“El Camino” follows the story of Jessie Pinkman after his uncertain fate in the “Breaking Bad” finale.
Warning: This article contains minor spoilers for “Breaking Bad,” “Better Call Saul,” and “El Camino.”
“We have to cook. You’re going to need all day, at least, to gather supplies. Now, we’re going to need all new glassware, heating mantles, about a hundred pounds of ice — do you have a paper and pencil? You should be writing this down.”
“Yeah, you know what? You go shopping yourself, I got plans, yo.”
“Smoking marijuana, eating cheetos and masturbating do not constitute ‘plans’ in my book”.
This is a conversation between Walter White (Bryan Cranston), also known as Heisenberg, and his subordinate Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) in “Breaking Bad.” Pinkman was repeatedly abused and manipulated by former allies in the meth industry, including the increasingly tyrannical Walter White; this is something he must come to terms with in the new Netflix sequel to “Breaking Bad,” “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.” One of the most critically-acclaimed TV shows of all time, “Breaking Bad” had 58 Primetime Emmy nominations and 16 wins, 27 Saturn Award nominations and 12 wins, and seven Golden Globe nominations with two wins, just to name a few, before concluding its five-season run in 2013. The show follows high school chemistry teacher Walter White as he descends into villainy and builds a crystal meth empire in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Along the way, White enlists former student Jesse Pinkman, a small-scale drug dealer and faces off against various criminals and rivals, all while avoiding suspicion from his brother-in-law who works for the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency). The show concluded in 2013, leaving the outcomes of some character arcs unclear — namely, conniving crooked lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) and series deuteragonist Jesse Pinkman.
Saul Goodman’s origin and his ultimate fate are both addressed in the prequel spinoff “Better Call Saul,” which has currently aired four seasons with a fifth coming in 2020. Bob Odenkirk, who plays Goodman, was not involved in “El Camino.”
Pinkman was last seen guffawing and crying hysterically as he finally escaped from those who held him captive for much of the fifth season, but his ultimate fate is left uncertain. Enter “El Camino,” a Netflix original movie which portrays the life of Pinkman after the events of Breaking Bad.
“El Camino,” available on Netflix, follows Pinkman as he struggles to come to terms with his past and evade the long arm of the law. Directed by Vince Gilligan, the creator of “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul,” the movie had a limited theatrical release from Oct. 11-13 and will air on AMC at a later date.
Several familiar faces other than Pinkman will be present. Pinkman’s friends, Badger (Matt Jones) and Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) are returning characters. Johnathan Banks, who played hitman and enforcer Mike Ehrmantraut in “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul,” revealed his involvement against Gilligan’s wishes in an interview. Several characters appear in flashbacks, including Todd Alquist (Jesse Plemons), who played an integral role in the show’s final season.
This is Vince Gilligan’s first full movie script; he began pitching the idea to former “Breaking Bad” actors and producers around the time of the show’s tenth anniversary (Jan. 20, 2018). Filming started in the Albuquerque area in November of 2018 under the working title “Greenbrier,” and a strict policy of secrecy was observed; the film was not even confirmed until Netflix released a teaser in August of 2019.
This film was not entirely necessary, but it serves as a “last hurrah” for one of the most acclaimed TV series of all time. The Jesse Pinkman seen in this film is much more mature and wise than the Jesse Pinkman audiences were first introduced to in the pilot episode of “Breaking Bad.” Pinkman’s final denouement is well worth a watch for anybody who has seen the series, serving both as decent fanservice and a fond farewell to some of the most influential people who never lived. “El Camino” may be summarized by some of the last words spoken to Pinkman before the film concludes:
“You’re really lucky, you know. You didn’t have to wait your whole life to do something special.”