El Camino is considered, without any doubt, the most anticipated Netflix film this October, and even this Fall on the web platform. After all, we are talking about the sequel to what is considered the best TV series of all time, Breaking Bad – after the thunderous failure of the end of Game of Thrones – a sequel in which we would finally see what happened to Jesse Pinkman, Walter White’s original partener, after Felina’s rough events, the end of the series, originally broadcast on September 29, 2013, on AMC.
Now, if you want to fully understand the events that Vince Gilligan, the creator of the entire Breaking Bad universe, shows us in the hands of Netflix in its 122 minutes, keep on reading, because right now and without further ado, we’ll dissect and analyze everything that happened on El Camino.
1 | Why is this movie called El Camino?
Unlike what some viewers in could have imagined, El Camino does not refer to a the literal translation of The Road into spanish, but to a car model, the Chevrolet El Camino that is of great importance for the development of the plot of this film .
The Chevrolet El Camino – El Camino, not Camino – is a rather curious car model that was produced in the United States between the 1950s and the 1980s.
For us in much of Latin America, El Camino is a rather strange vehicle, because from a distance it looks like a normal, two-door car with a long tail. Funny thing is that in that long tail, there is a cargo area, looking like the bastard son between a sports sedan and a pickup truck.
Of course, for us on this side of the world such a combination is very rare, because this vehicle model responded to a very specific niche within the United States, where – in those times – not everyone could afford to have a vehicle for cargo and another for lighter tasks, like partying. El Camino is a vehicle that had the best of both worlds.
Now, it is too obvious that there is a metaphorical connotation between the name of the model and its meaning for Jesse, otherwise they would have used the original vehicle that was the Ford Ranchero, and we would be talking about Ranchero: A Breaking Bad Movie, but obviously El Camino refers to the steps that Jesse had to follow to finally leave the world in which he voluntarily joined Walter White and become a new person.
2 | How many timelines are there in El Camino?
There are scenes of three significant moments in the life of Jesse (Aaron Paul): BEFORE he was captured by the band of Jack Welker and his nephew Todd Alquist (Jesse Plemons), who basically made him a slave. DURING his captivity on the part of those filthy criminals, and finally AFTER Walter White freed him from his torture and slavery.
Chronologically, the first scene is the interaction between Jesse and Walter in the restaurant, after leaving some kind of hotel. This happens at some point during season two of Breaking Bad, when Jesse and Walter are working in marathon to produce high quality meth in the middle of the desert.
Remember, that at least until that moment, things for both partners had not turned out to be a complete storm of shit. The issue until then was simply to produce meth, sell it to a distributor and use the money, Walter for his medical treatment and / or leave his family financially insured, and Jesse in whatever he wanted. Walter advises him to use it to go to college. Here Walter even forgets that he was in Jesse’s high school graduation, which is in tune with the cause of his subsequent misfortune, his complete lack of interest in others.
Then, in a scene that we see in the movie right at the beginning, but that had to take place between seasons 3 and 5 of Breaking Bad, when Jesse already had enough money and had not yet gotten into the shit storm, mentioned above, he asked Mike Ehrmantraut what he should do next. Mike tells him that he should go to Alaska which is the only place where he would have a new beginning and where he could be whatever he wanted, even in spite of all the stupidities he committed.
During the months that Pinkman was enslaved by the band of Welker and Alquist, many things happened that were not shown in Breaking Bad, but that are finally explained in El Camino.
The first is the information of who was in charge of crafting the device that kept Jesse chained, and it happens to be Neil, the owner of a company called Kandy Welding. This information is important later.
Likewise, we see the facts that happened when Todd allows Jesse to go out, to help him with a job he has pending in his apartment.
The events that occur afterwards are those that follow in chronological line with the end of Breaking Bad, that is, the escape of Jesse Pinkman, and what happened with him and with the entire operation of Walter White and Jack Welker afterwards. What we will explain that below.
3 | Why did Todd free Jesse?
In El Camino we see how Todd keeps Jesse under a kind of friendly torture, in which he uses kind words and a kind of empathy to always remind him that he is fucked up and that he will never leave, at least if he wants to keep Brock Cantillo alive. Todd is so sure about Jesse’s broken mental state, that he even asks him to help him to get rid of the body of Sonia, one of his employees whom he murdered for having found his savings in a series of encyclopedias he kept in his apartment.
As a curious fact, the volume of the encyclopedia that the employee discovered was that of the letter M, so it follows that the employee was Mexican and perhaps was looking for photographs, or something related to Mexico. And the problem was not even that she found the money, the problem is that he told Todd that she saw the money, making her a loose end.
Then, after killing her with one of his belts, Todd was left with the need to get rid of the body, but he had several problems: 1) he did not have an appropriate vehicle to move the body, since his El Camino needed an accessory to cover the body in the cargo area; 2) He didn’t want to get his hands dirty digging a grave and 3) He didn’t want to worry his partners in the meth business. For all that, the perfect candidate was Pinkman, who helped him to install the car accessory, dug the grave and keeping everything in secret.
4 | Why did Jesse not escape from Todd when he could?
Simply because he was under pressure from Jack Welker’s gang and Todd would kill Brock Cantillo, just as they had murdered his mother, if he decides to escape. He was also mentally broken, after weeks or perhaps months of constant torture and even worse from constant exposure to methamphetamine chemicals.
5 | Is El Camino in which Jesse escaped Todd’s El Camino? What happened to the car later?
Yes, the Chevrolet El Camino in which Jesse escaped after Walter White set the final trap for the Walker gang with the machine gun, is the same El Camino in which Todd led him to bury Sonia in the desert. And it is in fact that vehicle, in which he escaped, that gives the film its name.
6 | Why are the police looking for Jesse, if he was a victim?
This is a question for those who did not follow the adventures of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman so closely. The reason why – despite having spent months being tortured and enslaved – the police are still searching for Jesse Pinkman, is because he was part of the drug distribution empire that Walter White put together.
Jesse is guilty among several things, of manufacturing prohibited substances, distribution of such substances and complicity in the murders committed by Walter White. Enough for all those police vehicles were willing and prepared to look for him. Or worst.
7 | Who are the two guys that helped Jesse Pinkman?
They are Skinny Pete and Badger. It is VERY complicated to explain all the entanglements in which these two messed with Jesse Pinkman, but in short, both were acquainted with Pinkman, to the point of forming with them something similar to friendship. Around season three, they helped Jesse with a plan to attend the meetings of Narcotics Anonymous and sell their meth to recovering addicts, eventually both served to support Jesse at various times, but without being directly involved in his business.
8 | What happened to Todd’s El Camino? Why did the old man run away?
Old Joe did not want to help them destroy the car, because the police had activated its satellite tracking system. Then Skinny came up with an idea: Badger would take Skinny’s car, leave it in a place where the police could find it near the Mexican border and then return home on a ride, Skinny would face the police, already on its way to seize the El Camino, simply by saying that he changed cars with Jesse.
And finally Jesse would go with Badger’s car – Fiero – to do whatever it took to escape from New Mexico.
9 | What was Jesse’s plan to escape from New Mexico?
The plan was simple, to take out the money Todd was keeping in his house, and use it to pay Ed Galbraith so he could give him a new life in Alaska. The problem is that after the incident with Sonia, Todd had relocated the money elsewhere and Jesse had to destroy the entire apartment, to finally discover that it was in the empty spaces of Todd’s fridge.
10 | How much money did Todd have in the fridge?
Given that Jesse had kept $ 220,000 after splitting the money with Neil, in thirds, it is estimated that there were 665,000 with the package that Jesse had managed to hide. It’s a lot of money, but it’s not the million dollars that Neil had thought there would be in the place.
11 | Why didn’t Ed want to help Jesse?
The first reason- Jesse did not have the key word that Saul Goodman had given him to contact him – and the second reason – Jesse had already hired his services once and had failed to comply. Still, Ed saw that Jesse was willing to get his life back, but he didn’t have the money.
Here is something important, although it seems that the figure to help relocate someone is high $ 125,000, it does not seem that Ed has much money, which would indicate that the sum is used almost entirely to make the necessary arrangements for the person involved to have a new beginning. And so, a missing of a ridiculous sum like $ 1,800, in comparison is important.
12 | What did Jesse call his parents for?
It was all a trap. Jesse told his parents that they would find him in a specific place, but what he really wanted was for the police to stop focusing on the house and be able to enter, and take out the gun that was in his father’s safe, that way he could confront Neil and his partner Casey, who had the rest of Todd’s money.
13 | Why did Neil challenge Jesse to a duel?
Well, in addition to having his head full of cocaine, and that he wasn’t thinking straight, he felt some kind of respect for Jesse, having not only survived the torture of Jack’s band, but had escaped and not collapsed because of the trauma So he wanted to fix it in a way, which he would believe would give him the advantage, having a bigger weapon, but also respecting Pinkman. The result was no other than Neil’s death and then Casey’s, and the confirmation that his friends would never talk about him, after he obtained his driver’s licenses.
14 | What does the final scene of El Camino mean?
In the end we see how Ed and Jesse arrive in Alaska where a simple van waits for them, there they confirm all the information of Jesse’s new identity, as Mr. Driscoll, Jesse gives him a letter to say goodbye to Brock Cantillo, which Ed assures him will be sent from Mexico City in a month.
The latter does not mean that Brock is in Mexico, but that Ed will reinforce the cover that Jesse is in that country, which was the idea initially proposed by Skinny. This implies that at least Skinny and Badger did not suffer consequences for helping Jesse and that everything went as they expected. And this is confirmed by the Netflix promo where Skinny reveals absolutely nothing to the cops about Jesse’s whereabouts.
Now, while Jesse travels to Haines, in his new Toyota Land Cruiser, he remembers an episode that he lived with Jane, perhaps his first important love interest, who drowned in her own vomit after consuming heroin. In it Jesse expresses her admiration for letting go, but she replies that finally the most intelligent thing to do is to make his own choices.
Finally, Jesse can live with the weight of his bad decisions, by taking better ones that can restore the peace of mind he once lost in New Mexico.
15 | What is the message of the movie?
The first message left by the film is that you have to know how to take advantage of the opportunities. Jesse escaped thanks to Walter’s help and could have followed the path of revenge, ending all those who were involved in his misfortune, or retrying to build the meth business, but his decision from the first second was to return to live, even if he was no longer like himself, but as another person.
The second message that this movie leaves is that even in this era where we tend to believe that we will not suffer consequences for the actions we commit, we eventually end up paying the price, proportional to what we have done. Jesse not only went through a hell from which he will probably never fully recover, but the road to his liberation and subsequent redemption was full of obstacles. But finally his determination to do the right thing, despite everything, gave him the opportunity for a new beginning.
If the movie is good or bad, we will discuss that later, on the review of the film. Questions? Annotations? Doubts? Insults? The comments section is open just below this post. See you in another post of Ending Explained, here on El Sabanero X.