-measure speech, they're screaming at the television, 'It's a half-measure, Mike!'"

Here, Banks is referring to the iconic speech his character gives Walter in "Breaking Bad" Season 3, Episode 12 ("Half Measures"). In this scene, Mike recalls letting a domestic abuser go because he felt bad for him. However, he further explains that eventually came to regret the decision, a choice he subsequently deems a "half-measure." 

In fact, Banks wasn't even entirely sure that Mike would allow himself to be put in that position by someone he despised as much as Walter. "I think he would have allowed Walter to bring him the bag, but he would have made damn sure he was armed when they had any kind of conversation," Banks mused.