A ‘Breaking Bad’ Mystery Solved: We Finally Know Why Walter White Left Gray Matter

Breaking Bad wrapped up most of its mysteries before sending Walter White off to the great chemistry lab in the sky, but there are still a few stragglers floating around. One of those stragglers — a big one, one that planted the seeds for Walt’s whole turn — was why Walter White left Gray Matter Technologies, the business he started with his once-friend Elliott. Well, let’s go ahead and cross it off the list, because Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan just gave us the answer. Like, today. Years after the series ended.

Here’s a quick Gray Matter refresher: Walter and Elliott founded Gray Matter years before the series picked up the timeline. Gretchen, who would eventually marry Elliott, was a lab assistant and Walt’s girlfriend. For reasons that were never explicitly stated, Walt broke up with Gretchen abruptly while visiting her family over July 4, then sold his stake in the company to Elliott for $5,000 and ran off to become a chemistry teacher. The company would later be worth billions. So, there’s that.

In a new interview with The Huffington Post, Gilligan clarified why, exactly, Walter ran off like that. It turns out it wasn’t, say, Elliott and Gretchen squeezing him out and screwing him out of an ungodly sum of money. It was because Walt is kind of a weirdo with a lot of issues. Who knew?

“I think it was kind of situation where he didn’t realize the girl he was about to marry was so very wealthy and came from such a prominent family, and it kind of blew his mind and made him feel inferior and he overreacted. He just kind of checked out. I think there is that whole other side to the story, and it can be gleaned. This isn’t really the CliffsNotes version so much. These facts can be gleaned if you watch some of these scenes really closely enough, and you watch them without too much of an overriding bias toward Walt and against Gretchen and Elliott.”

Added Breaking Bad producer and Better Call Saul creator Peter Gould:

“I think the interesting thing is not exactly what happened but the fact that Walt hasn’t let it go over all these years. He has no perspective on himself. He gets to the point where all he can really do is try to justify everything that he’s done.”

So, there you go. The answer to “Why did Walter White leave Gray Matter?,” like the answers to most Breaking Bad questions, is “Because Walter White is a deeply damaged dude.”