By Dan Snierson
Updated September 29, 2013 at 05:31 PM EDT
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad | From mustache to goatee to full-on ginger beard, from timid teacher to murderous kingpin to man on the lam — Walt's tossing-off of his principles…
Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC

Tent the house, zip up the hazmat suits, fire up the Thai-subtitlted karaoke machine, whip up some tableside guacamole — do whatever you have to do to ready yourself for “Felina,” the last-ever episode of Breaking Bad tonight at 9 p.m. on AMC. Gobs of questions hang in the air, which is already heavy with dread. What kind of revenge plan is meth lord Walt cooking up on his way back to Albuquerque? Should Gretchen and Elliott beef up security at Gray Matter? Is Jesse doomed to spend an eternity making 92 percent-pure blue meth for the Nazis between bowls of Ben and Jerry’s? How many body bags will be needed by the end of the finale? And did Skyler remember to send a taxi to 9800 Montgomery Blvd NE?

Before you go spiraling down the hypothesis drain, you might want to keep reading, as EW spoke with Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and the cast about this highly anticipated series finale. Although lips were sealed almost as tightly as Mike Ehrmantraut’s during a DEA interrogation, they offered up a few clues. The cast also revealed what they thought of the way that Gilligan and his writers wrapped up five seasons of potent drug drama.

Let it be known: It was incredibly challenging to find a fitting manner in which to bring the story of Walter White (Bryan Cranston) to conclusion. Gilligan estimates that he and his writers brainstormed 30 to 40 different versions of the ending. “As Gus Fring was a chess player, so we tried to be,” he said. “We tried to play a deep game and consider every move and every countermove and every possible dead end to those moves. And I got a little neurotic and very anxious about it over the course of a year. I was very much worried we would end it poorly…. My writers and I worked very hard to come up with an ending that satisfied us. That took the better part of a year in the writers room, and we feel good about the work that resulted.”

What can he say about those hard-fought results? “It’s going to be emotionally exhausting for fans,” he warns. He adds that it will be a definitive conclusion to the story: “You’re going to know exactly what happens when it happens on this show. There’s really not going to be any ambiguity, shall we say. We’re swinging for the fences.” Any hints about how the journey ends for HeisenWalt? “We feel it’s a satisfying ending,” he says. “Walt ends things more or less on his own terms.”

Clearly he was compelled to action at the end of last week’s episode, “Granite State,” and he does have a M60 in the trunk of his car. The man who plays him, Bryan Cranston, uses words like “appropriate,” “exciting” and “unapologetic” to describe Bad‘s end game. “Keep in mind that the tenor of this show is one of tragedy,” he says while noting: “What I love about it is that it’s justifiable and legitimate. As far as our show goes, it’s a very satisfying conclusion to this madness.”

Aaron Paul — who has seen Jesse hit yet another new low as he has been beaten mercilessly and forced to cook meth for the neo-Nazis — seconds Cranston’s assessment: “I would absolutely call the finale 100-percent satisfying. Enjoyable, painful and just utterly reckless.”

Meanwhile, Anna Gunn, whose Skyler is now scraping by as a part-time taxi dispatcher while she awaits word from a grand jury, felt that the writers rose to the daunting challenge of finishing off this harrowing tale in the final installments. “They not only knocked it out of the park,” she says, “they knocked it out of the country, out of the stratosphere.” She believes the finale is both a surprising and logical conclusion to the show. “I felt like it stayed true to the story, to every single character,” she says. “And it brings everything around in exactly the way that everything should be brought around… Every single thing felt completely right to me. I think it’s going to be shocking. But I also think it’s going to be something that will make people think, ‘Ah, yes, that’s absolutely right! Of course. Of course it should be that way.’”

Add Betsy Brandt, a.k.a newly widowed Marie, to the list of cast members who use the word “satisfying” to describe the show’s swan song. “I love that Vince is happy with it — I think that says a lot,” she says. “After I read it, I called Vince and said, ‘This is the perfect ending for this show. Not for every show but for this show.’ It’s just very honest and true.”

Want one more final finale hint? Here is a cryptic two-word tease, courtesy of Paul: “Massage chair.”

Sounds like all of us might need to book some quality time in one of those by the end of tonight. Tread lightly and hold on tightly.

To read what Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul thought of the ending of the finale, click here. To read why series creator Vince Gilligan and the writers chose these fates for Walt and Jesse, click here.

Episode Recaps


Breaking Bad

Walter White descends into the criminal underworld.

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  • 5
  • Off Air
  • AMC
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