El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie was all about Jesse Pinkman. But in many ways, super creepy psychopath Todd Alquist (Jesse Plemons) stole the show.
It’s true that Aaron Paul’s performance was stellar as usual. The one negative thing Breaking Bad fans are saying about the movie is that it may not have been entirely necessary.
Arguments can be made either way for whether Breaking Bad deserved an epilogue or was perfect as it was. One thing not up for debate? Learning more about Todd and how he physically and psychologically tortured Jesse was a highlight of the film.
Jesse Plemons didn’t ever expect to reprise his role as Todd Alquist — he was dead, after all. But after reading the script, he couldn’t turn down the opportunity.
Warning: this article contains spoilers for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.
Todd is one of the scariest characters from ‘Breaking Bad’
There were plenty of dark, twisted characters on Breaking Bad but perhaps none were as chilling as the character of Todd Alquist. Audiences were introduced to Todd when he was working for Vamanos Pest, the company Walt and Jesse use to cover up their meth production operation. Eventually, Todd becomes an eager student and protégé in the meth trade. He just can’t ever get it exactly right.
While Todd is always a little bit eccentric, we don’t get a glimpse of his true character until the pivotal episode “Dead Freight” in Season 5. That’s when Todd doesn’t hesitate to shoot a child who accidentally witnessed the crew pulling off a train heist. Even after the killing, Todd shows zero remorse for taking an innocent life.
Plemons was happy to revisit the role of Todd for ‘El Camino’
Jesse Plemons told The Hollywood Reporter that he was pleased yet confused when Vince Gilligan reached out about joining the cast for El Camino. “I don’t know, I had felt like everything was covered in the series,” Plemons said.
“I didn’t know I was missing something with Jesse [Pinkman] and Todd. But, it really did give a deeper insight into that complicated relationship. It was so much fun to read, and so much fun to make.”
He continued: “It [the ending] seemed pretty tidy to me. He [Todd] got a pretty deserving death at the hands of Jesse, and that was it for me. He’s dead.”
“So, it was a surprise on all fronts to come back for this. I was pretty nervous to try and capture him again, because it was such a long time ago. It took a day or so, but Todd was still in there, I guess – which was fun to realize.”
He discussed the ‘Sharing the Night Together’ scene in ‘El Camino’
One of the more haunting scenes from El Camino happens during an extended flashback sequence. In it, Todd is driving down the highway singing along to the 1978 Dr. Hook song “Sharing the Night Together.” The whole thing seems so innocent — until you realize Todd has the dead body of his housekeeper in the trunk, along with his captive Jesse, who is very much alive.
During the THR interview, Plemons discussed the scene. “I had talked to Vince about that scene quite a bit. We wondered if Todd was a terrible singer, or maybe he’s okay. We landed on ‘Well, maybe he’s okay!'”
Plemons fully committed to the role of Todd
“Again, it was about thinking of Todd on his best day. When I realized there was a semi-truck passing me on the road, I had flashbacks to taking road trips as a kid and what that felt like,” Plemons said.
“I assumed Vince would say [Todd signaling for the truck driver to honk] was a really funny idea, and maybe we could try it once, but let’s not do it more than that…but they really liked it.”
This is how movie history is made. It was chilling yet brilliant to include Todd’s storyline in this way, and part of what made El Camino so unforgettable.