The 8 Episodes of ‘Breaking Bad’ You Need to Watch Before ‘El Camino’

Unless you have a whole lot of free time this week, it would be impossible to catch up on the entire Breaking Bad series before the highly anticipated film, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is released on Friday. However, there is just enough time to watch the most important bits that will prepare you for the movie.

Details about the film plot are scarce. But we do know a few things: first, El Camino will pick up starting immediately after Jesse escapes the Nazi compound at the end of the Breaking Bad series finale. Second, we’re aware that certain friends are back, including Badger and Skinny Pete, plus, inexplicably, Mike Ehrmantraut (even though he’s dead). And lastly, we know that the Breaking Bad movie will shift the focus from Walter White to Jesse Pinkman.

There are several episodes of Breaking Bad that recommends all fans should watch before the movie drops on Friday. Here’s what they are.

‘Pilot,’ Season 1, Episode 1

Jesse Pinkman Breaking Bad
Jesse Pinkman | AMC

It’s so intriguing watching the first season of Breaking Bad now that most of us know how it ends. Walter White (Bryan Cranston) looks so innocent… and he has so much hair. Walt first catches sigh of Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) escaping from a drug bust by crawling out a second-story window. Paul plays the role of reticent former student perfectly. No wonder the producers decided to keep him on even though he was supposed to be killed off.

In order to comprehend where Jesse ends up, it’s critical to go back to where he started. This episode will shed light on the Jesse we first met.

‘Cancer Man,’ Season 1, Episode 4

This episode shows Jesse Pinkman returning to his childhood home, which helps us understand some fundamental truths about his background. How did Jesse wind up as a deadbeat drug dealer? There aren’t too many clues based on his home life, which appears to be a solid middle-class upbringing with two devoted parents.

In this episode, we see Jesse’s parents at their wit’s end, wishing they could help their struggling son but not knowing how. Instead, they channel energy into their younger son, Jake.

‘Better Call Saul,’ Season 2, Episode 8

Jesse and Walt
Jesse and Walt | AMC

This episode introduces us to criminal lawyer Saul Goodman, who is enlisted to help keep Jesse’s friend Badger from ratting out Walt and Jesse. The dynamic forged between this trio will become important over the course of the show.

‘Phoenix,’ Season 2, Episode 12

In one of the more shocking episodes of the series, Walter White makes the decision not to save Jesse’s girlfriend Jane’s life as she’s overdosing right in front of him. His reasons for letting Jane die are multiple —first, Jane had been pressuring Jesse to take his share of the money and run away. Second, she was a negative influence on Jesse and got him back into using drugs.

Jesse and Jane
Jesse and Jane | AMC

‘One Minute,’ Season 3, Episode 7

Understandably, Jesse blames himself for Jane’s death, even though it’s really Walt’s fault she’s dead. This guilt will inform Jesse’s actions for the rest of the series.

In this episode, tension between DEA agent Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) and Jesse Pinkman comes to a head when Hank beats the crap out of Jesse in a fit of rage. Meanwhile, Walt is struggling to work with his new assistant Gale and requests Jesse’s help in the lab. But Jesse starts to reveal how he really feels about Walt and it’s not exactly flattering.

‘Face Off,’ Season 4, Episode 13

This episode is especially tense with the overly dramatic death of drug kingpin Gustavo Fring. But it’s also a pivotal moment for Jesse, who learns that Walt had been misleading him all along about Gus killing Brock. Jesse feels betrayed, depressed, and ultimately disgusted by how far Walt would go to protect his own interests.

‘Buyout,’ Season 5, Episode 6

Jesse Pinkman
Jesse Pinkman | AMC

Jesse keeps trying to escape the drug trade throughout the series but Walt just won’t let him. In this episode, Walt once again uses his powers of persuasion to convince Jesse to cook again, ultimately leading to the series conclusion.

‘Felina,’ Season 5, Episode 16

It’s imperative for any Breaking Bad fans to at least watch the series finale before jumping into El Camino. So many significant things happen in the finale but perhaps most importantly of all, Walt risks his own life to save Jesse again, proving that deep down he does love and respect his former partner. Jesse escapes, Walt appears to die, and the credits roll.

What happens next? We can’t wait to find out.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is coming to Netflix on Friday, Oct. 11.