It’s been almost six years since Vince Gilligan’s award winning series Breaking Bad aired its final gut wrenching episode with Bryan Cranston’s Walter White sacrificing his life to save that of Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman. As the final minutes of the show concluded, we witnessed Jesse making good with his escape from a neo-nazi drug den, tearing down a desolate and dusty road and heading towards an uncertain future. It was an ambiguous ending that was one part Rorschach test and one part catharsis for Paul’s character having descended into hell over the course of five torturous, hilarious, heartfelt and bloody seasons. His final words to Walter White before riding out into the sunset, police sirens ominously nearby as he began his race to freedom, are lonely and sad and beautiful and angry all at once, but more than any final trite words between the two, it’s the emotion on the two men’s faces that says more than any final goodbye or exasperated denouement could ever express and we just know that Jesse has made peace with his demons at that moment and that perhaps, just perhaps, he may go on to live a full and satisfying life.
The ambiguity of Jesse roaring away in an El Camino will soon be expounded upon and duly clarified to those fans (me included) that were left wondering about our favorite sad sack’s ultimate fate: This weekend Netflix announced a two hour Breaking Bad movie titled, appropriately enough, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie and finally dropped a teaser trailer for the long-rumored sequel which follows Jesse Pinkman immediately after the Wild Bunch-like blood bath at the neo-nazi compound. According to the press release from Netflix, “Jesse must come to terms with his past in order to forge some kind of future.”
The short teaser clip showcases an old friend of Jesse’s in the literal hot seat, being questioned by the Feds as to what exactly he knows about the former meth producer’s/dealer’s whereabouts. It’s not a lot but, to borrow a line from the Bard, “’tis enough, ‘twill serve.”
Along with Aaron Paul returning to the role that made him a star, he will also serve as a producer and if that’s not nearly enough to get you stoked for this particular return, perhaps this tidbit will fit the bill nicely: Vince Gilligan will be writing and directing El Camino which might just ensure that the six year wait for this story will have been worth it.
Beyond the teaser trailer and confirmation of some of the creative talent lined up for El Camino, what else can we expect? Tellingly, Gilligan gave an interview shortly after the finale of Breaking Bad back in 2013 where he revealed his thoughts then about the fate of Jesse Pinkman: “My personal feeling is that he got away,” Gilligan revealed to GQ. “But the most likely thing, as negative as this sounds, is that they’re going to find him within a day or a week or a month. And he’s still going to be on the hook for the murder of two federal agents.”
I’ll be tuning in with about twenty trillion other fans on October 11, 2019 when El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie premieres on Netflix, all the while mindful of the fact that I actually appreciated the finale of Breaking Bad with Jesse, all awash in cathartic laughter and tears and rage, barreling down a road towards ambiguity where, depending on your mileage, the glass at the end of his trail is either half full or half empty.