‘Breaking Bad’: Vince Gilligan Reveals the Most Challenging Scene in the Finale to Pull Off
Breaking Bad looked effortless — it was meant to appear that way. However, behind the scenes was a team of people dedicated to making the show look good and sound good. Fans responded positively to all the subtle references interspersed throughout plus the massive amount of symbolism.
However, one long term storyline gave showrunner Vince Gilligan a lot of trouble. It all had to do with how Walter White achieved the ultimate goal he tried to accomplish over 62 episodes.
Walter White just wanted to provide for his family
At the beginning of Breaking Bad, Walter White finds out he has terminal lung cancer and that he’s probably going to die. Through a series of coincidences, Walt realizes how much money he can make selling drugs, and he’s just desperate enough to try.
By the finale, Walt still has a lot of the fortune he earned after years in the drug trade. The only problem? He has no way to get the money to his family, especially since they all despise him by that point and wouldn’t accept it. Gilligan opened up to Entertainment Weekly about the conundrum of Walt’s money and how he could get it to Skyler, Walt Jr, and Holly without getting caught by police or his estranged family members.
Vince Gilligan called the money problem, ‘the most difficult task’
When asked about the most challenging scene in Breaking Bad, the showrunner mentioned the violent scenes in the finale just like everyone expected. But he had an unexpected addition.
“…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,” Gilligan explained.
He recalled how Saul Goodman was right that Walt could never get his millions past his cops. The writers had to come up with another avenue — and they did.
Walt blackmailed Elliot and Gretchen Schwartz
Walt’s old friends and former colleagues the Schwartzes are well-meaning people who want to obey the law and preserve their lives. When Walt shows up and promises he’ll have them murdered if they don’t hold onto the money and give it to his family, they believe him. Those red laser pointers meant to look like sniper rifles certainly helped.
Also, Walt’s family would be willing to accept financial help from Elliot and Gretchen while they would not from Walt himself.
Walt pulls the ultimate scam before he dies
Gilligan explained: “The Gretchen and Elliott scheme is structurally the most important sequence in the episode, when Walt pulls that scam on Gretchen and Elliott and he intimidates them into giving his family money so that it’ll ride past the DEA without the DEA knowing it’s drug money and then it’ll be accepted by Skyler and Walt Jr. as largesse, as charity and not as money from their patriarch.”
He continued, “As soon as we figured that out, we were like, ‘Oh my god, let’s go to lunch!’ That’s probably structurally the most important moment of the episode, and the toughest one to crack.”
There was something so satisfying about seeing the money Walt gave up everything for go to good use.