Which Breaking Bad episodes should you revisit before sitting down to watch El Camino?
El Camino: A Breaking Bad movie will tell the story of what happens to Jesse Pinkman after he escapes from Uncle Jack’s white supremacist compound, and it’s almost here–the Breaking Bad film release October 11 on Netflix.
We’ve seen the movie (and spoken to the cast on the red carpet), and although we can’t tell you what we thought of it yet, we can help make sure you’re prepared by clueing you in to some storylines from the original AMC show that you ought to remember. A lot happened over Breaking Bad’s five seasons, so don’t be surprised if you’ve forgotten some of the characters and plot points–that’s what we’re here for.
Here’s everything from Breaking Bad you need to remember if you want to be prepared for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.
Old Joe and the Junkyard
You’ll want to give yourself a refresher on the fate of the RV from back in Season 3, because Jesse and Walt’s first-ever meth lab did anything but make a quiet exit. The man responsible for its disappearing act was a junkyard owner named Old Joe and his giant magnet. His first appearance in the show was in Episode 6 of Season 3, “Sunset.”
We hope you didn’t forget about Jesse’s loyal, drug dealing pals, Skinny Pete and Badger, but just in case you need a refresher course, they were introduced back in Season 1, Episodes 4, “Cancer Man,” and 5 “Grey Matter,” respectively. They may not always be the brightest or the most responsible, but they’ve made up for their relative lack of grace and poise time and time again by coming to Jesse’s aid when he needs it most.
For El Camino’s purposes specifically, we’d recommend you check out Season 3 Episode 11, “Abiquiú,” which explores just how far the two of them are willing to go when Jesse comes calling (and when they see the chance to make some money in the process, of course).
A later addition to the show, Todd Alquist was briefly a meth-cooking assistant to Jesse and Walt, until things took an extreme turn for the worst. In arguably one of the show’s bleakest and most memorable episodes, Season 5’s “Dead Freight,” Todd casually murdered a young boy in cold blood just for accidentally witnessing him, Walt, and Jesse robbing a train in the desert. While that may not have been the end of Todd’s story, it’s probably the most critical moment in his journey on the show, so that’s the one we say you should revisit before sitting down for El Camino.
Walt and Jesse’s Near-Death Experience
Throughout the show’s five seasons, Jesse and Walt had a bunch of close calls, but maybe the most formative happened all the way back in Season 2 with the episode “4 Days Out.”
Believing himself to be literally on death’s door after misreading his own x-rays, Walt dragged Jesse back into the desert to cook as much meth as possible–which would have been a great plan, had Jesse not left the RV’s keys in the ignition, draining the battery. The two are left stranded with virtually no food and almost no water for days on end until Walt is able to jury-rig a battery jump and save them.
We’re not going to tell you how or why this particular moment matters for El Camino, but maybe have it fresh in your head when you sit down to watch.
Jesse and Jane
Jane may not have made it past Season 2 in the show, but her presence in Jesse’s life loomed large through the finale and isn’t something you’ll want to forget. Introduced back in Season 2 Episode 5, “Breakage,” Jesse’s landlord-turned-girlfriend loved art and struggled against a heroin addiction (which ultimately, thanks to Walt’s inaction, cost her her life). While that last bit may have been the more traumatic side of her legacy, her interest in culture and philosophy helped Jesse realize there was more to the world than just making money and dodging the law.
We’d recommend taking a look at Episode 11 of Season 3, “Abiquiú,” where she appears in a flashback talking about her thoughts on the art of Georgia O’Keefe.
Mike’s Way Of Seeing Things
One of the wisest and most levelheaded presences in the show by a mile, Mike Ehrmantraut often jumped back and forth between being the person cleaning up everyone else’s messes and the lone voice of reason in an otherwise totally unreasonable room.
For El Camino, you’ll want to remember Mike’s complicated relationship with Jesse and all the ways it affected him both in and out of the meth business. After all, the two weren’t always on the best terms–and Mike started off firmly believing that it would be Jesse, rather than Walt, to get them all killed. But for your purposes in seeing the movie, revisiting Mike’s death in Season 5 Episode 7, “Say My Name.”
The Pinkman Family
Jesse’s relationship with his parents is, unsurprisingly, extremely rough. After kicking him out of the house and all but disowning him, they stole his own house out from under him back during Season 2–though he was thankfully able to win it back in the most delicious way possible by having Saul strong-arm them into a bad, cash-on-hand deal.
For the best refresher about Jesse and his strained relationship with his mom and dad, we recommend you take a trip back to Season 1, Episode 4, “Cancer Man,” where they’re introduced for the first time.
Andrea and Brock
Jane may have been Jesse’s first real love on the show, but she wasn’t his last. You’ll definitely want to remember Andrea and her son Brock, the struggling single mom who Jesse met at an addiction support group and originally pegged as a perfect mark for his solo meth-selling business. Naturally, that didn’t go exactly as planned and the two of them wound up falling in love, which made things complicated when Jesse learned that Andrea’s kid brother was the one responsible for murdering one of his friends. Eventually, Andrea was killed by Todd, who then used the threat of further violence against Brock to keep Jesse in line.
For an important bit of Andrea and Brock history, we’d recommend revisiting Season 4, Episode 2, “Thirty-Eight Snub.”
An Aborted Vanishing Act
The Extractor, a vacuum salesman with a side business in setting up criminals with brand new lives has a near-miss with Jesse in Season 5, Episode 11, “Confessions.” You’ll definitely want to revisit this one if only to remind yourself why Jesse stuck around Albuquerque when things really started going off the rails–because the reasons are much more complicated (and horrifying) than you can probably recall off the top of your head.
Last but not least, you’ll want to remind yourself of Jesse’s tragic fate toward the end of Season 5, when he’s literally kept in a concrete hole and forced to cook for Todd’s uncle Jack and his gang of white supremacists in their compound. It’s maybe the lowest and darkest point of Jesse’s life and, seeing as it’s where he was leading into the series finale, it’s only natural that this is an area of Jesse’s story that will be thoroughly explored in El Camino. For the start of that story, check out Season 5 Episode 14, “Ozymandias.”