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Breaking Bad recap: Everything you need to remember about Jesse Pinkman before watching El Camino

From his time enslaved by Nazis to his dealings with Old Joe, here are the key points to remember before watching the Breaking Bad movie

Published: Thursday, 10th October 2019 at 5:42 pm

Breaking Bad: not only is it regarded as one of the best TV boxsets of all time, but there's little arguing the drama's multi-layered five-season arc transformed the landscape of on-screen storytelling forever. And you’ve probably forgotten most of it.


We don’t blame you, of course – the finale of the US meth-making series aired a whole six years ago.

Sadly, though, this memory lapse might pose a bit of a problem when watching Netflix’s El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, a sequel film to the TV series.

Fortunately, we’ve rounded up all you need to know ahead of the release of the film, set mere hours after Breaking Bad's ending.

From his last moments in the show, to his dealings with Vamonos Pest, get clued up on Jesse Pinkman before El Camino pulls into a Netflix carousel near you.

How did Breaking Bad end for Jesse Pinkman?

In short: fairly badly.

In a bit longer: the final episode of Breaking Bad saw Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) chained up and in the hands of a white supremacist gang run by head Nazi Jack Welker (Michael Bowen). Rather than killing Jesse – who was working with the DEA to bring down Bryan Cranston's Walter White (and, by association, Jack’s gang) ­– he was forced to produce blue meth for the mob.

Jesse spent roughly six months as their slave, bound in ankle-and-hand-cuffs while meth-making in the warehouse and sleeping in a concrete cellar at night.

Breaking Bad

Why didn’t he just refuse to cook for the criminals? At one point he did, begging for Jack’s gang to kill him rather than make any more. In retaliation, Todd (the character you’ll know best as ‘Meth Damon’, played by Jesse Plemons) drove Jesse to the house of his former flame Andrea, shooting her in the head with a silenced pistol.

Returning to a helplessly sobbing Jesse in his car, Todd threatened to kill her child, Brock, if he didn't comply.

So will Jesse be imprisoned at the start of El Camino?

Nope. Fortunately, Pinkman managed to bust out of his meth lab prison thanks to the efforts of Walter White.

In the Breaking Bad finale, his former partner in crime returned to Jack’s compound, mowing down all eight members of the group – and himself – with a crafty mounted machine gun hidden in his car.

Fortunately, Jesse was unharmed by the attack and crawled over to Todd to strangle him with his chains, thus avenging Andrea.

Breaking Bad

It’s then White passed a pistol to Pinkman, who pointed it straight at his former friend. However, he didn't shoot, telling Walt to "do it" himself.

With nobody prepared to pull a trigger, the two men then walked away from the bloodbath together. They shared a nod farewell before Jesse jumped into Todd’s car, a Chevrolet El Camino.

In his last shot of the series, Jesse is seen screaming, crying and laughing all at once as he breaks out of the compound, finally in the driver’s seat (Metaphor alert!).


He left behind Walter White, who finally succumbed to his gunshot wounds on the meth lab floor.

Oh, so that’s why it’s called El Camino?

Yes, the film's name is a nod to Jesse’s escape vehicle.

What else should I remember from Jesse’s time with Jack’s gang?

Jesse may have left behind two items that could have a huge impact on the El Camino plot...

  • His confessional videotape. Although Jack may have destroyed this, there’s a chance the film featuring Jesse’s full confession about his time making meth with Walter White – a video made for DEA agent Hank Schrader – still exists. If the police find this in Jack’s compound, Pinkman may see a lengthy jail sentence if arrested.
  • A photo of Brock. To remind Jesse of his threat to kill Andrea’s son, Todd kept a photo of the boy up in the compound’s meth lab. Chances are Jesse will want to reunite with Brock after escaping the compound – but this photo could also point police in the boy’s direction.

What's was Vamonos Pest Control? How does Jesse know them?

Judging by a recent teaser released by Netflix, this bug fumigation business and its owner Ira (Franc Ross) could play a role in El Camino. And it could be a very significant one: Vamonos Pest Control was the company in Breaking Bad who used their extermination services as a front for criminal activities – specifically, Jesse and Walt’s meth-making at the start of season five.

Will police uncover the secret criminal undertakings of Vamonos in El Camino? Or will Ira use his contacts to help Jesse flee the country?

Who exactly is Old Joe?

Good question. Old Joe (Larry Hankin) is the owner of Rocker Salvage, an Albuquerque junkyard that Jesse and Walt previously used to destroy their RV/mobile meth lab.

And there’s a good chance Joe will appear in El Camino, with the character appearing to speak to Pinkman over the phone in a teaser for the film.

What could Jesse, a man who is driving across the country in a stolen car, want with Joe, a man known for destroying incriminating vehicles?

Guess we’re just going to have to watch to find out...


El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is released October 11th on Netflix


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