‘Breaking Bad’ Theory: The Pink Teddy Bear, Death Symbolism, And Holly White

The pink teddy bear is that Breaking Bad symbol we just can’t let go. Since the opening sequence of season two, that pink teddy bear — and the imagery therein — has been with us, and it’s not been by accident. Vince Gilligan has acknowledged its presence, from its status as an Easter Egg for fans who examine the show that deeply, or as a totem, of sorts, which is the way Walter White treated the pink teddy bear’s eye, turning it over and over in his pocket. Like oranges — which had no symbolic significance before The Godfather — the pink teddy bear has acquired meaning throughout the series, and when we see pink-and-white color combinations, many of us transfer that meaning.

I am still of the opinion that the pink and white symbolizes death, and throughout the series, I’ve been terrified on little baby Holly’s behalf: She’s almost always seen in pink-and-white, often in hoodies with pink ears, which one can’t help but to associate with the bear. And clearly, Holly is meaningful to the series, as the opening conversation between Walter and Skyler in this week’s “Ozymandias” episode made clear. That conversation put us on notice that Holly would factor into the episode in an important way, but perhaps not in the way we feared. The fact that the pink teddy bear seems to have showed up again in this episode, in a painting on a wall behind the Native American, confirmed our fears (Hat Tip: Rob H.)

How many people — partly because of the meaning we’ve attached to the pink-and-white parallels with the Teddy Bear — we’re absolutely scared sh*tless on behalf of Holly this week? Half my Twitter feed was. I thought Jesse would find a way to escape and kill her. I thought the knife that Skyler was wielding would somehow, inadvertently, find its way into Holly’s chest. Or that Holly would be injured while Walter was speeding away. For the last 20 minutes of that episode, my biggest fear was not for Jesse, Walter, or Skyler: It was that Holly would die, and that Walt would pay the ultimate ultimate price for his hubris.

But she didn’t.

That doesn’t mean, however, that she’s not associated with death. My interpretation is this: That Holly White killed Heisenberg. The second that Holly asked for her “Mama” while Walter was changing her, we saw the death of Heisenberg.

At that moment, Walter White returned. He swallowed his pride, he called his wife, and he pretended to be Heisenberg knowing that the police were listening for her benefit. He did it for Skyler. He did it for Walter, Jr. He did it for Holly. Then he did something even more difficult: He said goodbye to Holly. He gave her back. He selflessly did what was best for his family, and not necessarily himself. Those tears he shed were not as Heisenberg. That was Walter White saying goodbye to his daughter, probably for the last time. It was heartbreaking.

I trust that, ultimately, Walter will get his revenge on Todd and Uncle Jack. I suspect he will die in the process. But he’s not seeking revenge as Heisenberg. He has no empire to reclaim. No reputation to uphold. No more meth to cook. “Heisenberg” has nothing left to gain. Heisenberg is dead. He died the second that Holly White — that little pink-and white sweetheart — asked for her “Mama.” He’s doing this for his family. He’s doing it as as Walter, because those assholes killed Hank, and you don’t f**king mess with Walter White’s family.