What Worked And What Didn’t Work In El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

Aaron Paul El Camino

The wait is over. Jesse Pinkman, welcome back to our lives. After six long years, Jesse Pinkman has returned to our television screens in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. After taking the weekend to process my thoughts, I’m ready to talk. Here’s what worked and what didn’t work in El Camino.

This post will contain major spoilers for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. If you have not watched the film yet, stop reading now.





Seriously, spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned.

What Worked: Jesse’s Ending

Out of all the major characters in Breaking Bad, Jesse was the biggest name to have an open-ended future. In the series finale, Jesse escaped in Todd’s El Camino and his future was up to the audience to decide. Part of me believes that Gilligan created El Camino because of his unsatisfaction and guilt with how Jesse’s story ended and felt like he needed to properly close his saga. In 2013, Gilligan stated that he hoped Jesse moved to “Alaska to live a peaceful life.” Then, in the first scene, Mike mentioned that he would go to Alaska if he were Jesse. Right then and there, I knew Jesse was making it to Alaska. Did that ruin the film for me knowing that Jesse would stay alive the entire time? No, it did not. After being tortured for the last season and a half of Breaking Bad, Jesse deserved a peaceful resolution.

What Didn’t Work: The Entire Film Being Set In Albuquerque

I have no problem with Jesse getting to Alaska successfully. However, I wish the film spent more time in Alaska and less time in Albuquerque. Between Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, we spend so much time in Albuquerque. It would’ve been awesome to see a Breaking Bad movie in Alaska. Imagine if we saw Jesse adjusting to life in his Alaskan cabin and had to interact with the townspeople. If El Camino spent the first half of the film in Albuquerque and the second half in Alaska, then I’d sign up for that film in a heartbeat. Setting the film in Alaska would have been a risk, but these Gilligan could have pulled it off.

What Worked: Todd

TODD! My biggest takeaway from the film revolves around Todd and how amazing he was as a villain. Breaking Bad highlighted on a few of Todd’s evil tendencies (most notably, shooting Drew in “Dead Freight” and Andrea in “Granite State“), but the show never fully displayed how Todd broke Jesse, both physically and mentally. The scene where Todd convinced Jesse to give him the gun in the desert while persuading him with a pepperoni pizza and some beer is equally horrifying as it is impressive. This scene is why Jesse exacting his revenge on Todd in “Felina” is so satisfying. Jesse Plemons is a fantastic villain as evidenced in Breaking Bad, Fargo, and Black Mirror. If Breaking Bad ever wanted to do a spinoff on Todd’s life and how he got mixed up with Uncle Jack and the drug universe, I’m all in for “Breaking Todd.”

What Didn’t Work: Walt

It truly pains me to type this, but Walt’s flashback scene did nothing for me. In El Camino, the flashback takes place during a season two episode titled, “4 Days Out,” where Walt and Jesse go on a meth-cooking bender in order to try and secure enough money for Walt’s family. The scene takes place sometime between leaving the desert and dropping off Walt at the airport. The significance is that it takes place a few episodes before meeting Gus Fring and Jane’s death. In other words, it’s a few episodes before Walt breaks bad. The scene at the cafe is purely fan service, which is both good and bad. If Walt was not featured in some capacity, fans would have rioted. It was a light, semi-fun scene that highlighted the initial friendship between Walt and Jesse. But that friendship was so long ago that it’s hard to remember Walt as a “good guy.” I preferred Heisenberg Walt in a flashback over “I’m selling drugs for my family” Walt.

What Worked: Aaron Paul

Aaron Paul
Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad / Sony Pictures Television

Jesse might have been Walt’s sidekick, but Aaron Paul was equally as good as Bryan Cranston. Just like his character, it took some time for Paul to find his own as Jesse, but when he got it right, it was magic. Walt might have been the brains behind the show, but Jesse was the heart. Walt may have broken bad, but Jesse tried to hold onto his morality throughout the entire show. El Camino gave Paul a chance to shine as the true lead, and he made the most of this opportunity. Paul’s Jesse is the perfect mix of a criminal trying to make up for previous mistakes. Paul’s performance is full of heartbreak, compassion, and finally, satisfaction as the book of Jesse Pinkman came to an end.

What Didn’t Work: It Felt Like A Long Episode of Breaking Bad, Not A Film

To some, this is a positive. A long episode of Breaking Bad is better than no Breaking Bad at all. El Camino was a fan service at its finest. The montage in Todd’s apartment, the return of memorable characters, and the aerial camera shots were all familiar elements from the series. However, I wouldn’t consider El Camino a film. El Camino felt like an episode during the middle of a season. Spending time at Skinny Pete’s house and searching for money at Todd’s dragged out and could have been shorter. I expected the film to be more action-packed and to the point. The film didn’t really “get going” until Jesse interacted with the Kandy Welding Company at Todd’s apartment. As I said earlier, a long episode of Breaking Bad is better than no Breaking Bad at all, but that doesn’t necessarily work for something billed as a film.

Final Takeaway

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie was a satisfying film that provided a lot of fan service thanks to cameos from memorable characters. Will it be ranked towards the top of the Breaking Bad universe? No. Will it be ranked towards the bottom? No. It will stand on its own as a tribute to a phenomenal show, which is where it should be.

Did you enjoy El Camino? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

Five Burning Questions For El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

Yeah, bitch! Those two words made famous by Jesse Pinkman perfectly describes the feelings of countless Breaking Bad fans knowing that on October 11, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie premieres on Netflix.

When we last saw Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), he was working like a slave for Todd (Jesse Plemons) and Todd’s Uncle, Jack (Michael Bowen), as the duo attempted to build a drug empire. However, in the season finale of Breaking Bad, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) infiltrated the hideout, killed all of Jack’s gang, and allowed Jesse to escape in Todd’s El Camino.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is set to take place after Jesse’s escape. The official synopsis states, “After escaping Jack and his gang, Jesse Pinkman goes on the run from the police and tries to escape his own inner turmoil.” As of now, the only characters officially scheduled to appear in the film are Jesse and Skinny Pete (Charles Baker).

Our heads, including mine, are about to explode. I have so many thoughts on El Camino, but I was able to narrow those down to five burning questions.

Is Walter White dead or alive?

Without a doubt, this is the number one question on the minds of every fan. Is Walter White dead or alive? This thought has been driving me crazy for over six years. At first, I believed Walt was dead because his death would be a fitting end to the series. However, as Bryan Cranston said in an interview in 2014, “I never saw bags zip up.” Screw you and your ambiguous ways, Cranston! Maybe Cranston knew in 2014 that creator Vince Gilligan wanted to make a film in a few years and asked Cranston to give mysterious answers to agonize fans. Well, it worked. Even if he’s dead, it’s hard to imagine a movie without Walt in some capacity. Whether it be through flashbacks or present-day scenes, Walt should make an appearance in some capacity.

Will Saul make an appearance?

One of the most memorable characters in Breaking Bad was the entertaining and corrupt lawyer, Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk). Saul was so entertaining that he got his own show, Better Call Saul, which happens to be one of the best television shows on right now. When we last saw Saul in Breaking Bad, he was moving to Nebraska to start a new life. Will Saul somehow cross paths with Jesse in the film? I’m leaning towards no because Better Call Saul is still on the air. That show has not wrapped so Saul’s story is still being told. If Saul ever crosses paths with Jesse again, it should be in Better Call Saul, not El Camino.

What is Skinny Pete’s role?

Besides Jesse, the only other character confirmed for El Camino is Skinny Pete. When we last saw him, Skinny Pete helped Walt force Gretchen (Jessica Hecht) and Elliot (Adam Godley) to accept Walt’s money and give it to Walt Jr. and Holly. In the teaser for El Camino, Skinny Pete is questioned by the authorities about the whereabouts of Jesse. Skinny Pete does not comply, which leads me to believe that he met up with Jesse before speaking with the cops. Will Skinny play an integral supporting role? Regardless, Skinny Pete needs to have Badger (Matt L. Jones) by his side.

Will Jesse go back to cooking meth?

When it came to building a meth empire, Jesse was just as important as Walt. Jesse knew the exact specifications needed to make the perfect meth. Before his relationship with Walt went sour, Jesse made a lot of money. I’m assuming that after speeding away in the El Camino, Jesse has no money and will need some in order to survive. Perhaps he goes to Skinny Pete for money. However, there’s always the possibility he cooks up a batch of meth to make some quick cash. It’s the Breaking Bad universe. Anything is possible.

Will Walt Jr. get to eat breakfast?

If Walt Jr. (RJ Mitte) makes an appearance and he’s not eating breakfast, we riot.

Breaking Bad is a rare series that concludes perfectly. Why risk ruining that with a movie? The same mindset was applied to Better Call Saul. Why create a spinoff to a perfect show? As we’ve seen, Better Call Saul is fantastic. If there’s anyone who deserves our trust, it’s Vince Gilligan. The man hasn’t missed once when it comes to the developing the Breaking Bad universe. There’s no doubt in my mind that El Camino will be amazing.

Until then, yeah bitch!

Are you excited for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us @unafraidshow.