“It doesn’t sit as a burden on Breaking Bad’s shoulders, but instead as a character-driven companion that helps in solidifying one of the most beloved characters in the history of television”
Breaking Bad has largely been regarded as one of the best TV shows ever made. It’s one of the few shows that manages to stay good from the start right up until the very end. There was little controversy surrounding the end to Breaking Bad, which is something that is very rare to find with a TV show as popular as it was at the time. Almost everyone who loves the show will tell you that they were satisfied with the last episode and how things were wrapped up. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie poses a threat to this consistency, as it is set after the events of Breaking Bad and could have potentially gone down a rabbit hole that is better left hidden. It would be extremely hard for director Vince Gilligan to draw the line between what is too much and what is too little. Luckily, El Camino doesn’t sit as a burden on Breaking Bad’s shoulders, but instead as a character-driven companion that helps in solidifying one of the most beloved characters in the history of television.
El Camino begins where Breaking Bad leaves off, with Jesse (Aaron Paul) fleeing the crime scene. He is now known as Walter’s partner and is the subject of a nationwide manhunt. As El Camino goes on it becomes clear that Jesse isn’t only running from the police, but also from himself. He is clearly very traumatised and is having a hard time keeping himself together. As each beautiful time-lapse passes we are shown a number of flashbacks, some pleasant and some not so pleasant. The answers aren’t given to us on a silver platter, as Vince Gilligan keeps us guessing with a similar structure used a lot of the time throughout Breaking Bad, where the gaps are filled in at their own pace. El Camino doesn’t rely heavily on the plot but more so on Jesse as a character and his state of mind. This isn’t a bad thing because it means that Breaking Bad isn’t dabbled in enough for it to be affected, and the only thing our perception is changing on is Jesse. Jesse is a character who is known for his child-like innocence, sometimes idiotic apathy and his glorification of the word “bitch”. All of these traits are kept alive through the flashbacks. Some could regard these as nothing more than nostalgic fan service, but they act as a reminder of a character who used to be so hopeful, which is completely relevant to the story being told. In order to care about the Jesse we are currently watching, a man who is broken, we have to remember the boy Jesse once was.
El Camino doesn’t tear apart Breaking Bad but instead builds on it and leaves fans feeling satisfied. It reminds us of what we’ve been missing for all these years through its technical similarities to the show that we loved so much. El Camino is not a stand-alone piece – the emotional connections would not be there for someone who didn’t watch all 5 seasons of Breaking Bad. There is no doubt that El Camino serves as a personal love letter to fans of the show. It doesn’t present as a second conclusion to Breaking Bad, but instead as the much-deserved conclusion for Jesse Pinkman. It is a non-conventional coming-of-age story that shows us a character growing up in front of us and becoming the person we always wanted him to be. Yeah, bitch!
Director: Vince Gilligan
Producer: Vince Gilligan
Cast: Aaron Paul, Matt Jones, Charles Baker, Jonathan Banks, Larry Hankin, Jesse Plemons, Krysten Ritter, Bryan Cranston
Release Date: 2019
Available on: Netflix