This story involves a huge plot point from Season 2 of Breaking Bad, so I am going to be very vague in the headline and type SPOILER ALERT in big gigantic letters as though it’s somehow my fault that you still haven’t seen an episode of television that aired over four years ago, but with that out of the way, here goes: According to showrunner Vince Gilligan, the scene where Walter White watches Jesse’s girlfriend Jane choke on her own vomit originally had Walter actually, like, killing her.
“The one time we all got scared that Walt was too bad was that episode,” Gilligan said. “Walt goes over to Jesse’s house, where Jesse and his girlfriend are sleeping off a heroin high. She starts to aspirate on her own vomit, and Walt doesn’t stop it.” If you thought Walt’s moment of hesitation and decision not to save her was bad enough, the original pitch was for Walt to kill Jane on purpose. “He gives her a hot dose, or a second dose,” recalled Gilligan. “My writers said no [to that].” Still, Walt’s indecision was enough to scare AMC and Sony that the character might be going too bad, too soon. “We talked it through, and I said, ‘I’m scared, too, but this feels right to me,’” he said.
We obviously have the benefit of hindsight on this one, because we’ve seen the way the show — and Walter — handled Jane’s death the way it was filmed, but it still feels like they made the right call. Not only because of all the reasons Gilligan pointed out in the blockquote, but also because then we wouldn’t have seen the master acting class Bryan Cranston put on as he stood there watching someone die because his character refused to lift a finger to help. God, that was heart-wrenching.
Anyway, don’t do drugs, kids.