Just stop… please. I’m not sure how much more I can take. Before 2019 I used to believe I was a strong man. An emotional man? Yes, but strong within that emotion. I had resolve. I had strength. A support system. Coping mechanisms. And now… now, I’m just a puddle. An emotionally drained pile of goo that just wants to twirl down the drain so he can rest and reform. Become something stronger if you will. Prepare for 2020. But 2019 could give zero effs about my emotional state. They’re like any meme of an animal running gleefully through an open field and I’m left here as the owner chasing said animal down with a leash in hand.
I was recovering too. Rehabbing with reruns of The Office or Triple G on the Food Network. I was making some serious progress. I was feeling more together. There was enough of a break to allow me to heal before Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker and then Netflix strolled casually in and dropped a Breaking Bad movie on our doorsteps. A ticking time bomb of emotional turmoil just waiting to go off on October 11th. Yet here I am still healing from all the other pain 2019 has dealt my way. I’ve lost Iron Man and now cry whenever anyone offers me a cheeseburger. Hell, I lost Thanos… twice. I watched Captain America get his dance and grow old. I’ve said goodbye to most characters with the last name Lannister. I survived the Long Night while many characters didn’t. Hopper is sort of gone (?!) but his “leave the door open three inches” speech left me an emotional basket case. Spider-Man left the MCU… and then came back and let me tell you about the emotional energy it took to withstand that. BoJack Horseman is ending too and I’m afraid of what that’s going to do to me mentally. On top of all that, the start of the final season of Mr. Robot whacked a major character in the first five minutes like it was nothing. And now, now I have to worry about Jesse Pinkman. Something I never expected to do again.
Please, I give up. I just can’t do it anymore. I’m not strong enough. You happy now 2019?! I’m just not strong enough for all this pain!
Yet, here I am. Ready to throw myself into the thick of it again. Despite my dramatic ramblings above, between you and me, I’m ready to get hurt again. I suppose in some perverse way that’s part of the fun. I just rewatched Breaking Bad so you know I’m a gluten for emotional punishment as well as pretty fragile right now. I survived my viewing of “Ozymandias”… again. I survived Jesse watching Jane/Andrea die. I survived Walter White, and now I have to prepare myself for the fact that I might lose Jesse Pinkman. I’m a plate hanging at the edge of the dining room table. A slight breeze I could shatter and at this point, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to be put back together again. Humpty Dumpty up in this piece.
Which I guess is the true crux here. I’m wildly excited for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. To the point where I feel kind of nauseous in my belly but also want to wake up at three in the morning to watch it as soon as humanly possible. This is like the Christmas gift your parents have been saving until after you think all the presents have been opened. It’s like I got Avengers Endgame, the final season of Game of Thrones, Stranger Things in this massive surplus of awesome pop culture gifts and then right before a new Star Wars movie, I get this Breaking Bad addendum and it almost negates the awesome of all the other gifts. I expected those. El Camino? Well, that’s something special.
I suppose the larger question I’ve been asking myself as El Camino draws closer and closer is how would I handle the death of Jesse Pinkman. I find that that answer is a bit layered. For starters, I don’t want Jesse to die. I’m pulling for him. This guy has been through enough. The manipulation of Walter White, a prisoner to his own emotions, and an actual prisoner to a gang of neo-Nazis. Now he’s going to be hunted by the police for his association with Walter White. Well, that and you know the murders he’s committed. Don’t forget Jesse isn’t innocent in all this. He’s gotten his hands dirty, and yes, a lot of that has to do with the Jedi mind tricks from Heisenberg but Jesse still pulled the trigger both figuratively and literally. What makes Jesse different though, is his conscience. Unlike Walter White, Jesse’s actions affect him. We’ve seen Jesse spiral out of control over the guilt of killing Gale as he turned his home into a meth shack that was all types of icky. Throw in Todd’s itchy trigger finger mixed with Mike’s disappearance and the road map to working with Hank seems pretty clear. Make no mistake about it, Jesse Pinkman is the heart and soul of the Breaking Bad universe. That doesn’t mean he can’t be flawed or guilty of crimes, but at least he wants to repent.
Back in season three, while going through rehab, Jesse and Mr. White have a talk. Walter is in that grey area where he sort of cares about Jesse’s recovery but also planting the seeds of future manipulations, and Jesse candidly describes himself as the “bad guy”. In the greater pantheon of Breaking Bad, I would be curious when compared to Walter White, how many fans view Jesse Pinkman as the bad guy. But that’s not what matters. What matters is this is how Jesse views himself and since that moment he’s tried to atone. But the road to redemption isn’t easy when Walter White is in full vindictive mode. No one deserves the life that Heisenberg left behind for Jesse, and I’ll always hate Walt for that.
Now with El Camino who knows what kind of Jesse Pinkman we’re going to have on our hands. How much of his spirit and soul has been crushed by Uncle Jack and Todd? It also wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for Jesse to act like he deserved what happened to him. Punishment for all his sins. Or perhaps he goes on a revenge tour. Maybe he just wants to leave it all behind. The beauty of El Camino and the one trailer we’ve seen is that anything is possible. The one sure-fire conclusion is that this film will be two hours of heavy emotions and feels. My heart bleeds for Jesse Pinkman, yo. Now we’re given a definitive answer to what happens after he rides off into the sunset and suddenly the fanfic that I composed in my head seems a lot more reassuring. At least there Jesse is happy and safe.
None of this is answering my question though. How will I respond if Jesse Pinkman dies? I think it depends on the matter of his death. Breaking Bad isn’t exactly a story with a bunch of happy endings unless you see Skyler, Flynn, and Holly living a life free of Walter White as happy. In a lot of ways it is… if he hadn’t already destroyed their lives. Jesse driving the Camino off the compound was the closest we came to a happy ending and now those lines are about to be fleshed out. Definitive answers lead to definitive emotions.
It’s totally possible for El Camino to have a happy ending if you’re willing to look at happiness in this sort of grey area. Jesse can die, go to prison, or make it to Mexico and Alaska and all of those options could constitute a happy ending. How? There’s only one factor here and that’s Jesse Pinkman’s piece of mind. If Jesse dies, goes to prison, or flees the country on his own accord. If he does these things and it puts him at peace… then it’s hard not to view it as a happy ending. Sure, it’s bittersweet as all hell but after five seasons, I know what I want for Jesse Pinkman. I want him to be happy. No matter what else happens, just let him go out free from the cell he’s been living in since Jane died. The cell that got smaller with each passing sin. The Beatles said that happiness was a warm gun and in Jesse Pinkman’s case it could be anything from death, jail, or freedom.
I just want my friend at peace and no matter how much it may hurt. I think El Camino will deliver some semblance of that. Then maybe, just maybe, 2019 can let me heal. After October 11th I think I’m going to need a hug and to lay down until 2020. I’m only so strong…