Breaking Bad ends with Jesse Pinkman driving towards freedom in an El Camino, and the Netflix movie El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie reveals that Jesse’s getaway car represents symbolic revenge on Todd Alquist. Created by Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad explores the odd friendship between Jesse (Aaron Paul) and Walter White (Bryan Cranston), who cook and distribute meth. By the final episodes, Walt flees from authorities and hires associate Jack Welker to murder Jesse, who plans to rat out everybody. But Jack ultimately keeps Jesse locked up as a personal meth cook slave, and assigns nephew Todd to look after him.
In the Breaking Bad series finale, “Felina”, Walt arrives at Jack’s compound with an M60 rig and kills Jack’s entire crew – except for Todd, who Jesse strangles to death with his bare hands. Outside, Walter informs Jack’s associate Lydia of her imminent death (via a phone call), and Jesse gives him a final nod before entering an El Camino. For a brief moment, it appears that Jesse might run over Walter (who ultimately bleeds to death), but he instead cruises off and screams out with exhilaration. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie depicts the immediate aftermath of the series finale, but why he took that specific car was strange at the time.
In El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, Jesse’s El Camino functions as the film’s MacGuffin – a plot device used to push the story forward. First, Jesse tries to unload the vehicle via Old Joe, who flees after detecting a stolen vehicle alarm. As a Plan B, Skinny Pete gives his T-Bird to Badger, who will drive that vehicle to the Mexican border three hours away. Meanwhile, Jesse will hit the road in Badger’s Fiero, and Skinny Pete will keep the El Camino. In a passing moment, Jesse takes the El Camino key set, and it’s later revealed that he needed the key to Todd’s apartment in order to steal his money. But what’s more, taking the El Camino also acted as a symbolic spit-in-the-face to Todd, who made Jesse suffer so much in the end.
About 25 minutes into El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, a flashback scene shows Todd enlisting Jesse’s help with some weekend activities around town (mainly disposing of a dead body), and that’s when Jesse notices that Todd drives an El Camino. Jesse then locks the fence that he’ll later break through with that same vehicle. During the subsequent flashback sequences, Jesse discovers that Todd has hidden money within his apartment. In the present, Jesse uses Todd’s keys, via the El Camino key set, to enter the deceased’s apartment and locate the necessary getaway money. Structurally, this introduces a Kandy Welding subplot involving Neil, who Jesse splits the money with. Jesse then realizes that he’s the man Todd hired to build a meth lab security system to ensure that his slave cook (Jesse) couldn’t escape.
Again, Jesse takes Todd’s El Camino as sort of a post-mortem win over Todd. In the final episodes of Breaking Bad, Todd psychologically tormented Jesse, and even murdered his love interest, Andrea Cantillo, as punishment for a failed escape attempt. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie reveals that Jesse had a chance to shoot Todd in the desert but ultimately backed down because he was simply a broken man. In retrospect, Jesse’s final Breaking Bad moment is even more poignant when considering the getaway car revelation in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.