‘El Camino’ closes the door on ‘Breaking Bad’ series

Leo Friedman

After the series finale of “Breaking Bad,” fans across the world were left with many unanswered questions after a massive cliffhanger.

Six years later, those questions were answered in the follow-up film to the series, “El Camino.”


The film follows the story of Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), the infamous meth-cook Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) associate, directly after the events of the “Breaking Bad” finale. Pinkman flees from the destroyed meth enterprise he was held captive in, narrowly escaping the police. Pinkman spends his time trying to recover money from past (and deceased) associates, as well as escape from thieves and police alike. Because of his association with White’s meth enterprise, Pinkman has to avoid the police’s bounty hunt for him. 

The film also employs several flashbacks to prominent “Breaking Bad” characters. Although the flashback scenes were new and not from the original series, “Breaking Bad” director and writer Vince Gilligan did a great job of making these scenes aesthetically indistinguishable from the original series. 

“El Camino” can be streamed on Netflix, as well as in limited theaters.

The cinematography is reminiscent of much of Gilligan’s work, featuring long, lingering shots of the New Mexican desert, dynamic angles and time-lapse shots.

While not lacking in dialogue, “El Camino” follows “Breaking Bad’s” minimal conversational style, echoing the silence of the desert. This keeps the viewers focused on the primary objective of telling Pinkman’s story and also echoes the loneliness Pinkman experiences.

The film is quite intense, leaving viewers on the edge of their seats. However, Pinkman’s humor shines in some of the darkest moments, in typical Pinkman fashion.

While the film serves as an epilogue to the series, it can be understood and appreciated by those who have not seen “Breaking Bad.” It is a classic story of someone who has been wronged and has done wrong and who is fighting for redemption. However, you probably can not get the full impact of the film without first seeing the original series.

Fans of the violence and mayhem from “Breaking Bad” may find the film a bit lacking in its goriness, but there’s still plenty of intense action, and Paul’s topflight acting is sure to satisfy the most hardcore “Breaking Bad” fanatics.

Sequels to popular series often change or even destroy the spirit of the original story — some might argue this happened to “Star Wars” — leaving fans of the original disappointed. “El Camino” avoids this, and the spirit of “Breaking Bad” remains intact. It is true to the series and gives Pinkman the ending he deserves. 

Leo Friedman can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @leofriedman13