El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie arrived on Netflix Friday, picking up where the Breaking Bad series finale left off with Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) wanted in connection with the crimes of meth kingpin Walter White (Bryan Cranston). After escaping captivity as a slave forced to produce high quality meth for Todd’s (Jesse Plemons) gang leader uncle, Jesse attempts to flee Albuquerque and start a new life elsewhere amid a state-wide manhunt that forces the former drug dealer to confront his past during his fight for a future. Because El Camino is a direct sequel to Breaking Bad, series creator and writer-director Vince Gilligan includes multiple Easter eggs and references from across the series’ five-season run.
Full spoilers for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie follow.
Jesse contacts junkyard owner Joe (Larry Hankin) to destroy Todd’s wanted El Camino, the vehicle he used to flee the compound that was the site of a massacre that left nine dead. When Joe arrives at the residence of Jesse’s closest friend Skinny Pete (Charles Baker), where Jesse takes temporary refuge, Joe uses the same tracker-checking device often utilized and recommended by criminal lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk). As Joe examines the car, he reflects fondly on the time he was hired by Walt and Jesse to supply his junkyard’s electromagnet, needed to destroy a seized laptop locked away in a police evidence room in 501, “Live Free or Die.”
When Skinny Pete concocts a plan to throw the police off Jesse’s trail, Badger (Matt Jones) is ordered to ditch Pete’s car 300 miles away at the border, putting Jesse behind the wheel of Badger’s inconspicuous vehicle. Before he leaves, his former drug-slinging associates each hand Jesse wads of cash.
Skinny Pete and Badger received sizable payments from Walt two nights earlier, when he paid the pair to pose as dangerous hitmen to ensure former colleagues Gretchen (Jessica Hecht) and Elliott Schwartz (Adam Godley) supply the White family with Walt’s dirty fortune in 516, “Felina.”
In a flashback, Todd recruits a captive Jesse to help him discard the body of a murdered housekeeper. Because Jesse has to be uncaged and set free from his metal leash for the chore, Todd reminds him to stay in line. “If you try to escape, I’m gonna have to visit the little boy,” Todd says, referring to the previously orphaned Brock (Ian Posada).
Brock’s mother, Jesse’s once girlfriend Andrea (Emily Rios), was murdered by Todd when Jesse nearly escaped from the compound in 515, “Granite State.” A photo of Brock and Andrea, pinned to Jesse’s workspace as a threatening reminder to behave, first appeared in Breaking Bad and is seen again in El Camino.
When Jesse tunes into a radio news report, an anchor references a woman who is not expected to survive after her poisoning by ricin.
This refers to Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (Laura Fraser), a supplier of methylamine who was a key player in the drug operations of both Walter White and Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito). Lydia was last seen in “Felina,” where Walt quietly slipped ricin into a Stevia packet later ingested by Lydia. When she phones a now-dead Todd, strangled by a vengeful Jesse, she’s surprised when Walt picks up the phone. Talking to a Lydia horrified to realize she’s suffering the effects of an incurable poison, Walt tells her, “Goodbye, Lydia.”
Lydia is referenced again when Casey (Scott Shepherd), posing as a cop, inspects Todd’s apartment. There Casey finds a crudely-crafted snow globe made by Todd, whose romantic attachment to Lydia went unrequited. When Casey steps into an overturned back room, a vest for Vamonos Pest is visible on the floor. Todd once worked at the fumigation company used as a front to cook meth, and it was there he first encountered Walt and Jesse.
Also mentioned on the radio is Walt, confirmed dead after his body was discovered in a meth lab. Turning away from the White story, the anchor says the NASDAQ is down. This is a subtle reference to 406, “Cornered,” where Walt makes his infamous “I am the one who knocks” speech to wife Skyler (Anna Gunn).
“Who are you talking to right now? Who is it you think you see? Do you know how much I make a year? I mean, even if I told you, you wouldn't believe it,” Walt says. “Do you know what would happen if I suddenly decided to stop going into work? A business big enough that it could be listed on the NASDAQ goes belly up. Disappears! It ceases to exist without me.”
Brought into Todd’s apartment to help discard the corpse of his innocent housekeeper, Jesse is horrified when Todd nonchalantly removes a belt from around her blue neck before slipping it around his waist. This flashback now has extra meaning in “Felina,” where Jesse uses his shackles to strangle Todd, finally killing him.
In present day, Jesse sneaks into Todd’s overturned apartment in search of his hidden money. Todd has kept the tarantula he captured after shooting and killing young Drew Sharp (Samuel Webb), who inadvertently witnessed a heist pulled off by Walt, Jesse and Todd in 508, “Dead Freight.”
When tearing apart Todd’s apartment in search of the stashed money, Jesse checks under the kitchen sink. Jesse once hid meth under his own sink in Season 2.
Jesse reaches out over the phone to his parents, Adam (Michael Bofshever) and Diane (Tess Harper), asking if he might be able to see younger brother Jake (Ben Petry). They say Jake is in London on a band trip. Jake’s only appearance was in 104, “Cancer Man,” where it was learned he plays the piccolo.
The overseas trip is a convenient way of avoiding showing Petry, now 11 years older since the airing of “Cancer Man.” (El Camino is set in 2010.)
During his attempt to track down Ed (Robert Forster), the vacuum seller who makes people vanish for a pirce, Jesse recognizes the red Toyota van that was set to pick him up and make him disappear in 511, “Confessions.” In this same episode, Saul asks where Jesse hopes to be relocated, Jesse answers with Alaska. The last frontier is suggestion first floated by mentor Mike (Jonathan Banks) in the opening flashback of El Camino, set around 506, “Buyout.”
During his efforts to convince Ed to take him on as a client, Jesse tells him, “I’m 96% sure you’re the guy.” Both Jesse and chemist Gale (David Costabelle) — Jesse’s first kill — cooked 96% pure meth.
During a visit to Kandy Welding Co., Jesse spots a burly thug (David Mattey) who arrives with a Hummer full of hookers. This “Man Mountain” earlier appeared in Better Call Saul 109, “Pimento,” as a wannabe body guard scared off by Mike.
Another small cameo is made by DEA SAC Ramey (Todd Terry) during a televised press conference. Ramey appeared infrequently across Seasons 2 and 5 of Breaking Bad.
A cafe-set flashback with Walt takes place after the events of 209, “4 Days Out,” where Walt and Jesse were stranded in the New Mexico desert during an RV meth cook.
The Netflix Television Event El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie reunites fans with Jesse Pinkman (Emmy-winner Aaron Paul). In the wake of his dramatic escape from captivity, Jesse must come to terms with his past in order to forge some kind of future. This gripping thriller is written and directed by Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad. The movie is produced by Mark Johnson, Melissa Bernstein, Charles Newirth, Diane Mercer and Aaron Paul, in association with Sony Pictures Television.
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is now streaming on Netflix.