The long, long, long-awaited Breaking Bad sequel movie, El Camino, finally hit Netflix on Friday, and it did not disappoint. The thing is a tightly wound two hours, like show creator Vince Gilligan's version of Good Time or a twisted take on After Hours with Skinny Pete and Badger standing in for Cheech and Chong. It's dark, it's relentless, and it's the perfect epilogue to a show that already had a perfect ending six years ago.
Gilligan, who wrote and directed the film, manages to avoid all the usual pitfalls of a beloved TV show reunion by refusing to spend the entire time cramming in fan service check-ins with every minor character we've ever seen in the show—El Camino doesn't care about continuing Skyler's story, or Walt Jr.'s, or Saul Goodman's.
This is Jesse's story, and Aaron Paul uses the opportunity to showcase the acting chops that make him one of the best actors to come out of TV this past decade.
Unfortunately, this is a Breaking Bad movie, one that follows Jesse Pinkman's desperate flee to freedom from police and evil Nazis and whatever, so it's not exactly the most pleasant period of Jesse's life. The whole movie is full of some supremely dark moments—it even manages to wring some horror out of casually putting on a belt—but nothing can prepare you for one shocking, disturbing surprise in the film's third act.
It is something so heinous, so strange, and so deeply unsettling that it is sure to haunt even the most callused Breaking Bad fans long after the movie is done. Spoilers ahead, no pun intended: We are speaking, of course, of Walter White's bizarrely oversized head.
Why, for the love of all that is holy, does he look like some kind of cross between Megamind and the fourth, forgotten Conehead? Of course, it's great to see Walt and Jesse together one last time, even if it is in flashback. Their final scene together is easily the highlight of El Camino, but come on.
It makes sense that Bryan Cranston wouldn't want to shave off his luscious locks just to reprise his greatest role for one short sequence. He's busy doing his best Peter Finch on Broadway right now. Besides, that would've also given away the fact that he'd be making a cameo, which Gilligan and the crew somehow managed to successfully keep secret all this time. And, fine, the show ended a while ago, so we have to suspend some level of disbelief around the 2019 actors trying to pass as their 2013 selves—sorry, Todd—but still! Could they not have bought the guy a more realistic-looking bald cap? It was brutally distracting.
We've missed you, Walt, and it's good to have you back. But we can't say the same about your weird-ass head.