Vince Gilligan, creator, executive producer, head writer, and director of the uber-iconic Breaking Bad, spoke up about the AMC show’s season finale. Reflecting on it, he divulged the “dumbest thing” he ever did. It’s been a decade since the acclaimed series saw its conclusion. From its release till years after, the Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul starrer has left a significant imprint on television history.
The final episode of Breaking Bad, titled Felina, was a testament to the writers’ story-telling excellence and is considered one of the greatest in fictional history. It successfully ties up the series’ loose ends and offers a poignant resolution, satisfying the audience with a conclusion that fits the overarching narrative. However, Gilligan, the show’s creator, was troubled by one especially tricky element that would ultimately be crucial to the series’ ending.
In a recent interview with Variety, he deemed the incorporation of this plot device “the dumbest thing” he has ever done.
Vince Gilligan’s Overall Views On The Breaking Bad Season Finale
In a recent interview with Variety, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Breaking Bad finale, Vince Gilligan answered several questions about the well-received series’ conclusion. On whether or not his perception of the ending has changed after a decade, Gilligan revealed that he is rather proud of it. He additionally lauded the marvelous writers, alongside whom the showrunner “strained” his brain to get the pieces to fall into place.
The creator, though, looked back on the one aspect that he deemed their only mistake.
And that was Aaron Paul’s teeth. According to Gilligan, he felt like they missed out on a crucial detail regarding his character:
“I think the one thing we got wrong was Aaron Paul’s teeth. They’re too damn perfect! For a guy who got beaten up as much as he did, and smoked that much meth, his teeth would not look so beautiful.”
Vince Gilligan does make a fair point.
On the subject of the series’ conclusion, the show’s executive producer revealed his concern regarding the M60 machine gun that Walter White bought at the start of the season during a flash-forward. “The biggest single fear we had was what to do with that damn machine gun,” Gilligan remarked. The integration of this element was the “dumbest thing” the Breaking Bad creator had ever done, he commented. But why was that so?
Breaking Bad Final Season’s “Dumbest” Decision According To Vince Gilligan
Gilligan initially wanted the commencement of the final season to “start with a bang.” This is why the first episode began with a flash-forward, showing Walter White at Denny’s restaurant on his 52nd birthday. “What’s he at a Denny’s for?” the showrunner asked in light of this narrative choice. “Well, he’s buying a machine gun, of course!” It was because of this that Vince Gilligan started to panic.
He and the rest of the writing team did not know how to explain why the character had bought the firearm. Not recognizing what to do with the narrative element but incorporating it in the final season anyway was the “dumbest thing” Gilligan had ever done in his career, or so he thinks:
“One of the dumbest things I’ve ever done in my career was committing to the idea of Walter White buying a machine gun when we did not know what he was going to do with it. […] There were literally months on end when I was completely freaked out.”
He revealed how arduous the process of figuring out what to do with the machine gun was:
“We’d be in the writer’s room’ for a full day, and I’d be slowly banging my head against the wall—not enough to hurt myself, but just enough to jar the ideas loose. And everybody was kind of worried about me.”
Vince Gilligan and the crew were unsure about the object’s relevance to the climax. A part of him reckoned that they would figure it out as they proceeded. However, with only six or seven episodes remaining until the conclusion, the showrunner still hadn’t figured out what to do with the machine gun. Gilligan was petrified, but his writers kept him grounded.
Finally, after they figured out the essence of the machine gun, everything started to click. The team worked on understanding Walt’s journey and how the object would enable the character to “win on some level.”
And that’s how, with the showrunner figuring out a fix for the gun’s inclusion, the world received a mind-blowing Breaking Bad finale. It’s no wonder that even a decade later, the show is deemed the best to have ever graced fictional history.
Breaking Bad is available for streaming on Netflix.