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El Camino is a stale, boring, unnecessary continuation of a story that should have ended with Walter White’s fate at the conclusion of Breaking Bad. It’s a stand-alone Netflix movie which tells us what happened to Jesse Pinkman following the events of the series finale of the incredibly addictive methamphetamine fueled show, but lacks the energy and drive that made Breaking Bad such a memorable phenomenon.
We could have predicted that Jesse Pinkman was going to seek a new life and a new identity with Mr. Hoover. We didn’t need two hours of a condensed re-telling of the exact same Jesse Pinkman story we saw spread out over 5 seasons.
Pinkman’s devastatingly triumphant tears of frustrated joy at the end of the last episode of Breaking Bad was a good memory of a character who started as someone we wish was killed off immediately, then we learned to tolerate, then we accepted and adopted him as our brother, son, nephew or best friend who just wanted to have a purpose in life.
His Breaking Bad arc was successful and satisfying.
“El Camino” seemed to want to go somewhere interesting in the beginning, but ended up doing exactly what we knew would happen, which happened to every other character at the end of the series: They either die, or get a new identity.
And for Pinkman, that just isn’t enough.
Not even a brief flashback scene featuring Walter White was fulfilling. Pinkman, obviously aged and older, tries to convince us that he’s the younger version of his “Breaking Bad” self, eating at a restaurant with Walter White, and talking about “the business”.
Of note is the significant interest placed on food and eating in “El Camino”. First Jesse is seen shoveling food down his throat after being caged for an unknown amount of time by his enemies. Then, his now overweight and older captor is featured eating soup, then they’re talking about getting pizza, then we observe Jesse ingesting some pineapples with Walter at the diner. Are the writers on a diet or something?
El Camino is a failure. It looks great, as does any Vince Gilligan directed story. But the movie itself is uncompelling, and tries to get us back into the “Breaking Bad” mood again. It never does.
The best part of El Camino was the 4 minute prologue, which recounts the only journey anyone needed to care about when Breaking Bad was still around: that of Walter White. Did we really care to know what happened with Pinkman?
In my universe, El Camino doesn’t exist. The last image I have is of Walter White collapsing to his death at the end of Breaking Bad, with Jesse’s tears washing away the memory of a near perfect tv show. Maybe I’ll visit him in his new cabin in the middle of nowhere, and he can share some of those tears with me so I can wipe away the bore-fest known as “El Camino“.