“Felina,” the final episode of Breaking Bad, is one of the most satisfying series finales of all time. The show itself was praised as one of the greatest ever made — with some critics even declaring it the pinnacle of television as an art form — so a lot was riding on how Vince Gilligan would conclude the series.
It was a make-or-break moment. And thankfully, Gilligan pulled it off. No one knows these characters better than him, and he brought the tragic, mythical tale of Walter White to a bittersweet end in spectacular fashion. Here are 10 behind-the-scenes facts about the Breaking Bad finale.
Marty Robbins’ “El Paso” Has A Nearly Identical Plot To The Finale
The Marty Robbins song “El Paso” can be heard in the car that Walt steals from New Hampshire before returning to Albuquerque. Some fans have theorized that Walt was shot by police in the car and the rest of the finale happened in his head (although El Camino confirmed this to be untrue).
In the song, Robbins tells a story about being a fugitive on the run. He returns to his hometown and gets gunned down, much like Walt (albeit by his own hand) when he goes back to New Mexico[brightcove_video:] to save Jesse.
Vince Gilligan Couldn’t Bear To Watch Walt And Skyler’s Final Scene Together
Although he was directing the episode, Vince Gilligan couldn’t bear to watch the heartbreaking final scene shared by Walt and Skyler. After spending five years as these characters, depicting the slow demise of their marriage, Bryan Cranston and Anna Gunn played the scene so powerfully.
Gilligan wasn’t the only crew member affected by the scene; the camera operator cried while shooting it, and had to take his eye off the eyepiece.
Walt Only Leaves His Watch At The Gas Station To Avoid A Continuity Error
When Walt stops off at a gas station on his way back to Albuquerque, he leaves his watch behind. Breaking Bad fans have read all kinds of meaning and symbolism into this moment, but as it turns out, this moment was only added to avoid a continuity error.
The crew realized that Walt wasn’t wearing a watch in any of the scenes from the second half of the episode (or in a flash-forward that appeared way back in the season 5 premiere), so they added a scene where he takes it off to explain why.
The Episode’s Title Has A Few Meanings
The title of the episode “Felina” has a few meanings. The most obvious one is that it’s an anagram of the word “finale,” but it’s also the name of the character whose story is told in Marty Robbins’ “El Paso,” a significant plot point in the episode.
The title can also be broken down into the chemical symbols for iron (Fe), lithium (Li), and sodium (Na), which some critics have seen as a play on “blood, sweat, and tears,” with “blood, meth, and tears.” “Blood, Meth, and Tears” would’ve made a good title, too.
A Deleted Scene Saw Walt Running Into A Former Student
There was a scene in the script for “Felina” that ended up being cut due to both time and budgetary constraints. In this scene, right after Walt made the phone call where he pretends to be a reporter from the Times, he would’ve bumped into one of his old students.
He paid off the kid to keep quiet about seeing him, and then asked, “What kind of teacher was I?” The ex-student would reply, “You were good,” and recount an anecdote about Walt using different chemicals to change the color of a flame in one of his classes.
The Shot Of Skyler’s Reflection In The Microwave Was An Accident
One of the most iconic shots in “Felina” sees Skyler looking at herself in the microwave door, with her face reflected on the glass. Her character arc comes to a head in one beautiful, contemplative moment.
Vince Gilligan has since confessed that this shot was an accident, and he didn’t even realize he had it until the editor complimented him for it.
The Final Scene Between Walt And Jesse Was Inspired By The Searchers
When Walt returns to Uncle Jack’s compound to save Jesse at the end of “Felina,” it’s not a heartfelt reunion. Jesse doesn’t forgive Walt, and he’s been through trauma that Walt can’t even imagine.
Vince Gilligan has said that this final confrontation was inspired by the scene in The Searchers in which Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) finally tracks down his kidnapped niece (Natalie Wood) and finds that, after all these years, she’s too far gone.
The Finale Is One Of Bryan Cranston’s Two Favorite Episodes
Series lead Bryan Cranston has said that “Felina” is one of his two favorite episodes of Breaking Bad. The other is “Phoenix,” the Season 2 episode in which Walt decides to let Jane die of a heroin overdose for selfish reasons.
Vince Gilligan’s favorite episode is the anxiety-inducing “Ozymandias” and Aaron Paul’s is the character-driven “4 Days Out.”
Badfinger’s “Baby Blue” Was Streamed 9,000% More After The Episode Aired
In Walter White’s final moments, as he walks through the meth lab and reminisces about his legacy before collapsing and bleeding out and the cops swarm the building, Badfinger’s “Baby Blue” plays on the soundtrack, setting the mood perfectly for the end of the series.
After “Felina” aired, there was a huge spike in interest in this song. Online streaming of the song went up 9,000%, while iTunes reported 50,000 downloads of “Baby Blue” in the days after the Breaking Bad finale hit the airwaves.
Vince Gilligan Believes Walt Was Planning To Kill Jesse
On an episode of Talking Bad that aired right after “Felina,” Vince Gilligan explained that he believes Walt was planning to kill Jesse when he got to Uncle Jack’s compound.
However, when he got there and saw the terrible state that Jesse was in, he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He realized he still cared about Jesse and that’s why he jumped on him to protect him when the bullets started flying.