Breaking Bad is one of the best television series ever made and part of what makes that so are the details that were considered while making it. Creator Vince Gilligan didn't just have an idea for a story, but he had themes, emotions, and mindsets to explore. He's freely admitted that one of the aspects of the show he dabbled with was in the characters' color palettes. Depending on what they're going through, how they're feeling, and where they stand concerning others, their color of wardrobe reflected it in some way.
Vince gave personal attention to this aspect of his show, presumably because he believes the subliminal messages it sends compliment his work. Juxtaposing characters not just in ideology but in color reinforces their positions in Gilligan's world. It's never as simple as black and white, but using the color wheel he told his story in more ways than are immediately apparent. Here are many of the colorful curiosities that you might've missed.
10 Blood Money
Walt finally considers himself a success when everyone around him is either dead or out of his way in the middle of the last season. This coincides with him making something like 80 million dollars and having Skyler store it away. She can't launder it, and they can't overtly spend it. When she brings Walter to the stash, it's sitting on a blood-red tarp.
This is a not insignificant or so-subtle reflection of the bodies and blood that have been the cost for this amount of money to be in the White Family's possession. "How much is enough" deftly concerns both the literal money and figurative blood. Another earlier 'blood money' floor? Gustavo's SuperLab.
9 It's A Beige Alert! Tell My Wife, Hello.
With color never being an afterthought on this show, it's introduced as critical right from the beginning. When we see Walt after the initial flashback that begins the series, he's living in a world of tepid beige and muted greens. He is as bland and unremarkable as the colors he wears, coasting through life without making waves or disturbing anything else.
He 'goes with anything' and is therefore insignificant. Of course, even by the end of the first episode things have changed on that front, with green (money) suddenly driving him to extremes.
8 Purple Prose
One person whose color coordination was rather blatant was Marie's. Mostly always in a deep shock of purple, not just in her clothes but as we get to see, throughout her and Hank's house.
The trick is the times she's not clad in purple. When Marie relapses to shop-lifting again she turns to black clothes. She does the same when the DEA alerts her to the threat on Hank's life and she's in protective custody. When her 'perfect' life is upturned, her aggressively stable color is as well.
Throughout the series, Jesse has a few color consistencies. Mostly attributed a yellow set, he changes as his life is brought into upheaval by Walt. When he gets himself into rehab after Jane's death he wears muted, greens not unlike Walt at the beginning.
In the final season he often wears black and after splitting with Walt, a lightning-struck design, perhaps signifying the impact Walt has left upon him.
6 Red, Green, Blue
Blood, money, and meth. It would be a safe argument to say that these are the major elements that force change for Walt and everyone in Breaking Bad. Walt's collision with mortality via his cancer diagnosis equals blood, therefore red. His concern becomes how to make money to both self-fund his treatment and leave a nest-egg for his family, green.
His method? The famous blue meth he eventually concocts as Heisenberg. Not deep enough you say? Well, remember the first episode where Walt is giving a chemistry demonstration in class, proclaiming that it is about 'change'? The three spray bottles he uses are red, green, and blue.
5 Prophetic Port-A-Potty
Remember in season 2 when Jesse couldn't catch a break? He lost almost everything, from his home to his money to his RV. He tried to turn to his parents, old friends, anyone for help, but nothing was working. So, he broke into the car-yard where the RV was being kept to use it as a last resort safe place.
Of course, what happened was while jumping the fence he collapsed through the roof of the Port-A-Potty. Significantly, with his body now covered in the thick blue chemicals from the john, much like his life had been. Also significantly, it was the blue footprints he left behind that allowed him to be found out. Symbolism much?
4 Yellow Is A Warning
It's not a strict rule, but many times within the series someone wears yellow and it means you should be cautious around them, or they should exercise caution. A common color in street signage to indicate the same, there's a decent list of times where characters or even fans should heed the visual cue.
Marie suddenly wears a yellow top right before Hank discovers Walt's incriminating copy of Leaves Of Grass. Gustavo Fring wears yellow initially as if to warn off anyone not 'in the game' he's playing. Jesse is the persistent yellow wearer, and given his involvement in the meth business, you could argue he's a blinking warning light of trouble being near or headed his way. Lastly, when Walt spies Gretchen and Elliot on television belittling his contributions to their business and thus causing Walt to head their way, they're both adorned in yellow elements.
3 The Dark Path
Want to know how meticulously color and its importance is woven throughout the Breaking Bad series? Right from the start, we learned that the White Family conspicuously lived on Negro Arroyo Lane.
Translated, it means Black Brook or Black Stream. This is almost on the nose with how a 'good' character is about to head down a 'bad' path, but it's awesome nonetheless. Ok, sometimes it is as blatant as black-and-white.
2 White Stripes
Walter White Junior has an interesting color situation if you keep an eye out for it. He is commonly seen wearing striped shirts so he can represent the colors of the people he is currently involved with or being pulled between.
In critical moments he leans towards representative colors of the situation or of the person he's with. When Hank is hospitalized he's wearing yellow stripes, and when he's alongside Hank on a Los Pollos Hermanos stakeout he dons Hank's orange. A chip off the old Mr. Chips.
1 Jesse Redman
Jesse has perhaps the most reactionary and varied color associated with his wardrobe throughout the series. Where others like Walt and Skyler make gradual changes, Jesse is like a set of traffic lights. Most significant though are his turns in red. The first time we ever see him he's only wearing red underwear, then he drives away in his red car and puts on a red hoodie when Walt tracks him down.
When he neglects to buy the correct plastic tub and his house suffers the consequences, he's wearing red. When he visits Gale at his home, he's wearing red. Right before Jane died, he was wearing red. When he's taken to Mexico, he's wearing red under a jacket. Blood waiting to spill. Re-watching the series, you'll wonder how you didn't notice it. Unless you did. Then good for you.