On a crisp January morning, the Breaking Bad crew huddles against a concrete spillway in Albuquerque. They’re here to get one shot: It’s at this location where Jesse will come to a decision that, as the episode’s director Michael Slovis tells me, “pushes all the stories forward” in the final eight episodes. But first, the sun has to rise.
Aaron Paul emerges from his trailer wearing a fur-lined parka, which he’ll shed before filming starts. (Gennifer Hutchison, the episode’s writer, explains that the show maintains a constant “spring” look, meaning the actors always wear light jackets. “So in the summer they’re sweltering,” she says, “and now they’re freezing.”) His hair has grown longer since last we saw him, as has his beard. “Jesse’s so haggard,” Paul laughs. “I feel bad for him.”
“We’ve got sun!” a crew member shouts, sparking a frenzy of activity. Paul quickly sheds the parka and positions himself on top of a crate. At his feet is what Hutchison calls the “smallest circular track ever,” which will carry a camera 360 degrees around Paul as the scene develops. Slovis calls “action” and Paul’s demeanor instantly shifts as he becomes Jesse, right before everyone’s eyes.