‘El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie’ attempts to bring closure to dedicated viewers. Was it worth the wait?


Netflix / Hilltop Views

‘El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,’ chronicles the life of Jesse Pinkman after his escape to freedom in the ‘Breaking Bad’ finale in 2013.

Netflix’s “Breaking Bad” sequel “El Camino” released last Friday to the open arms of dedicated fans who waited six years to finally find out the fate of one of its last remaining characters. 

El Camino is a two-hour epilogue to the 2013 series finale, chronicling the efforts Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) made to evade police, gangs, and ultimately, death, following the bloody aftermath of Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) meth dealing, Nazi killing, machine-gun massacre during the last episode of “Breaking Bad.”

However, the question that I’ve been wrestling with is: was it all necessary? 

First and foremost, the question of, “do I have to know a lot about ‘Breaking Bad’ to watch this movie?” wasn’t lost on me during my viewing. My answer to that question depends on how much you already know. You can know your Walter Whites, your Jesse Pinkmans and your Saul Goodmans. But if names like Mike Ehrmantraut, Todd Alquist, Skinny Pete, Badger and Ed the Dissapearer don’t ring a bell, I would say you need to watch a few more episodes. 

But then again, there were several times where I felt that a viewer’s outside knowledge of “Breaking Bad” wasn’t a huge deciding factor on whether or not they would enjoy the movie. Primarily because, I feel that this movie wasn’t made for the fans of “Breaking Bad.”

Say what you want about “Breaking Bad’s” creator Vince Gilligan (and trust me, I will) the man knows how to write a story. “El Camino” left me at the edge of my seat with its police chases, hostage situations and western-style shootouts. There wasn’t a time where I wasn’t thinking, “how the hell is Pinkman going to get himself out of this?” The issue I have with this movie is that it answers that question almost immediately after its brought up.

“Breaking Bad” fans are used to cliffhangers that last entire seasons and situations that still don’t fully get resolved after 12 plus episodes. “El Camino” was supposed to mark the end of an era for “Breaking Bad” fans and what it did instead was tell us a story that should’ve been the actual last episode of “Breaking Bad,” not the movie you try to excite fans with after six years of waiting for closure. 

Gilligan is no stranger to spin-offs. This is evident in shows like “Talking Bad” and “Better Call Saul.” “Breaking Bad” has been Gilligan’s cash cow since 2008, bringing in money from merchandising, box dvd sets and views from these spin-offs that include past characters and add to the meth-dealing gangster world of “Breaking Bad.” As much as I hate to say it, “El Camino” feels like the start of a  Pinkman spin-off, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. 

On the last episode of “Breaking Bad,” we see Pinkman driving off into the New Mexico desert after being held hostage by Nazi meth dealers with little food, regular beatings, and no purpose other than making meth (you know, the usual stuff). The viewer is left with the question, “what is next for Jesse Pinkman?” After watching “El Camino” I want you, the reader, to ask yourself if the movie answered that question for you after six years of waiting.