If you haven’t seen Breaking Bad yet (and if not, rectify this IMMEDIATELY) then there’s a big SPOILER WARNING here for all five seasons.
It’s difficult to believe that this month marks a whole year since the phenomenon that was Breaking Bad bowed out in spectacular fashion.
It’s been almost a whole year since we saw Heisenberg running round in his budgie smugglers, Walt Jr asking for his breakfast, Marie being a fusspot in a purple ensemble, or - most importantly - since we saw Jesse Pinkman cry.
Because, in the nicest way possible, there is nothing more enjoyable than watching Aaron Paul cry. Honestly, his acting is a gift to the world. He is phenomenal in this role and played every aspect of Jesse Pinkman’s extremely layered character to perfection.
Though he was frequently hilarious (anyone who didn’t absolutely piss themselves at his elated face as he blew air into a yellow lab suit need to have a serious word with their funny bones) the best thing was when he got to cry act, because Aaron Paul is the best cry-actor in the world. And poor Jesse certainly had a lot to cry about.
Five seasons, countless beatings, three dead bald friends, two dead girlfriends and one case of being kidnapped a ginger Matt Damon lookalike later, and we’ve seen Pinkman blubbing approximately 17,000 times. There are so many amazing examples of his crying, but to mark it being almost a year since he sped off into the night in Felina, here are the ten best cries of Jesse Pinkman.
10. Season 5, Episode 2 (Madrigal); Crying after finding a ricin cigarette in your house after nearly shooting your partner in crime because you thought he took it (he did).
Ah, the ricin cigarette thing is such a huge and complex issue that you’re probably better off actually watching it than having me explain it in a typically rambling fashion. Instead, we will focus on how this cry is a perfect demonstration of how Jesse is such a good soul at heart. He feels so guilty about the crime he almost committed, which is pretty much a polar opposite to Walt who by this point is pretty much permanently a manipulative and remorseless little bugger.
9. Season 5, Episode 11 (Confessions); Crying furiously because you find out he actually did steal your poison cigarette and has used it to poison a small child who has become a sort of son to you.
And when Jesse rightly finds out that Walt did in fact steal the ricin cigarette (seriously, Google it or something) he understandably hits the roof. He grabs a gun, beats the shit out of brilliantly seedy lawyer Saul Goodman and then goes on a huge revenge mission which is pretty much the final nail in the coffin in the Walt/Jesse relationship (until the very very end…)
8. Season 2, Episode 4 (Down); Crying in an RV in the fetal position covered in blue shit after falling into a portaloo.
It may not be as emotionally taut as some of his cries, but as far as I can recall this is the first time where I felt fully endeared towards Jesse. Sure, he’d always been funny and there were hints of a bit more substance with that trip home in the first series, but this is the first of many, many times when I thought ‘someone please, give that boy a cuddle.’ This paved the way for the troubled and brilliantly developed Jesse we now all know and - in my case, obsessively - love.
7. Season 5, Episode 12 (Rabid Dog); Crying whilst contemplating burning a house down.
While on his post-ricin revenge mission, angry crying Jesse comes out full throttle as he plans to burn down the house of Walter White. He’s ultimately stopped by lovely old Hank (anyone notice how every bald guy Jesse befriends winds up six feet under?) but he puts some proper gumption into the scene first, bellowing 'he can’t keep getting away with this!’ I enjoy angrily crying Jesse only slightly less than tragically crying Jesse.
6. Season 2, Episode 13 (ABQ); Crying in bed after discovering your girlfried has died of a heroin overdose (you are yet to discover that your partner in crime chose not to roll her over and save her.)
Almost directly following the first time where I truly thought 'Walt, you really are a callous old prick’ Jesse wakes up to discover his lovely girlfriend Jane has died from a heroin overdose. The shot of the the bed springs bouncing is one of my favourites ever (we all thought nookie, no one thought tragedy) as he tries and fails to resuscitate her. Sadness.
5. Season 3, Episode 7 (One Minute); Crying angrily in Hospital after your partner in crime’s bald friend beats the shit out of you.
From this episode, you’d never guess Hank and Jesse would one day wind up as allies. After somewhat mistakenly being beaten up by Hank after a confusing incident in a domicile (again, complex) Jesse wants revenge. He’s extremely pissed off in this scene, which marks a brief downward spiral in Jesse partaking in some considerably morally questionably behavior. He quickly comes round though, and goes back to being the Pinkman we all know and love.
4. Season 3, Episode 13 (Full Measures); Crying because you have to shoot a karaoke enthusiast in the face.
This one is pretty grim. Obviously, the whole getting shot in the face thing sucks for Gale most of all, but - predictably, because I’m one of those terrifying super fans - my sympathies were pretty much all with Jesse when he had to kill him. Sorry, but I can’t stay mad when he looked so childlike and vulnerable throughout.
3. Season 5, Episode 16. (Felina); Crying as you say goodbye to your bald friend as he finally does something good again and frees you from some horrible drug gang with swastika tattoos.
Ah, Felina. I can’t quite put into words the emotional trauma I went through during this episode. There was stress, there was panic, there were enough tears to drown a kitten…but, being reliably excellent, Breaking Bad concluded with a faultless finale that saw Pinkman live (hurrah!) and even managed to get me shedding a tear for Walt’s death, who I previously wanted to jump in and strangle myself. Their goodbye to eachother is just perfect. No over sentimentality, no hugs (thank god) instead, just a small look highlighting the fact that through everything, their relationship really, really did matter.
2. Season 5, Episode 15 (Granite State); Crying as ginger meth Damon shoots your on/off girlfriend dead while you watch helplessly from a car across the road.
This. Episode. Was. Horrible. Horrible. Horr. I. Ble. Watching Jesse straining to shout out to Andrea as Todd (basically on Joffrey levels of hatred by this point) was almost unbearable, and I felt so sad and angry watching it. I still fully believe that whatever Jesse is doing now, he’s been to check that Brock’s ok.
1. Season 2, Episode 13 (ABQ); Crying in a crack den over your recently deceased girlfriend.
Though the greatest cry ever was the episode after Jane’s death, where Walt discovered him sobbing his little heart out in crack den, blaming himself for what happened. Though we’re obviously all furious at Walt at this point, their hug does show that a large part of Walt does genuinely care for Jesse, and shows that this is a relationship way more meaningful and complex than the majority of soppy love stories you see.
Aaron Paul, thank you for playing a character I grew to love this much, and Jesse Pinkman, I hope that wherever you are, you’re happier than you’ve ever been.