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The Feat Jesse Finally Accomplished At The End Of Breaking Bad

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) may be the brains behind Breaking Bad's central meth operation, but Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) is the heart of the entire show. As Walt grows colder and more ruthless, his former student grows up and becomes more and more conflicted about his path in life, as the pair is swept into criminal dealings far bigger than either of them are truly ready to handle. One could argue that the show is as much about the gradual humanization of Jesse as it is about the steady dehumanization of Walt. 

The endgame of Breaking Bad makes it clear that Walt has little remorse about the path he has chosen, while Jesse leaves the show ecstatic at the prospect of escaping his drug-manufacturing hell for good. Now, some fans have pointed out that the show handily symbolizes this change by allowing Jesse to do something that stealthily implies he's finally able to take the reins of his own life and future. Here's the feat Jesse finally accomplishes at the end of Breaking Bad.  

Jesse is finally back at the wheel

Some fans have pointed out that when Jesse drives Todd's (Jesse Plemons) El Camino away, the show quite literally shows us that Jesse is back behind the wheel, having spent the vast majority of the show as a passenger. 

We know that Jesse can drive, and the show does show him grabbing the wheel a number of times when the situation demands it. However, as the show progresses, he's largely relegated to the submissive role of passenger, while a more powerful character sits behind the wheel. As the Instagram account BreakingBadLocations notes, this is something of a recurring theme, as several similarly framed shots show him looking unhappy while riding shotgun to Walt, Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), and Hank Schrader (Dean Norris).   

In a Reddit discussion about this visual motif and how it continues in the Breaking Bad movie — which, incidentally, is called El Camino, and prominently features both cars and Jesse taking control of his destiny – redditor Sachith_Koduri wrote: "That's actually really interesting. I never noticed this. It really shows how during the show he really wasn't in control of his life, but during the movie he finally moves to the driver seat."

User BlindStark noted this is even a major plot point in the aptly entitled episode, "Shotgun." "There is also that scene with Mike where they drive around all day picking up dead drops, then the people show up when Mike is gone and Jesse has to get in the driver seat," they wrote. "It was all just a setup for Jesse to feel in control and breakup Jesse's loyalty to Walt."

Some fans disagree with the theory, and point out that Jesse does drive on occasion throughout the show. However, many think that the symbolism is certainly there.