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Vince Gilligan reveals the alternate endings for Breaking Bad

10.02.2013

All bad things have finally come to an end.

I spent much of my time with BREAKING BAD searching the internet for clues to how it all could go in the end. There I was doing homework on a television show; trying to reach inside of Vince Gilligan's head and pull out each cleverly placed easter egg. In the end, I really didn't guess all too well, which turned out for the best. I don't know what your feeling were towards the series finale but I believe it was of all things, satisfying.

I'm sure that it would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall when they were planning how it would all end up for Walt, Jesse and the rest of the gang. In an interview with EW, Gilligan finally reveals the other possible endings for the show:

If you haven't finished the series, then it's time to find something else to read. Find the endings after the photo.

Scenario One: What's the best ending for Walt?

We didnt feel an absolute need for Walt to expire at the end of the show. Our gut told us it was right. As the writers and I worked through all these different possibilities, it felt right, but I dont think it was a necessity for us. There was a version we kicked around where Walt is the only one who survives, and hes standing among the wreckage and his whole family is destroyed. That would be a very powerful ending but very much a kick-in-the-teeth kind of ending for the viewers. We talked about a version where Jesse kills Walt. We talked about a version where Walt more or less gets away with it. Theres no right or wrong way to do this job its just a matter of: You get as many smart people around you as possible in the writers room, and I was very lucky to have that. And when our gut told us we had it, we wrote it, and I guess our gut told us that it would feel satisfying for Walt to at least begin to make amends for his life and for all the sadness and misery wrought upon his family and his friends. Walt is never going to redeem himself. Hes just too far down the road to damnation. But at least he takes a few steps along that path. And I think more importantly for him than that is the fact that he accomplishes what he set out to accomplish way back in the first episode: He leaves his family just a ton of money. Of course, Walt for years now has been looking through the wrong end of the telescope. For years now, he thought if he makes his family financially sound thats really all he has to do as a man, as a provider, and as a father. Theyre going to walk away with just shy of 10 million in cash, because of Walts machinations with Gretchen (Jessica Hecht) and Elliott (Adam Godley). But on the other hand, the family emotionally is scarred forever. So its a real mixed message at the end. Walt has failed on so many levels, but he has managed to do the one thing he set out to do, which is a victory. He has managed to make his family financially sound in his absence, and that was really the only thing he set out to do in that first episode. So, mission accomplished.

Scenario two: Should Jesse shoot Walt?

We talked about Jesse taking Walt up on his offer to kill him or Walt turning around to find Jesse had a gun on him. We talked about every permutation we could conceive of, and we went the way we went ultimately because the bloodlust had been satiated prior to that moment by seeing Jesse throttle Todd (Jesse Plemons) to death. Thats what the writers wanted to see. Todd is actually in a weird way kind of likable, but he just had to go. Opie had to go. Ricky Hitler, as we like to call him. I think the whole world is better off without that group of characters. So having satisfied that, it felt to us like, Jesse is not a killer. This poor guy has wound up having to kill over and over again. The first time he did it was to save Mr. White as well as himself, and its not a natural fit for him, and its something thats stolen a big, important piece of his soul. And we thought to ourselves, You know what? Let it end with Todd. Let that be the last person this kid ever kills. Let him go on from here to have a decent life. And also, hes got reason enough to kill Walt. Hes got reason enough to be murderously angry at him. But he had said a long time ago, in a previous episode, Im never doing what you tell me to do ever again, so when he says no and drops the gun and says, Do it yourself, to Mr. White, its as much a refusal to do what Walt tells him. Hes just not going to make Walt happy anymore. Its not about, Im not still angry enough to murder you. Rather, its, You want this, and therefore Im not giving it to you.

Scenario Three (which happened): Let Jesse escape

We found over the years that the way we can please the majority of the audience most of the time is to tune out as much extraneous factors as possible and please the eight of us in the writers room. If we can make ourselves happy day in and day out, we had a pretty good chance of making most viewers happy as well, and thats what held us in good stead for six years. With that in mind, all [of us] in the writers room just loved Jesse (Aaron Paul) and we just figured he had gotten in way over his head. When you think of it, he didnt really have a chance in the early days. Walt said, You either help me cook meth and sell it, or else Ill turn you in to the DEA. So this poor kid, based on a couple of really bad decisions he made early on, has been paying through the nose spiritually and physically and mentally and emotionally. In every which way, hes just been paying the piper, and we just figured it felt right for him to get away. It would have been such a bummer for us, as the first fans of the show, for Jesse to have to pay with his life ultimately.

Pressing Question: What will happen to Jesse now?

We always felt like the viewers desired Jesse to get away. And its up to the individual viewer to decide what happens next for Jesse. Some people might think, Well, he probably got two miles down the road before the cops nailed him. But I prefer to believe that he got away, and hes got a long road to recovery ahead, in a sense of being held prisoner in a dungeon for the last six months and being beaten to within an inch of his life and watching Andrea be shot. All these terrible things hes witnessed are going to scar him as well, but the romantic in me wants to believe that he gets away with it and moves to Alaska and has a peaceful life communing with nature.

To check out the rest of Gilligan and the writers decisions(spoilers there too), head here.

Source: EW

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-1
4:01PM on 10/03/2013
A lot of this seems kind of obvious because there were a number of justifiable ways the show could have ended. Personally, I would not be opposed to Jesse Pinkman having a spin-off series of his own. There are a number of things I think that could work for that. First, Jesse was an accomplice to a major drug empire, so I don't think he can just ride off into the sunset and get away clean. Second, the dude's pretty messed up now, so thinking that he's just going to go off and live a peaceful
A lot of this seems kind of obvious because there were a number of justifiable ways the show could have ended. Personally, I would not be opposed to Jesse Pinkman having a spin-off series of his own. There are a number of things I think that could work for that. First, Jesse was an accomplice to a major drug empire, so I don't think he can just ride off into the sunset and get away clean. Second, the dude's pretty messed up now, so thinking that he's just going to go off and live a peaceful life probably isn't quite right. He's also a great character with a lot of depth, so I think there's more story that could be told. That said, I understand that Paul probably wants to move on, as well as Vince. But he created something fantastic and it's going to be greatly missed.
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11:57AM on 10/03/2013

What!?!

No love, that I sent this info/link to Paul Shirey 2 days ago???

It's all good, Yo!
And I did enjoy the Finale, awesome!
No love, that I sent this info/link to Paul Shirey 2 days ago???

It's all good, Yo!
And I did enjoy the Finale, awesome!
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10:39AM on 10/03/2013
Vince Gilligan could very well be the smartest man of all time.
Vince Gilligan could very well be the smartest man of all time.
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8:39AM on 10/03/2013
Meh. I still think the writers played it alittle too safe in the finale. It was closure for the fans rather than the actual show- I mean Walt at no time was in any real danger, he never really got his comeuppance. I just wish they had stuck to their guns and killed everyone but Walt like originally promised. Thats probably my main gripe of Breaking Bad, it managed to paint itself into a corner every season except for season four. That was an actual ending.
Meh. I still think the writers played it alittle too safe in the finale. It was closure for the fans rather than the actual show- I mean Walt at no time was in any real danger, he never really got his comeuppance. I just wish they had stuck to their guns and killed everyone but Walt like originally promised. Thats probably my main gripe of Breaking Bad, it managed to paint itself into a corner every season except for season four. That was an actual ending.
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10:40AM on 10/03/2013
no real danger? was this post meant as a joke?
no real danger? was this post meant as a joke?
3:13PM on 10/03/2013
Not a joke. He managed to find a car with keys inside and went undetected by a patrol car. Where was the danger ? He snuck into Sklars apartment, went to a coffee shop without any repercussions. He may as well had a giant sign on his car stating who and where he was. I'm just saying there was no difficulty primarily due to time limitations Gilligan foolishy enforced on himself. The show had easily two episodes more to flush everything out instead the writers crammed backstory confessions and
Not a joke. He managed to find a car with keys inside and went undetected by a patrol car. Where was the danger ? He snuck into Sklars apartment, went to a coffee shop without any repercussions. He may as well had a giant sign on his car stating who and where he was. I'm just saying there was no difficulty primarily due to time limitations Gilligan foolishy enforced on himself. The show had easily two episodes more to flush everything out instead the writers crammed backstory confessions and intricate plot points into anidotal conversations in the final three episodes. Aside from the final ten minutes it was a wasted episode compared to the first two which kick started the season.
5:11PM on 10/03/2013
I do agree about Season 4's ending. If the show had ended there I would have been one happy camper, it was a perfect stopping point. Season 5 felt more like an epilogue.
I do agree about Season 4's ending. If the show had ended there I would have been one happy camper, it was a perfect stopping point. Season 5 felt more like an epilogue.
8:04AM on 10/03/2013
I'm glad they didn't go through the scarface route with Walt running around with that machine gun. The way he rigged that machine gun to that garage door mechanism thing was so much more Heisenberg. Walt is best when he is low on resources (money and hit-men) and has to get his hands dirty. That's how he beat Gus and that's how he's always outsmarted his enemies.
I'm glad they didn't go through the scarface route with Walt running around with that machine gun. The way he rigged that machine gun to that garage door mechanism thing was so much more Heisenberg. Walt is best when he is low on resources (money and hit-men) and has to get his hands dirty. That's how he beat Gus and that's how he's always outsmarted his enemies.
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+3
7:03AM on 10/03/2013
Damn it.
I red all that in his voice.
Damn it.
I red all that in his voice.
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9:50AM on 10/03/2013
haha I know I was like why is there a southern accent in my head now.
haha I know I was like why is there a southern accent in my head now.
12:22AM on 10/03/2013
i enjoy the way it ended most tv shows if there lucky to have a ending end on such meh note and leave you let down only other tv show that ended great i can think of right off the top of my head is six feet under
i enjoy the way it ended most tv shows if there lucky to have a ending end on such meh note and leave you let down only other tv show that ended great i can think of right off the top of my head is six feet under
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10:26PM on 10/02/2013

THE KARMA OF IT

I like the way it ended but I'm still suffering from BB withdrawal. Walt did and did not get away with it. Like the article stated, he got plenty of money to his family. His transformation into a drug kingpin was never in his make up until he found out he was dying. Because he made a ton of meth and a ton of money and caused or was the cause of many untold people (addicts, innocents, bad guys and so forth), he knew that something was going to take him down. Even when he admitted he never
I like the way it ended but I'm still suffering from BB withdrawal. Walt did and did not get away with it. Like the article stated, he got plenty of money to his family. His transformation into a drug kingpin was never in his make up until he found out he was dying. Because he made a ton of meth and a ton of money and caused or was the cause of many untold people (addicts, innocents, bad guys and so forth), he knew that something was going to take him down. Even when he admitted he never felt so alive, in his soul the morality of what he was doing was eating him alive which brings in the cancer as a literal and figurative metaphor as well as an influence to the protagonist. I think that's why people got into the character as much as they did. It tuned on how far a desperate situation may take you out of your normal spectrum of existence.

As far as Jesse goes, true, he is scarred and evening up his ledger will probably never happen. However, even though the loose ends were supposedly tied up, I still would like to see a BB series based on what happened to Jesse years later. He's got some skills now and one could almost seeing him going to down a similar yet very dissimilar path that Walt did. Somewhere down the line, Jesse will atone. How? When? Where? I think would make an interesting show but may never happen.
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9:24PM on 10/02/2013
Liked the way it ended but wish it was the cancer that eventually killed Walt.
Liked the way it ended but wish it was the cancer that eventually killed Walt.
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+15
9:00PM on 10/02/2013
Walt should have become a lumberjack, that would have been perfect.
Walt should have become a lumberjack, that would have been perfect.
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9:25PM on 10/02/2013
Laughed out loud. Thank you!
Laughed out loud. Thank you!
8:03PM on 10/02/2013
I'm just glad Jesse survived. He was my favorite character and was the 'heart and soul' of the show.
I'm just glad Jesse survived. He was my favorite character and was the 'heart and soul' of the show.
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7:25PM on 10/02/2013
The real tragedy of the show is seeing Jesse, at the beginning this lovable, funny fuckup...become a twitchy, tortured, angry shell. His decision not to kill Walt the proof some of his soul is still in there. And you have to hand it to Gilligan resisting the impulse to have Jesse sign off with a hokey "yeah bitch!" catchphrase like any fanboy or network exec would have written it.

That final shot of Jesse in the car, speeding away...alternately laughing in joy and screaming in grief...give
The real tragedy of the show is seeing Jesse, at the beginning this lovable, funny fuckup...become a twitchy, tortured, angry shell. His decision not to kill Walt the proof some of his soul is still in there. And you have to hand it to Gilligan resisting the impulse to have Jesse sign off with a hokey "yeah bitch!" catchphrase like any fanboy or network exec would have written it.

That final shot of Jesse in the car, speeding away...alternately laughing in joy and screaming in grief...give Paul the Emmy right now.
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