The highly anticipated follow-up to Breaking Bad finally arrived and most fans were pleased with the results. El Camino: A Breaking Bad movie had an average audience of 6.5 million viewers over its opening weekend, with most of those catching the film on opening day. Currently, El Camino is ranked 93% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
Arguments can be made that El Camino doesn’t fully justify its existence. But one of the highlights of the movie is getting deeper insight into the creepy character of Todd Alquist, which is done through a series of extended flashback scenes. Before El Camino, we knew Todd was evil. But now audiences are more creeped out than ever thanks to one brilliant scene from the movie.
Warning: this article contains spoilers for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.
Todd Alquist’s innocent persona masks a heartless killer
Even in real life, serial killers don’t always appear that way on the outside. Like notorious murderer Ted Bundy, Todd Alquist is an attractive, well-groomed young man with a pleasant demeanor and an innocent face. But during Breaking Bad we find out that there’s much more to Todd than meets the eye.
Todd first encounters Walter White and Jesse Pinkman while working for Vamanos Pest company, the business Mike Ehrmantraut hired to cover up for Walt and Jesse’s meth business.
But Todd doesn’t become a true player in the Breaking Bad world until the pivotal episode “Dead Freight” (Season 5, Episode 5). After a heart-wrenching train heist, Todd doesn’t hesitate to execute an innocent child who accidentally witnessed the whole thing. That’s the moment Todd transforms from slightly eccentric to truly evil.
Todd becomes Jesse’s nemesis
It makes perfect sense that Todd becomes such a huge part of El Camino even though by that point, he’s already dead. The extended flashback scenes show just how much psychological torture Jesse endured in Todd’s care — and why the scene when he finally strangles Todd to death in the Breaking Bad finale was so important.
During a flashback, we find out that during Jesse’s captivity, Todd’s Uncle Jack leaves him alone to care for the prisoner while he’s away for the weekend. While everyone else is away, Todd enlists Jesse to help him with a gruesome task.
The scene from El Camino that people can’t stop talking about
On the surface, the creepiest scene from El Camino seems totally innocent. Until you take a deeper look.
Todd proves himself as a true psychopath when he’s driving down the highway in his El Camino, belting out Dr. Hook’s 1978 version of “Sharing the Night Together.” But this idyllic moment is ruined by the reality that Todd has his murdered housekeeper rolled up in a carpet in the trunk. His prisoner Jesse is also locked in the back of the car with the body.
Vince Gilligan explained why he included the scene during an interview with Vulture. “I wanted a scene where you slowly reveal that the seat next to him is empty. And then you reveal poor Jesse in this swelteringly hot, tiny, cramped little truck bed in the back of this El Camino with this corpse wrapped up in a rug. That was the point of the whole scene,” Gilligan said.
“Todd was just driving down the highway staring into space, but then I thought, ‘God, wouldn’t it be more disturbing if he’s having just a great time?’ What do you do when you’re driving by yourself and you’re happy? You sing along to the radio.”
The scene is both disturbing and memorable, which is nothing less than what we expected from Vince Gilligan.