El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019)
October 11, 2019 8:56 AM - Subscribe

After escaping Jack and his gang, Jesse Pinkman goes on the run from the police and tries to escape his own inner turmoil.
posted by guiseroom (63 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think my headcanon version was better, but it does a very competent job of tying up the loose threads left by the show. Now bring on the rest of Better Call Saul.

(My headcanon Jesse had waaaay more PTSD.)
posted by FallibleHuman at 11:17 AM on October 11, 2019


This...was not a movie.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:32 PM on October 11, 2019 [6 favorites]


Enjoyed watching this, and was wondering how they'd translate their usual complex season-length story-telling into a 2-hour feature film. I thought they nailed all the cinematography, sound, and finding the same balance between heavy drama and dark comedy but as a movie, it felt like the stakes were pretty low. The police were mostly out the picture, and the only villain was barely a mini-boss by Breaking Bad standards.

Curious decision, but maybe this whole project was a sort of apology to the character of Jesse Pinkman for making him a human punching bag through most of Breaking Bad, and a chance to see what a "happy" ending might look like for him after everything he'd been through.
posted by p3t3 at 4:44 PM on October 11, 2019 [5 favorites]


I liked it, but it was a little bit like putting a gargoyle on St. Peter's Basilica. Like, sure. That's a nice gargoyle.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:10 PM on October 11, 2019 [3 favorites]




It was ok. It wasn't some super great movie, but it didn't retroactively ruin Breaking Bad, which was really the only thing I cared about.

I don't know who will get this reference, but it reminded me a little of when Jessica Tate showed up on Benson. This was a character who never got proper closure so they threw this thing out a while later to say "this is what happened to them. You can stop asking us now."

I could probably pick the plot apart a bit, but I won't. I could do the same for Breaking Bad.

Couldn't really place the timeline for when Walt showed up. They still had the RV. I initially thought it was a dream sequence, which I think was what they wanted us to think.

It was nice to get some closure for Jesse, to see that slight smile on his face. He's got a lot of demons to deal with still, but I'm happy for him.

I enjoyed it, and I was really, really excited to get back into that world again.

I'm looking forward to the movie about huell. I assume he's still sitting in that hotel room.
posted by bondcliff at 7:56 PM on October 11, 2019 [4 favorites]


I liked it a lot. I'm glad they didn't try for a bigger story. It would have felt cheap. This was a solid trip through the BB universe to tie up some loose ends, and give a bit of closure to a favorite character. Had some nice callbacks. It was a "movie" in the sense that it was a smaller story than would have justified more than its running time, but it absolutely only works as an epilogue. It wasn't really an hour-and-a-half movie. It was an extra long episode of a five-plus year series. And I'm totally fine with that.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:39 PM on October 11, 2019 [10 favorites]


I really liked it too. The final episode ended the series brilliantly so it’s nice that they found a way to close up Jesse’s story line too.

I think it really benefited from the secrecy. If this was announced a year or so ago to much fanfare, and we’d be waiting all this time for it and speculating what will happen I think we’d probably have been thinking “is that it”?

But this sprung up from nowhere and so was a really nice unexpected treat.
posted by chill at 12:19 AM on October 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


To be honest, my BF and I didn’t like it much at all and stopped early in. (It didn’t help that there was the thing that I do not want to see, big spiders UGH.)

So did I hear correctly on the radio that Skyler was killed? Or was that something totally unrelated?
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 1:54 AM on October 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Not Skyler. Lydia. The radio is just reporting something that happened in the finale.
posted by chill at 2:51 AM on October 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


I wonder if they've got a Skyler follow-up planned. I mean, maybe not, but it's the other as-yet-untold story, and it could be quite interesting.

I thought this was exactly what it needed to be. It was good to see Jesse get some chance at redemption, to see him acting alone but with intelligence, but it didn't feel like fan-service, it felt like a natural culmination of the story - possibly a better conclusion than the last episode of Breaking Bad proper. Not Greatest Thing Ever, but exactly what it needed to be, which struck me as a sign of mature film/TV-making.

Watched it last night, this morning thinking about it when I awoke, glanced over at my phone and it told me Robert Forster had died. God, that man had timing.
posted by Grangousier at 3:02 AM on October 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Oh, and it just struck me - Jesse breaks into his parents' place and he steals from them. But he steals their guns from them, removes the one thing in their home that resonates with the life of violence he's been drawn to.
posted by Grangousier at 3:04 AM on October 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


I liked it quite a bit.

I did immediately notice that they messed up continuity in Jesse's parents house when they showed the height lines, applying he grew up there. Obviously he bought his parents' old house, and that was a big plot point! And I'm not even very observant about such things.

Also a little too much Nazi Landry for me.
posted by likeatoaster at 7:39 AM on October 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


Couldn't really place the timeline for when Walt showed up
I think it is just after "Four Days Out", which is when Jesse learned that Walt had cancer, and when they did a very large cook that was supposed to be the big payout for Walt's family.

I could probably pick the plot apart a bit, but I won't. I could do the same for Breaking Bad.
What, you didn't find the plane crash subplot to be realistic?
posted by thelonius at 8:11 AM on October 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


Obviously he bought his parents' old house, and that was a big plot point!

Wasn’t it his aunt’s house that they had inheritance rights to? He bought it out from under them cheap when they didn’t want to deal with meth lab cleanup issues.

Couldn't really place the timeline for when Walt showed up. They still had the RV.

Yeah, it was pretty early on when there still was some kind of illusion of affection or human bond between Walt and Jesse.

Why Alaska? Seems like Jesse needs to be with people? Hope he gets some dogs or something.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:45 AM on October 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure Jesse does need to be with people. When he surrounded himself with hangers on, it was after he killed Gale and was haunted with guilt (which is why I think he didn't shoot Todd). He seems much more emotionally together now. Well, at the end.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:08 PM on October 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


Eh.
posted by Corvid at 12:17 PM on October 12, 2019


also I kind of knew it before but jesus Todd is creepy as hell.
posted by bondcliff at 1:28 PM on October 12, 2019 [8 favorites]


What I want to know is: did Todd make good on his promise of pizza? I don’t think he was bluffing. Todd is the kind of guy who would take his meth slave out for pizza and not even get why that’s weird.
posted by dephlogisticated at 2:15 PM on October 12, 2019 [15 favorites]


I liked it a lot. I'm glad they didn't try for a bigger story. It would have felt cheap. This was a solid trip through the BB universe to tie up some loose ends, and give a bit of closure to a favorite character. Had some nice callbacks. It was a "movie" in the sense that it was a smaller story than would have justified more than its running time, but it absolutely only works as an epilogue.

Got home a bit late last night, and stayed up later than I should have to watch it. I agree with the above.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:09 PM on October 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


Todd absolutely got pizzas and beer on the way back. For my money, Todd's one of the best high-functioning psychopath characters out there. Not very bright, low-key affable, charming when he needs to be, genuinely thinks it's kind of a hassle getting a new housekeeper but what can you do, it wasn't his fault, and just a simple void where empathy fits in almost everyone else. Jesse earned that pizza! And when Uncle Jack gets back, you know he went right back to brutalizing him, because what can you do, that's just how it works. Mostly it's a shame you don't get to see the paint swatches I'm deciding between.

Overall a nice little epilogue, though I definitely want more Better Call Saul now comma dammit.
posted by Drastic at 7:19 PM on October 12, 2019 [19 favorites]


Yeeugh, seriously, every moment of Todd made me want a full body scouring. It's weird because I don't remember being quite this alarmed by him before, even with his weird crush on Lydia. Presumably Lydia always seemed more capable of handling him -- Lydia was even able to manipulate Mike -- so he was less unsettling in Breaking Bad.
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:38 PM on October 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


it was after he killed Gale and was haunted with guilt (which is why I think he didn't shoot Todd)

He didn't shoot Todd because Brock is still alive. They keep a photo of him in the lab.
posted by adept256 at 5:01 AM on October 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


He didn't shoot Todd because Brock is still alive. They keep a photo of him in the lab.

I absolutely think Todd would have killed Brock if Jesse had escaped, but I don't think Uncle Jack would have killed Brock if Jesse had killed Todd. It seemed like they were mostly keeping Jesse alive to keep Todd entertained. If Jesse had killed Todd in the desert, the other white power guys might not have noticed the two of them were even gone for a week.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:15 AM on October 13, 2019


I liked this a lot. Despite the few suspense and action scenes, I found the low-key slightly meditative tone to be just right for a portrayal of his apotheosis into the person who he has become and will now be.

All the flashbacks either illustrated the kind of obliteration of present-self he suffered in captivity, or conversations about his future-self when he was a person without one. In changing his identity, Jesse threw out his past, and, during the few days in the course of the film, both rediscovered his present-self and, at least, allowed for the possibility of a future-self.

Jesse had lived in a world stripped of almost everything; the challenge facing him in the film wasn't about finding and embracing a rich life with many human connections, it was to simply become a person again at all.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:29 AM on October 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


I never liked Jesse and I never thought the show was this grand work of genius - I only watched it to better understand Better Call Saul, so with those low stakes I thought this was a fine movie to watch. I thought this movie did a good job of making an uninteresting character at least somewhat likable and sympathetic. I liked how it was just a normal little movie, it reminded me of the old movies they play on TCM, in the tone & scope & the style of dialogue etc. At some points I was amused because it kind of reminded me of Untitled Goose Game And Jesse's whole plot as the to-do list:
Escape with Walt's car
Give Skinny Pete the first fleeting moment of pure pleasure he's felt in decades
Drive a gold car
Find Todd's stash (all of it)
Get the nosy old man to make someone tea
Find a red minivan
Give the shopkeeper $250k
Which I'm not saying as a knock; at least I could track what was going on unlike many action movies.

I thought he didn't kill Todd in the desert just because Stockholm Syndrome is a hell of a drug. Instincts are really hard to fight.

Robert Forster's performance was great as always. His character will always be Max Cherry's second act to me.
posted by bleep at 12:21 PM on October 13, 2019 [10 favorites]


Another thing I appreciated was that they got across the point that he was tortured without needing to spend a lot of time going into graphic detail unlike most action movies. That's another thing that felt pleasingly old fashioned about it.
posted by bleep at 1:21 PM on October 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


I just want a spinoff of the Badger Pete bromance. I awwwed at cologne for Christmas.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 1:36 PM on October 13, 2019 [12 favorites]


I loved that Badger and Skinny Pete had those fancy gaming chairs, which I assume they bought with the money Walt gave them for shining the laser pointers into the Grey Matter couple's house.

I thought he didn't kill Todd in the desert just because Stockholm Syndrome is a hell of a drug.

That was my impression too. In that scene he reminded me of Reek in Game of Thrones.
posted by bondcliff at 1:47 PM on October 13, 2019 [6 favorites]


You guys are probably right. It does sort of line up with the idea that Jesse is broken, and finds his inner peace when he...gets over it and shoots a lot of people. I feel like this is fairly far removed from the message of the original show, and perhaps a bit more in line with the idea that Walt is a hero (I do not think Walt is a hero), but so be it, I figure.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:55 PM on October 13, 2019


It seemed like they were mostly keeping Jesse alive to keep Todd entertained.

They kept him around so he could cook high quality meth for them to sell at a profit.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 2:08 PM on October 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


They kept him around so he could cook high quality meth for them to sell at a profit.

They already had more money than they knew what to do with from robbing Walt. Todd had to convince them there was a profit in keeping Jesse alive. Like the guys who robbed Jesse, the Nazis were too dumb to know what to do with their windfall and mostly seemed to sit on their asses and goof off. Jesse could have died out there and Todd is probably the only one who would have known the difference.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:20 PM on October 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


It does sort of line up with the idea that Jesse is broken, and finds his inner peace when he...gets over it and shoots a lot of people. I feel like this is fairly far removed from the message of the original show

Or one could say that Jesse was able to push past the fear instilled in him by captivity to do what he needed to do to win his freedom, which you could say aligns with the original message of the show of Walt being someone who ultimately wanted to find freedom, to make his own decisions and live how he wanted to live, not beholden to anyone.
posted by bleep at 3:28 PM on October 13, 2019


Someone remind me, how many people did Jesse directly kill in Breaking Bad? I can only think of two, Gale (which destroyed him) and Todd (with good damn reason).

So it was a little weird to me that he killed two people in this outing, even if they were Nazi-associating criminal scumbags. Especially since he could have definitely stolen $1800 of jewelry and electronics and cars from his parents.

But other than that nitpick, I loved it. It was a couple of hours of more Breaking Bad, which I liked and miss. (I love Better Call Saul but it’s not playing in quite the same sandbox.)
posted by ejs at 7:21 PM on October 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


If, before this was released, I was making a list of all the things I wouldn't want in a Breaking Bad sequel, a deep dive into the psychology of Nazi Todd and spending even more time wallowing in Jesse's miserable torture would probably have been #s 1 and 2 on that list.

Other than those two bad decisions, I liked it well enough as a macho fan service sausage fest. Robert Forster was fantastic. But would it have killed them to have a flashback to a minute or two with Skyler White at the dinner table as Walt goes to pee or something? She was such an integral part of the show it's a shame they didn't write something for her in this.
posted by mediareport at 8:11 PM on October 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


The first woman doesn't even show up in the movie until 40 min in, and it's Fat Damon's dead housekeeper.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 8:17 PM on October 13, 2019 [7 favorites]


To me breaking bad was never anything other than a macho fan service sausage fest so I dunno what you guys were expecting. Was there some sensitive romantic poet in that show I'm forgetting? Skyler & Jesse were never involved with each other, it would make no sense to have her in Jesse's wrap up story.
posted by bleep at 9:29 PM on October 13, 2019 [3 favorites]


I liked this show although it didn't feel like a movie to me either. It felt like two final episodes of Breaking Bad. And I love that idea. I considered BB to be Jesse's story as much as Walt's, and it totally would have made sense to me for Walt to die and then have two more episodes. In fact it would have made me feel better because I hated Walt, and Walt would have hated knowing that the story continued after he was gone, and that the character who might have still had some redeeming value got to live while he died.

It was a pretty straightforward action show. I appreciated the lack of fan service in not showing what Skyler or Walt Jr. or Marie were up to. The appearances from Mike and Walt were well-done, filling in some background on Jesse's character. Todd I could have done without entirely.

My one major disappointment: from a director who has shown nearly an hour of footage of Jimmy Saul Gene working in a Cinnabon in Omaha, couldn't we get a brief "five years later" scene where Jesse goes to a neighbor's backyard barbecue and shows off one of the handmade wooden boxes he's been working on?

My one wish: if any other movie or TV show is made as a BB spinoff, please let it be a comedy with Badger and Skinny Pete...
posted by mmoncur at 2:06 AM on October 14, 2019 [8 favorites]


The Gene story directly relates to the Jimmy story - everything points to the Saul story, which is implied, sandwiched between them. Jimmy/Saul/Gene's denouement comes after the Gene story. The moral for him seems to be that he can't escape the past without facing it.

The Jesse story can be left here just fine - what lies ahead for Jesse can be exactly what we want it to be - his moral is the opposite one, that if you do come to terms then a world of new possibilities is available.

Of course, Vince Gilligan might have different ideas about that. It remains to be seen.
posted by Grangousier at 2:43 AM on October 14, 2019


it would make no sense to have her in Jesse's wrap up story.

I dunno, that scene with Skyler, Jesse and Walt at the dinner table was so good. Jesse as polite little boy, Skyler boxed in by Walt...it wouldn't have been difficult to go somewhere with that. *shrug* Just a thought, mostly coming from Anna Gunn being so amazing on that show playing such a rich character that I desperately wanted to see her as Skyler White again.
posted by mediareport at 4:56 AM on October 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


Also, this:

To me breaking bad was never anything other than a macho fan service sausage fest 

"Never anything other?" Weird. You never once thought of it as a searing portrait of a marriage under terrible stress?

De gustibus, I guess.
posted by mediareport at 5:16 AM on October 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


Two marriages, actually.
posted by mediareport at 5:19 AM on October 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


While I liked the story behind Breaking Bad and the use of science as a plot point, I loathed the way Walt treated Jesse, used and manipulated him, and sold him to the Nazis. I hated Walt anyway after he let Jane die and felt no sympathy for him whatsoever. I hated all that so much I won't rewatch the show. I remember watching the scene where Jesse breaks down the fence and making up a whole story of what happened to him. I wondered, for sure, and thought, huh, wish I knew. So this movie felt like a really nice surprise, because it answered that question, and without Walt's participation (except in memory) because he was, thankfully, quite dead, and not revived in some BS bit of magical filmmaking.
posted by Armed Only With Hubris at 6:22 AM on October 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


Kind of interesting to come in late to this, and read the various wishes and expectations that other people brought into the discussion: should have included Skyler, sausage fest, no Meth Damon, Jesse's killing of the welders bringing some kind of closure, etc. I don't agree with any of the above, and thought that the movie was a decent enough sequel that is predicated on a very simple question: how does Jesse get out of town? And the answer to that could have been just about as simple, as Ed the vacuum guy describes: travel at night, live off his money until he figures out what to do with the rest of his life.

But Jesse has spent months being imprisoned and tortured and doesn't want to risk getting caught, so he has this little mini-epic to endure before he can really escape, and we get some last scenes with various other supporting characters (Robert Forster RIP), and a bit more rounding out of the series' deuteragonist via flashbacks. I get why some people don't want to see more of Todd, but the scenes with him absolutely nail why he was such a weirdly compelling character; as Drastic notes above, he absolutely would have gone ahead and gotten pizza, and I think he was genuinely puzzled and upset that anyone would take a World Book down from the shelf when we have Wikipedia now. (And, even though some of Jesse's reluctance to actually shoot Todd out in the desert was probably because of Stockholm syndrome or his being broken, I also think that he knew that the Nazis would kill Brock--they had participated in Andrea's murder, after all, and were furious at Jesse for snitching on Todd, even though it was because Todd had murdered the dirt bike kid.) When Jesse does kill Todd, it's because Todd, who has just seen all of his uncle Jack's buddies gunned down, takes the time to gawk at Walt's car trunk M60 setup. Likewise, even though the welders/fake cops aren't much in the way of being villains, they're also kind of neat in the way that the one guy's weakness boomerangs around on him: instead of having any sort of moral qualms about basically creating a dog leash setup for a human being, he turns it into a stupid bet, and in the end another stupid bet brings him down when he could have just given Jesse two grand and seen the last of him.

Still can't wait for the next season of Better Call Saul, though.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:58 AM on October 14, 2019 [8 favorites]


Another thing I appreciated was that they got across the point that he was tortured without needing to spend a lot of time going into graphic detail unlike most action movies. That's another thing that felt pleasingly old fashioned about it.

I agree that I’m glad they didn’t show any straight-up gory aspects of how the Nazis treated Jesse, but man, that did not make the parts they did show less horrifying or traumatic. Maybe only more so, since you get the sense that you’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg that is that crew’s monstrous depravity. That’s not a knock, it was IMO an effective way of bringing the viewer into Jesse’s mental state and building the emotional stakes, but man was it hard to watch.
posted by invitapriore at 12:08 PM on October 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


You never once thought of it as a searing portrait of a marriage under terrible stress?
I thought of their relationship more as a r/relationships post writ large. My (36f) loser husband (44m) blundered us into a life of crime by refusing help from his friends. AITA?
posted by bleep at 12:10 PM on October 14, 2019 [5 favorites]


Re: no Skyler in the story, I think there was something of a father-figure theme going on in the movie that her character didn't fit into. Many of the Breaking Bad character cameos were there to give Jesse fatherly guidance to finally become his own person. There was paternal Salvage Joe, until the heat was too much he was willing to drop everything to help Jesse out of a jam. There was Mike, gruff as usual, reluctantly giving Jesse some real life advice about starting over. There was Walt with a very rare positive interaction, a flashback to the high point in their relationship where he wasn't openly shitting on Jesse or trying to manipulate. Walt shows he believes in him and somewhat misguidedly, but with genuine care, encourages him to get a business degree and ends the scene by saying that Jesse is "special". And finally The Vacuum Guy delivers Jesse to new chapter in his life, he's Mister Driscoll now.

Contrast these men to Jesse's father who, paralyzed with fear and conformity, is unwilling and unable to help. The writing emasculated Jesse's dad, he's portrayed as not quite a full man: doing the dishes and looking to his wife for guidance when trouble arrives, not subtle. Jesse doesn't steal his father's guns, they were his grandfather's pistols, and tiny pea-shooters at that.

As a fan of the show I'd like a check-in with Skyler. Maybe Walt's money via Elliot and Gretchen was making her life less miserable, and that would be nice to see. But it wouldn't have fit thematically with the story of Jesse finally finding what he needs start over and build a life as a man.
posted by peeedro at 5:47 PM on October 14, 2019 [4 favorites]


One of the guys Jesse shot began shooting at him first; and he went way out of his way to avoid violence with the other guy, who had previously welded him into a leash and made a bet about whether he could break it. And, as noted, the idiot thought he was a wild west gunslinger.

Personally, I thought Jesse using the.22 as a decoy was pretty clever, although I don't think he could have aimed the other gun at the guy from within his jacket pocket without anyone noticing. The jacket did catch on fire, though.

Y'all remember that Sneaky Pete is an accomplished pianist? The actor surprised the crew while fooling around while filming, so they used it. Sneaky Pete's a very nice guy with hidden depths. I was a bit worried about him as the absurdly large law enforcement convoy was shown heading his way.

I have a kind of love/hate relationship about how these shows depict Albuquerque. You almost never see anything nice, which is kind of a bummer for me as a native; but, on the other hand, as a native and especially in reaction to all the woowoo Santa Feans who disdain Albuquerque, I've always been weirdly fond of all the poor, industrial, and run-down parts because, you know, they're real and not a tourist destination.

I did live for a while downtown in the very early nineties and that's the only time I've lived in the parts of town you see in this. And Iiked it, actually, although all my family did that whole privileged "aren't you frightened to live down there?" thing.

Note: Jesse's parents' and aunt's houses, as well as Chuck's house, are all in the tony, leafy Albuquerque Country Club neighborhood, which is downtown and is a wealthy enclave in the middle of...not.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:14 PM on October 14, 2019 [6 favorites]


I have a kind of love/hate relationship about how these shows depict Albuquerque. You almost never see anything nice, which is kind of a bummer for me as a native; but, on the other hand, as a native and especially in reaction to all the woowoo Santa Feans who disdain Albuquerque, I've always been weirdly fond of all the poor, industrial, and run-down parts because, you know, they're real and not a tourist destination.

Having lived in a lot of cities that are significantly comprised of those run-down parts, the BB/BCS depiction of Albuquerque weirdly makes me pretty fond of it from a distance? It's kind of like Tolstoy says: nice parts of cities are all alike; every run-down part of a city is run-down in its own way.
posted by invitapriore at 6:24 PM on October 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


I fear I'll never get that Dr. Hook song out of my head. It's been four days, and it's still firmly wormed in. Having said that, it was brilliantly skeevy to give Todd such horrendous and totally fitting taste in music. I'm in the camp that feels Breaking Bad was brilliant, this was a good extension to the show, and bring on the Badger & Skinny Pete offshoot series.
posted by heyho at 6:49 AM on October 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


A satisfying epilogue. I didn't need it, but I enjoyed it. I've always been sympathetic to Jesse, and this was pretty much what I hoped would happen after the finale - he gets to start again, older and a little bit wiser, without having to hurt anyone who wasn't trying to kill him.

I liked that it was small-scale and low-key. Walt was the one who loved drama, not Jesse.
posted by harriet vane at 7:54 AM on October 16, 2019 [3 favorites]


I liked it, it was well made and did right by the characters as established. I just don't know that it's better than the last scene of Jesse in BB, free and driving into the unknown. It doesn't diminish that really, he ends BB free with unknown possibilities ahead of him and ends this the same, it's just like... if Jesse's story in BB was "Hey, Jude", El Camino is the endlessly repeating outro. Very good! But maybe unnecessary.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:32 PM on October 16, 2019 [6 favorites]


I liked it, it was well made and did right by the characters as established. I just don't know that it's better than the last scene of Jesse in BB, free and driving into the unknown.

I take your point, but I think this follow-up is justified in terms of the moral universe that Breaking Bad occupies, where solutions to a problem (which itself likely became a problem because of some initial amoral or immoral act) bring their own cascade of consequences and further problems to deal with, and so merely riding off in freedom into the night couldn't possibly be enough in this world. We saw, in the original series, one way of breaking that cycle, in Walt's arc: riding along with that escalation until it kills you. I think El Camino serves as a pretty welcome "well but" in terms of showing how Jesse ties it off in a different and more hopeful way. I'm totally sympathetic to any rebuttal that holds that the realization of that end depicted here, involving killing some dudes and buying a new identity, maybe undermines any sense of hopefulness that you might be able to draw from it, but I think that's an orthogonal concern to the value of following up on Jesse's story this way.
posted by invitapriore at 5:01 PM on October 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


I was going to say something about how hiding his identity means that Jesse has a cap on what he can achieve in his new life, that the danger of bringing too much attention to himself means that, for instance, he could never become the mayor of a sleepy Alaska town, but then I realized sure he could, and now this is the only show I want to watch, one in which Jesse becomes the mayor of a sleepy town in Alaska.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:03 AM on October 18, 2019 [7 favorites]


I enjoyed this, though I really wanted to know more about Walt's family and how they're doing. Maybe in another 7 years.
posted by jeather at 10:36 AM on October 19, 2019


It disappointed me to see them squander Jesse's hard-won education in the value of life, and to a certain extent, his entire character arc during "Breaking Bad", by having him so nonchalantly decide to kill more people for no real reason.

Jesse didn't have to go Kandy Welding Co. He had almost $240,000, and as Ed the Vacuum Guy reminded him, that's plenty enough to get by for a good long time. Certainly enough to get to Alaska. Jesse knew exactly what he was getting himself into when he went to visit Kandy, knew enough to be armed, knew he might have to kill Kandy or any of the people with him. Over what? $1,800?

It's as if scenes like this never happened. What's the opposite of "Bravo, Vince"?
posted by Missiles K. Monster at 11:34 AM on October 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


I had similar thoughts while watching, I'm not sure if I think it's true to Jesse's character or not. He didn't have to kill Todd either. I think the only point of showing that particular flashback with the welder is to lay the groundwork for Jesse to have at least some inclination for revenge. After a day or so to cool off, would the Jesse we know still want revenge on someone who was only peripherally responsible for his suffering, and presumably had nothing to do with murdering Andrea (Brock's mom)? I don't know, even with everything he went through after Gale, killing Todd unnecessarily didn't seem out of character (even before seeing more of Todd's torture).

I was also definitely was thinking "$1800!?? Just go sell Badger's car, pawn those guns you sold from your parents and whatever else you can carry, it won't be that hard!" So I think it can only be deliberate decision to write it that way rather than making it an amount that he couldn't realistically raise any other way. They wanted to put Jesse into a situation where he would not necessarily have to kill that guy, but doing so would make life moderately easier. I read Jesse's plan as putting the ball into Kandy's court--Jesse really will just leave with $1,800 rather than press for the rest of Todd's money, but he doesn't have a problem killing the guy for it either, or anyone who who tries to help him. Jesse doesn't kill the others, who seemed only t to be there to show that he's not killing indiscriminately.

Anyway, I generally liked it, but my assumption had always been that after escaping, Jesse goes and somehow manages to go live somewhere quiet and lead an uneventful life. The show ended up just confirming that, but that he had a few last crazy adventures. I mean, we were meant to expect from the last scene in BB that he got away, and while deeply scarred, he hadn't lost himself completely. I guess I'm surprised how not surprising everything was. Perhaps because the direction they took in Better Call Saul was so different from what I expected, I figured this would be too.

The scene with Walt was pretty good overall, but the bit where Walt offhandedly mentions Jesse getting his GED was fantastic, such a great shorthand encapsulation of how little Walt thought of Jesse, and how Walt's version of caring for other people just didn't include thinking or caring about what they cared about, it's just Walt figuring out what he thinks would be best for them and trying to get that started.
posted by skewed at 1:17 PM on October 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


one in which Jesse becomes the mayor of a sleepy town in Alaska

The same one in which Dexter is hanging out incognito as a lumberjack?
posted by Armed Only With Hubris at 5:33 PM on October 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


I don't know who will get this reference, but it reminded me a little of when Jessica Tate showed up on Benson.

I got that reference. It was a nice nod to the fans of Soap who never got a proper end to the series.

I thought it was a fitting story. I wasn’t disappointed or put out that he went back for the $1800. Even taking into account all of the personal growth that we might hope for, we are talking about somebody who is still seriously suffering from being in captivity. Not at all feeling like they didn’t deserve their fate.

Overall very happy with it.
posted by jzb at 2:07 PM on October 27, 2019


I thought it was very good, but I think it is a very fair criticism that there are essentially no women in this story, barring a couple of moments. It's certainly true that this story as written had no room for them, but this didn't have to be the story. It could have been anything, but they chose to write a story that had almost no room for women.

As I say, I think the story they wrote is fun, and insightful, and works really well, and hardly breaking with breaking bad, which was mostly a story about men.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 3:05 AM on October 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


I finally watched this, and ... I'm not sure how I feel.

mediareport: Other than those two bad decisions (delving into Todd's psyche, and more time on Jesse's torture), I liked it well enough as a macho fan service sausage fest.

bleep: To me breaking bad was never anything other than a macho fan service sausage fest so I dunno what you guys were expecting.

In that context, I guess it's decent? I mean, well shot, well acted. But I'm not sure it was necessary. It felt like the post-credit scenes you could stick around and watch if you want to, or the final chapter added to a popular book years after the book was first published. Nice for fans, but more like bonus material than a new story arc, let alone a new story.

iamkimiam: This...was not a movie.

Yep, I agree with that summary.


Ivan Fyodorovich: I have a kind of love/hate relationship about how these shows depict Albuquerque. You almost never see anything nice, which is kind of a bummer for me as a native; but, on the other hand, as a native and especially in reaction to all the woowoo Santa Feans who disdain Albuquerque, I've always been weirdly fond of all the poor, industrial, and run-down parts because, you know, they're real and not a tourist destination.

Separating the actions from the locations, I love BB and BCS, and appreciated this. I'm not a native New Mexican, but these landscapes feel like home (and they mostly were, though there were some moments in Arizona and Wyoming). Those final snowy scenes were shot on the far side of the Sandias from Albuquerque, not in Alaska (I was guessing it was going to be up on US-64 outside of Taos).
posted by filthy light thief at 11:42 AM on November 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


It was on the road to the Crest? Huh. I never skiied up there and preferably took tourists on the Tramway to see the view, so I've driven that drive only a few times. Most of those from the Placitas road, actually. I'm very familar with all the forests in the northern half of the state and I, too, perked up at the scene and was puzzled that I didn't recognize where it was. Like you, if I'd guessed, I also would have said it was at altitude somewhere in the Red River, Taos, Santa Fe triangle. So ironic it was the Sandias. But, weirdly, I've never hiked in either the Sandias or Manzanos -- familiarity breeds contempt, I guess.

I'd guessed the burial scene was up somewhere east of Abiquiu, up in those canyons where Georgia O'Keeffe lived, not the Painted Desert in Arizona, which, I admit, is pretty distinctive. I'm pretty sure, though, that BB's early RV cooking scenes were shot up there by Abiquiu, right?

My mom's been back in ABQ visiting family and she mentioned to me she and a high school friend (Manzano High School) were going on the BB filming locations tour. Didn't the people that bought the Walter White house have to put up a fence because, like, people were throwing pizzas on their roof?

Before she left we talked about the various riverside bosque scenes, like how the movie opens. It occurred to me there probably aren't many places where you could stand right next to the water -- I'm sure a lot of that is quicksand-y and I bet people would foolishly step into the water because it is or looks shallow right there at the banks. Mom felt she'd been down by the river like that when she was a girl, but that would have been the early fifties when there was less safety awareness. I've never walked or jogged on the trails through the bosque, however, so maybe access like that isn't unusual? I intuit you'd know better than I do.

Between N 4th and N 2nd is where my great-grandparents' house was. You wouldn't think it now, but those neighborhoods were very pretty back then. Just thinking about the house reminds me of honeysuckle, and her vegetable garden, the earthy root cellar, afternoons with her shelling peas and home-canning, the deep and fascinating mysteries of the river's irrigation ditches and the gates and that God himself would strike me dead if I ever played with one. 4th and 2nd, even in the 70s, were pretty industrial and all concrete and some questionable businesses, but old and leafy modest neighboods, filled mostly with the elderly, were still common, nestled in that area. Given that, an elderly woman visiting a vacuum repair shop seems very apropos, as does Robert Forster.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:35 PM on November 4, 2019


The same one in which Dexter is hanging out incognito as a lumberjack?

Two new quirky outcasts come to Cicely.
posted by condour75 at 4:11 AM on November 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


« Older The Great British Bake Off: Fe...   |  Movie: Little Monsters... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments

poster