While Jesse Pinkman initially brought a lot of comedy to Breaking Bad, he quickly developed into arguably the most complex character on the show. His journey is a thrilling one that is also incredibly emotional, as Jesse is put through some seriously difficult and testing situations.
He is a fascinating character to watch grow, with the ups and downs of his life being incredibly drastic — and that makes him very enjoyable to watch. Things aren’t necessarily nice in his life all of the time, but that is what makes his character so engaging.
With Jesse going on an extremely emotional and physical journey throughout Breaking Bad, in this list, we will look at the 10 ways he changes from the first season of the show to the finale.
Becomes A Major Drug Kingpin
The most obvious way that Jesse Pinkman changes is that he goes from making terrible drugs and being very much at the bottom of the ladder in that world to becoming a king. A lot of that is down to the connection he makes with Walt, who drives him to do something with his life, morally ambiguous as it is.
However, he definitely leans into it, and alongside Walt they create an incredibly successful business for themselves. For Jesse, it is a huge change in lifestyle. He goes from surviving on scraps to becoming insanely rich and powerful.
He Becomes Respected
Something that comes via his rise in the criminal world is a level of respect. As a young man, nobody seems to care about Jesse at all. Everyone expects him to amount to nothing or simply end up behind bars or dead, yet throughout the series, he earns the respect of everyone, even his biggest doubters.
Walt is the main example of this. As his school teacher, Walt didn’t believe in Jesse at all, yet he certainly earns his respect. But even people like Gus, Mike, and to some degree, Hank, all end up respecting him for not only his cooking abilities but his personality and grit.
He Starts Looking Out For Himself
Even though Jesse might seem like he only cares about himself early on, the fact is that he is a very giving person. He cares for his family, he looks out for his friends and always tries to help Walt when possible. He often does things for everyone else and doesn’t really stand up for himself at any point.
However, after being beaten down, Jesse finally snaps and stands up for himself against Walt. This starts a big change for Jesse as a person, he begins to focus on himself and look out for him, which is what he deserves.
He Wastes His Money
When Jesse starts being successful in the world of meth, he makes a few smart purchases, from a house to a new car, and it seems like he is getting himself together. However, as the series goes on the money actually means less to him than people would originally expect.
He ends up not caring about the cash at all and simply throws tons of it away, opting to try and save his sanity instead of just spending the money. It’s a big change in his personality which is something that gets overlooked throughout the rest of the insanity.
He Becomes A Murderer
Unlike most of the characters we meet along the way in Breaking Bad, Jesse doesn’t want to kill. While he sees plenty of murders, it always leaves him uncomfortable. However, when he is forced to kill Gale that all changes, and it really has a huge impact on him.
Jesse shoots Gale point-blank, and doing it is something that he struggled with internally. It highlights the fact that deep down, Jesse is actually a good person that is caught up in a bad world. But it also starts a really big downhill spiral for his life.
He’s Mentally Beaten
Jesse goes through a serious amount of physical punishment throughout Breaking Bad. From being beaten to a pulp at the hands of Mike to being tortured by the Nazis, Jesse really goes through the wringer. However, the physical scars aren’t a big problem for Jesse.
While his scars end up healing, something that doesn’t is his brain. At the start of the series, Jesse is confident and full of life, but that slowly gets sucked out of him. By the end of Breaking Bad, he has no energy and is just mentally drained after everything he is forced to go through.
He Loses Everybody
Jesse might end up being incredibly rich through his work in the drug business, but he suffers a lot along the way. Life isn’t easy for him and he is forced to suffer massively because of situations other people put him in, with Jesse often being manipulated without knowing it.
He loses his real family, who literally give up on him, he loses several loved ones at the hands of others as a method of punishing him, and he even disconnects from the drug business as well. It makes Jesse’s life a very tough one, which is a shame as he deserves better.
He Becomes A Great Cook
Even though initially, Walter White connects with Jesse Pinkman simply because of what he knows about the drug business, he isn’t very gifted at cooking crystal meth. Everything he does is controlled by Walt, who makes the better product out of the two.
However, despite the fact Jesse might not have listened at school, he pays plenty of attention in this sense. He ends up becoming incredibly gifted at cooking meth, producing a product of the finest quality, just as his mentor did.
He Wants To Become A Family Man
Another major change that Jesse Pinkman goes through is the fact he actively wants to become more of a family man as he grows up. This is an obvious change that most people go through as they mature, but at the start of the series, it seemed like that wasn’t going to happen for Jesse.
He starts off as an incredibly immature young man who only really cares about himself, not doing much at all in terms of securing a decent life. However, as the show develops that all changes and Jesse really shows he wants to grow up and become a family man, despite the fact that it ends up hurting him in the long run.
He Grows Compassion
At the start of Breaking Bad, Jesse Pinkman is very much a self-centered person that only cares about himself. He wants to make as much money as possible and that’s it. However, he quickly ends up becoming a very caring person as he grows up and comes in contact with more people.
He is seemingly the only person in the world of drugs that doesn’t want to hurt other people physically, and he is the only person who will never harm children. He has a strict moral compass in that regard and has real compassion for others, which few characters in the show can claim.