'Talking Bad' react: 'Anything worthwhile is perishable'

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Image Credit: Jordin Althaus/AMC

SPOILER ALERT FOR THE BREAKING BAD SERIES FINALE! (But you should know that by now, right?)

Well, this is the end. There will never be another series like it. That is, until The Talking Dead returns. Perennial host of all things fandom Chris Hardwick hosts the final installment of Talking Bad, an extended one-hour after show special airing immediately after the Breaking Bad series finale. Set at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hardwick sits down with various members of the cast, creator Vince Gilligan, and Jimmy Kimmel to discuss the series finale and legacy of Breaking Bad..

Prior to the live post-show discussion, Aaron Paul hosted a screening party at the Cemetery to raise funds for the Kind Campaign. Paul, clad in a Vamanos Pest jumpsuit, joins Gilligan and Kimmel  for the first portion of the show. Hardwick thanks Gilligan for tying up the loose ends of the series. Most if not all of the burning questions were answered in a satisfying (at least to Hardwick, Kimmel, the cast and crew, and me) way. On closing out the series in a mostly definitive way, Gilligan calls Breaking Bad a “finite” series that “starts at A and ends at Z.” (We noticed.) While he appreciated The Sopranos ending for that series, it would not have been the perfect ending for Bad.

At the mention of Jesse taking out Todd once and for all, Paul exclaims, “Yeah! Oh my God, I wanted him dead so bad.” He then adds, “I’m so happy Jesse was the one to just take the life out of him.” Paul also calls Todd Jesse’s “nemesis.” Paul speculates on what happens right after the series ends. “I think he’s just driving, driving as far away as he can until he pretty much runs out of gas.” Perhaps Jesse drives so far away that ends up developing a need — a Need for Speed.

When asked about Walt’s state of mind in the final shot of the series, Gilligan states, “he is with his ‘precious’ in Lord of the Rings terms.” Gilligan also cites the lyrics of “Baby Blue” by Badfinger, which played during that last scene, as indicative to Walt’s final state of mind.

Hardwick asks about Walt inexplicably leaving his watch at the gas station’s phone booth. Gilligan confesses that there’s the two reasons: a cool, artsy-fartsy reason that he and the writing team made up and a real reason. The real reason is due to continuity, since Walt did not have the watch on at Denny’s during the first season 5 flash-forward. The artsy-fartsy reason is that Walt didn’t need the watch anymore as he was about to encounter Jesse, who gave him the watch, for the last time.

Kimmel describes Walter White as “Batman and the Joker combined.” Kimmel also jokes about how the series will affect Stevia sales.

Gilligan talks about a scene that was written but not shot for the finale. Walt notices a kid at the gas station, staring at him. He stares back and tries to intimidate and pay him off in order for the kid to not call the police. The kid is actually one of Walter’s former high school student, who notices him because he was his teacher. Before leaving the gas station, Walt asks the kid about how he was as a teacher. The kid replies that he remembers Walt turning fire different colors — as seen in the pilot episode. The script pages of the scene will be included in the complete box set. (Holiday gift alert!)

Later on, RJ Mitte and Anna Gunn replaced Paul and join Gillian and Kimmel on stage with Hardwick. Emmy awarding-winning actress Gunn analyzes that last heartbreaking moment between Walt and Skyler. “She sees back to the moment to the man he was once, to the family they once were, to the thing they once had,” Gunn states. “She sees it all in that moment, and she sees what has burned down around them.” Cue the tears.

Mitte defends Walt Jr./Flynn’s decision to stick by his mother’s side when it’s revealed that Walt is a drug kingpin. He thinks Walt Jr. may take the money from the Scwartzes but states “he has some stuff he needs to work out for himself.”

Cranston was unable to attend the special because he had a matinee performance for All the Way in Massachusetts. But in a pre-taped video Cranston muses on the end of the series. He calls it “bittersweet,” adding “anything worth while is perishable.”

Then, Giancarlo Esposito a.k.a. Gus Fring and Jonathan Banks a.k.a. Mike Ehrmantraut joined the brood onstage. Esposito characterizes Gus as a “combination of dark and light, black and white.” He also notes the purer side of Gus, saying he wants to help people reach their full potential.

Banks also states that after the series finale, he doesn’t care what Paul said. Jesse is going to take care of Brock — “period.” Oh, Jonathan Banks, never change.

Hardwick wraps up the night with thanks all around but especially to Vince Gilligan for creating such an epic series.

Stray notes from the show: 

Gilligan and the writing team were inspired by The Searchers in Walt’s impromptu rescue of Jesse.

Jane Margolis, Krysten Ritter’s character on the series, has the same last name as Mark Margolis, who played Tio Hector Salamanca. (This is something that’s already known, but I just realized. Connections!)

Baby Holly White is named after Vince Gilligan’s longtime girlfriend.

Gilligan didn’t plan to show Skyler’s reflection in the microwave in her pivotal scene with Walt. Editor Skip MacDonald noticed the reflection during editing.

Gilligan’s favorite TV show ever is The Twilight Zone.

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