El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, an epilogue to Breaking Bad which follows Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) after the events of the series finale, provides closure for the ending of multiple Breaking Bad characters, including the antagonist Lydia Rodarte-Quayle. While her fate is left open-ended during the series finale of Breaking Bad, Lydia’s death is confirmed in one of the early scenes of El Camino.
Portrayed by actress Laura Fraser, Lydia made her first appearance in Breaking Bad during the second episode of season 5 as the high-strung Madrigal Electromotive executive. Lydia was an integral player in Gustavo Fring’s (Giancarlo Esposito) drug organization before its collapse as his supplier of high-volume methylamine, and continued to do so for Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) drug empire after Fring’s death. While Lydia is only introduced in the final season of Breaking Bad, she holds her own as one of the last remaining antagonists, who outlives Fring, Todd Alquist (Jesse Plemons), and the group of neo-Nazis until Walt poisons her during the series finale.
In the final episode of Breaking Bad, after Jesse and Walt kill Todd and the white supremacist group, Walt takes a call on Todd’s cellphone from Lydia. Under the impression she’s speaking to Todd, a very ill Lydia inquires if their plan to kill Walt was successful. In the perfect act of revenge, Walt admits to Lydia that he dosed one of her Stevia packets with ricin, intimating that she poisoned herself when she self-administered the sweetener into her tea. It’s implied that she died, but it was never shown on-screen. Providing more closure for the audience in El Camino, Jesse hears a news report on the radio that vaguely addresses the fate of a Houston-based woman who had been poisoned, which is more than likely Lydia.
This happens when Jesse is fleeing in Skinny Pete’s (Charles Baker) car. The news report stated, “The drug kingpin once known throughout the southwest as Heisenberg may yet claim a final victim,” says the newscaster. “Texas authorities investigating the poisoning of a Houston woman are looking into her possible connection to Walter White’s criminal organization. The unnamed woman, who is hospitalized in critical condition, is not expected to survive.” While the Houston woman is never clearly stated to be the neurotic executive, it is known that Lydia worked for the Houston office of Madrigal, which constitutes as a suitable confirmation of the character’s death.
Not only is the character’s fate confirmed in the early scenes of the film, but Lydia makes a very short and untraditional cameo in El Camino. When Jesse breaks into Todd’s apartment to search for his hidden stash of cash, he runs into trouble when two men posing as policemen arrive with the same intention. As one of the men searches the apartment, he stumbles upon Todd’s eerie collection of snow-globes and examines one that was custom-made with two figurines that resemble Todd and Lydia. The female figurine not only appears in Lydia’s likeness, wearing a navy-blue skirt suit and stiffly sitting upon a tea-cup, but memorializes a scene from episode 13, “To’hajiilee,” when Todd brought Lydia tea.
While Lydia’s storyline may have come to a close in El Camino, Gilligan doesn’t appear to be finished with the character, who has made multiple appearances in AMC’s prequel series Better Call Saul. Since she first appeared in the third season, Lydia’s early affiliation and business dealings with Fring, as well as her tensions with Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) before the events of Breaking Bad have only just begun to be explored.