If you’ve watched Breaking Bad, you’ll know the scene the title above alludes to. The crime drama aired its series finale more than a decade ago (September 29, 2013 – if you can believe it), receiving critical acclaim from critics and audiences. The final product was a brilliant, bittersweet, and hugely satisfying finale.
Walt’s final act of revenge against a Neo-Nazi gang with an M60 loaded into the boot of a Cadillac was the ultimate denouement, but behind the scenes, Vince Gilligan’s “biggest fear” was what the kingpin would do with the machine gun in the first place (H/T Variety).
“The biggest single fear we had was what to do with that damn machine gun. At the beginning of the final run of 16 episodes, we had Walt buy a machine gun in the trunk of a Cadillac.”
“That was the thing I remember freaking us out the most because we did that, I committed to that,” the X-Files writer said. The decision to give Walt the gun in the opening episode of Season 5 left the series with a gaping plot hole that needed fixing.
“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. We had no clue,” Gilligan added.
Gilligan discussed the tireless “months on end” spent “completely freaked out” on what to do with the plot point. “We’d be in the writers 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.”
Inevitably, with time and patience and banging heads against walls, the story started to click into place. These revelatory moments in the production offices were compared to a breaking dam.
“It was after that point that we figured he’s got to win. He’s lost everything because of his hubris and his pride and his ego. He’s lost his family, he’s lost his soul. But he’s got to win on some level.”
“He’s at least got to deliver that money to his family. How the hell does he do that once the world knows who he really is? When we figured out that Gretchen and Elliott could be the mechanism by which Walt wins and gets that money to his family, that was a good day.”