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Spoilers alert.

When Todd takes Jesse out from his cage to 'help' him dispose the dead body of his cleaning lady out in the desert, Jesse gets a golden opportunity to kill Todd when he gets hold of his gun. Jesse always hated Todd right from the point when he shot the kid in the desert to him being caged and then killing Andrea. Keeping all that aside, it would make perfect sense to kill Todd just for his own freedom. Also, there were no witnesses out there in the desert. It was a perfect escape.

But he doesn't kill him and instead settles in for a pizza and cold beer on the ride back to his cage. Why in the name of good God would Jesse do that?

Initially, I thought it must be inertia; that Jesse is too used to his caged lifestyle that he doesn't like the idea of freedom; that the cage is now his reality; that he has made peace with it and with Todd. But later in the timeline of Breaking Bad, he actually does kill Todd by choking him to death and fleeing in the car roaring his freedom. What changed after? Why did he choose a pizza and beer instead of his freedom?

  • The title should be edited to avoid spoilers. – GendoIkari Oct 11 at 20:40
  • @GendoIkari It seems that a character isn't killed at some possible time in the film wouldn't be that big a spoiler. But...I haven't seen the film either. – Napoleon Wilson Oct 11 at 20:42
  • Just knowing that Todd is alive and in the film is a pretty big spoiler for those of us who have seen all of Breaking Bad but not the new movie. – GendoIkari Oct 11 at 20:43
  • @GendoIkari IMHO there's very little surprising about the characters making appearances in flashbacks in this movie. – BCdotWEB Oct 12 at 9:32
  • @bcdotweb Yes but the title of the question implied that it wasn’t just a flashback. I hope I’m wrong because it means nothing was spoiled. – GendoIkari Oct 12 at 17:46
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Breaking Bad already showed us that Jesse was broken by the gang, hence him failing to kill Todd now even when he has the opportunity.

It is even explicitly stated in an earlier scene in this movie that if Jesse tries anything, then Todd will need to visit Brock. Todd's death or disappearance would inevitably cause the same.

As Alan Sepinwall writes:

So when Jesse takes Todd’s gun out of the glove compartment, we know he won’t shoot the pasty monster and make his escape. Suspense isn’t just dependent on surprise, though, but on context and execution. That scene is unbearably tense not because we think Jesse might pull the trigger, but because we know he won’t, and can’t stand to see how or why. Once, in the original series, Jesse described Gale as a problem dog who had to be put down. Several seasons later, Walt objected to Skyler describing Jesse as a rabid dog who needed the Gale treatment. Here, Jesse isn’t a problem, and he isn’t rabid. He’s just a dog who’s been broken by a cruel, unyielding master who isn’t afraid of that gun, because Todd knows his little pet could never use it against him. Jesse has the ongoing threat against Brock to think about, but beyond that, Todd has just relentlessly ground down his humanity into paste. The part of Jesse Pinkman that would be capable of pulling the trigger, driving back to Albuquerque to warn Brock, and heading for parts unknown has temporarily left the building. The ongoing trauma of enslavement has left him a shell of the outlaw he once tried to be. It’s terrifying and heartbreaking to watch, even as we know that Jesse eventually chokes the life out of this son of a bitch.

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But he doesn't kill him and instead settles in for a pizza and cold beer on the ride back to his cage.

Why did he choose a pizza and beer instead of his freedom?

I feel like you've very much misread Jesse's response. He is in tears because he realizes that anything other than acquiescing to Todd will mean Brock's death. He doesn't settle for beer and pizza, he doesn't want to go back. But he has to do what Todd says if Brock is to survive.

This is emotional torture at its finest. Jesse is so broken that even with a clear path to freedom, his emotional attachment to Brock is keeping him in that cage almost voluntarily. And it breaks him when he realizes that (which happens seconds before he hands the gun back).

Todd pointed this out right when Jesse is let out of the cage: any misbehavior leads to Todd visiting (i.e. killing) Brock. If Jesse kills Todd, Brock will simply be visited by another gang member.
Yes, Jesse could've hidden Todd's body as they were already in a prime location, but as long as the gang returns to the hideout and Jesse (and Todd) is missing, Brock will still end up dead.

But later in the timeline of Breaking Bad, he actually does kill Todd by choking him to death and fleeing in the car roaring his freedom. What changed after?

Walt killed the gang, so there was no one to go after Brock anymore.

Even if a handful of members survived, they would be on the run and laying low. The odds of them deciding to kill Brock at that point is next to none. Jesse's escape isn't the most pressing issue for them anymore.

  • You're right. I actually missed out the Brock part. But come to think of it now, Jesse could have killed Todd, took his money (he knew it was hidden inside those books) and rescued Brock by the time the gang members came to know and then go into hiding. Don't you think? – Tunic Oct 14 at 13:23
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    @Tunic: And then Brock has to live a life on the run with Jesse. That's not a great life for Brock either. And even if Jesse were to simply rehome Brock, the gang could always find him (however they found him the first time) unless you'd set up a new identity for the kid, which again is a massive impact on Brock's life. None of this is impossible but it is still negatively impactful on Brock and nigh impossible to pull off without causing severe issues down the line. – Flater Oct 14 at 13:26
  • Makes sense. Thanks for the response :) – Tunic Oct 14 at 13:28

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