Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) conclusion to his arc was flawless, but his partner Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) was left with an ambiguous end as he drove into the darkness. I never thought I needed a revisit, but El Camino delivers the proper end to the second half of one of the greatest shows ever produced.
The DEA along with everyone else in law enforcement are on the hunt for Jesse. He needs cash and a way out-of-state. Following him on this lonely mission is grim and intense, matching many of the emotions felt during the show’s run, yet it feels more intimate. The road he goes down to finish things off rounds out his arc the way it should have done in 2013.
Past characters pop in and out with a few surprises outside of the reveals made in trailers. Skinny Peter (Charles Baker) and Badger (Matt L. Jones) make the biggest splash as that comedic relief along with being that heartwarming duo that help out their old friend. Flashbacks to Todd Alquist (Jesse Plemons) and Jesse’s relationship during his time in a hole gave a new level to what Jesse had gone through when captured, while making Todd a more complex personality.
Speaking of flashbacks, the lone protagonist consistently looks back during his time with Walter or his crew of captors. New scenes in between the events of Breaking Bad gave a better insight to beloved characters I have known and loved years ago. Some of the reminiscing scenes tie into Jesse’s thoughts along with the narrative’s progression, but others felt unnecessary in length or the substance brought to the table all together.
All of the actors slip right back into the roles with ease. Paul goes further into the depths of Jesse’s anguish as he tries to climb out of the rut he has emotionally been thrown into. The bar was set high during his time on Breaking Bad, and he surpasses even his highest achievements that he had established on the series.
Marshall Adams’ cinematic eye made for beautiful environments on this heartbreaking journey. The world around Jesse reflected who he is and where he is going.
Vince Gilligan did not miss a beat in both direction and writing. It feels like his breakout hit while still bringing new ideas to avoid feeling like a grab at nostalgia. El Camino has a necessity that it provides to this world and it is given respect.
A few scenes adding to the length when looking to the past does not hold down a trip back to one of my favorite shows. I have not seen Better Call Saul as I have felt complete in my time with those characters, but this goes into a place that I did not realize how much I needed. It might have come six years later, but I am glad I got to spend time with Jesse on his sendoff.
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Image via Netflix