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That Wristwatch on a Pay Phone

June 8, 2017

"Breaking Bad" junkies remember that shortly before Walt White's last trip home to settle his scores, he stops at a gas station to make a call from a pay phone. After the call, he glances significantly at his wristwatch -- a gift from Jesse Pinkman, his hapless partner in crime -- then takes it off and leaves it on top of the pay phone. The camera lingers on the abandoned wristwatch. Oh, the symbolism! The poignancy! Walt's time has run out. His bond with Jesse has been broken. He's leaving everything behind. What a deep and powerful metaphor! Not. "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan laughingly explained in an interview that the scene was a last-minute addition to the episode for a purely pragmatic reason. The last scene of the series had already been shot, and an astute crew member noticed that the wardrobe department had forgotten to outfit Walt with the watch during the shoot. He wasn't wearing it, and he should have been. Oops. How to explain its disappearance? Enter the gas s...

© 2018 Christine Hurley Deriso