Count Zero wrote:
I think Walt's reasons for going into the business at the beginning were sympathetic, he didn't want to leave his family with a huge amount of debt.
Yeah, all that went away the the moment he went into business with Fring.
It went away a lot earlier than that, pretty much in the first couple of episodes of the show. After all, there were people willing to pay for Walt's treatment. He wouldn't have had to turn to Meth cooking at all but he had already made up his mind. It was just an excuse to finally get the reward and recognition he felt he was owed but never received.
However, I'm also one of those who remained sympathetic to him for very long - way too long, in fact. I did root for him basically until the thing with Brock. To me, the moral ambiguity and the fact that we're made to root for or sympathise with the bad guy is one of the best aspects of the show. I like these ethical rollercoaster rides.
I still sympathized with him when he turned down the money from his former colleagues. I mean, in his position I would have taken the money, but I would have absolutely hated taking it and accepting charity from the people who took my idea and made billions off of it. Also at the end of season one he was still trying to exclude violence from the equation and still believed that was possible.
I think when Fring was in the equation it was possible to root for Walt for the same reason you can root for Tony Soprano against Mikey Palmici, Richie Aprile, Ralph Ciferetto and Phil Leotardo. Sure, Walt was objectively equally evil as Fring, but Fring was such a bigger jerk about it.
I also have to disagree about Brock. If he had killed Brock it would be one thing, but if he had not poisoned him, Fring would have killed him, Hank, and his family. That was the only way to get Jesse back on his side.
Now, when that 12 year old on the dirt bike was killed, different story.