Breaking Bad and El Camino
A film by Quentin Tarantino
Sixteen years after that story, a series invades the small screen with a couple of characters that always reminded us of that story of 92 robbers: Mr White and Mr Pinkman embark on a motorhome trip to begin their adventure in the traffic of the blue meth…. The names are no coincidence, as their creator Vince Gilligan has admitted.
Breaking Bad, for those of you who still have time to enjoy this masterpiece for the first time, tells the story of a high school chemistry teacher, Walter White (Bryan Cranston), who receives news that he will die in less than two years due to terminal cancer. His plan to bring the greatest economic stability to his family once he dies is to cook and sell meth together with a former student, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul). This adventure leads them to confront the capos of the Mexican cartel and others. And this is as far as I’m going to read.
After 5 seasons, the series came to an end leaving one of the best endings one could expect, and a spin-off with similar quality in many respects. Six years ago from the release of its final chapter, and the series has once again flooded headlines with the release of a film-prologue that has come to put the final touch to the series: El Camino.
And so far without spoilers: Sorry, Mr. White dies
And the relationship between Breaking Bad and Reservoir Dogs has gone much further, and Vince Gilligan (Creator of Breaking Bad) and Tarantino seem to have been playing through time as in a scene directed by Nolan: El Camino not only generates a prologue for a disheartening ending, it also tells us what happened to the diamonds of Reservoir Dogs and Mr.Pink(man).
Due to the limitations of the medium, Tarantino presents a character, “Mr. White”, of dubious morality but who always has clear what should be done. A hateful and undoubtedly evil character, whom we get fond of and end up understanding. Gilligan manages to build the same thing, from scratch and for 5 seasons, to end up making us love the villain. Mr. Pink (and Pinkman), however, was always a rascal to whom all this comes great and every step beyond his moral frontier seems to mean a new trauma.
Reservoir Dogs ends with a big shooting from which Buscemi’s character has to run away, not before throwing his glove at the diamonds and leaving his wounded partner; his counterpart Pinkman runs away from the final shooting, leaving a dying Walter and finishing what he had come to do.
After the storm
El Camino presents “the time after”, the flight and the assimilation of a new morality. We could imagine that it is Steve Buscemi who runs away shouting in the sports car, without knowing where to go, without knowing clearly if the world knows it exists.
Perhaps the idea that this encounter is narrated by Cristopher Nolan is not so crazy, from the moment we get into Jesse’s head, and time disappears in a cloud of small steps and flashbacks that bring back, among others, Mr. White himself, recreating the process of readaptation to the world. We fall into a cinema of consequences, rather than sequences.
This microcosm shared between Tarantino and Gilligan, as a gift that the second makes to the first as one of his teachers, manages to close the stories of the pink characters (Mr. Pink and Jesse Pinkman), making them finish their “Hero’s Journey“, and returning a need to live and advance, to learn.
In the last moments we see of the character, disappearing along with his dreamlike idea of “good”, thinking of the future as something to discover and not to fear, Gilligan transmits positivity in a devastated and melancholic universe. Because maybe it’s the only thing necessary: Thinking that everything is going to be all right.