The new Breaking Bad movie, El Camino, has just premiered on Netflix. And while some diehard fans watched it the moment it premiered, a lot of people will be watching it later tonight and even over the weekend. The movie starts out right where the finale ended. But it doesn’t take time to remind us about some important plot points. For example, how did Jesse escape his imprisonment? This post has spoilers for Breaking Bad’s finale and minor spoilers for El Camino.
Jesse Escaped on ‘Breaking Bad,’ Not in the ‘El Camino’ Movie
El Camino starts out with Jesse on the run from the police. A lot of people are out to get him and his life isn’t his own anymore. So he finds the only people he can trust and hides out with them until he can get a better grip on his next steps.
But if you’re watching the movie and hoping to see some flashbacks about how Jesse escaped and where he was all this time, you’re going to be disappointed. The movie doesn’t explain how Jesse escaped at all and only briefly touches on why he was imprisoned in the first place.
Jesse’s escape was actually covered in Breaking Bad‘s final season.
The last time we saw Jesse was on Breaking Bad when he was laughing and crying after driving his El Camino through the gate of the neo-Nazi compound where he had been held prisoner. He had just been saved by Walt after being a prisoner for months. That’s why the movie is called El Camino. It’s about what happens after he takes off in the car he escaped in.
Here’s Jesse’s final scene on Breaking Bad:
So how did Walt save him? Well, Jesse managed to escape once before, but he was caught by Jack just as he was hopping the fence. Todd killed Andrea in front of Jesse as punishment and threatened to kill Brock. That’s why Jesse was so broken.
Months later, Jack and the group of neo-Nazis brought a shackled Jesse to see Walt when he was at the compound. Walt had a machine gun planted in his car that went off just as he tackled Jesse to the ground, killing most of his captors. Jesse then killed Todd himself, and Walt killed Jack. Walt’s been mortally wounded and he asks Jesse to kill him, but Jesse won’t do it. And that’s when Jesse drives away, laughing and crying.
Walter White killed Jesse’s captors, freeing him finally after so long. And the El Camino that he drove off in was actually Todd’s.
According to The Ringer, Vince Gilligan wrote a note about Jesse in that script. He wrote: “Grimly determined, fearing nothing, he speeds through the darkness. From here on, it’s up to us to say where he’s headed. I like to call it ‘something better,’ and leave it at that.”
In the finale, Jesse’s fate was left for us to decide. Would he be caught by the police? Would he escape and start a new life? Now thanks to the movie, we know what’s going to happen next.