Warning: spoilers for the Breaking Bad finale are ahead. Last chance to turn back!
If you thought the final scenes of Breaking Bad felt familiar, there's a reason for that. According to creator Vince Gilligan, the writers drew inspiration from the 1956 Western The Searchers in approaching Walter White's daring rescue of Jesse Pinkman from a group of murderous neo-Nazis.
"John Wayne is chasing after Natalie Wood's character; she's been taken by the Comanches, and he keeps saying, 'When I find her, I'm gonna kill her.' When he finds her, he sweeps her up and says, 'Let's go home,'" Gilligan said during an appearance on The Colbert Report this week. That scene inspired the Bad finale, wherein Walt casts aside his hatred of Jesse upon seeing his abused state, and decides to save his life. "We stole from the best," he said.
As for the final fate of Walter White — accidentally killed by his own bullet — Gilligan said the "hero" had to die, as was promised in the show's pilot.
"It seemed like the implicit promise in the show from the first episode," he said. "In the first episode, he is told he has about two years to live. It feels as if we should adhere to our promise that we explicitly made to our audience."
(via The Hollywood Reporter)