when you aren’t your best friend’s best friend
1. Todd is essentially a three-year-old when it comes to emotional development. He has no internal sense of empathy or compassion. If he isn’t bothered by something, he doesn’t understand how or why anyone else might be bothered by it. This isn’t to say that he’s emotionless, but that he isn’t capable of putting himself in anyone else’s shoes.
2. Todd isn’t stupid. He actually quite perceptive and logical, which are traits that pinged Walt’s interest. Todd jumped to answer Mike’s questions when Walt and Jesse first began at Vamonos, and he thought to look for the nanny-cam during their first cook. And, of course, he took care of their problem after the heist in the most cold and logical way possible.
3. Todd is curious, not sadistic. Contrary to Jesse’s view of him, Todd doesn’t take pleasure in causing harm. If he’s pulling the wings off a fly, it’s because he wants to see what will happen, not because he enjoys making it suffer. When he volunteered to torture Jesse, it was a means to an end. He even said as much. And when his “family” is slaughtered around him, his instinct is to seek out the cause, because that’s more interesting to him than whatever emotional response he might have to loss.
4. Todd actually finds outbursts of emotion highly uncomfortable. He doesn’t know what to do with these situations, like when he’s watching his mentor wailing in sorrow. He isn’t sure what to do with his own intense feelings. His attraction to Lydia comes off as creepy and obsessive because he can’t display it properly, but it’s ultimately quite innocent in nature.
5. Todd’s politeness is a learned behavior. Someone at some point taught him that using certain words and affecting an air of deference would be the easiest way to get what he wants, so that’s how he behaves. He doesn’t have a sense of personal space or others’ autonomy, so I imagine he was unintentionally rude and pushy before he learned this.