When it comes to moments that have pure shock value, there are few shows that have done it in the same way as AMC’s Breaking Bad. In the final episode of season 2, one of the main recurring characters died of a drug overdose. His father, an air traffic controller, is distraught by the news. Thanks to his consequent distraction at work, two planes collide in midair. Debris, a pink teddy bear, and mutilated body parts rain down from the sky into the pool and compound of the show’s antihero, Walter White (Bryan Cranston).
Breaking Bad was also responsible for one of the most iconic deaths on the small screen. Drug dealer Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) leaves the scene of a bomb blast adjusting his tie as if nothing could harm him, then it is revealed that one side of his face has been blown off and he falls dead. In keeping with this tradition, actor Aaron Paul was involved in one of the show’s darkest and most memorable scenes, though he took its toll on him and left an indelible scar on his psyche.
In preparation for the season 2 finale, there were enough shocking moments in Breaking Bad. In the season’s penultimate episode, Walter drives into a dilapidated house where Aaron Paul’s character, Jesse Pinkman, and his girlfriend Jane Margolis (Krysten Ritter) are staying. He finds the two lovebirds passed out in bed, with a used heroin needle on a table next to them.
Jane had been blackmailing Walter before, and she still hasn’t found a solution to that particular problem. But then she rolls onto her back and vomits, causing her to start choking. After originally rushing to help her, Walter sees a way out of her and lets her die. All fans can agree that it is a chilling scene.
The final episode begins with Jesse frantically trying to resurrect a long-dead Jane. He continues to pump her chest while her eyes, wide and lifeless, stare at him in a chilling way. In the end, he accepts the fate of his girlfriend and sits crying. It is in fact about death, the consequences of which end up causing the plane to crash at the end of the episode.
Aaron Paul first spoke about his ordeal doing that scene, weeks before the final episode of Breaking Bad aired. In verbatim quotes, he explained how he put himself in the shoes of his character to feel his pain and transmit it to the camera, and remarked that it was not something he was used to when he played Jesse.
“Emotionally that was the hardest place to go and it wasn’t a fun day,” recalled Paul.
“Playing Jesse, I don’t draw on any of my past experiences, I’m just trying to force myself to believe what’s really going on.”
“That’s why that scene was so harsh, because I put myself in Jesse’s position and forced myself to believe that my girlfriend was there dead in front of me, desperately trying to wake her up, and all this guilt on the inside.”