Pretty much everybody thinks Breaking Bad stuck the landing, but there’s a chance — a slim chance — it might not have. In a new interview with Variety, Vince Gilligan talks about AI as “plagiarism” and his new, non-crime-related Rhea Seehorn show. He also reflects on “Felina,” the beloved capper to the show that made his name, specifically on “one of the dumbest things” he’s ever done in his career: having Bryan Cranston’s Walter White get “that damn machine gun” towards the beginning of the final season.
“That was the thing I remember freaking us out the most because we did that, I committed to that,” Gilligan said, in a bit teased out by The AV Club. “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. There were literally months on end when I was completely freaked out. 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.”
But it all worked out in the end:
Once we figured out this machine gun, that was when the dam broke and things started slowly to click together. 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.
Granted, one could still argue that giving Walt a remote-controlled machine gun he uses to take out a bunch of white supremacists is maybe the weakest aspect of Breaking Bad’s otherwise killer episode. But hey it could be worse and who doesn’t enjoy watching neo-Nazis get wiped out by a machine gun?
In the meantime, here’s hoping that once the AMPTP gives SAG-AFTRA what they want, Aaron Paul can finally start making some bucks off his Breaking Bad residuals.