Just a heads up SPOILERS will follow for the series finale titled Felina.
Well, it’s finally over! For weeks, we’ve all been on edge freaking out worrying if Breaking Bad would succumb to the same mistakes most finales fall victim to. Luckily, this wasn’t the case, and the series landed on a nice subtle note. However, interesting new revelations have emerged regarding the conclusion in an interview with show-runner Vince Gilligan.
According to the interview from EW, a bleaker and more excessive version of the show’s finale was kicked around before settling on what we saw Sunday. After weighing the options, the aggressive version was thrown out because the writers felt it was too harsh.
“We didn’t feel an absolute need for Walt to expire at the end of the show. Our gut told us it was right. As the writers and I worked through all these different possibilities, it felt right, but I don’t think it was a necessity for us. There was a version we kicked around where Walt is the only one who survives, and he’s standing among the wreckage and his whole family is destroyed. That would be a very powerful ending but very much a kick-in-the-teeth kind of ending for the viewers. We talked about a version where Jesse kills Walt. We talked about a version where Walt more or less gets away with it. There’s no right or wrong way to do this job — it’s just a matter of: You get as many smart people around you as possible in the writers room, and I was very lucky to have that. And when our gut told us we had it, we wrote it, and I guess our gut told us that it would feel satisfying for Walt to at least begin to make amends for his life and for all the sadness and misery wrought upon his family and his friends.”
He then talks about the character Jesse Pinkman, who finally drives away to freedom in the end, which I thought was such a relief. I was sure his character would die so many times in the show. Even though Jesse shared blood on his hands, Gilligan says it was a fitting end for the character.
“…the writers room just loved Jesse and we just figured he had gotten in way over his head. When you think of it, he didn’t really have a chance in the early days. Walt said, ‘You either help me cook meth and sell it, or else I’ll turn you in to the DEA.’ So this poor kid, based on a couple of really bad decisions he made early on, has been paying through the nose spiritually and physically and mentally and emotionally. In every which way, he’s just been paying the piper, and we just figured it felt right for him to get away. It would have been such a bummer for us, as the first fans of the show, for Jesse to have to pay with his life ultimately.”
Gilligan also admits that the final moments between Jesse and Walt were a nod to classical western films. One film titled The Searchers, our very own Renegade writer Patricia Marquez, made comparisons to that movie before the finale hit Sunday night. Check out Gilligan’s quote.
“A lot of astute viewers who know their film history are going to say, ‘It’s the ending to ‘The Searchers.’ And indeed it is. The wonderful western The Searchers has John Wayne looking for Natalie Wood for the entire three-hour length of the movie. She’s been kidnapped by Indians and raised as one of their own, and throughout the whole movie, John Wayne says, ‘I need to put her out of her misery. As soon as I find her, I’m going to kill her.’ The whole movie Jeffrey Hunter is saying, ‘No, we’re not — she’s my blood kin, we’re saving her,’ and he says, ‘We’re killing her.’ And you’re like, ‘Oh my god, John Wayne is a monster and he’s going to do it. You know for the whole movie that this is the major drama between these two characters looking for Natalie Wood. And then at the end of the movie, on impulse, you think he’s riding toward her to shoot her, and instead he sweeps her up off her feet and he carries her away and he says, ‘Let’s go home.’ It just gets me every time — the ending of that movie just chokes you up, it’s wonderful. In the writers room, we said, ‘Hey, what about ‘The Searchers’ ending?’ So, it’s always a matter of stealing from the best. [Laughs]“
I loved the series finale for how subtle and calculated it closed the saga. Most television series fold under the pressure of trying to achieve too much in little time. They calmly wrapped up all the loose ends quite effortlessly, and it was refreshing to see a television series accomplish this. Harsh would be cool, but I’m glad they took this road instead.
What do you think? Would a harsher version of Breaking Bad’s finale be a better fit? Tell me in the comments!