series finales

Breaking Bad’s Vince Gilligan on the Finale’s Toughest Scene

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) - Breaking Bad _ Season 5, Episode 16 - Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC
Photo: Ursula Coyote/AMC

Of the many things that happened in last night’s Breaking Bad finale — all the emotional good-byes and plot loops closed — there was one in particular that made showrunner Vince Gilligan and his writers’ room leap with eureka excitement once they had cracked it. As he explained to Entertainment Weekly in a long interview posted today, “We were like, ‘Oh my god, let’s go to lunch!’ [Laughs] That’s probably structurally the most important moment of the episode.”

“But the most important sequence in the episode for me probably was Walt succeeding at his 62-episode long task, which is leaving money to his family. The sequence with Gretchen and Elliott at their house was the hardest thing of all for the writers and I to figure out. In the previous episode, Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) lays it out for Walt. He gives Walt all the reasons why it’s impossible to leave millions and millions of dollars to his family. He says, ‘You’ll never get it past the cops, and if somehow you manage to get to your family, the cops will find out about it and they’ll seize it because it’s drug money. And if miracle of miracles, you manage to get it past the cops, your family is not going to take it because it’s from you and they hate you. Especially your son, who is primarily the one you’re doing this for, so it’s an impossibility.’ We kept talking about that in the writers room saying, ‘Jesus, Saul’s right on the money, no pun intended. There’s no way for Walt to do this.’ The Gretchen and Elliott scheme is structurally the most important sequence in the episode.”

Gilligan on Breaking Bad Finale’s Toughest Scene