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The Eerie Plane Crash Details Hidden In The Second Season Of Breaking Bad

Throughout its five season, 62-episode run on AMC, the meth-tinged crime drama Breaking Bad was revered as much for its stylistic ingenuity as it was for its full tilt narrative ambition. And even casual fans of the series would find it hard to disagree that Vince Gilligan's award-winning drama was worthy of every bit of that praise, with fans and critics alike hailing Breaking Bad as one of the best television series of the decade.

Set amid the sun-scorched desert vistas of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Breaking Bad followed the twisted tale of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a mild-mannered chemistry teacher who turns to cooking methamphetamine to help pay the bills after he's diagnosed with cancer. Walt is joined in his criminal endeavor by wayward former student Jesse (Aaron Paul), and what initially begins as a means to an end for the man becomes an astonishing ascension to unholy criminal tyranny the likes of which television viewers have never seen.

That ascension is soaked to the core in blood, with Walt bringing terror and tragedy to the lives of anyone in his orbit. That includes the passengers of a 737 who, in the season 2 finale, meet their ends in a mid-air collision that rains body parts and a charred pink teddy bear down on Walt's own home. 

Breaking Bad fans no doubt recall that Walt was as responsible for that tragic event as any in the series' brutal history. You might also remember that said teddy bear was front and center in four supremely chilling black and white intros to season 2 episodes. But you may not realize those four intros form a sort of mini episode of the series when watched in conjunction. And yes, that mini episode foreshadows the tragedy to come.   

The plane crash teases are the best of Breaking Bad's Easter eggs

As those Easter eggy teases were unfolding in episodes 1, 4, 10, and 13 of season 2, many fans initially believed they were signaling something else entirely (i.e. Walt's home being attacked by cartel toughs), which only adds to the brilliance of the dodge. Turns out, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan took the cryptic foreshadowing endeavor further than anyone might've thought. In a 2009 interview with NJ.com, Gilligan let slip that when assembled, the episode titles actually herald the event itself.

Those titles are as follows: "Seven Thirty-Seven," "Down," "Over," and "ABQ." As ABQ is a common abbreviation for Albuquerque, those titles form a headline reading "Seven Thirty-Seven Down Over Albuquerque." Gilligan went on to breakdown the genius of the approach to an astonished interviewer, offering that he and his team took matters a step further by ensuring the titles of those episodes also had double meanings. 

"We came up with the number $737,000 dollars. And then the next episode where you have the same black and white teaser, it was called 'Down.' We worked very hard to give them proper dual meanings. So 'Over' was [Walt's meth-making days were] over, and in 'Down,' Jesse was down and out. 'ABQ,' I don't know what (else) that means, but you go with it."

As far as why Gilligan undertook the daring plane crash teases, it seems he and his team wanted to show off a bit. "In simple terms, we just wanted a giant moment of showmanship to end the season."

For a small screen series steeped in cinematic storytelling and narrative showmanship, this four-episode thread is the very definition of "bravura." And it's just the sort of daring ploy that'll ensure Breaking Bad remains one of the most revered and re-watchable series ever produced