We’ve seen our fair share of series finales from “The Sopranos” to “Lost.” But out of all the TV show endings that made their debut on our small screens, it was “Breaking Bad” that dropped our jaws. The final episode, “Felina,” was full of suspense, thrills, humor, and heartbreak. But according to creator of the long-running series, Vince Gilligan, the series finale, which we all held close to our hearts, was almost ruined due to one disastrous scene. Can you guess which?
“We had so many versions of the ending,” Gilligan revealed to Entertainment Weekly. “And we really had boxed ourselves into a certain number of corners well in advance of the ending. Out of cockiness or stupidity, 16 episodes from the end, we had Walter White show up in a beard, long hair, and a new set of glasses, buying an M60 machine gun in a Denny’s parking lot.”
You know the scene he’s talking about, right? It was the first episode of the fifth season, which aired July 15, 2012. In “Live Free or Die” the scene opens in a Denny’s restaurant. We watch a man divulge in a bacon, two sunny side up eggs and a side of hash browns. Sounds like a seemingly normal morning. But things take a turn for the weird when it’s revealed that the disheveled male sporting an unkempt beard and no wedding band is Walt.
He leaves the restaurant, after giving his waitress a generous tip, and opens the trunk of a car. In the back of the vehicle sits a M60 machine gun with ammunition. Walt looks around, throws his belongings into the trunk and slams it shut.
“We didn’t really know how we were going to get to that story point — we didn’t even know what that meant or what Walt was going to use that machine gun for. So that was kind of ill-advised. I wouldn’t recommend to my fellow show runners doing that unless you really know where it’s all headed,” Gilligan warned.
The creator of the hit AMC series went on to say that the scene with Walt and the M60 lead to “many dark nights of the soul.”
“I was like, ‘We’re never going to get there.’ The question always came up: ‘What the hell do you need a gun that big for?’” he said.
Gilligan explained that the writers toyed with the idea of Walter breaking into the downtown jail in Albuquerque and “just shooting the s--- out" of the prison with his M60 machine gun and rescuing Jesse.
“Of course, we kept asking ourselves, ‘Well, how bad is Walt going to be at the end here? Is he going to kill a bunch of upstanding, law-abiding jail guards? What the hell kind of ending is that?’ And then we had some version of it where he’s going to shoot up a prison bus. We had so many crazy ideas. But the crazier ideas went away bit by bit and step by step as we kept filling in the blanks of each episode.”
Eventually, the writers came up with the most “organic” ending they could think of, which you can check out below:
Gilligan then revealed that there’s nothing he would change about how he ended “Breaking Bad” but if you ask him again in a year, “maybe I’ll have awakened in the middle of the night and said, ‘Oh my god, I realized we missed a trick there!’ But so far so good. I feel pretty good about it.”