Breaking Bad always seemed almost satirical to me, an ironic expose of the moral bankruptcy of the philosophy of some existentialists – a counterpoint to the idea that the goal of one's life is cognition and total freedom , Breaking Bad confronts the notion that you are nobly "developing" in some way by making "authentic" choices that fit your own self-determined values and your radical freedom.
Because these decisions could leave you in a less than noble place: blown up, hated, dead, mourning by no one, and a trail of destruction in your wake. Like Walter White, who betrayed his family at the end of Breaking Bad, lost his livelihood and was now dead; Sure, he smiled, but he had really won in the eyes of none other than his own.
On the other hand, Walt was mourned by his fans, or at least those who regarded him as a hero rather than an antihero. (And if Walter actually acted in Sartrea in bad faith is, I think, up for debate.) In a way, the show made sense: even if your desire to feel powerful and control others ruined your life, someone will think of you as your ideal.
El Camino helps to illustrate the opposite, a little bit.
Subtitles A Breaking Bad Movie and written and directed by serial producer Vince Gilligan, El Camino is a two-hour successor to the series finale "Felina", which aired just over six years ago. The story no longer belongs to Walter White (Bryan Cranston), who died at the end of the series. Instead, El Camino answered some questions about what happened to Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) after escaping from captivity in a meth lab and whom we last saw screaming away at full speed.
It is not at all clear that someone really was asking these questions . Shortly after the final, Gilligan told GQ that he thought Jesse was "probably coming to Alaska, changing his name and having a new life," though he admitted that "the most likely … is that they'll find it. " This child's fingerprints are everywhere in this lab and you will find it within a day, a week or a month. And he will still be on guard for the murder of two federal agents. "
But since then, there has not been much reason to speculate on how things have developed for Jesse Pinkman (beyond my own firm belief) that he has transformed himself into a vivacious figure, changed his name to Todd, and become one washed-out horse-man actor moved to Los Angeles). Breaking Bad 's serial finale certainly has not inspired the kind of lingering discussion that followed, for example, the end of The Sopranos .
That does not make El Camino unusable. It just means that it's fun to see your favorite characters again and not permanently eliminate missing pieces that have been tormenting your sleep for six years.
And on this front delivers El Camino . (I will not reveal the story in detail, but if you prefer to know there's nothing going on, stop here and watch it before you continue reading.)
El Camino begins right after the end of "Felina"
The title of the film comes from the car Jesse drives as he escapes his imprisonment. Here begins more or less El Camino : Jesse screams and drives Like a burning man away from the Aryan Brotherhood site, where he was held as a slave and cooked meth. He goes straight to the home of Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) and Badger (Matthew Lee Jones), where he ducks like a frightened (and very bushy) rabbit and tries to figure out his next move.
This next step (and the next and the next and the next) is the plot of El Camino of a story about Jesse trying to get rid of his old life in Albuquerque for good and one too find a new one. The "present" action takes place in a day or two. Jesse is hunting for money in the home of his former kidnapper Todd (Jesse Plemons). He asks Ed (Robert Forster) – "The Disappearer," among others, who helped both Walt and Saul Goodman during the series – to help him escape, even though he has little money for it. He calls his parents; he confronts enemies and (pictorial) spirits; he is getting more and more desperate.
The pre-release coverage in the Hollywood Reporter teased that at least 10 characters would return from Breaking Bad for El Camino which had been a little intriguing to them for most of them dead to the end of the show. The solution is predictable flashbacks that Jesse experiences time and again. They slow down the action to the point that El Camino has the biggest weakness: it feels like time is nowhere to go – except character for a show that always felt as if every scene or every joke or dialogue line served to drive the story forward.
But for fans, the flashbacks are useful; They help us tell a lot about what happened while the show focused on Walt towards the end, giving Jesse more to flee Albuquerque and start a new life. Among the flashback characters are Todd, Mike (Jonathan Banks), Jane (Krysten Ritter), and Walt himself, all lurking in Jesse's memory, and most of all, shaping his character.
This Jesse Pinkman is no longer the punk, boastful child of Breaking Bad s early seasons. But he is not just the wounded, haunted mess of later ones. He finally starts to unfold and realize what he really wants – whatever is as far away from his whereabouts as possible.
El Camino is a counterpoint to the end of Walter White
] In this way El Camino attempts in two hours to give us a counterpart to Walter White's existential evolution – fittingly, since The show always portrayed Walt and Jesse as parallel paths, but with diametrically opposed passions.
Breaking Bad begins with Walt finally deciding to take responsibility for his life – acting instead of being traded for a cancer diagnosis. At every turn he makes decisions that help him to gain more power, but also spoil his soul. These decisions eventually turn him into someone who cares only for himself. (Walt is still humanly capable to the very end – but barely.)
Jesse, on the other hand, begins the series rather corruptly, and during his five seasons he's struggling to do something other than Walt or Gus or Gus Hank to be pushed around or his own unfortunate circumstances. He tries. This makes him an increasingly sympathetic character as the show continues. But he just can not muster the courage to perform himself.
El Camino finally gives Jesse this courage. It feels a bit morally upset; El Camino seems to suggest early on that Jesse has renounced violence after the murders he committed and tortured him, only to have him later killed in the film.
But maybe that's the point it's aiming at: Jesse will never be free from his past, even if he decides he'll never use a weapon again. He will always be a man who killed other men. He will always be someone held in a cage abused by a mentor, with not one but two girlfriends dying terribly because he was helpless to protect them. He will never be free from his scars.
And yet, as Mike says in a flashback scene, in which he gives Jesse some advice about his future, Alaska is the last frontier. And while he does it there, he will not obliterate Jesse's past but have a chance to start over. After all, leaving a trail when you're walking or driving over a fresh snowfall – but what's around you covers the dirty floor and makes everything look new.
El Camino: A Groundbreaking Bad Movie is being streamed on Netflix and will be doing it's games from October 11th to 13th in limited-edition cinemas (check your local listings).