By Jesse David Fox
Right after Breaking Bad ended, Vince Gilligan and most of the cast (notably minus Bryan Cranston and Bob Odenkirk) showed up to discuss the finale on Talking Bad. In it Vince Gilligan, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Giancarlo Esposito, Jonathan Banks, and RJ Mitte (and, for some reason, Jimmy Kimmel) reflected on the show and gave up details about the finale, like why Walt didn’t shoot Jesse, why Jesse didn’t shoot Walt, why Walt left his watch on the pay phone, and more.
1. Gilligan explained that the reason Walt placed his watch (the one Jesse gave him for his 51st birthday) on top of the payphone after pretending to be the New York Times reporter was only retrofitted symbolism: The reason he had to do it was because they realized that in the flash-forward of him at Denny’s that they’d shot for episode 501, Walt wasn’t wearing a watch, so they had to explain where it went for continuity reasons. And so, out of necessity, they came up with what Gilligan called the “artsy fartsy” reason: It was a symbol of Walt, seeing the end is near, cutting ties with one of his “arch-nemeses,” Jesse.
2. Aaron Paul on why Jesse wouldn’t shoot Walt: “The more episodes that were revealed, I realized I didn’t want Jesse to take another life … Besides Todd.”
3. Gilligan explained that The Searchers heavily influenced the final standoff between Walt and Jesse. Gilligan believes that Walt was intending to kill Jesse, but when he saw the state his former partner was in, Walt couldn’t do it. He still cared about Jesse.
4. In that final scene between Skyler and Walt, Anna Gunn wore oversized clothing (like Cranston often does) to make her look like a “shrunken person” and a “shadow of her former self.”
5. The camera operator cried shooting the final Skyler and Walt scene, and had to take his eye off the eyepiece.
6. The amazing shot of Skyler reflected in the microwave was completely accidental. Gilligan admits not knowing he got it until the editor complimented it.
7. Gunn on winning the Emmy: “When I stood up I really didn’t know what was happening for a second, honest to God. And I saw Aaron and Bryan and everybody standing up, and thought they must’ve called my name. And so I thought I should probably stand up and start moving toward the stage. And Bryan very sweetly just said to me, ‘Just breathe,’ and ‘I love you.’ And I said, “I love you too.’ I didn’t remember that until I watched that back.”
8. There was one scene cut from the finale script for budget and time reasons. It took place after Walt makes the call in which he pretends he’s the Times reporter. In it, a former student of Walt recognizes him. Walt pays him off and threatens him to make sure he doesn’t rat him out. But before leaving the former student, he asks, “What kind of teacher was I?” The former student replies, “You were good” and then says he remembered the time Walt sprayed different chemicals at a flame and it made different colors. (These excised scenes from the script will be on the final DVD set, said Gilligan.)
9. Gilligan on why he directed the finale: “Because I’m greedy.” He admitted that he would have loved to direct more episodes, but he had to be in the writers’ room, way off in L.A.
10. Jonathan Banks on what the show meant: “I’ve done this 46 years professionally. This is as good as it gets. I think we’re all — and I certainly am — a little adrift from such an experience of where you truly cared about, you were so proud of what the material was. And then you fell in love with all these people. You literally fell in love with these people. And it went from the network to the guy who turned out all the lights. We were all so happy to be there.”
11. When asked about the show’s legacy, Gilligan brought up his favorite show, The Twilight Zone: “You want to have that kind of immortality with your work.”