Remember how, in the riveting finale of Breaking Bad's stellar third season, schoolteacher-turned-meth-cook Walter White (Bryan Cranston) sends Jesse Pinkman, his recovering addict partner played by Aaron Paul, to kill Gale (David Costabile), an amiable chemist and the only other person capable of manufacturing high-grade blue meth, so business-first drug kingpin Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) won't be able to eliminate them without damaging his supply? Right before the credits roll, Jesse is pointing a gun at Gale, then appears to jerk his aim slightly wide before the screen goes black and a gunshot is heard.
Like most people, I accepted this as a cliffhanger and debated the ending with other Breaking Bad junkies like Slim Thug. Did Jesse kill Gale? Did he fire wide, unable to go through with it? Did he shoot one of Fring's thugs who was creeping up behind Gale? According to Paul, who I recently interviewed for the August/September issue of Complex, it was never a mystery: Jesse murdered Gale.
"Last season, with Jesse holding up the gun and pulling the trigger, I don’t think [the creators were] trying to hide exactly what he did. In my mind, I knew exactly what Jesse went there to do, and he pulled the trigger, so I felt in my head I knew what he did, and I thought that this next season was him trying to come to terms with his new reality [as a murderer]. I think why so many people were so confused about half of what happened was simply because of the camera move. The camera move made the gun look like it was moving, but that was actually not the case at all. I think it was supposed to be set in stone, like, this is what happened. I’d be so upset if that was the cliffhanger! Jesse holds up the gun straight in [Gale's] face and then all of the sudden moves the gun and pulls the trigger, like, 'What is he doing? Is that just a warning?' But I don’t think they were trying to be confusing by any means. It’s just the camera move made it look like he’s moving the gun."
If you think about it, there was only one way that final scene could have played out on a show like Breaking Bad, which grows darker by the season, forcing its characters to deal with the consequences of the despicable acts they've committed. Jesse was already racked with guilt because his friend Combo (Rodney Rush) was gunned down while pushing meth for him and his heroin addict girlfriend Jane (Krysten Ritter) choked to death on her own vomit, so we can only imagine the weight he'll be shouldering after murdering a decent man to save his and Walt's evil hides. Check out the Breaking Bad Season Four trailer below and be sure to tune in to AMC on July 17 to see how he handles it.
Interview by Justin Monroe (@40yardsplash)