Vince Gilligan has been merciless to Jesse Pinkman. In the five season run of Breaking Bad, Jesse has lost just about everyone and everything he cares about, repeatedly been manipulated by sociopaths for their own personal gain, had his face kicked in by criminals and punched in by members of law enforcement, and been more or less forced to do horrible things that drained his will to live right in front of our eyes. It’s been brutal, as this comprehensive supercut lays out in heartbreaking detail, and it is stressing me out so much.
I’ve said on a number of occasions that I worry more about Jesse than I do about members of my own family, and that is certainly hyperbole meant to drive home a point, but it is also barely hyperbole. I’ve spent hours at a time thinking about the last twenty minutes of last week’s episode where Todd and company pulled the rug out from under him in devastating fashion. God, that was awful. Which brings me to my point…
What if everything works out for Jesse in Sunday’s finale?
I don’t mean “What if Jesse escapes and/or doesn’t die?” either. I’m talking full-on, 100%, totally, ridiculously works out. Disney Channel-style. Like, what if the Nazis’ hearts all grow three sizes like at the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and they just decide to release him out of the blue and give him a barrel of Walt’s money? And what if Jesse takes the money no questions asked, picks up Brock, and moves to Hawaii? And what if — after he and Brock get settled out there, change their names to something cool like Rex and Mike Rockledge to throw off the authorities, and find a really, really good therapist — he decides to start taking classes at a Hawaiian community college, with the goal of becoming a high school chemistry teacher? What then?
Well, for one, yes, it would be the stupidest ending ever and it would ruin the entire legacy of the show. But as it was happening in real time it would be an incredible relief for me, because I honestly don’t know if I can watch another bad thing happen to Jesse Pinkman without throwing myself off a bridge. Walter White? Sure. Send him down in a ball of flames. He jumped headfirst into this whole endeavor and did increasingly terrible things to people he supposedly cared about in the process of carrying it out, so any and every bad thing that has happened or will happen to him can be filed under Roost, Chickens Coming Home To. Do whatever you want to him, Mr. Gilligan. I’d love to see him take a few Nazis with him when he goes, or at least hit Todd in the head with a brick or two, but beyond that, I’m cool with whatever.
But Jesse kind of fell into all of this. He certainly deserves some blame for his actions because he’s an adult with free will who could have chosen to, like, not shoot Gale in the face, so there’s that, I guess. But so many of the bad things he did — or that happened to him — were a result of someone in a position of authority manipulating him or putting him in an impossible situation. And now he’s a defeated, hopeless soul who lost two women he loved and who spends all his time either cooking meth for scoundrels on a leash like a dog or locked in a tarp-covered cage and fed via rope-and-bucket like something less than a dog. He made mistakes, sure. But he didn’t deserve all that.
I just want Jesse to be happy. That’s all I’m saying. Remember how fun that was?