If you listen to the stars of Breaking Bad talking about the show these days, it’s usually about Bryan Cranston playing pranks and pulling dildos out. But in the clip below, taken from tonight’s episode of Inside the Actors Studio, you can see Cranston getting quite emotional about one of the show’s darkest scenes.
The episode he’s talking about is “Phoenix,” the penultimate installment of Season 2, and that particular scene is one that not only changed the character of Walt forever, but it also played a major role in the future of his and Jesse’s relationship. I mean, Jane’s death also played into her father Donald screwing up at work, which leads to the plane collision that was hinted at throughout the season (most notably in the form of that one-eyed stuffed animal). But the plane crash was far less important in the long run than basically any of the show’s personal relationships.
Jane’s death was huge, and Cranston’s acting in the scene was absolutely grand in how understated it was. It makes a good bit of sense that the actor had to reach into some pretty dark territory in order to grasp the emotionally troubling state that Walt was forced into during that scene. His daughter is currently in her early 20s, which is right around how old Jane was, and that probably plays a big part in the scene’s lasting impact on him all these years later.
I have two daughters now, though neither of them were born when this episode originally aired. So had I heard this story back then, I would have understood the pain and admired Cranston’s performance. Now that I’m a parent, though, the thought of picturing my child dying as an inspiration for anything is enough to floor me in even the most gleeful of moods. Although if I was getting paid an actor’s salary, that might add to the gleeful side a little more.
In case you just feel like watching one of the most disturbing TV scenes of the past decade, check out the scene in question below. Spoiler: Jane dies.
Now someone out there should write up the fan theory about how Ritter’s Jessica Jones hero is actually the same character as Jane, then email that to me. But until that gets done, check out other clips from the Inside the Actors Studio episode over on Bravo.