Through five seasons of “Breaking Bad,” fans watched as Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and his accomplice, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), built a meth empire from the ground up -– with disastrous consequences for both of them. By the time the series finale, “Felina,” rolls around, Walt is wanted across the country and despised by his entire family, and Jesse is enslaved in a secret meth lab run by Jack Welker (Michael Bowen) and his gang of Neo-Nazis.
During “Felina,” Walt ends up freeing Jesse after massacring Jack and his gang with a remote-activated machine gun. Jesse drives away in Todd Alquist’s (Jesse Plemons) Chevrolet El Camino and his fate is left purposefully ambiguous as he rushes to freedom. Fans were given a more concrete explanation of Jesse’s life after “Breaking Bad” with the Netflix original movie “El Camino,” which picks up mere moments after the series finale.
In “El Camino,” Jesse briefly hides out with lifelong friends Badger (Matt Jones) and Skinny Pete (Charles Baker), but is forced to remain under the radar as the police are now searching for him. He attempts to sneak into Todd’s apartment and steal his hidden cache of money, but is thwarted by a gang of like-minded criminals, led by Neil Kandy (Scott MacArthur). Jesse eventually wins his money back in a duel with Neil, killing him and another associate, before using that money to relocate with the help of the “Vacuum Salesman,” Ed Galbraith (Robert Forster).
Jesse was given a happy ending, though his ultimate fate is still ambiguous
“El Camino” ends with Jesse Pinkman assuming a false identity and beginning a brand new life in Alaska. Although Jesse’s final landing spot wasn’t official until the release of “El Camino,” some eagle-eyed fans may have noticed that it’s actually hinted at during “Felina.” During the episode, Badger and Skinny Pete tell Walter White they believed Jesse had fled to Alaska after the cops came down on Walt.
After watching Jesse drive off into the Alaskan countryside, we aren’t given any more information about his plans now that he’s escaped the New Mexico police. We also don’t get any clues or answers about his new life in “Better Call Saul” Season 6, which is the only “Breaking Bad” project to take place after “El Camino.” However, like the subtle hints dropped in “Felina,” we can use some of the lines and story from “El Camino” to infer what Jesse’s life in Alaska might look like.
The film’s final flashback brings us to an earlier conversation between Jesse and his girlfriend Jane Margolis (Krysten Ritter), in which she encourages him to make his own decisions and take his life into his own hands. Regardless of what he ends up doing in Alaska, Jesse’s fresh start is important because it marks the first time that he can finally do something for himself, rather than for the people controlling him.
Jesse’s final post-Breaking Bad appearance came in a commercial
Although we’ll probably never get a clear picture of what Jesse Pinkman’s newfound freedom looks like, it’s worth mentioning that the character has actually popped up in a wide variety of other media since “Breaking Bad” ended in 2013.
Not only did Jesse make several cameo appearances in flashbacks during the final season of “Better Call Saul,” but he also returned to the silver screen in a 2023 Super Bowl ad for PopCorners. The advertisement reunites Jesse with Walter White and sadistic drug lord Tuco Salamanca (Raymond Cruz), with the latter praising the duo’s “product” (a bag of PopCorners) in a direct parody of their meeting from Season 1.
While the PopCorners ad campaign is a complete parody and is irrelevant to the story of “Breaking Bad,” the hilarious ad spot is the most recent appearance of Jesse Pinkman. Indeed, unless Aaron Paul decides to reprise the character in future advertisements, (or Vince Gilligan decides there’s actually more story to tell in the life of Jesse Pinkman), there’s a strong chance that these PopCorner ads might be the final on-screen appearance that the character ever makes — and it will forever be up to the audience to decide if Jesse found a happily ever after in Alaska.