What is the symbolism behind ‘Fly’ in Breaking Bad?

I’ve recently started watching Breaking Bad and I noticed a lot of fans discussing the significance of the 'Fly' episode. Can anyone explain the symbolism behind it?

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"Fly," the tenth episode of season 3 in Breaking Bad is a fan-dividing episode, woven deeply with symbolisms. Firstly, the episode is what's known as "bottle episode" which happens in a limited setting with minimal characters to cut production costs. While this episode is debatably the least exciting in terms of action, it's important to note that it's full of significant character developments and metaphors. The fly itself is symbolic on multiple levels: 1. **Contamination**: For Walter White, the fly represents a contamination in his methampetamine lab - something minor but unacceptable to his overbearing need for control and perfection. This frustration is reflective of the contamination in his life, with all the poor choices he's made. 2. **Guilt**: The fly can also be viewed as Walt’s incessant guilt for his actions, particularly after indirectly causing the death of Jane Margolis, Jesse's girlfriend. This guilt continues to 'buzz' around his mind, proving inescapable. 3. **Loss of Control**: Walter’s desperate attempts to kill the fly echo his loss of control in life. Walter, who became Heisenberg to gain control of his destiny, is now seen chasing a mere housefly, becoming aware of his inability to enforce full control on situations around him. 4. **Duality of Walter and Jesse**: The difference in their attitudes towards the fly shows a contrasting perspective towards their actions. While Walt sees the fly as a problem, Jesse is more lenient, demonstrating his acceptance of imperfect circumstances, a stark contrast to Walter's desperate need for control and perfection. 5. **A Catalyst to Honesty**: The episode is also significant since Walter, in his sleep-deprived state, comes close to confessing his crimes to Jesse, showing that the guilt ('the fly') he has been harbouring has been a barrier in their relationship. In essence, the 'Fly' acts as a multifaceted symbol in the narrative, alluding to the guilt, fear, and frustrations experienced by the characters, amidst their lives, which are spiralling out of control.
Answered on September 2, 2023.
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