Following the update on his health, why does Walter White punch the towel dispenser in Breaking Bad season 2? Actor Bryan Cranston received critical acclaim for his portrayal of a harmless high school science who transformed into a drug kingpin after a cancer diagnosis. Over time, even Walt couldn’t keep up with his lies stemming from his meth production but hid the secret from his family as long as possible.

Walt’s lung cancer was the reason he left his normal life behind to secretly cook meth. He partnered with Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) so that he could distribute large supplies of the drug to earn money for his family before his impending death. Despite the diagnosis, Walt tried various treatments. In the season 2 episode titled “4 Days Out,” Walt got the results of an updated scan, indicating that he was in remission. His family, including his wife Skyler (Anna Gunn) and son Walt Jr. (RJ Mitte), were in attendance to hear the good news, but the celebration didn’t last long.


After sharing the relief with his family, Walt went to the bathroom to collect himself and wash his face. As he went to grab a paper towel, Walt violently punched the dispenser multiple times, denting it in the process. Prior to the doctor’s visit, Walt spent days in the New Mexico desert cooking $1.2 million in meth with Jesse. He also mentioned that everything he was doing was for his family after he’s gone. Walt was starting to feel frustrated about his constant lies to his family, feeling like he didn’t deserve to live. After Walt found out that his cancer wouldn’t end his life, he would be forced to keep his family out of the dark for even longer.

Walt Could No Longer Use His Cancer As An Excuse For His Actions

More than anything, Walt used his cancer as an excuse to cook meth because he figured he didn’t have much time left. As the family patriarch, he needed to make sure his family would survive without him, and in his mind, that meant money. Walt realized while in that bathroom that the justification was gone. Every decision he made following that moment was for his own interests because he could have walked away at that point. The reason for joining the drug trade had vanished. His death wouldn’t put an end to his lies nor did he have any drive to stop cooking meth. For the first time in Walt’s life, he found something he was good at, but it happened to be extremely dangerous for him and his loved ones.

It’s likely that Walt targeted the towel dispenser with his outburst because he saw his reflection on the metal. He changed so much in such a short time and became an almost unrecognizable figure in his mind. Going from Walt the family man to Heisenberg wasn’t an easy task, but it was clear that the character started to enjoy his increasing power. It was no longer just about his family but admitting that was difficult for Walt. He knew that he would go deeper to the point of no return with death from cancer no longer the end of his journey.

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Interestingly enough, Walt encountered the towel dispenser again in the Breaking Bad season 5 episode “Gliding All Over.” He smiled at the dented dispenser, thinking about how far he’d come. Walt recently let Skyler in on his secret and his life was going well. He later reminisced with Jesse about cooking in the RV before dropping off his share of $5 million. Unfortunately, Walt’s life was about to be turned upside down as his brother-in-law realized Heisenberg’s true identity.

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