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The Defining Moments Of Jesse Pinkman's Life On 'Breaking Bad'

Note: No spoilers for El Camino.

The ending of Breaking Bad may have left Jesse Pinkman's fate open-ended, but the 2019 Netflix original film El Camino aims to bring a sense of closure to Jesse's story. Written and directed by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan, the movie adds a final chapter to the series that many fans have been clamoring for. 

Breaking Bad fans know that Jesse has had a hard time since joining forces with his old chemistry teacher, Walter White. Jesse's perilous journey through the underworld is one of the most heartwrenching plotlines in television history, especially because of the rich character history that builds up Jesse's life. There are a few defining moments in Jesse's history that stand out as critical in his overall development. These are the best and most important moments from Breaking Bad that define Jesse Pinkman's life. 

  • He Spends An Entire Semester Perfecting A Woodworking Project - Then Sells It For An Ounce Of Weed

    Photo: AMC

    In the Season 3 episode "Kafkaesque," Jesse tells a story about a box in a group therapy session. It may seem unimportant on the surface, but it's one of the earliest defining moments in Jesse's life. While taking a woodshop class in high school, Jesse made a crappy wooden box. He expected to get a D and put it behind him, but his teacher, Mr. Pike, asked Jesse honestly if that's "the best you can do?"

    This is one of the first times in Jesse's life that he realized that he actually could do better. For the rest of the semester, he applied himself heavily in the class. By the end, he produced an exquisite box made of Peruvian walnut inlaid with zebrawood. He was incredibly proud of this concrete proof of what he is capable of. We actually see Jesse making this box in the final episode of Breaking Bad in a flashback, further solidifying it as a pivotal moment in Jesse's life. Unfortunately, he ultimately traded the box for an ounce of weed, indicating that he was willing to give up his life's potential for a life of controlled substances. 

  • He Moves In With His Aunt After His Parents Kick Him Out, And He Takes Care Of Her Through Cancer Treatments

    Photo: AMC

    Jesse has had problems with controlled substances since high school, eventually forcing his parents to evict him from their home. He was taken in by his aunt Ginny and acted as a caretaker for her during her battle with lung cancer. She ultimately succumbed to the illness, but Jesse continued to live in her house for sometime after her passing. The house was ultimately left to Jesse's parents, not Jesse himself.  

    There is a parallel here between Ginny and another adult figure in Jesse's life, Walt. Both were afflicted with terminal lung cancer, and Jesse chose to help both of them in their final years on Earth. In Walt's case, this choice ended up being a poor one for Jesse in the long run. 

  • Walter White Comes Back Into His Life And Offers Him A Deal

    Photo: AMC

    Years after Walter White failed Jesse in chemistry class, he approaches his old student with a deal. He wants to make crystal, and wants Jesse to distribute it. Jesse is initially skeptical of the offer, but ultimately decides to join "Mr. White" on his journey into the unlawful trade. 

    Walt initially fronts Jesse $7,000 to buy an RV - one that they transform into a mobile lab. Jesse takes the money and then spends the majority of it at gentlemen's clubs before ultimately buying one from Combo for $1,400. 

  • Jesse Erroneously Dissolves A Body In A Bathtub Instead Of A Plastic Bucket

    Photo: AMC

    After Walt and Jesse's first deal goes bad, they are left with a ton of problems. This includes the lifeless body of Jesse's childhood friend and partner, Emilio. Jesse is tasked with disposing of the remains, and it's decided that they will use acid to get the job done. Walt is extremely clear that the body must be dissolved in a container made from a specific type of plastic, but Jesse blows off the instructions and does it in his aunt's bathtub. 

    The result is one of the nastiest moments in television history. The acid not only eats clean through the tub, but it also eats through the second-story floor. A wet mess of viscera and acid gushes from the ceiling and into the front entranceway, ruining the interior.