discussion question: if walt hadn’t been hit by the machine gun fire would jesse have killed him?
I was just wondering this exact thing the other week! I was watching the last scene of Felina again to be a masochist, and then obviously had to feel all the feelings and think all the thoughts about this crazy layered show ugh. but yeah i found myself wondering this exact thing and started debating it
and ultimately i think no, that jesse still wouldn’t have killed him. he does only lower the gun after he sees walt’s wound but i don’t think that’s the conclusion we’re meant to draw from the way the scene is set up. although we still could. BECAUSE LAYERS, HELP.
but yeah i doubt it, and i think the outcome would have been the same either way if walt was hit or not. if only because i think the moment itself doesn’t come down to walt’s mortality at all: that comes later in walt’s final goodbye in the lab. this moment was more about walt and jesse and manipulation
i really did wonder this same thing and probably would have thought so if not for the ‘then do it yourself.’ in jesse’s mind the decision to pull the trigger or not wasn’t even about walt living or dying because he still gives him that option. and if he killed mr. white it wouldn’t be about killing mr. white, it would be a moment for jesse to satisfy himself. i mean it’s not self defense, because walt already slid the gun over. jesse doesn’t actually care if mr. white is about to die or not. it’s like no matter what walt dies from, a bullet from his own gun or from jesse, that’s not the issue almost? haha i’m not sure if that makes sense? but i think that specific moment is set up so purely to be about jesse breaking free of walt and his manipulations, rather than something so narratively conventional as killing him or not. it’s jesse’s character arc coming full circle which was never about if mr. white lived or died, it was always that jesse was under his thumb. so whether he saw that walt was hit or not, i really think the his answer of ‘then do it yourself’ would have stayed the same.
i mean this show is so great because you can read anything so many different ways haha. and i think an argument could made for seeing walt was dying anyways as something that gave jesse the confidence he needed to tell mr. white no. but after thinking about this exact topic for a while i really really really don’t think jesse would have shot mr. white either way. and i doubt the showrunners wanted us to think that either (although at a certain point audience analyses do have to exist out of their hands lol). their relationship was just too set up with those themes of manipulation and having our hearts break with every piece of agency that jesse loses to mr. white. so i don’t think this final standoff is set up to come down to walt’s mortality at all, or it even being present in jesse’s decision. it’s so satisfying because it’s about jesse finally standing up for himself no matter what happens to mr. white. whether mr. white was about to die or not i think jesse’s reaction would stay exactly the same. because for once jesse made a decision that wasn’t for mr. white’s benefit: it was for jesse’s.