In the opening moments of this week’s Breaking Bad, we find out where Walt’s famed Pontiac Aztek has been this whole time: in the shop getting all of its “being owned by Walter White” issues fixed.

The repairs on the vehicle display a microcosm of the series’ history: human remains were scooped out of the engine, the windshield was fixed many times, and the rear end got patched up from when Walt intentionally crashed the vehicle to distract Hank.

Walt, seemingly arbitrarily, sells the car for $50 to the mechanic. He and his son then pick up muscley sports car type things, to Skyler’s chagrin.

Walt’s Aztek was kind of like a character on the show; when they first panned over it in this episode I made a gasp of recognition like I’d do if a character that was supposed to be dead was revealed to be alive.

Cars are important to Breaking Bad. Like in real life, the type of car a person drives is important to their character. That raises the question: how important are the cars of Breaking Bad to the symbolism of the show?

One way to think of the cars is that they represent what the writers and creator think of the characters. Another way to think of it is to consider that these characters all chose these cars for a very specific reason. A car isn’t indicative of how other people see a person, or how a person truly is. A car is indicative of how someone sees themself, or how they want to be seen. Let us investigate why each Breaking Bad character bought they car they bought.