For example, two characters not seen since Breaking Bad's second season make an unexpected reappearance in the penultimate episode. When he sees his former friends Gretchen and Elliott Schwartz dissing him in a TV interview, Walter White gets the motivation he needs to finally come out of hiding, setting up the shocking events of the series finale.
It's one of those moments that made us go "Ohhh, so that's why they did that thing four seasons ago! It all comes together!" And we were completely wrong about that, because the writers weren't even planning to bring those characters back -- until they heard from Kevin Cordasco.
Pictured here with the cast, cosplaying as Skinny Pete.
That's the name of the 16-year-old with neuroblastoma whom showrunner Vince Gilligan called "our wonderful, number one fan." When Gilligan visited Cordasco during his final months, he asked him if there was anything he felt the show needed. The fan replied, "I want to know more about Gretchen and Elliott. I want to know more about Walt's backstory with them. I want to know what happened."
Gilligan hadn't thought about incorporating the characters into the plot, but Cordasco's comment gave him pause. He'd been stumped trying to figure out how to get Walt out of hiding, but as he mulled over Cordasco's suggestion, he discovered that the answer indeed lay with the Schwartzes. Writer/director Peter Gould raves about the choice, gushing, "Walt seems to change his mind there. He's all ready to get caught, and then he sees the video ..." This is made even more impressive by the fact that, if more shows incorporated ideas from teenage fans, it probably wouldn't end so well.
Unless that already happened and we just didn't notice.