Breaking Bad kicks off on Sunday, and besides simply being the best drama on television, one of the things I’m looking forward to most in the final season is how showrunner Vince Gilligan will work the pink teddy bear imagery into the final 16 episodes. A lot of people who obsess over the show and read everything about it probably already know the significance of the pink teddy bear (and his eye), but for those of you who rushed through the first four seasons in marathons without the benefit of constant Internet chatter, it’s worth looking looking back at the life of the the prop over the course of the series. SPOILERS TO FOLLOW.
The Pink Teddy bear began its run as a major recurring motif in the second season. It was first featured in a webisode before the second season, in a music video for Jesse Pinkman’s band, TwaughtHammer.
The pink teddy bear is seen again in flash-forwards in four episodes: Seven Thirty-Seven, Down, Over, and ABQ, which — when put together — foreshadows the events of the season two finale: Flight 737 Down Over ABQ. (737 is also the number in thousands of dollars that Walt thought that he needed to support his family after he died).
Each flash forward from those four episodes is in black-and-white except for the pink teddy bear.
The teddy bear falls out of the downed 737 plane and lands in Walt’s swimming pool, losing its eye. In that second-season finale, Walt White — who had worn nothing but beiges and dark colors all series long — is seen wearing, what else? A pink sweater.
It’s not the last we see of the pink teddy bear. In the opening episode of the third season, Walt fishes its eye out of the swimming pool and later finds it in his pocket.
Moreover, later in season three, we find this in Gale’s apartment.
That image is important not only because the pink harkens back to the teddy bear, but the imagery foreshadows the season four finale. But before we get there, recall that in the third season finale, Jesse shoots Gale. Where? Just below his eye.
Not for nothing, but Jesse also lost use of one of his eyes for a while.
Then in the opening of the fourth season, Skylar finds the teddy bear’s eyeball, representing Skylar’s own descent into a life of crime.
Can it simply be a coincidence that the show’s angry teddy bear, Mike, looked like this in the same episode that Skylar found the eyeball?
But the big payoff came at the end of season four, when Gus was blown to smithereens.
Yeah. Vince Gilligan is a genius.
Update: Bonus Images via Reader Argon Fritz (The mural of Jane’s wall — notice Teddy Bear in upper right) and Mark O. (Walt’s Baby in the pink teddy bear outfit)