It’s been six years since the conclusion of the show “Breaking Bad” but the storyline and many of its characters are continuing to live on through “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” which began streaming on Netflix Friday.
It picks up where the series left off, with Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) escaping after being held hostage by white surpremacists. He’s on the run, and while the movie is all about how his attempt to move forward, it also features a lot of flashbacks.
Through both Pinkman’s present day journey and flashbacks, living and dead characters alike return to the screen. And if it’s been six years since you’ve visited the world of “Breaking Bad” you might need a refresher on who is who. We’ve got you covered.
Warning: A whole bunch of spoilers ahead.
Mike Ehrmentraut (Jonathan Banks)
Ehrmantraut shined during the show as a former officer turned private investigator and hitman. He died — Water White shoots him in a field, by a slow moving river — but he comes back to life in the movie.
He returns right after the opening credit, to give Pinkman advice in a bleak flashback scene. The two are standing in front of the same river where Ehrmantraut met his demise.
“Only you can decide what’s best for you, Jesse,” Ehrmantraut tells Pinkman in the flashback.
Still, Pinkman goes on to ask Ehrmantraut what he should do next with his life.
“Where would you go if you were me?”
Eventually, after some encouragement, Ehrmantrout tells Pinkman he should move to Alaska.
“Up there, you can be anything you want,” Ehrmantrout tells him.
Pinkmans offers up the idea that he could set things right.
Ehrmantrout warns him, “No. Sorry kid, that’s the one thing you can never do.
Old Joe (Larry Hankin)
Old Joe was known as the junkyard owner in the original series. One may remember him most vividly from “Live Free or Die,” the first episode from season five. In that episode, Old Joe helps Pinkman and White destroy evidence in a hard drive, stashed away in an evidence room with a giant magnet. Old Joe dragged an industrial sized magnet to the scene and like magic, or science, the damning evidence disappeared. (And leading to the memorable, “Yeah, bitch! Magnets!” line.)
Old Joe returns for the movie to lend a helping hand again. Well, at least at first. Pinkman gives him a ring following his escape for a favor in “El Camino” and asks him for a favor: getting rid of the El Camino itself. Happy to help and for free, the generosity stops when Old Joe realizes that the car had an activated LoJack for stolen vehicles.
Badger (Matt Jones) & Skinny Pete (Charles Baker)
Pinkman’s buds Badger and Skinny Pete brought comedic relief to all five seasons of the show. They return to bring some of that joy to the movie too, as well as a lot of humanity. They offer a refuge for Pinkman following his escape, a place to sleep, a hot shower, even some Axe body spray. Oh, and also money and a different car than the El Camino he fled the white supremacists with, to leave town.
Their kindness and love for Pinkman is a breath of non-sociopathic air during the cinematic continuation of a bleak narrative.
Todd Alquist (Jesse Plemons)
Speaking of sociopathic, the new movie brought back one of the show’s worst sociopaths, Todd Alquist. His politeness and soft-mannered way of speaking makes his callous nature and crimes seem just that much more diabolical.
While he was killed in the season finale of the show, he wreaked plenty of havoc before his death. He gained the trust of both White and Pinkman in the show, so much so they hired him to help them with a train heist during Season 5, where his true sociopath colors showed. He ended up callously shooting a child who stumbled onto the heist, with no remorse.
Alquist is also the nephew of a white supremacist gang leader. That gang, Alquist included, caged and tortured Pinkman for months as they kept him as their captive meth cooker. When White rescued Pinkman during the show’s season finale of the show, Pinkman strangled him to death without hesitation.
But, he did hesitate to kill Alquist previously, as flashbacks featured in the movie show. Alquist is prominently featured in the movie in flashback form. He brought a traumatized Pinkman out of his cage so that he could help him with a favor: the disposal of another person Alquist killed to cover up his crimes. During the body disposal, Pinkman was gifted with a chance to kill Alquist but he choked (while Alquist tried to persuade him with a pepperoni pizza).
Neil (Scott MacCarthur)
We first see Neil in “El Camino” posing as a police officer, and then find out he works for Kandy Welding Company.
“I was wondering when you were going to remember me,” Neil tells Pinkman in the movie as Pinkmn is piecing together that Neil helped build the meth operation for the Nazis, as well as design a system to keep him imprisoned. And while Neil does appear in flashbacks throughout the movie, he did not actually appear as a character in the original series. The actor (and his gravelly voice) might seem familiar because he has a role as Scotty in “The Righteous Gemstones,” currently airing on HBO.
SAC Ramey (Todd Terry)
Ramey made appearances in both Season 2 and Season 5 of “Breaking Bad” as the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the El Paso division of the DEA. He returns for a bit part in the movie, answering questions about fugitive Pinkman at a televised press conference.
Kenny (Kevin Rankin)
One might remember Kenny from season 5 as a lieutenant in the white supremacist gang. He, like other racists in the show, perished during the season finale. White actually killed him with his rigged car-gun.
His last words before he died were,"Yeah, Toddy, get them both off!" in response to White tackling Pinkman to the ground to save him in front of the gang. He had no idea what was about to hit him.
While dead, he makes his return as the same old white supremacist in flashback form overseeing Pinkman as he made meth as a captive. In the new scene, he also made a bet that Pinkman can break free from the chains that bound him.
Jesse’s parents (Tess Harper and Michael Bofshever)
Pinkman’s perpetually disappointed parents appear in the movie on a news in an attempt to convince their fugitive son to turn himself in.
In return, Pinkman calls them and his parents hold the landline receiver to their ears at the same time.
“Quit running and get some help,” Pinkman’s mother pleads as both parents try to get him to turn himself into the feds.
Pinkman instead lures them to a lake where they went when he was little so that he could get onto their property and collect his stash of firearms.
“You did your best,” Pinkman tells them as a way of goodbye. As for any of Pinkman’s actions he says “It’s on me.”
Ed (Robert Forster)
One may remember Ed from the original show by his cryptic nickname “The Disappearer.” While he only appeared in one episode of the show’s last season, he played a pivotal role.
As an owner of a vacuum repair shop, Ed proved that he can more than just literal dirt disappear. After White paid for a new identity and location, Ed helped him disappear. Or, at least took him to a secluded cabin in northern New Hampshire. Close enough. He also did the same for lawyer Saul Goodman.
While in isolation, Ed also was the bearer of bad news, the one to inform White that his wife Skyler had stopped using her married name.
Ed himself couldn’t disappear from making a cameo in the movie. Pinkman approaches him for help with vanishing but Ed initially rejects the request, citing past transgressions between them — an unpaid “disappearance” attempt that Jesse bailed on during the show. But, in the end, he decides to help Pinkman out and take him up north, even more north than New Hampshire.
Sadly, the actor that portrayed Ed, Robert Forster, died the same day El Camino started streaming on Netflix.
Walter White (Bryan Cranston)
Yes he makes an appearance in the movie. Watch it to find out if he’s dead. If we have to explain who he is, you need to go back and rewatch the series.
Brock Cantillo (Ian Posada)
We don’t catch a glimpse of Brock in the movie, but we know he’s on Jesse’s mind because he sends him a goodbye letter via Ed.
Jesse met Brock’s mother back in Season 3 at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting and intends to sell her drugs until he meets her then six-year-old son Brock. Jesse later supported the two to move into a better neighborhood, and in Season 4, Walt poisoned Brock and convinced Jesse it was Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) using Ricin in order to turn Jesse against him. The viewer learned Walt actually poisoned him with Lily of the Valley, and Jesse learns it was Walt in Season 5.
Later, after Jesse tried to escape from the Nazis, Todd Alquist killed Andrea to punish Jesse, and threatened to kill Brock if he tried to escape again.
Jane Margolis (Krysten Ritter)
In “El Camino” we see flashbacks of Jesse during happier times with Jane, his girlfriend and fellow struggling addict from Season 2. Walt saw Jane asphyxiate on her own vomit and could have saved her, but let her die. A generous reading is that he did so to help Jesse quit using drugs; a likely motivation was to have more control over him. Walt later tells Jesse he could have saved her but didn’t.
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