p. 113: BREAKING BAD
“In my mind, no, I don’t intend for there to be any ambiguity. Let me start this by saying I always am reluctant to tell the audience afterward what to think or how to feel. I really prefer it when the audience comes to their own conclusions. . . . I never really intended for there to be any ambiguity. But it’s funny: in the editing room, my editor and some other people were saying that the way it counter-dollies around, it looks like he’s changing his point of aim before he pulls the trigger. . . . I’ve been hearing from the people who’ve already seen it that it looks like he’s changing where he’s aiming. That is not intentional. I did not see it that way when I was directing. It’s not wrong for you to think he shot this guy.”
While Gilligan explicitly asserts his initial intent here and elsewhere, in later interviews he embraces ambiguity and notes that the unintentional openness means that he might revisit his own intent for season 4. Not surprisingly, fans posited their own speculation, drawing on different facets of Gilligan’s statements to support their own theories on whether Gale would live or die. The next episode opened, after a 13- month gap in screen time filled with paratext-driven speculation and anticipation, with a scene of Gale alive and well; it is soon revealed to be a flashback, with the next scene showing Gale’s dead body at the crime scene. Such a sequence invites viewers to posit an authorial presence, playing with their expectations and building on the paratextual conversation about Gale’s ambiguous shooting—we can almost hear Gilligan speaking to viewers in this scene, playfully referencing speculations and debates.