One thing you can say about Sunday night’s season finale to “Breaking Bad.” That was different.
Read no further if you don’t want to know what happened in the fleeting seconds of “Gliding Over All.” Or rather, what didn’t happen.
No one got half their face blown off. No planes exploded in mid-air. No one choked on vomit and no one stood by letting young love die.
In short, for once, the waning moments of a “Breaking Bad” season finale did not add to the show’s body count. (Of course, there were those prison murders earlier in the episode, but that was so fifteen minutes ago.)
“It’s a very different ending for a season,” Vince Gilligan told Showtracker in an interview early last month. “That’s what I love about it so much.”
Fully aware of its blood-soaked history, Gilligan deliberately draws out the show’s final minutes against a backdrop of mundane life moments at the White home. At this point, to relieve the underlying tension, any red-blooded fan is probably guessing -- or hoping -- for an orgy of violence and/or death.
But it was not to be. Instead we get Hank -- the DEA agent and brother-in-law to meth dealer Walter White -- going to the bathroom.
Gilligan explains: “The folks at home know it’s the end of the season and know there isn’t going to be another season of ‘Breaking Bad’ for about 10 more months. They are watching this scene by the pool and the family is talking about nothing. They are talking for minutes on end about nothing.”
“Skyler is talking about putting lemon juice in her hair and Walt is talking about brewing beer with Hank,” he continued. “We want the audience on the end of the seats saying, ‘What kind of ending is this? This is the worst kind of ending for a season of “Breaking Bad” we’ve ever seen! There should be things exploding, you can’t end it in such an undramatic way. Everything is hunky dory. That’s not this show. What the hell kind of ending is this?’”
Then, as Gilligan notes, Hank heads to the john and picks up a book for reading. Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.”
W.W. is Walt Whitman. W.W. is also Walter White.
“It’d be the most ironic and undramatic way of Hank catching Walter,” added Gilligan. “It’s just happenstance and bad luck on Walt’s part. If only he hadn’t left that book lying around, he would have been OK. We love those kind of moments on this show."