”It's less than 48 hours. Oh my God!”
Just over 48 hours ago, 1800 fans (myself included) gathered at the Centre for Performing Arts for a Vancouver International Film Festival (Film and Television Forum) event called 'One Last Cook: A Special Evening With Breaking Bad Creator Vince Gilligan.' The sold out crowd was treated to a Q & A with the genius behind the Emmy winning drama moderated by LOST co-creator Damon Lindelof as well as a screening of Gilligan's favorite episode. Well, 'favorite' might not be completely accurate since those in attendance would learn over the course of the evening that the former X-Files writer (a series which called Vancouver home) isn't very fond of superlatives, but he did still select one installment of his creation to show the audience. It was "Face Off," a fantastic choice for several reasons, not the least of which is that the Season 4 finale is an impeccable 'hour' of television.
"Walt poisoned Brock. That's what that means."
The other reasons for selecting "Face Off" not only illustrate Vince Gilligan's genius but also, perhaps, his inability to (or justified disinterest in) pick(ing) a favorite Breaking Bad installment. I was actually surprised he went with one that he himself wrote and directed since Gilligan is known to be very generous with credit when discussing the show's brilliance, however, after watching the episode again it makes so much sense. What immediately follows the explosive fourth season finale? Well, the Season 5 premiere, obviously, and "Live Free Or Die" cold opened with the infamous flash-forward to Mr. Lambert having a birthday breakfast at Denny's while waiting to see a guy about a very big gun. So, pretty much right where last week's incredible "Granite Slate" left off and tonight's "Felina" could very well begin. Gilligan, you sly devil. And before the devil took the stage, Damon Lindelof did and was nice enough to explain to the audience what the final shot of the Lily of the Valley meant.
”Say hello to my little friend.”
Lindelof was a great moderator, well researched and very quick on his feet (as you can tell from the few quips I've highlighted throughout the article) while the guest of honor was clearly overwhelmed with the turnout and response. 'One Last Cook' was originally going to be held in the 420 seat Rio Theatre but it quickly became clear that the size of that venue wouldn't suffice and VIFF made the decision to move the event and ended up selling over four times that number. And watching "Face Off" with so many people was a pretty amazing experience and the capacity crowd gave Vince Gilligan a standing ovation when he was introduced. Lindelof quickly addressed the elephant in the room, the impending end of the series, and made it clear that he wouldn't be asking any questions about the finale. Except one. The moderator listed two things we know about Breaking Bad and "Felina" (the 'Mr. Chips to Scarface pitch and the M60) before inquiring if Heisenberg would utter the famous Tony Montana line?
”You say it like you didn't make it up.”
Gilligan didn't want to spoil anything but could say with confidence that we wouldn't hear those words from Walter White. The 'Man Who Knocks" will surely have his own iconic phrase if and/or when he goes out in a blaze of glory. Even though Gilligan expressed his aversion to picking his favorite things about his own show, there were several questions from Lindelof (and submitted by fans on twitter) about the best Breaking Bad moments or lines as well as the hardest kills or challenges. Like the fans, he's also a fan of the 'knocks' line and when Walt proclaims 'I am the danger.' As far as moments, Gilligan was especially proud of the bathtub through the floor and rattled by Jane's death. Krysten Ritter's Jane got quite a lot of discussion as that moment was also cited as the possible point of no return for Bryan Cranston's character as well as a slight sticking point with the network. It's not that AMC were insisting that Breaking Bad couldn't have a scene that disturbing, they were just concerned that if it went to those depths that quickly, well, how much darker could it get? They had no idea.