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The 'Breaking Bad' writers' room and the endings that could have been

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Breaking Bad Season 5 Production Still
Breaking Bad Season 5 Production Still

Spoilers ahead: major plot points of the final episode of Breaking Bad revealed below.

Breaking Bad is over, and (nearly) all of Walter White's loose ends are neatly tied up. But that doesn't mean that there isn't more to know. Now comes the postmortem. What went into making the final episode? How do the creators of the show feel about the fate of Walter and those around him? And, perhaps most importantly, what were the other ideas that Breaking Bad writers had for ending the series? For the answers to these questions — and much more — we're thankful to have cast and crew interviews.

After you've spent some time digesting the events of the final episode, "Felina" (an anagram for finale), you may want to dig in to Entertainment Weekly's insightful interview with series creator Vince Gilligan. He explains how Walt's last-minute decision to spare Jesse was inspired by a John Wayne western, and says the most challenging (and important) scene in the episode was Walt's confrontation with Gretchen and Elliott. In all, he concludes that tying up everyone's stories "caused a lot of headaches and a lot of stress trying to get all the stuff worked into the final hour of TV, but I feel real good about it that we did it." He adds, "There’s no right or wrong way to do this job — it’s 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."

"There’s no right or wrong way to do this job."

Co-executive producer and writer of many episodes, Peter Gould, provides a door into the writers' room in an interview over at The Hollywood Reporter. He says that over the course of the series the writers wondered when should Walt "realize the ends don't justify the means?" Ultimately the writers agreed "That's the end of the show. When he's no longer lying to himself, that is truly the end for Walt." Gould, of course, is referring to the scene when Walter breaks into Skyler's home and finally admits that he didn't become a drug lord for his family. "I did it for me."

Lastly, Time has compiled five of the alternate endings Vince Gilligan revealed on AMC's Breaking Bad Insider podcast earlier today. The bleakest of the bunch? One that would have left Jesse and Walt Jr. dead. From this selection, at least, it seems clear the writers made the right choice — even if Walt's machine gun contraption was a bit of a long shot.