Any mention of ‘Breaking Bad‘ remains incomplete without the towering figure of Walter White. The high school chemistry teacher found his stride towards the end of his life when he was diagnosed with cancer and was forced to start cooking meth in order to pay for the bills and leave his family well off after his death. He got into the business thanks to his former high school student, Jesse Pinkman.
Walt and Jesse share a special relationship, which is abundantly clear in ‘Breaking Bad’. They are both passionate people who have their differences and sometimes Walt is condescending towards Jesse. In fact, Walt is also somewhat toxic in attempting to control every aspect of Jesse’s life. However, under his misguided actions, Walt is somehow also driven by love for Jesse. Walt begins to see the plucky boy as a surrogate son, someone he can be completely honest with.
While Walter Jr. is his biological son, Walt cannot share all aspects of his life with him. Moreover, Junior has seen Walt as a henpecked husband and that is an image that Walter must maintain. However, in front of Jesse, he can be Walter or Heisenberg and he is sure that he will get the same amount of respect from Pinkman. Jesse is devoted to Walter and the same has been made evident over the seasons. Even as Walter becomes more heinous and his transgressions towards Jesse make us hate him, Jesse cannot completely shake Walter’s influence from his life until the violent disavowal at the end of ‘Breaking Bad’ which leaves the young Jesse Pinkman hysterical and reeling in the aftermath.
Is Walter White in El Camino?
Ever since Vince Gilligan announced that ‘El Camino‘ was being made, fans have kept on wondering if Walter White will be a part of the movie and in what capacity. There was even some speculation at one time that Walter might not have died in the ‘Breaking Bad’ finale and could be alive and well in ‘El Camino’. Well, sorry to burst your bubble but Walter is very much dead in ‘El Camino’ although he does appear in a wonderful flashback, where he shares screen space with Jesse.
Walter’s influence on Jesse throughout ‘Breaking Bad’ culminates wonderfully in ‘El Camino’ as the worst of his character is stripped away. Gilligan chooses to keep the choicest reunion short and simple, and most importantly pure in nature. Jesse recalls a time when they used to cook meth in the RV. Walter had still not descended to the pits of villainy, and Jesse remembers Mr. White as the caring family man he was once capable of being.
Towards the end of ‘El Camino’, just before Jesse’s escape to his new life, he begins to severe connections with everyone he knew and all those who impacted him. Perhaps the most notable name here is of Walter White, whose influence on Jesse’s life is pretty much the fodder for ‘Breaking Bad’ itself. However, Gilligan has been careful to paint Walter in a redeeming light ever since he reaches the nadir in ‘Ozymandias’ (in Season 5 of ‘Breaking Bad’). Thus Jesse’s memory of Walter is not a bitter one. In fact, it has little to do with their drug empire, except for a few lines said in assurance about Walt’s family getting the money from Jesse even if Walt passes away due to cancer. Instead, we see how Jesse saw Walt as a father figure.
While there have been several instances in ‘Breaking Bad’ where this surrogate father-son relationship has been hinted at, it becomes immensely clear in ‘El Camino’ as Walter quizzes Jesse about what degree he would want to pursue in college and even gives him some pointers about how he would excel at business and marketing.
Jesse’s last memory of Walter is a bittersweet one because the man Jesse leaves for dead happened to express his pride in Jesse achieving something extraordinary (the blue meth) at a young age. Walter White makes a small appearance in the entire film, but under Gilligan’s expert guidance, that one scene, with one conversation, is enough to capture the dynamics of the relationship shared by Jesse and Walt.
Read More: El Camino Review