'El Camino': Answered Questions, Missing Pieces, And New Revelations From The 'Breaking Bad' Movie
Photo: Netflix

'El Camino': Answered Questions, Missing Pieces, And New Revelations From The 'Breaking Bad' Movie

When Breaking Bad concluded its incredible five-season run back in 2013, most fans assumed that was the end of it. And yet, the universe continued to expand, with spinoff series Better Call Saul and, most recently, the film continuation of Jesse Pinkman's story, El Camino. It may be hard to argue that El Camino is "necessary" in a traditional sense, but that doesn't mean it's any less enjoyable or that it doesn't expand the Breaking Bad mythology in interesting and satisfying ways.

El Camino certainly looks to the future, but it spends almost as much of its runtime looking to the past to flesh out new aspects and gaps in the Breaking Bad story - namely, Jesse's role in that story. We're treated to several cameos by series favorites, but we also get to see what could be called "deleted scenes." That is, events that were hinted at or assumed are now portrayed on screen to provide additional context to some of Breaking Bad's key moments and most poignant relationships.

But it's likely been awhile since most of us have binge-watched Breaking Bad in our Walter White tighty whities, so we've compiled a list of the most important revelations from El Camino.

  • There's Much More Context To Jesse Eliminating Todd

    There's Much More Context To Jesse Eliminating Todd
    Photo: Netflix

    The scene in which Jesse takes Todd's life in the Breaking Bad series finale is already a powerful moment of revenge due to Todd's role in Jesse's imprisonment and the slaying of Andrea. But El Camino gives the moment even more context. A huge swath of El Camino flashes back to a weekend in which Todd enlists his captive's help in removing the body of a cleaning lady who found something she wasn't supposed to find.

    Needless to say, Todd is fully in control of the situation - his ultimatum against the lives of Andrea and Brock being his trump card - but he makes one crucial mistake during the burial portion of this weekend misadventure. Todd asks Jesse to get a pack of cigarettes out of the glove compartment, having presumably forgotten that he left his pistol in there, too. Jesse grabs it - with intent - but he hesitates, and second-guesses, and allows himself to be talked down by Todd. His hesitance to pull the trigger could have various causes - not just the possible ramifications for Brock if he does so, but also the simple fact that he's lost his will to fight by this point, even with such a stroke of good luck.

    This El Camino scene allows us to see the events of the Breaking Bad finale with more hindsight. By the time Jesse gets his second chance at Todd, he's regained his fighting spirit, and he does not hesitate.

  • Jesse Finally Uses Ed Galbraith's Services

    Jesse Finally Uses Ed Galbraith's Services
    Photo: Netflix

    There's a moment in the final season of Breaking Bad in which Jesse almost leaves town - and thus almost avoids the inhumanity of his time as a meth-cooking captive, as well as the heartache of his doomed relationships with Andrea and Brock. Thanks to his lawyer Saul Goodman, Jesse secures the services of disappearance expert Ed Galbraith (whose day job is managing a vacuum cleaner store). But just before he potentially gets out for good, he comes to a devastating revelation about his former partner Walter White - and when that minivan pulls up to usher Jesse to freedom, he bails at the last second.

    In El Camino, Jesse gets another chance at that freedom. This time he personally tracks down the Disappearer and attempts to enlist his services, but Mr. Galbraith is none too pleased about having been abandoned the first time around. He forces Jesse to pay not only the $125,000 he owed for the first attempt, but an additional $125,000 for this new disappearance.

  • Jesse Writes A Letter To Brock

    Jesse Writes A Letter To Brock
    Photo: Netflix

    A big reason Jesse doesn't successfully escape Uncle Jack's compound before Walt's - and his chaingun's - arrival is that Todd has threatened to knock off Jesse's one-time girlfriend Andrea and her son Brock. In fact, Todd follows through on his threat - or at least half of it, offing Andrea and promising to do the same to her son if Jesse attempts to break out again. And that's not the first time Brock has been in danger. In Season 4, Walt poisons Brock - a presumptively non-fatal dose that nonetheless sends the kid into intensive care - and points the finger at Gus Fring, despite Jesse's gut feeling that it was Walt all along.

    That Brock's association with Jesse - who took a distinctly paternal approach to the kid while dating his mother - has all but ruined his childhood is a fact Jesse will have to sit with for the rest of his life. His lingering guilt is not just an emotional grace note but, in El Camino, propels Jesse's final official act as "Jesse Pinkman" before trading in that identity for a new one. He pens a personal letter to Brock - which Ed Galbraith promises to send in about a month's time, when he's down in Mexico City. While it's not clear what's written in the letter, some combination of explanation and apology would be a reasonable assumption.

  • We Get To See How Jesse's Meth Lab/Makeshift Holding Facility Was Built

    We Get To See How Jesse's Meth Lab/Makeshift Holding Facility Was Built
    Photo: Netflix

    Watching Breaking Bad, one might assume that the white supremacists built Jesse's crazy meth lab - complete with overhead suspension and chain - on their own. Thanks to El Camino, we now know the facility was actually contracted out to another bunch of sleazy misfits called the Kandy Welding Co.

    This becomes an important plot point, as two members of the company pose as police officers in order to get into the now-deceased Todd's apartment and look for the money they know is stashed in there somewhere. Ultimately, most of them - in particular Neil, who installed the escape-proof setup that kept Jesse in check for so many months - are taken out by Jesse in an old-fashioned, Western-style face-off.

  • Mike Suggests Alaska

    Mike Suggests Alaska
    Photo: Netflix

    In Season 5 of Breaking Bad, Jesse mentions wanting to leave it all and go to Alaska. Thanks to El Camino, we now know this wasn't exactly his original idea. In the film's opening scene, Jesse and Mike share a moment by the river - not long before Walt blows him away - in which Mike tells Jesse that, if it were him, he'd head to Alaska. The perfect place to make a fresh start, as the argument goes.

    That idea clearly resonates with Jesse (and also actor Aaron Paul); at the end of El Camino, when he's concluded his unfinished business, he arrives in Alaska with a new name, ready to begin a new life.

  • Walt And Jesse Grab A Bite In A Season 2 Flashback

    Walt And Jesse Grab A Bite In A Season 2 Flashback
    Photo: Netflix

    The best cameo in El Camino belongs to Heisenberg himself. Walter White appears in a flashback, as he and Jesse grab a booth at a diner after their marathon cook from Season 2. They share their usual banter and bickering for awhile, but then Walt drops a telling insight into his psyche: "You’re lucky, you know. You didn't have to wait your whole life to do something special."

    Cooking a ton of meth - even with a popular recipe that achieves near chemical perfection - isn't what most would consider an ideal way of doing something special with your life. But given that this scene takes place fairly early in Walt's new career path, it's an interesting hint about the man he becomes by the end of Season 5. At this point, Walt still claims to be doing all of this solely to provide for his family once he's six feet under. By the end of the series, he admits to Skyler that everything he did, he did for himself. Walt cooked and sold meth because it was the only thing that made him feel alive. Thanks to El Camino, we can see just how early Walt broke bad, even if he wasn't aware of it at the time.