Vince Gilligan on last episodes of “Breaking Bad”: “It’s going to be polarizing”

The show's creator admits that even he is not sure how the series is going to end

Topics: Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad, amc, Television, Drama,

Vince Gilligan and his writers are about two episodes away from writing the series finale of one of the best shows on television, “Breaking Bad,” whose final half-season will air this summer on AMC.

Vulture interviewed Gilligan to find out what the writing team is thinking about in this “schizophrenic” time. “It’s going to be polarizing no matter how you slice it,” he said. “But you don’t want 10 percent to say it was great and 90 percent to say it sucked ass. You want those numbers to be reversed.”

Gilligan didn’t reveal any plot twists, but he did share what the writers are thinking about when writing the show’s final episodes:

1. Even Gilligan doesn’t know how the show is going to end, yet, but he’s hoping to create something that will mix the element of surprise with a sense of inevitability:

“I had this strange confidence in the beginning that I had an idea [for the ending] that was sound,” he said of Walt’s fate. “But I look back at the life of the series and realize I cycled through so many possible endings, it would be disingenuous to say I had always had it figured out. It has evolved in the last five years and probably has some evolving left to do.”

…”We try to have a surprise around every corner but inevitability as well. The opposite of surprise. It’s something that I feel should and will be an important component to the end of the series. To me, that is an interesting thing and a thing to be embraced, that feeling of ‘I think I know where this is going.’”

2. Gilligan and his team find inspiration not from TV, but from some classic films, notably “Casablanca”:

“No one gets everything they wanted. The guy doesn’t get the girl, but he has the satisfaction of knowing she wants him. And he doesn’t get her because he has to save the free world. What better ending is there than that?” Gilligan said. “I’m not saying we’re going to approach that or reach in that direction. Our story doesn’t line up [with Casablanca]. But we’re looking for that kind of satisfaction.”

and “The Godfather”:

“We crib from them shamelessly,” Gilligan told me. “We’re always asking ourselves, How does this relate to ‘The Godfather’? In the finale, we may give even a more overt tip of the hat.”



3. There will be no “Breaking Bad” movie. According to Gilligan, this is it:

“Rightly or wrongly, there will be a conclusive ending,” he told me. “Our story from the beginning has been designed to be close-ended. It’s very much designed to have a beginning, middle, and end and then to exist no more.”

4. Although the fate of other central characters may be at stake, good old Saul will live:

“I like to think of Saul as a cockroach in the best possible way,” Gilligan said. “This is a guy who’s going to survive while the rest of us have been nuked into annihilation. He’ll be the worst-dressed cockroach in the world.”

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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