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The Wild Breaking Bad Theory That Explains Everything About Jesse Pinkman

Of all the characters in the "Breaking Bad" universe, Jesse Pinkman is one of the most tragic. Although Jesse "broke bad" like everyone else on the show, his actions and reactions also tugged pretty hard on viewers' heartstrings.

In the series, Jesse is the accomplice-slash-son figure to Walter White's chemistry teacher-turned-drug kingpin. The character of Jesse, as a combination of extremes, provided the audience with a masterclass in writing and acting.

Jesse has long been the black sheep in his parents' eyes thanks to his criminal behavior. But unlike his parents, who show favoritism to his straight-laced younger brother, Mr. White becomes a parental figure who exists on Jesse's own morally gray playing field. Since Jesse's nature was always rooted in rebellion and unpredictability, this toxic duo appears to be made for each other in many ways. But Jesse always seems to sink the lowest whenever Walt manages to float and thrive, observes Esquire. There are numerous reasons this happens (and why such a harmful relationship persists for so long), but one Reddit user has a theory that makes perfect sense: Jesse is actually most comfortable in maladaptive patterns.

Jesse's superhero artwork paints a complex picture

Each character in "Breaking Bad" is filled to the brim with psychological insights that are sometimes easy to miss. In Jesse's case, a 2013 Reddit post by u/ModestAudust has unlocked some incredible symbolism that speaks volumes about the character's personality. It all goes back to one Season 2 scene when Jesse is in a relationship with his landlady Jane Margolis, and he shows her some drawings depicting superheroes.

The superheroes "Hover-Man," "Kanga-Man," and "Rewindo" are, according to u/ModestAudust, examples that show us "the kind of person [Jesse] is." The first character, Hover-Man, has a power that allows him to levitate six inches above the ground at all times. Kanga-Man is half-man, half-kangaroo hybrid with a joey pouch on his abdomen (which is seen only on female kangaroos in the real world, notes BBC Wildlife Magazine). Finally, Rewindo is a superhero who can run backward at lightning-fast speeds.

These descriptions of the superheroes' powers and attributes unlock some critical insights into Jesse's behavior throughout the series — from the often regressive and childlike handling of his actions and their consequences to his laziness and fear of unlocking his true potential.

Jesse's actions across Breaking Bad tie into these archetypes

Jesse's superhero creations all align with his demeanor and outlook on life. First and foremost, Jesse is petulant, prone to laziness, and locked inside his own self-destructive persona. Hover-Man offers insight into how Jesse does just enough to skate by in life (at least until his competition with Walt unlocks the skills and willpower to prove those who doubt him wrong).

Kanga-Man speaks to the nurturing and at times codependent side of Jesse's complex personality. The joey pouch on a female kangaroo is designed to shelter her offspring, just as we see Jesse care for children he encounters throughout the show, as u/LifeOnMarsden points out in a separate post. On the flipside, Jesse is constantly trying to overcome the psychological scars of his snobbish and domineering parents, which he eventually does by one-upping them both. Yet he still yearns for parental guidance and affirmation — and he gets it, to a point, from his codependent, dysfunctional relationship with Walt.

Finally, Rewindo represents Jesse's propensity to run away and take the easy way out when faced with confrontation: The first time we meet him, in fact, he's being chased by the police, and he rarely faces his obstacles head-on until much later in the series. Jesse finally finds redemption in "El Camino: A Breaking Bad Story," but thanks to this insightful Redditor's discovery, we will always have evidence of who he is and how he's evolved. Jesse's flawed and unique superheroes perfectly capture their equally flawed but compelling creator.