It’s been eight years since “Felina,” the finale of Breaking Bad aired, but certain questions still linger about the series and the finale. Since the finale, in fact, a number of viewers have long wondered why Walter left a watch given to him by Jesse Pinkman on a gas station payphone, a seemingly bizarre choice in the context of the episode.
After the finale aired, Vince Gilligan confessed on The Talking Bad (and in an interview with The Guardian) that leaving it behind allowed them to fix a continuity error. Jesse Pinkman had given Walt the watch on his 51st birthday, but when they shot the flash-forward teaser in the season’s opening episode, Walt wasn’t wearing the watch, so leaving it behind allowed them to explain why he wasn’t wearing the watch in the earlier flash-forward:
We shot that teaser way back in episode 501, and we had Walt in the Dennys, making the 52 on his 52nd birthday. He was not wearing a watch. Then, later on, we came up with this fun moment where Jesse, on his 51st birthday, gives Walt that beautiful watch, and he has worn it ever since. And we thought to ourselves, uh-oh, we’d better get this right.
More recently, however, the Walter White actor disputed the continuity error explanation, saying that it had actually been written into the script since the beginning. “No, this was not continuity,” Bryan Cranston told Dan Patrick on the That Scene podcast. “It was specifically written in the script that he leaves it behind specifically to not be a part of that world anymore. He’s transitioning. He knew that was the end of his days. He knew he was not going to survive beyond that day, and he was leaving everything behind. That was a symbol of that.”
Cranston added to the explanation. “To me, it was leaving the past. Ridding himself of any talisman that put him back to who he was at the beginning of the show or any association with that. He was given that watch by Jesse Pinkman.”
So there you go: Another lingering Breaking Bad question finally put to bed. Sort of!
Source: That Scene with Dan Patrick