The super-secret Netflix/AMC co-production “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie” hit the streaming service on Friday that picked up right where the series finale left off – Walter White (Bryan Cranston) saves Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) from a gang of neo-Nazis while dying in the process.
“Breaking Bad” series creator Vince Gilligan helms this project and many of the actors also reprise their roles for an epic conclusion.
And the team behind “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie” delivered.
You could say “depending on who you talk to,” but it’s more likely nowadays it’s “no matter who you talk to,” “Breaking Bad” is considered to be one of the greatest television shows ever made.
It tells the story of a high school science teacher, Walter White, who discovers he has lung cancer and realizes he’ll leave his family with a massive amount of debt. That’s when he discovers that cooking methamphetamine is lucrative as he partners with a drug dealing former high school student, Jesse Pinkman, to make enough money to set his family up financially after he’s gone.
But as White and Pinkman venture down the rabbit hole of dangerous and powerful people, it begins to change them for the worse, hence the title; “Breaking Bad.”
It was the unbeatable show at awards ceremonies like the Emmy’s and Golden Globes for six consecutive years (the fifth season was broken up into two parts). The team behind the AMC show rarely lost.
It’s been over six years since the finale aired. Vince Gilligan allegedly called Aaron Paul to discuss what they were going to do for the tenth anniversary of the series premiere and at the tail end of the call, Gilligan asked Paul if he would be interested in reprising his role. Paul said yes. Seven months later the script was written.
As mentioned above, “El Camino” picks up right where the series left off but with a pivotal flashback with Mike (Jonathan Banks) now-dead where we learn Pinkman has always wanted to go to Alaska.
Now Pinkman is speeding down the road in Todd’s (Jesse Plemons) El Camino after he strangled him to death. Pinkman was being held for approximately three months at this compound where he was forced to cook meth for the neo-Nazis like a slave.
The Albuquerque Police are on the way to the compound when Pinkman pulls off to wait for them to pass by. Pinkman knows he needs to get off the road and shows up at his two buddies’ Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) and Badger’s (Matt Jones) house.
While Pinkman is sleeping, Skinny Pete and Badger learn what happened on the news and how he’s a “Person of Interest.”
One of the hardest hitting moments of the movie is once they realize the police are on the way to the house, Pinkman asks Skinny Pete why he’s just given him a bunch of money and gave him a car to set him on his way when he replies “You’re my hero and sh-t.”
To describe the rest of the plot would be disingenuous because the journey – albeit a pretty small story that takes place over less than 48 hours – is what “Breaking Bad” fans always knew about the show’s creators and team, which is “you’re in good hands. Have trust in them.”
Your suspicions were right if you thought Jesse and Walt would have a scene together. No, White is not still alive. It’s told through a flashback and it takes place directly after a specific episode called “4 Days Out” – the ninth episode of the second season.
Walt and Jesse pull off the cook of a lifetime out in the desert in the RV that is estimated to be $1.3 million – taking three days – but things get complicated when they’re finished cooking when the portable generator runs out of gasoline and they also find the battery dead in the RV. To make matters worse, they’ve run out of water.
Both of them suffer from heat exhaustion, this could be the end, and just when you think all is lost, Jesse gives Walt an idea to concoct a makeshift battery providing just enough energy to jump-start the RV.
The scene in “El Camino” takes place at a diner directly after that scene, which is genius, masterful writing by Gilligan because this is when both Jesse and Walt are at their most vulnerable. It’s a cathartic scene where Jesse reveals it’ll take six months to sell all of the meth they cooked and Walt might not make it until then, but Jesse assures him his family will receive every dime of the money.
Walt takes a moment to be the parental figure, encouraging Jesse to “teach business classes” because he’s really good at it. Finally saying to Jesse, “Ya know, you’re really lucky. You didn’t have to wait your entire life for something special to happen.”
What happens afterwards is the catharsis “Breaking Bad” fans needed, who felt Jesse got a bad rap, even though the character has been morally corrupt in the past; we know the true Jesse.
It’s a remarkable epilogue and it’s more perfect than the “Breaking Bad” finale.