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In this wonderful painting by Robert McGinnis, a tribute to John Ford’s film The Searchers, Ethan Edwards looks down at the doll which Debbie, his niece, dropped when she was abducted by Scar — a symbol of innocence violated.


I believe that the teddy bear which falls into Walter White’s pool in Breaking Bad, from the mid-air collision of two aircraft, is a reference to Debbie’s doll, a similar image of innocence violated, for which Walt is indirectly but inescapably responsible.

Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad, said that the ending of the series was a direct nod to The Searchers — offering Walt, like Ethan, a small measure of redemption.  In Breaking Bad, Walt is thus both Ethan and Scar, just as the two are in one sense mirrors of each other in The Searchers, two sides of what is in truth the same savagery.