Gould: Vince has said something that always rings for me, which is that we thought we set out to make a comedy. When we started out, we used to say, “Breaking Bad was 70 percent drama and this one’s gonna be 70 percent comedy.” But the more we work on this, the more it feels tragic. It’s interesting you say it’s so dark, because I can often think of moments in this season that I think are as funny as anything we’ve ever done, like when Jimmy’s making his commercials and his slip-and-fall and so on. But I think it is true that the thing you take away from it is a great sadness and I think it’s the sadness of the loss of this upbeat, striving and essentially good character, Jimmy McGill.
Gilligan: Yeah, it’s sadness for what could have been if he had only remained Jimmy McGill, if he didn’t have Chuck chipping away at him so that he felt the need to start chipping away at Chuck. If they didn’t exhaust themselves emotionally, morally, every-which-way battering each other to the ground, if they hadn’t wasted their energy on such a pointless exercise, they both could have been great. It’s a good question and it puts me in mind of what Peter said. I didn’t want this to be a tragedy, but it is a tragedy. There’s no denying that it is a tragedy. We didn’t realize that. I didn’t realize that going into it. I’m not even 100 percent sure if I’d known that it was gonna be, in a lot of ways, a straight-up tragedy as a story, I’m not even sure if, knowing that going into it… I might have still done it, but I don’t know that I would have been as excited about it.“
Gould: We thought it was gonna be a romp!
Gilligan: We thought it was gonna be a romp and it just goes to show what Peter was saying earlier. You can do anything you want when you’re a showrunner, which is one of the great joys of the job, but if you’re smart you’re gonna go where the story takes you and sometimes the story takes you places you just don’t want to go. But you can’t tell the characters where they need to go and who they need to be. It sounds weird. It sounds like, “Well of course you can! You’re the writer!” In a weird way, you are but you’re not. Sometimes this feels like transcription, rather than writing. The characters, you really want them to come alive above all else, and they can’t come alive if you don’t let ‘em, if you don’t let ‘em go where they’re gonna go. It’s odd, but in our experience it’s been the case every time that the characters lead us and not the other way around.