Film & TV

El Camino: Breaking Bad’s Legacy

By Ella Clucas

After over five years of unanswered questions and building anticipation, fans of the Breaking Bad franchise are to finally receive closure on the fate of long-suffering bad boy Jesse Pinkman. The Netflix produced sequel El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie gives nothing away in its teaser trailer, which was secretly dropped nearly seven weeks before the release of the film itself – today, October 11th, to be exact. So what were our expectations before we saw the film, and were all our questions answered? Is it everything we hoped it would be? 

Let’s do a quick recap. Where was the series left when the last episode aired?

The last episode of the Breaking Bad series aired in 2013, and saw us bid farewell to chemistry king Walter White (the notable Bryan Cranston) as we leave him bleeding out from a gunshot wound on the floor of his industrial scale meth lab. Whilst this meant that our beloved Heisenberg had made his final batch, our hopes were higher for sidekick Jesse Pinkman (played by the familiar Emmy award-winning Aaron Paul). Last we saw of Jesse he had just been freed from months-long captivity, having been kept in a cage built into the ground, held hostage and forced to cook his signature meth by a group of white supremacists, at the hands of none other than Walter White himself. The last time we saw Pinkman on our screens he was behind the wheel of a Vintage Chevrolet make named ‘El Camino’, fleeing from the scene of his capture, letting out tortured screams and unsettling laughter as he hurtles at full speed into the night. The question on everyone’s mind from there on out was always: what happened to Jesse?

Where could El Camino take us?

The film’s exact plot has purposefully been kept quiet and the teaser trailer gives us very little to work with, which makes its release all the more exciting. What we can deduce is that Pinkman is on the run, definitely from the police and maybe from those who were holding him captive. If the last time we saw him is anything to go by, we can expect El Camino to follow Jesse as he tries to escape his past and start fresh somewhere new. The phrase ‘El Camino’ translates from Spanish to mean ‘the way’, perhaps hinting at his long journey ahead. 

“The question on everyone’s minds… what happened to Jesse?”

Who can we expect to make a comeback?

It has been confirmed by Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad’s creator and director, that everyone’s favourite high school science teacher did indeed reach the end of his line last season, and will not be making a comeback for the El Camino movie, at least not in the present day (we all know that Breaking Bad is partial to a jump back in time). That being said, we can count on the return of actor Charles Baker as character Skinny Pete; he is the sole character to make an appearance in the teaser trailer, as he is cross-examined by police about the whereabouts of Jesse Pinkman (refusing to give up any information, of course). As the return of Skinny Pete is a given, there is much speculation that Badger (Matt L. Jones) will also return, as the two are rarely seen without one another throughout the Breaking Bad series. As for other characters that may be seen to feature, there is the possibility of Jesse’s past lovers also appearing in flashbacks, whether that be Jane (Krysten Ritter), who was last seen on screen in Season 3, or Andrea (Emily Rios), who was brutally murdered by Todd to punish Jesse for his escape attempts in the penultimate episode of Season 5. 

So… does El Camino live up to the hype?

The truth is, it’s hard to live up to the standards of such an iconic franchise. Breaking Bad as a series was so well put together: the arc of the narrative left us on a perfect cliffhanger and it was always going to be difficult to follow. I think what most of us wanted from the film was closure, and it does deliver exactly that. The novelty of seeing Aaron Paul reprise his role so effortlessly might be enough to satisfy any fan. Combine this with some satisfying deaths and explosions, nostalgic flashbacks, plus a few familiar faces, El Camino certainly ties up loose ends. 

There’s a knock at the door.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, now streaming on Netflix.