El Camino ties Breaking Bad’s loose ends

Jennifer Keegan

Although Walter White exclaimed: “We’re done when I say we’re done”, it seems like Netflix isn’t quite finished with Breaking Bad after all.

Six years after the last episode aired, the producers of the 16 time Emmy winning television show made a follow up film called “El Camino”, a story about Jesse Pinkman after his ordeal of the last season of Breaking Bad.

The film came out on Netflix on October 11 to very high expectations and was watched by 2.6 million in its first day of release. It got a 93 per cent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 108 reviews.

The film is a straight continuation from where the last season ends: Pinkman escaping the compound where he was imprisoned in a cage in the ground and forced to cook meth for his captors to sell.

It follows the path he takes to get away from the police who have a launched a state wide man hunt for him as he tries to start a new life for himself.

It starts however, unexpectedly and heart wrenchingly with a flashback of Pinkman talking to Mike Ehrmantraut, a former police officer and accomplice, just minutes before Mike’s death.

In the conversation that takes place, Pinkman asks Ehrmantraut where he would go if he wanted to start a new life. He tells Pinkman: “If I were your age starting fresh…Alaska.”

The film then flicks to the present day and Pinkman escaping the scene of where his former partner Walter White shot his imprisoners in the last few minutes of his life to help Pinkman to escape.

It is heavy with emotion right from the very beginning. We see lots of our old favourite characters such as Badger, Skinny Pete and Jane and a very short but very meaningful flashback of Walter White. We also see some of the less popular characters such as Tod and Uncle Jack.

The concern always with spin offs and sequels is that it won’t live up to the previous work. The writing won’t be as good as the original or that the characters will be changed (Gilmore Girls anyone?).

However, it’s like we never left New Mexico; as if the film was produced immediately after that last season was made.

Vince Gilligan’s writing is flawless and the script isn’t overly emotional or disingenuous. Even the camera shots and angles are the same, and so are the sky time lapses that all fans would be familiar with.

The black yet hilarious humour that Breaking Bad was famous for has not disappeared. The jokes are natural and still give the premise of the story a light hearted balance for what is really a very dark plot.

As far as acting goes, Aaron Paul continues being the great actor that got him his three Emmys for best supporting actor in the show. His portrayal of a broken Jesse Pinkman turned into fierce fighter to change his life is seamless and emotional.

Daniel Fienberg, writing for the Hollywood Reporter said that “It’s hard not to watch the movie and be amazed anew at all of the shadings of immaturity, maturity and damage, Paul got to play, focusing mainly on his ability to be wounded and wonderfully funny.”

Some have criticised the film for being unnecessary and simply made for Gilligan to cash in yet again on the huge fanbase the show has.

Even if that’s all it is, you can’t help but enjoy it, not because we finally find out what happens to Pinkman but to be reunited with him and all of the characters we so dearly miss.

Jennifer Keegan

Image Credit: Netflix