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Film / El Camino

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"No way I'm helping you people put Jesse Pinkman back inside a cage."
Skinny Pete

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is a Netflix original film and sequel to the AMC crime drama series Breaking Bad. It was released on October 11, 2019, approximately six years after Breaking Bad concluded in 2013.

Set immediately after the events of the final episode "Felina", the film's story focuses on the continued exploits of Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), the former partner-in-crime of schoolteacher-turned-drug-lord Walter White (Bryan Cranston). After spending several months in captivity as a slave laborer by a Neo-Nazi gang, Jesse escapes but is not quite free yet, as he is now wanted by law enforcement for the critical role he played in Walter's meth operation. While figuring out how to flee Albuquerque in hopes of starting a new life elsewhere, Jesse must come to terms with all the traumatic memories he experienced in his old life of crime.

For a full plot summary of El Camino, please see this page (beware, all spoilers on that page are completely unmarked).

Previews: Teaser 1, Teaser 2, Teaser 3, and the Trailer.

The tropes below contain unmarked spoilers from all previous episodes of the Breaking Bad series. You have been warned.

  • 13 Is Unlucky: The encyclopedia book that Todd's cleaning lady tried to read and gets her killed (it's where he hid his stolen money) happens to be the thirteenth volume in the series.
  • 20 Minutes into the Past: The movie takes place immediately after "Felina", which took place in the first week of September, 2010.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Todd is a sociopath who won't hesitate to murder children or keep slaves in cages. That said, he's not sadistic in the slightest, in contrast to Uncle Jack's other goons. While the goons delight in tormenting and demeaning Jesse, Todd treats him like a pet dog.
  • Affably Evil: An inhumanly creepy example in Todd. He's unfailingly polite and friendly, even considerate, and we never once see him take joy in any kind of cruelty (unlike the rest of his gang). But if he thinks it necessary, he'll murder anyone, without hesitation, and shows only the mildest remorse for it.
  • And Starring: At the end of the credits: With Robert Forster, with Jonathan Banks, and Bryan Cranston.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • Jesse has always been associated with dogs, due to his strong loyalty to Walt throughout most of the series and his desire for the approval of his betters. The association remains strong in this film, albeit with Jesse as a battered dog, particularly in his interactions with Todd while in the Neo-Nazis' slavery: he won't lash out in fear of reprisal, but his hatred of his tormentor is palpable and eventually, like a battered dog whose master turned his back on him for a split second, he killed Todd.
    • Todd has a pet tarantula that he kept in a tank inside his apartment (possibly the same tarantula found by the boy he shot after the train heist he pulled with Walt and Jesse), which Jesse drops food into from the top. This also mirrors Jesse's situation of being kept in a cage as the Neo-Nazis' prisoner, with Todd passing a cigarette to him from above.
  • Artistic License – Law Enforcement: Subverted. Jesse believes that Ed the Disappearer is bluffing him with a fake 911 call because not only would it look super suspicious for a wanted criminal to be handing a quarter million in cash to a random vacuum cleaner salesman, but also Ed hung up on the call, and normally 911 operators tell callers to stay on the line until the police get there. Jesse is explaining all of this as a squad car rolls up in front of the vacuum store behind him.
    Ed: Gotta love those response times.
  • The Atoner: Jesse wants to be this as evidenced by his conversation with Mike at the beginning, but at this point things have spiraled so out of control it has become impossible for him to make any sort of amends. By the end, however, he is at least able to make peace with his parents and bid farewell to his friends and Brock.
    Jesse: Alaska. Start over... start fresh.
    Mike: One could.
    Jesse: Put things right.
    Mike: No... Sorry kid, that's the one thing you can never do.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Jesse's parents finally cut him some slack and treat him with some kindness when he calls. They still want him to turn himself in, but speak with real concern and agree to pick him up themselves. In return, he tells them that his problems aren't their fault, and they did the best they could. It's all a ruse to get them to leave the house so that he could steal their guns but it's clear that the emotion in their talk was genuine.
  • Back for the Finale: Several characters from the series return for the final chapter in Jesse's story; including Badger, Skinny Pete, Old Joe, Jesse's parents, and Ed Galbraith (the "Disappearer"). Even dead characters reappear via flashbacks to the past; they are Mike, Todd, Walt, and Jane. Surprisingly however, Saul Goodman and Walt's family are nowhere to be seen nor heard from, with Ed Galbraith only giving Saul a nameless mention.
  • Bait the Dog: Once again, with Todd. He starts off the day by offering Jesse a cigarette and nicely asking him to do him a favor. They modify his car together, go into his nice looking apartment and... it turns out he murdered his cleaning lady and he needs Jesse's help in disposing of the body.
  • Beardness Protection Program: Pete asks Jesse not to shave his beard to be less recognizable. Jesse ignores the advice and shaves it anyway.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Skinny Pete's reason for helping Jesse disappear the same way Saul Goodman went (and the same way Walt was supposed to go but he rescinded to go rescue Jesse from that Neo-Nazi compound).
    Pete: Because you're my hero and shit.
  • Big Bad: Although not a particularly powerful criminal or villain, Neil still serves as the de facto main antagonist of El Camino. He is the main obstacle standing in the way of Jesse's freedom, by taking and holding the money he needs to escape New Mexico.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Jesse gets his freedom and begins a new life in Alaska, with a few hundred thousand dollars in cash to help him out. It will be up to him to make the most of the opportunity. At the same time however, he had to kill a couple more men and double-cross his own parents to get where he is; and he'll never get any real closure with all his old friends and family back in New Mexico, whom he will never see or meet again, and they won't really know what became of him in the end.
  • Blatant Lies: Jesse arrives at Kandy's Welding with firearms to demand his money. When he gets there, Kandy tells him he's outnumbered five-to-one, even though his lackeys don't have any firearms and were just snorting cocaine.
  • Book Ends:
    • The end of the original series ended with a bearded, disheveled Jesse screaming after driving away from Jack's hideout, uncertain of his next destination. The last shot of this movie is a shaven, clean Jesse driving to Alaska with a peaceful smile, ready to start anew.
    • The first episode of Breaking Bad has Walt thinking that approaching police cars are coming for him, but they end up going elsewhere. This film has the same thing happen to Jesse after his escape from the Neo-Nazis' compound.
  • Book Safe: Todd kept his drug money in a hollowed-out encyclopedia collection that his grandmother gave him. When his cleaning lady checks one of them and finds the money, he murders her for knowing too much.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Walt doesn't remember Jesse graduating high school despite being present at the ceremony, something Jesse is decidedly unamused by.
  • Call-Back:
    • Old Joe references the time where Jesse, Walt and Mike used magnets to wipe the footage off Gustavo Fring's laptop when he reunites with Jesse early in the film.
    • When Skinny Pete lays down his plan for helping Jesse evade the police, he states: "I always wanted an El Camino, and that's church, yo!"
    • Jesse checks the favorite hiding spots of several characters while looking for Todd's cash — in the walls (where Walt hid his money), under the sink (where Jesse hid his meth), and behind the wall base moulding (where Daniel Wormald hid his pills and money).
    • When Neil draws his gun on Jesse in Todd's apartment, it hovers over the exact area on Jesse's face where he shot Gale.
    • Both Los Pollos Hermanos and Saul Goodman's office are briefly seen during a Time-Passes Montage. The former is now a Twisters and the latter is missing the trademark Statue of Liberty inflatable.
    • Before entering the Kandy Welding compound to obtain money taken from him under threat by Neil, Jesse can be seen sitting outside letting a beetle walk over his hand. In both cases this little event occured around a time where Jesse would start to stand up for himself in order to get what he wants.
    • The first time Walt asked Saul to get him in touch with Ed the Disappearer, Saul says Ed "won't lift a finger until he's paid in FULL." In El Camino, Ed refuses to help Jesse because he's $1,800 short of a quarter million. Saul wasn't kidding.
    • Jesse's pocket catches fire after firing a gun in it. The same thing happened in Walt's trunk in Felina.
    • In one flashback, Jesse and Walt are shown staying at a fine hotel after their four-day meth-cooking excursion, as he suggested.
    • While scooping up some vegetables on his plate in a flashback to having lunch with Walt at a diner, Jesse mutters his old Catchphrase, "Yeah, bitch!"
  • Call-Forward:
    • Jesse and Mike's opening conversation takes place at the same river where Mike died after being shot by Walt.
    • Todd murders his cleaning lady off-screen by choking her to death, which is the same way Jesse kills him when he breaks out.
  • Carpet-Rolled Corpse: The crucial plot device behind Jesse's flashbacks of the little time he spent outside the cage while being a slave to Todd was when he had to smuggle Todd's maid's corpse out of his apartment rolled up in a carpet and bury her in a desert.
  • Central Theme: A running theme in the film is about Jesse starting over and turning his life around, and this can be most clearly seen in the flashbacks.
    • The opening scene with Mike has them discussing where he would go after he quits the meth business, and Mike advises him to go to Alaska, where someone young like him can get a fresh start.
    • His flashback with Todd ends with him telling Jesse that "Life is what you make of it."
    • His flashback with Walt has Walt encouraging Jesse to go to college, so that he can study business and become a legitimate businessman.
    • And the ending flashback with Jane has her telling him that it's not acceptable to just go wherever the universe takes you, and you should make your own decisions instead.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: After turning down Ed's services once before, Jesse finally makes use of him for the opportunity to head off to Alaska under a new identity.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Neil challenges Jesse to a gun duel that he has no hope of winning due to having an inferior gun and being completely weakened after months of captivity. So Jesse simply kills him with a pistol hidden in his jacket pocket.
  • Comically Small Bribe: Played for Drama. When Jesse turns a gun on Todd in the desert, he seems to be ready to kill him until Todd offers to buy him pizza and beer as thanks for helping him bury a body. Jesse is just so mentally broken at that point (and worried about Brock), a simple offer of decent food and drink is enough to get him to back down from killing the man who murdered his girlfriend. Most likely, Todd hardly fed Jesse anything before that point.
  • Comically Small Demand: When Jesse tracks down Neil and Casey, who just made off with two thirds of Todd's money, Jesse agrees to go away for $1,800. They laugh at how small the amount is, with Neil challenging Jesse to a Mexican Standoff for the money.
  • Consummate Professional: Ed the vacuum cleaner repair guy initially refuses to disappear Jesse, as he has a rule that he never gives second chances. After collecting what Jesse owed him from last time though, he agrees to disappear him as long as he pays up. It's hinted that Jesse's ordeal as a slave to the Neo-Nazis made him sympathize with him and enabled him to give Jesse a second chance. We’re also shown why he has all the security measures in place, as thanks to them, there is absolutely nothing that could link him to any criminal activity.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Almost immediately after breaking out of the Neo-Nazi base, Jesse has to evade the army of cops coming to investigate the shooting and who will find Walter White's deceased corpse on the ground. A radio broadcast later on confirms Walt's death.
    • Jesse locates Ed the "Disappearer" after recognizing his minivan from "Confessions". He also acknowledges and agrees to pay Ed for this first aborted pick-up.
    • Ed mentions both Walt and Saul when telling Jesse that he believes Jesse made his own luck and has to honor Ed's deal, just as they did.
    • A radio news bulletin mentions a Houston woman connected to Heisenberg who had been fatally poisoned. That woman is Lydia Rodarte-Quayle, the Madrigal exec who partnered with (then later conspired to kill) Walt, but who wound up becoming his last victim after he spiked her artificial sweetener with ricin.
    • During the flashback to being enslaved in the compound, Todd reminds him that Brock will be killed if he tries to escape again, with the photo of Brock and the already-dead Andrea highlighted again.
    • The flashback with Jesse and Walt takes place during "4 Days Out", as indicated by Walt's coughing up blood and his worry at the time that he would die before being able to make enough money to leave his family with. Them eating at a diner is a nod to the fact that Jesse had wanted to go out to eat breakfast after they finished cooking.
    • Todd owning a pet tarantula references the episode where he murdered a boy (who was collecting one) for witnessing the heist.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The stolen El Camino's Lo-Jack is activated just as Old Joe arrives to dispose of the car for Jesse. Joe even lampshades the timing in-universe just before fleeing the scene. It can be justified, though, as less than a day had passed since the massacre at Uncle Jack's compound. It would've taken the authorities time to identify the victims (including Todd), discover that Todd's personal vehicle was missing (along with Jesse), and to discover it had a Lo-Jack installed and to activate it.
  • Covert Distress Code: When Jesse holds Casey at gunpoint and orders him to summon in his partner, Casey very calmly calls out, "Hey, Lieutenant?" His partner, who is not a lieutenant, or even a cop, instantly knows something's wrong and draws his handgun.
  • Creepy Souvenir: Turns out that Todd kept the tarantula that Drew Sharp had in that jar.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The flashback to Jesse being made to help Todd get rid of his cleaner's body shows that he was still this in-spite of all the torture and despair inflicted upon him.
    Todd: I guess I better come up with a new hiding place for my money.
    Jesse: They got these things called banks.
  • Death Glare: Jesse gives Todd a absolutely withering and contemptuous one when he rather ineffectually tries to speak up on Jesse's behalf while Kenny and Neil are tormenting him for their own amusement. Todd, true to form, doesn't notice.
  • Dénouement Episode: This film serves as an epilogue to the Breaking Bad series finale "Felina", as it fills the audience in on what became of Jesse Pinkman.
  • Dissonant Serenity: When questioned as to why he murdered his cleaning lady, Todd answers Jesse in a tone as if he had accidentally spilled milk on the floor and had to wipe it up. He later drives around with a fugitive and a dead body in his trunk and yet he happily sings his favorite song as he heads to the desert. Even when Jesse pulls a gun on him, he talks him down and offers him pizza as if he were comforting a small child having a temper tantrum.
  • Double-Meaning Title: As shown in the second teaser trailer, the story begins with Jesse on the open road in a 1978 Chevrolet El Camino after escaping from the Neo-Nazis' compound. In addition to being the name of a car, "El Camino" is Spanish for "The Road".
  • Dramatic Irony: The manhunt the government launched for Walt after he was exposed as Heisenberg is mentioned on the news as having been international, when he never even left the country, having hid in New Hampshire.
  • Due to the Dead: After murdering his cleaning lady, Todd praises her for her honesty and hard work, planning to bury her in a nice spot. This just serves to show his Moral Sociopathy.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After going through all sorts of hell as a drug dealer and a captive slave during the events of Breaking Bad, Jesse is finally able to reach Alaska to make a fresh start, free from his past life as a criminal.
  • Evil Is Petty: After splitting hundreds of thousands of dollars, Jesse goes back to Neil and Casey because he's still 1800 short of what he needs. Despite acknowledging that it's a ridiculously small sum, Neil instead challenges Jesse to a duel over the whole pile. He and Casey both end up dead.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Walter White in the diner scene mentions that Jesse should go to college, stating the first step is to get a GED, apparently forgetting that Jesse had graduated high school. To make matters worse, Walter was right on stage with him when it happened.note 
  • Fiery Cover-Up: After killing Neil and Casey to get his money back and letting Sean, Kyle, and Colin loose with the promise of keeping their mouths shut, Jesse covers his tracks by rigging a bunch of gas tanks with a blowtorch in the workshop to explode, destroying the whole building.
  • Flashback: Around a third of the film consists of flashbacks that take place throughout the Breaking Bad timeline.
  • Foregone Conclusion: After the series ended, Vince Gilligan mentioned that Jesse got clean, moved to Alaska, and became a carpenter. The film ends with him driving towards his new life in Alaska.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse:
    • Invoked when Jesse calls his parents; he tells them that they did the best they could to raise him and that his crimes are nobody's fault but his own.
    • Also invoked when Jesse is trying to appeal to Ed the Cleaner by relating the traumatic details of his captivity. Ed stops him short to tell him that he'd have better luck negotiating that with the police, because as far as he's concerned, Jesse made his own luck.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: While Todd is dead by the events of the film, he's the character with the most effect on what Jesse goes on to do in the plot, as it's his money in his apartment that Jesse goes to raid, all while fighting the lingering trauma over what Todd and his neo-Nazi friends did to him when he was their captive.
  • The Ghost:
    • Uncle Jack doesn't appear in any of the flashbacks, but is mentioned several times.
    • Jake doesn't appear either. When Jesse asks how he's doing, his dad reveals he's on a band trip in London.
    • Saul's (former) office is shown and he's referred to once as Jesse's lawyer by Ed, but Saul himself does not make an appearance. Justified, as he's currently in hiding at Omaha, Nebraska after using Ed's services.
  • Given Name Reveal: Mrs. Pinkman's first name is revealed as Diane, while Ed the vacuum cleaner repair guy's last name is revealed as Galbraith.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Skinny Pete stays with the titular El Camino to give Jesse time to escape, even if this will likely lead to his arrest and imprisonment.
  • Honor Among Thieves: Ed the Cleaner initially refuses to help Jesse escape from New Mexico undercover due to the fact that Jesse still technically owes him money from the first attempt that Jesse backed out of last minute. When Jesse is revealed to be short of the money necessary for both the repayment and the new trip, Ed actually gives him all of his money back, rationalizing that it'd be more trouble than it's worth to try and keep the initial 125k from Jesse.
  • Hookers and Blow: Neil's party after he got part of Todd's money consist of prostitutes, cocaine and beers.
  • I Have a Family: One of Neil's and Casey's employees pleads for his life, claiming "I've got kids". Jesse insists that he doesn't care, but clearly had no intention of hurting them in the first place. He demands to collect their IDs, and threatens them into keeping silent about what they've seen (Jesse's killings of Neil and Casey), but then lets them all go home.
  • Immediate Sequel: After the opening flashback, the film begins mid-scream where we last saw Jesse in the finale "Felina" escaping the Neo-Nazi compound.
  • Impersonating an Officer: Neil and Casey, two welders who worked with Todd and wanted to find his stash of the money, decided to wear fake police uniforms so they could break into Todd's apartment without raising suspicions. Jesse is fooled by their act until he notices that they don't have any handcuffs to restrain him with.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Jesse calls his parents telling them that he gives up and wants to be turned in, but would prefer they hand him over and gives a location that he lies he's at. After his parents drive off (followed by several plainclothes police cars), Jesse breaks into their house with the help of the key-under-the-mat and simply steals their Colt Huntsman and Smith and Wesson .32 locked in a safe before leaving.
  • Key Under the Doormat: Jesse knows his parents hide a key under the bricks on the porch.
  • Killed Offscreen: A radio broadcast Jesse hears in the car confirms that Lydia has been hospitalized and is being investigated for her business dealings with Gustavo and Heisenberg after being poisoned by the latter and will most likely die soon.
  • Metallicar Syndrome: Subverted. Despite being the namesake of the film, Todd's El Camino is used as little as possible by Jesse because of how obvious it would be for him to drive it. He tries having an old ally trash it, and when that fails, Skinny Pete makes Badger take his own and drive it as far away as possible in a conspicuous direction to throw off the police while he keeps the El Camino at his house and Jesse instead takes Badger's Pontiac Fiero, because in Skinny Pete's words, it's an "old lady car".
  • My God, You Are Serious!:
    • Neil laughs at Jesse when he sees that he's brought an old and inefficient gun as a weapon when he comes to reclaim his money. Of course, Jesse wasn't actually being serious, as his real weapon was hidden away in his jacket pocket.
    • Jesse assumes that Ed the Disappearer makes a fake 911 call for several reasons. Then the cops actually show up, getting an Oh, Crap! from Jesse.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The first trailer for the movie has Skinny Pete having been arrested and interrogated by the DEA, though no such thing ever happens in the movie itself.
    • The Emmys commercial shows Jesse listening to a report about the shooting at Jack's compound on the El Camino's car radio, at night, while clean-shaven, which is chronologically inconsistent with what happens in the movie (Jesse parts ways with the car immediately after shaving himself, both of which happen the morning after his escape from the compound).
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Todd's cleaning lady showed him a hollowed-out book with money in it, assuming he didn't know about it. Todd killed her to keep things quiet.
  • No Kill like Overkill: As the cops don't know exactly what happened at the compound, they don't know Jesse's exact involvement and/or if he is dangerous. When the titular car's tracker goes off, a convoy of dozens of police cars drive to Skinny Pete's house.
  • No Sympathy: Jesse turns up short of Ed's price of giving him a new identity and Social Security number when Ed decides Jesse must pay him double as penalty for being absent his first ride. Jesse tries to appeal to him by explaining his captivity under Neo-Nazis. Ed dismisses it, saying he should save his sob story for the police.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Skinny Pete and Badger completely drop their playful faux-gangster attitudes when Jesse comes to the latter's house. They further become shocked and horrified when they learn just how much of a Trauma Conga Line their good friend has gone through.
    • Old Joe after he inspects the El Camino (and before he tells Jesse Todd's Lo-Jack has just been activated). In every one of his previous appearances, Joe's always been cool and collected. For him to flee and be frantic instantly alerts Jesse and company that something is very wrong.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • Skinny Pete is arrested and interrogated off-screen, and the trailer footage of him refusing to cooperate with the police is not in the movie itself.
    • Badger's participation in misdirecting the authorities into thinking Jesse's fleeing to Mexico happens entirely offscreen. The final season of Better Call Saul would reveal that Skinny Pete's plan (and by extention, Badger's actions) went off without a hitch.
  • Oh, Crap!: Jesse when he sees that Ed's call to the police was not a bluff and the police just parked. He almost leaves his money behind running away.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: The film has a pretty obvious teal/orange filter, in contrast to the original series, which for the most part used the complete range of colors.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Neil and Casey, the two welders impersonating police officers, brazenly leave in a truck with the name of the welding shop where they work.
  • Pants-Positive Safety: In the confrontation with Neil and Casey at the end, Jesse stores a handgun in the front of his trousers. That said, it's so they don't notice the other gun he's hiding in his coat pocket.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Jesse breaks into his parents' house to retrieve a phonebook (to find Kandy's Welding) and the two guns kept in a safe. Jesse correctly guesses the combination code for the safe is just his younger brother's birthday after having tried his own birthday on it, but that didn't work.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Old Joe offering to help Jesse dispose of the titular El Camino free of charge for old time's sake. Unfortunately, it doesn't last. Old Joe does apologize for his uselessness before leaving.
    • In a rare happy flashback, Walt is shown encouraging Jesse to quit his life of crime and instead go to college so he can become a legitimate businessman. Note that this was in their early days, before they got involved with Gus Fring and a far cry from him emotionally blackmailing Jesse into staying in the meth business later in the series.
    • Subverted with Todd when he attempts to comfort Jesse when he has a mental breakdown in the desert. He clearly doesn't want Jesse to be upset, but his sociopathy makes him unable to understand why he is crying in the first place, so instead of actually comforting him, he just mumbles some vaguely inspirational advice to him, completely oblivious that it's his murder of Andrea, forcing him to bury the innocent cleaning lady's body, and general torturing of him that's tearing Jesse apart.
    • Ed gives Jesse a second chance at disappearing despite never having done so before (although Jesse paying him for both the missed first one and for the second one probably helped with that). Also, while he calls the cops when Jesse tries to blackmail him, he gives the cops false information. And finally, at the end, he seems genuinely emotionally affected while reading Jesse's letter to Brock.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: As Old Joe is running away from the police in hot pursuit of the El Camino when the Lo-Jack is activated, Jesse says this to him - and Old Joe can only advise him to run away as well and leave the Camino.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Todd is defined by his chilling pragmatism. He's not sadistic or cruel. He just has objectives that he wants to be accomplished, whether they're redecorating his apartment or disposing of a body, and he goes about them with the exact same manner.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • Jesse, given that he's become a P.O.I. by the FBI due to his affiliation with Walter White. He's always on the lookout for anybody, and refuses to show his face to not just the police, but also ordinary civilians other than his trusted friends Badger and Skinny Pete.
    • When Old Joe agrees to dispose of Todd's El Camino, he brings along a specialized radio transceiver to check if the car has a LoJack and if it's been activated. He even calls it an insurance policy (and is proven right).
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Jesse's brother Jake is away in London, as the child actor had long outgrown the role.
  • The Reveal: It turns out that Walt's remaining money was stashed away by Jack's gang in their own homes. Jesse is able to make off with most of Todd's share of the money, though the rest of it is either missing or destroyed by his explosion of the metal shop.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Jesse assumes that Ed Galbraith didn't really call the cops because he would have to stay on the line to do so, and that the police arriving at his store would directly lead a trail to his own crimes as well. As a matter of fact, Ed did call the cops on Jesse, and the response time really was that quick, even without him staying on the line. But when the cops arrive, Ed ends up giving a completely inaccurate description of him to cover his trail.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Old Joe is initially accommodating and helpful towards Jesse as he offers to help him get rid of the stolen car that he's driving, until he realizes that the police have activated the tracker inside the car, at which point he simply gets in his truck and speeds off, after advising Jesse to do the same.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Walt and Jesse in the diner.
  • Showdown at High Noon: Jesse and Neil have a duel in the middle of a welding shop.
  • She Knows Too Much: Todd killed his cleaning lady because she found some of his dirty money in a hollowed-out book. Though she had no clue what his real business was, he killed her to keep things secret.
  • Shellshocked Veteran: Jesse suffers from PTSD due to his imprisonment and torture in the Neo-Nazi compound for the last 3 episodes of Breaking Bad, on top of all the other horrible things that have happened to him in his criminal career. Even taking a shower alone is a Trauma Button to him, because it triggers memories of when they hosed him down.
  • Shout-Out: Jesse's confrontation with Neil is obviously reminiscent of Sergio Leone's style, especially of Eastwood's first scene in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, where Blondie employs a similar ruse.
  • Shrine to the Fallen: The wall outside the DEA interrogation room seen in the announcement trailer has framed photos of Hank and Gomez with In Memoriam plaques underneath.
  • The Sociopath: Todd once again shows his complete disregard for human life when he casually murders his cleaning lady after she discovered his money stash. As always, Todd seems to have only the faintest perception that what he's doing is bad or even that it might upset others.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Todd listens to "Sharing the Night Together" as he drives into the middle of the desert to make his meth cooking slave bury his maid's body.
  • Spotting the Thread: Happens twice in the film. First, Jesse realizes that the cops arresting him aren’t really cops when they use rope instead of handcuffs. Later subverted when Jesse assumes Ed fakes the 911 call because he didn’t stay on the line and no one called back. The cops show up anyway.
  • Starting a New Life: Jesse's primary goal for the movie as the police are looking for him as a POI for helping build Walt's meth empire. Majority of the plot is him trying to find way to pay for Ed's services.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Played for Drama. The fact that Todd is able to get Jesse to not shoot him through a simple offer of pizza is a sign of how broken Jesse was at the hands of the Neo-Nazis.
  • Stupid Crooks: Neil and Casey (the fake cops who are actually welders) do a very terrible job impersonating police as Jesse and Lou the apartment landlord can tell that what they're all doing is clearly not police protocol (such as using rope for handcuffs or investigating a room not within the crime scene). They also don't have a police car, but instead a welding truck (that reads "KANDY WELDING"). Once they have the money, they instantly go into a random spending spree and hard partying, which will further raise suspicion.
  • Suspicious Spending:
    • Todd used his cut of Walt's drug money to rent himself a huge apartment, buy a flatscreen TV with speakers, and lots of kitsch furniture, pretty much what you'd expect from a young criminal who struck it big (and clearly isn't into Hookers and Blow). At this point, he has no clear legal source of income, and he wouldn't have been able to afford it in his previous job as a pest exterminator either. Still, it seems he managed to stay under the radar until after his death, as his actual spendings might not be that big. He still had multiple stacks of cash hidden in his apartment, which itself must have been only a tiny proportion of the money they stole from Walt, which was enough to fill six barrels.
    • Neil and Casey are on their way to start this, since within hours after getting "their" share, they indulge in Hookers and Blow. At least in Casey’s case it's implied he would squander it in no time.
  • Took a Level in Badass: When forced to gun down Joaquin Salamanca in Mexico, Jesse was incredibly rattled by the experience of such a battle for his life. When Neil offers to stake his and Jesse's lives and money in a duel, Jesse accepts and dishonorably kills him with zero hesitation. Then, after heatedly exchanging fire with Casey, leaving the latter similarly dead, Jesse doesn't lose a second to round up their terrified friends, force them to give up their driver's licenses, and proceed to scare them into silence. While they get startled by the sudden collapse of a glass pane hit by the bullets in the background, Jesse doesn't even flinch.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Neil and his pals are confronted by Jesse. He is armed, and they are on the come-down from a night-long session of Hookers and Blow, but, as Neil correctly points out, there are five of them, and Neil is also armed. Instead of pragmatically using this advantage, Neil decides to go for a Showdown at High Noon instead.
  • True Companions: After escaping from the Neo-Nazi compound, the first place Jesse goes to is Skinny Pete's house. Despite Jesse being a wanted criminal, they immediately take him in, give him a car and all their cash (presumably the money Walt paid them off with), and make an elaborate plan to cover his tracks that risks both of them being arrested. When Jesse asks Pete why he's doing all of this for him, he replies:
    Skinny Pete: Dude... you're my hero and shit.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!:
    • Todd's neighbors had no idea what he was involved with, although a few felt that something about Todd always felt off.
    • Jesse believes that Ed can't call the cops since it would incriminate both of them. However, as Ed has taken several cautionary measures, there is absolutely no evidence his shop is anything but a vacuum shop.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone:
    • After a whole show of being characterized as a high school dropoutnote , we learn Jesse graduated high school. Sure, it's a minor example, but this is Jesse we're talking about.
    • Basically El Camino's whole purpose. After five seasons of being used and abused by Walt and several others, including six months of captivity and torture at the hands of a ruthless Neo-Nazi gang, Jesse escapes their hold on him and the police and starts a new life in Alaska.
  • Title Drop: Skinny Pete saying "I always wanted me an El Camino".
  • Undying Loyalty: Badger and Skinny Pete to Jesse. In the Missing Trailer Scene, Skinny Pete adamantly refuses to tell the DEA where Jesse might be despite the possible repercussions he'll suffer for refusing to cooperate. In the movie proper, he's the one to plan out Jesse's escape and Badger is more than happy to give Jesse his car and money to aid in it.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Todd mentions that his uncle Jack and the rest of his gang are out in Elephant Butte for the weekend to go water-skiing.
  • Wham Line: During an altercation with two cops in Todd's old apartment, Jesse gets pushed to the ground and instead of getting handcuffs, they pull a power cord from the wall to tie his hands behind his back. Jesse realizes at that moment:
    Jesse: ...You guys aren't cops.
  • Written-In Absence:
    • Jack Welker is namedropped by Todd Alquist during one of the Breaking Bad flashbacks, but his absence is explained by him having taken the rest of the gang off waterskiing, leaving Todd alone with Jesse.
    • Lydia Rodarte-Quayle is described as being in critical condition over Jesse's car radio, with her not expected to survive her ricin poisoning courtesy of Heisenberg.
    • Jake Pinkman is revealed to have gone off to London during the events of this film, which Jesse's parents mention when he talks to them on the phone.

♫ Cause I know (Dreams are for those who are asleep in bed)
And I know (It's a sin putting words in the mouths of the dead)
Cause I know (For all my ruminations I can't change a thing)
Still I hope (There's others out there who are listening)
To the static on the radio... ♫