Watched this last night. Great episode. Walt coldly manipulates everyone around him.
I was also watching some past episodes, doing a bit of a gradual rewatch to pick up on things from the earlier seasons.
I used to think Walt was basically a good, upstanding guy who, when faced with the prospect of his imminent death, decided to toss away society's rules and make money his own way. He professed to be doing it for his family, and he was surrounded by total scumbags (Tuco and his boys, etc.), so you could see the logic in it and even be a bit sympathetic.
But I was watching those early season 2 episodes, and I realized Walt was always
a scumbag, he was just better at hiding it and "playing nice." For instance, when he listened to Jesse's story about how Spooge's head got crushed with an ATM, it's obvious Jesse is really broken up about it. What is Walt's reaction? He doesn't care, except insofar as it might lead back to him. No empathy for Jesse's trauma, nothing.
Walt just uses and manipulates everyone around him. He builds up his webs of lies and goes nuts whenever something threatens to expose him. Witness Gretchen trying desperately to get to the bottom of what's wrong with Walt, and he can't help but seethe with hate because she could easily expose his lies to Skyler.
If he's changed much at all through the course of the show, it's in becoming a more consummate liar.
This show is so great.