It’s hard to forget Walter “Walt” White and Jesse Pinkman when thinking of television’s best ever duos. The two started out as teacher and student (before the series) and eventually went on to become the biggest meth manufacturers in Albuquerque, New Mexico. While working together, they became friends too.
But were they real friends? Walt and Jesse had a volatile relationship. One minute they were saving each other’s lives and the next minute, they didn’t want to see each other. There’s a bigger case for them being frenemies than real friends. Here are the arguments and instances that back that up.
Walt Lets Jesse’s Girlfriend Die
Jesse Pinkman’s relationship with his neighbor Jane Margolis is a short-lived one. When Walt goes to Jesse’s house in an attempt to reconcile with him in Season 2, he finds that both Jesse and Jane have passed out from a drug overdose. As he attempts to wake Jesse up, Jane begins asphyxiating on her vomit.
Instead of performing first aid on her or calling 911, Walt gladly watches her die. He does this because he is aware that Jane has been influencing Jesse. With her out of the way, he’ll be able to control him. Letting your friend’s girlfriend die for your own benefit permanently rules you out as a good friend.
Jesse Spends Walt’s Life Savings On Strippers And Drugs
In the pilot, Walt is quite excited about the fact that he’ll be cooking meth soon and making lots of money for his family. He thus gives Jesse his life savings worth $7,000 and instructs him to purchase an RV which they’ll use as a mobile meth lab.
Instead of doing as asked, Jesse visits a strip club with his friends and blows all the money away. He even labels Walt a fool for giving him all that money. That’s quite true because Walt could have purchased the RV himself instead of trusting a junkie with that much money. Luckily for Jesse, his pal Combo lets him buy his family’s RV for a mere $1,400.
Walt Posions Brock
Soon after Jesse begins dating Andrea Cantillo, Walt poisons her six-year-old son Brock with a plant known as Lily of the Valley. Walt makes Jesse believe that it was Gus who poisoned Brock using ricin, knowing that its effects are similar to that of Lily of the Valley. By doing this, he turns Jesse against Gus.
Walt using a child to further his agenda is indeed brutal. It’s even worse if you consider the fact that Jesse really likes Brock. What if he had died? Would Walt have been able to live with that?
Their Friendship Is Born Out Of Blackmail
Logically, the best friendships start from mutual respect for each other. Two people realize that they share interests or goals. They start hanging out and the rest is history. This isn’t the case for Walt and Jesse.
Earlier on in the first season, Hank takes Walt to watch one of his drug busts. One of the drug dealers escapes and Walt realizes that it’s his former student Jesse Pinkman. Later on, he pays Jesse a visit, informing him that he plans on cooking meth and wants him to be his partner. He warns Jesse that if he doesn’t agree, he’ll turn him on. And thus the adventures of Pinkman and White begin.
Jesse Agrees To Work For Gus Without Walt
After the Mexico incident where Gus, Mike and Jesse wipe out Don Eladio and all his henchmen, Jesse accepts the trafficker’s offer to be his only meth cook. This is despite the fact that he is putting Walt’s life in danger by doing so. Jesse asks Gus to not kill Walt but he knows very well that people like Gus do whatever they want.
Jesse’s decision to work for Gus is a selfish one, given that Walt previously did everything he could to make sure Jesse was his only partner. And if it wasn’t for Walt, the partnership with Gus wouldn’t exist in the first place.
Walt Gives Jesse Up To The Neo-Nazis
A lot happens in the highly-rated Season 5 episode titled “Ozymandias.” After Jack and his Neo-Nazi gang kill Hank, Walt loses all hope. Knowing that Jesse is hiding under the car, he decides to give him up to them. Earlier on, he had reluctantly hired the same gang to take out Jesse.
It’s painful to watch Jesse being dragged from under the car. Worse still, Walt lets him know that he watched Jane die and that he could have saved her but he didn’t. Not exactly the best friend, is he?
Walt Withholds Jesse’s Money
When Walt gets paid $1.2 million in Season 2, he withholds Jesse’s share because he has slipped back into a drug problem. This causes plenty of friction between the two. Logically, Jesse has worked for the money, so he deserves to get his cut.
However, Walt sees himself as a father figure, though he isn’t a particularly good one. He also shouldn’t in a position to judge cast moral judgment on Jesse, considering the terrible things he has done. Walt’s decision to withhold the money is what leads to a chain of disastrous events such as Jane’s death and the air disaster.
Walt And Jesse Have No Social Relationship
Outside cooking and dealing, there is nothing else to hold the friendship between Walt and Jesse. Throughout the entire series, Jesse only visits Walt’s family home twice. He does it once for dinner, while the second time he’s there, his intentions are to burn the house down because he is angry at Walt.
Walt and Jesse are rarely seen just relaxing and doing something friends do like grabbing a beer. Perhaps the age difference is to blame. Jesse never speaks to Walter Jr. in the entire series either.
Jesse’s Opinion Of Walt Isn’t Exactly A Pleasant One
“Mr. White is the devil,” says Jesse when Hank and Gomez try to make him set up a meeting with Walt. Not exactly how a good friend would think of you.
And when Walt tries to help Jesse get out of the DEA’s radar by telling him to skip town, he responds by saying, “Would you just for once stop working me? Just tell me you don’t give a sh*t about me and it’s either this, or you’ll kill me the same way you killed Mike.” Clearly, Jesse doesn’t trust Walt at all.
Jesse Doesn’t Consider Rushing Walt To A Hospital
In the series finale, Walt uses an automatic M60 to kill Jack’s gang at the compound where Jesse is being held captive. As the gun is firing, Walt makes sure to cover Jesse. Unfortunately, Walt gets hit by some bullets in the process.
In the final confrontation between the two, Jesse realizes that Walt is bleeding but he doesn’t do anything about it. He doesn’t even consider rushing him to a hospital, even if it means Walt will get arrested. He simply takes off with the money and leaves a dying Walt behind. Definitely not how a true friend would behave.