The Breaking Bad sequel movie El Camino debuted on Netflix last week and has been met largely with stellar reviews, as most critics and viewers alike have appreciated El Camino for what it is: An excellent postscript to the series’ five seasons that, most importantly, doesn’t diminish the original series. As I have been doing here for years with Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul Easter Eggs and callbacks, I have taken the liberty of recounting some of the best in El Camino, as well.
Everything Vince Gilligan does is for a reason, although sometimes those reasons may not be immediately apparent.
1. You’ll be forgiven for forgetting this since it’s been six years since the Breaking Bad finale, but the wads of cash that Badger and Skinny Pete gave to Jesse in El Camino? They were given to Skinny Pete and Badger by Walter White in the BB finale in exchange for information. Those two don’t generally walk around with stacks of cash, after all.
2. I guess we know what happened to Los Pollos Hermanos after the death of Gus Fring:
They turned it into a Twisters (the Twisters restaurant is what actually exists in that spot in Albuquerque, and maybe this is Gilligan giving them some free exposure after all these years).
3. Directing the camera into the opening of the barrel of a gun is a very popular shot in The Breaking Bad universe.
But I love the juxtaposition of Jesse when before he shot Gale — the focus is on Jesse, and the gun is blurred, indicating Jesse is nervous and reluctant — with the shot in El Camino of Jesse out of focus while the gun is in focus, which suggests confidence more akin to Walter White’s.
4. Remember that tarantula that Todd took from Drew Sharp after he killed him in the fifth season episode, “Dead Freight”? This is obviously the same tarantula in Todd’s apartment. (RIP Drew Sharp).
5. Jesse’s choice to go to Alaska was obviously not arbitrary. In the cold open — a flashback to about midway through season five, when Mike was still alive — Mike suggests to Jesse that he go to Alaska (which is what he ultimately does). But that suggestion also fills in a gap in episode 11 of season 5. When Saul asks Jesse where he’d like to disappear to, Jesse responds, “Alaska.” Now we now why. (After Breaking Bad ended, Vince Gilligan also theorized at the time that Jesse was probably living in Alaska.)
6. Recall Todd’s obsession with Lydia in Breaking Bad, and how he once made her a cup of tea and, after she left it, he obsessed over the lipstick she left on the mug?
This snowglobe is clearly a nod to Todd’s obsession with Lydia, and to how incredibly creepy Todd is.
7. We now know that there is some poetic justice in the way that Jesse choked Todd to death at the end of Breaking Bad, because that’s how Todd murdered his cleaning lady. He choked her with his belt, and because Todd is a psychopath, Todd took back his belt and put it on.
8. “96 percent” is a fun number on Breaking Bad, because it was the purity of the meth that Jesse manufactured, and the purity of meth that Gale manufactured for Gus, so it was amusing that Jesse was “96 percent” certain that the vacuum cleaner shop owner was Ed the Disappearer (RIP Robert Forster).
9. If you are wondering why Vince Gilligan spotlighted the intersection of Holly and Arroz, it’s because Arroz is Spanish for rice, and Vince Gilligan’s longtime girlfriend’s name is … Holly Rice.
10. Finally, the comparisons between Jesse’s shootout with Neil and the way that Walter White killed all the Nazi meth dealers is inescapable. Both use obfuscation and misdirect, Walt White with a hidden gun in the trunk of his car and Jesse with a hidden gun in his jacket. And if you didn’t think that was intentional, note that both Walt’s car and Jesse’s jacket caught on fire after their respective shootouts.