After tonight's penultimate episode of "Breaking Bad," treat yourself to this Q&A session from April of this year. Conan sat down with Vince Gilligan and a good portion of the cast for a talk about how the show developed into what it is, the timeline of character developments, locations, and anecdotes. The Q&A is spoiler free up to season 5.2, but if you're not caught up you should probably skip my comments below the video. I admittedly often skip audience questions when watching videos like this, but this audience offers some great insight and inquiries, and the last fan question happens to be a good one about my favorite episode, "Fly."
This was a great watch, but I would have loved two additions to the discussion: First, Anna Gunn. It's her thoughts on her own character that interest me the most because I feel that, after Walt (and even before Jesse) she is the most complicated and maybe even has a more polarized fan reaction that Walter himself. And that reaction to Walter actually encompasses my second pondering. I have seen many essays on "Breaking Bad" and other shows like "The Sopranos" that criticize the way the entertainment industry romanicizes white criminals. To Gilligan I would say: I have not felt sorry for or enamored with Walter White since probably around episode two and I feel that viewers that do are missing the most brilliant parts of the show - the moral self examination and the descent of man to monster- how do you feel about the faction of viewers that root for Heisenberg? Was it ever your intention for viewers to sympathize with him, working under the impression that Walter and Heisenberg are two very different characters?
But beyond my own lingering thoughts this is a great watch. It's beautiful to see these people behave so lightheartedly, and to witness their humility and gratitude. Every actor presents as the antithesis of their character with the absolute exception of Jonathan Banks, who may in fact actually be Mike Ehrmantraut.
The internet can be a beautiful place sometimes, and when it comes to "Breaking Bad" there is little disappointment. Gone are the days when only a cast gets accolades for the success and brilliance of a show, and I encourage you to check out any of the eight million podcasts, interviews, videos and infographics that relate to the people behind the curtain. I'm especially fond of podcasts with the show's writers, but will be on hiatus from listening anymore until after the finale.
And speaking of the finale, there were no hints, clues, or giveaways (that we're aware of now, at least) save for Cranston's declaration that viewers will be absolutely happy with the outcome. Which circles me right back to my question about who may or may not be rooting for Walter. What does the cast and creator consider a satisfactory resolution? In about 169 hours, we'll know. Seems both far too long a wait and not nearly enough time to prepare, doesn't it?
As promised, here are the poll results:
- 34% of you thought Hank would bite it, but oddly he only had three votes before 09/08. Cheaters. 16% think Jesse won't make it out alive, 18% think Walter will die, and only 13% think Skylar's a goner.
- 36% of voters think Walter's going to kill Jesse.
- 29% think Jesse will kill Walter, 51% do not, but 11% think he will kill Skylar.
- Only 10% of you think Todd is a supergenius (which is oddly reassuring), 23% think he's an idiot, but the resounding opinion, with 60% of votes, is that Todd is a big ol' metaphor.
- 36% of you think Walter will use the ricin on himself, while 33% think it's for Jesse. Only 11% voted for Skylar.
- In results calculated before 09/08. 23% thought Hank would waller in public shame, 6% thought Jesse would snap, and only 6% thought Walter would end Hank's life in one of two ways. Poor, poor Hank.