The Ending Of Breaking Bad Might Echo The Beginning And Have A Casablanca Vibe, Is Definitely Proving Hard To Write

Vince Gilligan has been speaking to Vulture about the work he’s doing now, trying to bring his show, Breaking Bad, to a satisfying conclusion.

Gilligan may have had an idea for how to wrap things up when he started, five seasons ago, and several other ideas evolved along the way, but even now the show runner is not quite sure on how to achieve that perfect kind of audience fulfilling closure.

But he knows what the benchmark is, and it’s Casablanca.

No one gets everything they wanted. The guy doesn’t get the girl, but he has the satisfaction of knowing she wants him. And he doesn’t get her because he has to save the free world. What better ending is there than that? … We’re looking for that kind of satisfaction.

The threads in play include a number that go way back to the first episode:

Are there echoes of the beginning that we should have in the end? There’s a certain kind of circularity that might be pleasing. We think a lot about that, in fact.

Yes, circularity can be pleasing – it can also feel like the easy way cop-out to bring some closure to a story. Circularity needs to be part of the structure of a satisfying conclusion, not all of it. “And look, it’s like the beginning!” is only one step above “It was all just a dream!” when it floats by without some other resonances.

Gilligan also commented on what the final episode will mean:

I’m very cornball in my own view of the world. It just makes sense to me that bad people should get punished and good people should be rewarded. I know it doesn’t work like that in real life, but there’s always that yearning [but] oddly enough, I don’t feel any real pressure to pay off the characters, morally speaking.

I’m not up to speed on Breaking Bad – in fact, I have a very long way to go – but I like knowing that wherever it’s heading, Gilligan’s in control and has kept trying to hone the best conclusion, right up until the wire.

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