Breaking Bad may boast one of the best series finales of all time, but an alternate ending leaked online that is at least as brilliant — though not nearly as satisfying.
The clip, which will be featured as a special on the Breaking Bad: The Complete Series DVD box set, takes the "it was all a dream" theory of endings and elevates it to comedic genius by having Bryan Cranston reprise his role as Hal from classic FOX sitcom Malcolm in the Middle. Poor Hal wakes from a nightmare about being Walter, and has to be comforted by wife Lois (Jane Kaczmarek is totally game to cameo as part of the fun).
Plus, there's another twist! Check it out below to find out what it is.
This funny little ending isn't just a nod to Bryan Cranston's former life as a comedy star. It's also a reference to the actual, on-air finale of Newhart, which famously featured star Bob Newhart "waking up" as his character from a previous show, The Bob Newhart Show, rolling over to his wife from The Bob Newhart Show, saying "Honey, you won't believe the dream I just had," and then launching into a hilarious description of Newhart.
This oh-so meta Newhart ending is one of the most well know TV finales of all time, and we love that this Breaking Bad "alternate ending" references with it, though we're glad the actual show went a more serious route. What other famous TV goodbyes could have served as inspiration for the Breaking Bad writers if they'd suddenly lost their vision and had to resort to copying other endings? We've come up with a couple of suggestions.
It was all in Walter Jr.'s mind! Forget it was all a dream — hospital classic St. Elsewhere ended by implying the whole thing was just the imaginings of Tommy Westphall, the autistic son of main character Donald Westphall. While Walter Jr. is obviously not autistic, we could totally see him imagining the entire plot of Breaking Bad out of boredom while staring into his ever-present breakfast plate.
Cut to black. Breaking Bad showrunner Vince Gilligan is on record discussing how The Sopranos' classic cut-to-black in the middle of a scene worked with the mob show's themes, but never would have flown for Breaking Bad. Imagine how outraged we'd all have been if, instead of showing Walter's last stand, the show ended right before that car trunk popped open.
How does everyone die? We'd actually love a DVD extra that took after HBO classic Six Feet Under by having a flash forward to every character's death. If done right, a little montage like the one that closed this family drama could give us closure on what happens to the rest of the cast in the wake of Walter's demise.
Add your own suggestions in the comments below!