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Breaking Bad's Jesse Plemons Didn't Understand Todd Until Uncle Jack Entered The Picture

Jesse Plemons didn't join "Breaking Bad" until its 5th and final season, but the quiet yet violence-prone character he played, Todd Alquist, quickly became Walter White's (Bryan Cranston) methamphetamine cooking partner and right-hand man after Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) became disenchanted with his own partnership with Walt and turned against him. Todd appeared in just 13 episodes, but the character had a tremendous influence on the show's final story arc.

Todd's cold-blooded killing of Drew Sharp throws gas on the fire of Jesse's disenchantment with his and Walt's partnership, and Todd later convinces his Uncle Jack Welker (Michael Bowen) to spare Jesse's life in the desert, imprison him, and force him to cook for Jack's Neo-Nazi gang. 

Todd's wide-eyed naïveté is a shocking contrast to his dangerous emotionlessness, a paradox Jesse characterizes perfectly in Season 5, Episode 15, "Granite State," when he calls Todd "That Opie dead-eyed piece of s****." Todd is introduced to Walt and Jesse in Season 5, Episode 3, "Hazard Pay," as an employee of Vamonos Pest Control, the new cover for their cooking operation. 

Jack doesn't enter the picture until  Episode 8, "Gliding Over All," when Walt takes advantage of Jack's deep prison connections to execute ten potential witnesses against him. In a wide-ranging interview with The Playlist, Plemons said it wasn't until Uncle Jack was introduced that he had a solid grasp of his own character.

Jesse Plemons was given little to no backstory on Todd Alquist before shooting his first episodes of Breaking Bad

Jesse Plemons said that in the first half of the split final season of "Breaking Bad," he "felt like I had no idea what I was doing  ... I had such little information in the beginning, I just had to make broad choices and then just try and be as present as possible." 

Plemons was able to fill those gaps in Todd's persona with scary psychopathy quickly and thoroughly enough to put the character firmly on the dark road he traveled down as "Breaking Bad" wound to its violent conclusion. Plemons went on to say that once Uncle Jack and his gang became a part of "Breaking Bad,"  "I felt like I had a better understanding of Todd." 

He added that the task of building Todd from freshly written scripts and an emerging backstory was one of the good things about the job. "That's part of the fun ... I would rather people come up with their own conclusions about him," Plemons said.

Todd's quick trigger in killing Drew Sharp and his association with a gang of violent criminal white supremacists likely helped viewers come to their own conclusions about the character at about the same time Plemons was arriving at them himself.