In case you’ve been living in an underground meth lab for the last few years, let us remind you: the end of Breaking Bad is nigh. There are only four episodes left in the acclaimed AMC crime drama’s five-season run. Questions abound: Will high school chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston) pay dearly for becoming a murdering meth lord? Or will he somehow dig a way out of the mess that he’s created? Will his ex-partner Jesse (Aaron Paul) and DEA brother-in-law Hank (Dean Norris) — or his advancing cancer — exact revenge on him? Will anyone order the tableside guacamole?
EW headed to Albuquerque to visit the set earlier this year and got a peek at the final days of shooting, and you can read all about it in this week’s cover story. The cast and producers warn: Brace yourself for some of the drama’s darkest moments yet, as well as plenty of surprises. “All plates are spinning,” says Cranston. “Everybody has to be thinking at the top of their game. Walt is dealing with his physical limitations. So all kinds of things come into play. And there’s also an adventure that is very exciting and opens things up. What can I say? It gets badder before it gets baaaaad.” Series creator Vince Gilligan frames it in a slightly different way. “There are going to be a lot of holy s—! moments. Buckle up. And gird your loins. Because we’re not going out with a whimper.”
Of course, nothing they’ve done has been quiet, including simply making it on the air. “On a 1 to 10 scale, 10 being least likely, this show was an 11,” says Gilligan, who sums up: “It’s about a 50-year old guy. That’s strike one. He finds out in the first 15 minutes that he’s dying of cancer. That’s pretty much strike two and three right there. And then he decides to cook crystal meth, so that’s strikes four through eight.”
Our story looks back at the underdog that became a critical and fan favorite, and gives you a few hints about the final four episodes. In addition, cast members discuss their favorite moments from the show (yes, someone picked the “Cow House?” “Yeah, where they live, the cows.” exchange from season 1), while our TV critic Melissa Maerz singles out each season’s best episode. In addition, the Breaking Bad writers comb through their old notes and reveal some intriguing story lines that never made it to the screen. One of them involves Badger (Matt Jones) shooting a flaming arrow into an impound lot that houses Jesse’s car, which contained some damning evidence. So, yes, in an alternate universe, Jesse may have wound up shouting “Yeah, bitch! Flaming arrows!”
If that’s not enough, head over to EW’s Facebook page for an exclusive video featuring Cranston and Paul.
For more on Breaking Bad, pick up this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday, Sept. 6.