[Warning: The following contains spoilers for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. Read at your own risk!]
Sure, the triumphant return of Bryan Cranston as Walter White was the big Breaking Bad throwback that needed to happen in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie to make fans happy, but there was another major cameo in the film that carried even more emotional weight. At the end of the movie, Krysten Ritter reprised her role as Jane, Jesse’s girlfriend who died from an overdose (and a little help from Walt), to continue one of her most memorable scenes in the original series. And according to Paul, the new scene is a tribute to just how much Jane meant to Jesse before everything fell apart in both of their lives.
“[She was] his one true love that gave him probably the best advice that he’s ever gotten, and he’s holding onto that,” Paul told TV Guide of the reason she was the catalyst for his happy-ish ending in the film. “When I read that I was just so shocked and pleasantly surprised, and really moved by it.”
Breaking Bad fans will recognize the scene as an extension of a flashback from Season 3’s “Abiquiu,” in which Jesse — wearing the same patterned yellow sweatshirt, no less — and Jane visited a Georgia O’Keeffe art exhibit, and she schooled him on the subtle meaning of the artist’s paintings, however repetitive they may have been. In El Camino‘s bonus portion, Jesse prompted Jane to continue her thoughts about the randomness of the universe, and she defied her earlier sentiments by saying, “It’s a terrible philosophy. I’ve got where the universe takes me my whole life. It’s better to make those decisions for yourself.”
Her appearance in the film clearly reminded Jesse of a time when there was still hope and joy in his life, and more importantly, it spoke to his newfound sense of agency which was developed throughout the film as he painstakingly fought for his own happy end. As the film cut away from her flashback, we returned to see the Jesse of now smiling as he headed onto his new life in Alaska, where he could finally get a fresh start.
It might not be the dreamy getaway to New Zealand the couple originally planned for, but starting over anew was certainly something Jane would’ve been on-board for if she had made it through, too.
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is now available on Netflix.
— Reporting by Megan Vick