[Warning: The following contains spoilers for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. Read at your own risk!]
It was the cameo Breaking Bad fans had been waiting for ever since El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie was first announced. It seemed all but inevitable that Bryan Cranston would reprise his role as Walter White in the feature-length epilogue, but we didn't know for sure, and we certainly didn't know how it would happen. Certainly, Walt had perished in the Breaking Bad finale, but after all the teasing he and Aaron Paul did ahead of what turned out to be their mezcal launch, not to mention Paul's many hints at some major role reprisals in the sequel film, it would've been a disservice to fans if we hadn't seen Heisenberg on screen one last time. Lo, the film made good on fans' expectations and delivered one bittersweet reunion scene between Walter and Jesse at last, and for Paul, it was an essential element of the movie, too.
"That is Breaking Bad, Walt and Jesse," Aaron Paul told TV Guide of the decision to bring back Bryan Cranston. "[The show] really followed Walt's journey, his evolution into Heisenberg, and Jesse along the way, and so it was really important to have him on board, of course, and especially in that time, which is so nice because that was before the true utter chaos happened."
Cranston's return for the film called back to a moment in Breaking Bad's second season (in Season 2's "4 Days Out") when Walt and Jesse went on a meth-making bender in the desert and produced enough of the blue stuff to earn $672,000 apiece. The two enjoyed a few precious seconds of victory chanting before realizing Jesse had left the RV's battery running the whole time and they were stranded in the desert with no way out. Luckily, they were able to create a battery boost ("Yeah, science!") and jump-start the RV after many other failed efforts. The El Camino scene comes immediately after that debacle, with Jesse and Walt enjoying a quaint breakfast together in a motel. The scene adds in a new detail to their exchanges in that era: Walt suggesting that Jesse take the money and run off to college.
That new nugget fits right in with what happened later in the series, when Walt revealed to Jesse that he was in remission and declared that he was "done" with their illicit industry. That decision wouldn't last, of course, thanks to the death of one of Jesse's friends, the downfall of Jane (Krysten Ritter), and the introduction of Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), but for that brief moment in time, everything was well for both of these guys and they had a clean break in sight.
Despite remembering Walt's words, though, Aaron Paul doesn't think Jesse took his advice to give school another try. "I think his dream would be to probably start working with his hands again and make some sh-- with wood," he said.
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is now available on Netflix.
Reporting by Megan Vick