In a show like Breaking Bad, you cant really like any of the characters. At first glance, everyone is a villain. They deal drugs, commit murders, and do whatever is necessary for their own selfish personal gain. But what about the qualities that lie deeper than just what is on the surface?
Jesse Pinkman is the typical portrayal of a washed upped, drugged out guy with little remorse for his actions. Basically, he’s everything you’d think a villain would be. But the one quality that doesn’t allow him to be a villain is his conscience, a trait his downright evil counterpart, Walt, lacks. Jessie’s moral compass allows him to be the legitimate hero amongst villains. He illustrates his morality constantly throughout the program. On numerous occasions, Jessie is forced to make tremendously difficult decisions, and every single tough choice he makes is founded on selflessness, loyalty, and ethics. Essentially, Jessie is “a junkie, thief and pusher, mostly trying to do the right thing” (the guardian). For instance, in Breaking Bad season 4, episode 11 “Crawl Space” (originally aired September 25, 2011) Gus Fring tells Jessie he can run the lab and Jessie responds that if anything were to happen to Walt, he would never cook again. This is significant because at this point in the series Jessie has every reason and motive fathomable to want Walt dead, yet his loyalty and heart will not succumb to the treachery that his peers value. And this, in a nutshell, is why Jessie is a Hero.
Jessie’s just and honorable intentions are again proven in season 3 episode 12 “Half Measures” (originally aired June 6, 2010). In this episode Jessie attempts to kill the two drug dealers who murdered Andrea’s brother. In sum, her brother’s death was an indirect result of Jessie and his blue meth. Though Jessie played a role in Andrea’s brother’s fate, he does what he can to make up for it. Many may assume that this is not a moral portrayal of good-conscience, considering his decision concerns retaliation and murder, but his intentions remain pure and just, which further proves his heroic demeanor.
In essence, Jessie’s heroism is created through his acknowledgment of the mistakes he’s made and the danger he’s in, while consistently choosing to do the right thing, regardless of the repercussions that may impact him personally. Though he is truly both the creator and distributor within a massive meth empire and is directly involved in numerous heinous acts, he strives to be a better person, which is difficult to do when considering his rough environment and tough social circle.
Creating a hero in Breaking Bad helps make sense of the program as whole because it forces viewers to understand that a character can be both a villain and a hero, which upsets the typical television series norms. In retrospect, Jessie Pinkman is a murderer, a drug dealer, and a downright criminal. The spectator has all the reasons in the world to hate him, yet he is unanimously beloved by the masses. It could be argued that Jessie’s popularity is due to the fact that anyone can relate to him. Mathew Jacobs, a editor for the Huffington post puts it best in his article titled “why I’ve struggled to reconcile the fate of Jessie Pinkman on ‘Breaking Bad” when he asserts, “on a personal level . . . Jessie is the one who truly exists inside of us”.
In sum, Jessie’s heroic characteristics are a result of his dangerous environment. His disgust for the lengths Walter will go to in order to achieve his financial agenda shaped the moral person he has become. All things considered, Jessie Pinkman is undoubtedly a Hero in his own right.
Breaking Bad season 4, episode 11 “Crawl Space” (originally aired September 25, 2011)
Breaking Bad season 3, episode 12 “Half Measures” (originally aired June 6, 2010)
Jacobs, Matthew. "Why I've struggled To Reconcile The Fate Of Jesse
Pinkman On 'Breaking Bad'" The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 29 Sept. 2013. Web. 28 Mar. 2014. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jacobs-matthew/the-fate-of-jesse-pinkman-breaking-bad_b_4013526.html>.
Whitehouse, David. "Breaking Bad: Aaron Paul Plays a Drug-dealing
Killer and Viewers Can't Get Enough of Him." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 13 Oct. 2012. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. <http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2012/oct/13/aaron-paul-breaking-bad-interview>.