While Walter White (Bryan Cranston) started out on AMC’s Breaking Bad making great meth, he lacked the kind of menacing presence that’s required to be successful in the narcotics trade. But before long, he had turned himself into a ruthless drug kingpin who, in his brief time at the top, wielded an incredible amount of power. In doing so, Walt realized the key was to inspire fear in others, so the next time you’re looking to up your intimidation game a little, take some tips from Walt, or rather, his notoriously feared alter-ego, Heisenberg. Just, you now, be sure to only use these powers for good, okay?
“Stay out of my territory.”
One of Walt’s more memorable threats came when, while out shopping, he saw a bizarro Jesse Pinkman picking up some meth making supplies. After calmly offering the kid some sound advice on shopping for a cook, he follows him to the parking lot, delivering this stern command to his partner, who quickly backs down and leaves. Throughout this exchange, Walt shows that if you want to be feared, there’s a certain nuance to the approach that will make what you say sound all the more credible.
“Nothing stops this train.”
Never has sheer, calculated ambition sounded quite so terrifying — at least in a fictional character. Remember, inspiring fear isn’t just giving someone a mean look, or even using some kind of growling, Batman-esque voice. Instead, inspiring fear becomes a part of who you are, which is how you can make a simple business plan sound utterly menacing, for example.
“We’re done when I say we’re done.”
Sometimes, it’s hard to take “no” for an answer. For moments like these, when crucial members of your outfit start to try and distance themselves from you, it’d be easy to simply accept your losses and move on. Walt takes a much different approach, using his ability to intimidate others to the point where leaving sounds like a worse option than sticking around.
“If that’s true — if you don’t know who I am — then maybe your best course is to tread lightly.”
Even after Walt tried to put his whole fear-mongering persona of Heisenberg behind him, he ended up having to bring it back into play, thanks to an unfortunately located book of Walt Whitman poems. Regardless, Walt wastes no time delivering this blunt, intimidating line to his own brother-in-law, Hank (Dean Norris), because becoming a guy that generates that kind of fear in others isn’t something you just walk away from. And, like riding a bike, it isn’t something you easily forget.
“I’ll send you to Belize.”
What started off as a possible solution floated to Walt by his lawyer, Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), Walt decides to turn it around on Saul, making what was already a conspiracy to commit murder into an even more menacing threat. It takes real skill to be capable of causing fear in others — particularly when all you have to do is bluntly repeat what someone else just told you.
“Cheer up, beautiful people. This is your chance to make things right.”
One of the best examples of just how terrifying Walt had become is when he lays out his plan to get his money into the hands of his family, all while catching-up with his old friends and former business partners, Gretchen (Jessica Hecht) and Elliot (Adam Godley). Building on all these techniques, the kind of plans you make will end up sounding less like proposed endeavors, and more like an offer that you can’t refuse. Granted, having two guys with laser pointers out in the bushes will help underscore the point.
“I’ve still got things left to do.”
This is an ominous statement enough in its own right, but coming from Walt, this vague, single-item ‘to-do’ list sounds outright horrifying. When every statement you make comes off like some kind of vendetta, that’s when you know you’ve become someone whose very name is synonymous with fear.
“I am the danger. I am the one who knocks.”
This is probably the most-oft quoted line from the great Heisenberg, and for good reason. As Walt’s conflict with the nefarious Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) continues to escalate, his wife, Skyler (Anna Gunn), tries to make sense of what their lives have become, desperately fearing what could happen to them. Walt, however, manages to out-scare Skyler’s worst-case scenario while setting a new high-water mark for how to become as menacing and fear-inspiring as possible. This applies to all the entries, but be particularly careful using this one.