Jesse has come to tell Walt about Declan’s offer. Unsurprisingly, Walt isn’t interested in selling his share of the methylamine.
Walt and Jesse each state their cases. For Jesse, this is an ethical thing to do. They could sell out tomorrow and nobody else would have to die. No more Drew Sharps. But for Walt, selling out would be giving up on a business they’ve literally sweat and bled for.
To Jesse, Walt is being greedy…he reminds Walt how originally all he needed out of the meth trade was $737K. Walt could have that tomorrow if he wanted.
But Walt has a story to tell Jesse, and now we get to the heart of who Walt is what motivates him. I’ve assumed Walt has kept at the meth business because of greed and pride, and it is pride, but it’s more complex than I’ve thought. Here’s the story…
Remember Gray Matter? The business Walt started when he was in grad school with Gretchen and Elliott? Until this point, all we knew was that Walt had started it, but that he’d left the business before it went big. Gretchen and Elliott became insanely rich while Walt was relegated to becoming a high school science teacher.
Well, now we get the specifics. Originally Gray Matter was a three-person business—just like the meth business is now, oddly enough. Back then it was Walt, Elliott, and Gretchen. They were grad students with a lot of promise. But then something happened. Walt won’t tell Jesse what, but we can assume it has to do with Gretchen. Maybe Gretchen and Walt were together but she slept with Elliott? Anyway, Walt wanted out and sold them stake in Gray Matter for $5,000. Today it’s worth $2.16 billion.
We know the exact dollar amount Gray Matter is worth because Walt obsessively looks it up every Friday and has been doing that his whole adult life. File this in the “biggest mistakes of your life” category. Walt has. It’s so big, he’s been consumed with bitterness ever since. Years and years of bitterness eating away at him. Kind of explains why Walt was such a passive sad sack at the beginning of the series, doesn’t it?
Earlier when Jesse asked Walt whether he was in the meth business or the money business, Walt didn’t have an answer, because he’s in neither. Now, he tells Jesse he’s in “the empire business”.
Jesse starts to protest…is an empire of METH something to be proud of? But before Walt can answer, Skyler comes home with groceries.
Walt is hanging out in his own home with the guy who helped him get into the drug business, and Skyler knows Walt’s secret. Awwkwward.
So Walt invites Jesse to dinner!
Jesse fucking accepts.
Chapter 8: Build Trust with Your Employees by Breaking Bread with Them
Walt, Skyler, and Jesse sit down to eat. Not much conversation is happening. Jesse tries to compliment Skyler’s green beans. Turns out the green beans are from Albertson’s.