The ending of El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie was in complete contrast to Breaking Bad‘s conclusion. Jesse Pinkman’s (Aaron Paul) fate at the end of both final sequences stood on opposite sides of the spectrum. Here’s how symmetry was used to symbolize the end of El Camino.
After featuring a brief flashback between Jesse and Mike Ehrmantraut, El Camino picked up directly where Breaking Bad left off. Jesse’s newfound freedom was quickly riddled with fear after realizing his options at finding a safe haven were slim now that he was a wanted man. He found help from Skinny Pete and Badger but his path to a clean slate was anything but smooth. By the end, Jesse managed to obtain the necessary amount of money to pay off Ed Galbraith, the vacuum salesman with a secret side gig giving people new identities. The follow-up film closed out with Jesse once again driving to the great unknown, but this time, he truly had a new chance at life.
At the end of the Breaking Bad series finale episode “Felina,” Jesse was shown speeding away in Todd Alquist’s El Camino. He crashed through the metal gate and drove into the darkness with a short-lived sense of relief. Despite the fact that Jesse seemingly found freedom, his fate was left ambiguous as he drove through the desert in the middle of the night. Not long after, Jesse found himself in a similar situation but with a much brighter outlook. The end of El Camino featured Jesse driving alone but through the daylight of snow-covered Alaska. That wasn’t the only noticeable amount of symmetry, however.
When Jesse escaped the Neo-nazi compound after Walter White’s ambush, he was dirty, stuck in filthy clothes, and his appearance could be best described as disheveled. This was understandable considering he was kept in the confines of the compound like a caged animal. El Camino portrayed Jesse in contrast through its closing moments. He was clean-shaven and wearing a light-colored sweater as he drove through the Alaskan backroads. It’s as if he wasn’t worried to be seen now that he has a clean slate.
Jesse’s symmetrical behavior was also worth noting. As a free man in Breaking Bad, he was clearly overcome with emotion. He let a scream to expel the conflicting feelings he had been holding in for so long. Those mix of emotions were then transformed into fear when Jesse noticed the police approaching. In El Camino, Jesse embraced the new chapter of his life with a sense of calm acceptance. He even cracked a faint smile that fans knew was rare for Jesse, especially in the recent events that plagued his life.
It’s no surprise that Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan included so much symbolism into El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. Gilligan is a master when it comes to hidden symbolic meanings surrounding seemingly ordinary aspects and details. Just look at his past work with the “Fly” episode or the prominence of the pink teddy bear. Unfortunately, fans might need to come terms with the fact that this might be the last time we ever see Jesse Pinkman.