The incredible television series Breaking Bad is many things, but a Twilight Zone-esque time traveling mind-screw is not one of them. Or is it? Consider the amazing similarities between two major characters: Jesse Pinkman and Mike Ehrmantraut. Jesse is Walter White’s faithful partner, and the street mind behind their meth operation. Mike is the grunting, no-nonsense, mysterious strong-arm of major drug dealer Gus Fring, and his multi-billion dollar business. The similarities between the two point to a very intriguing possibility that Mike is in fact Jesse from the future, possibly in an attempt to rear his younger self away from his current life, and to a more desirable one that won’t result in violent death and misery.
10. Mike And Jesse Both Love Kids
Throughout the series, Jesse is often thrown into situations involving children, and he is always at their defense. His first interaction with a child involves the junkie-parents of said child, who Walt sent him to kill. Running into the child first, Jesse connects with him by playing peekaboo, and even feeding him when he’s hungry. Later, he strongly defends a child who was killed by two of Gus’s dealers, even to the point of killing the dealers.
And although Mike is basically a ninja with invincibility code enabled, he has a soft side, protecting his granddaughter, Kaylee, to the fullest extent. It is even revealed at one point that all his earnings will go to her once everything inevitably goes down the crapper. In the episode “Half Measures,” Mike takes a second to notice Walt’s baby daughter before warning him in dealing with Jesse, perhaps trying to separate the two, in the hopes that Jesse finds a better life.
9. Mike Has A Lot Of “Advice” For Jesse
Mike seems to know how Jesse’s life will turn out if he continues his partnership with Walt, which is mostly prevalent in the constant stream of advice he has for him. Often, if Jesse didn’t follow his advice, Mike would take matters into his own hands, like snatching him up and psychically stopping him from using meth. If it benefited Jesse’s future, Mike always held a keen interest in it.
8. Mike’s Got Street Cred
Like his former self, but on a much larger scale, Mike is beyond intelligent in the street business, and has ten other assassins sworn to secrecy working for him. Jesse, in retrospect, has a smaller yet intensely loyal crew in Skinny Pete and Badger, although killing is a last resort for them. It seems throughout the series that Jesse, wrought with guilt and conflicting emotions toward his mentor, becomes more callous while holding on to his strong morality.
This “change” in Jesse, combined with his growing street knowledge, would almost definitely lead to a tired, bitter old man able to effortlessly assassinate three gunned hit-men, before heading off to the park and feeding the ducks.
7. Mike’s First Interaction With Jesse
Anytime you meet your past self for the first time, you’re risking, in the words of the great Doc Brown, a huge paradox in the space-time continuum. But this was during the aftermath of Jesse’s girlfriend’s death, which plunged Jesse into a spiraling depression of guilt and overall emotional turmoil. Enter Mike, who proceeds to slap Jesse around after very calmly (and quickly) cleaning up the place and informing him of his next move. In an almost bored-yet-disciplinary manner, Mike tells Jesse to calm down, count to 20, then call 911. After making Jesse repeat it 3 more times, he calmly gets up and leaves.
Mike has an interesting opportunity here, to beat some sense into his younger self so that he could focus on the matter at hand, which would most definitely affect Mike. He’s not only doing his job and preserving his timeline, he’s also seizing an opportunity to ask himself what the f*** he’s thinking.
6. Mike’s Loyalty To Gus
A very pivotal clue to this theory is Mike’s servitude to Gus Fring, whom he respects greatly. Although most of their interactions are business-related, there is a great level of respect and nigh-comradery among them. They have a history, and so do Jesse and Walt.
While Jesse has his doubts, Walt is still his mentor in that he taught him how to make the purest meth known to man. Jesse’s own father disapproves of him greatly, so more loyalty points for the man that not only supports and helps him cook meth, but saved his life on numerous occasions. Jesse’s loyalty is without question, but where Walt’s wealthy knowledge of chemistry ends, Gus picks up with professionalism and business-savvy poise. He’s exactly the kind of boss Future Jesse would want to work for.
5. The Dead Drop Ambush Scene
Gus sends Mike and Jesse on a long road trip through the desert, to his random money caches distributed there. At the final drop of the trip, two muggers come out of nowhere, and Jesse is almost jacked for all the loot. With quick thinking, Jesse gets the hell out of Dodge, knocking one guy over in the process and losing the others in a chase. He ultimately comes back for Mike, who had the stash and was waiting for him at a phone booth.
It is later revealed that this event was in fact orchestrated by Gus, presumably as a test of worth, but really just to piss off Walt. However, a conversation between Gus and Mike in the episode “Shotgun” offers another interesting possibility, one of a fore-knowing boss who’s secretly keeping your dumb ass in line:
Gus: Any injuries?
Mike: Twisted ankle, nothing too bad. It all went like you thought it would, more or less.
Gus: …hmm, questions?
Mike: More than a few, yeah … but I know better than to ask. Just like you wanted, the kid’s a hero.
In this aspect, Gus is basically a liaison for Mike in keeping his current worth to the operation, and ensuring his own success in the future. This makes building Jesse into a complete badass top priority for Gus, assuming their business continues years (or even decades) into the future. Also, in this light, Mike’s response is much more ominous, as he realizes the event doesn’t change anything, and he still feels nothing but regret and callousness.
4. Half Measures
In this episode, Mike is sent to talk some sense into Walt, as Jesse begins a plan to kill the dealers that killed Combo, his ex-partner and loyal friend. Walt’s plan is to have Jesse arrested for a few nights so he can’t murder them, but Mike disagrees. “My boss, your boss …” he says, “would take it as a problem” if Jesse landed in jail. He then tells the story of his younger days as a cop, when a domestic abuse call was made and he was dispatched. This scenario occurred a couple more times before Mike took the guy out to the woods and put a gun to his head, threatening to kill him. The guy cried, pissed his pants, and swore he would change his ways. Mike reluctantly gives in, but shortly thereafter the man beats his wife to death, leading to Mike’s point: “No more half measures, Walter.”
Basically Mike’s way of handling things reflects the past of a young man whose life was chock-full of half-measures. He was a kid who, though tough, struggled morally with his decisions to the point where nothing else matters, and all will feel his wrath.
3. Gale Boetticher Is From The Future Too
It’s a pretty good assumption that Gale is a strange dude. A German-American chemist with an organic chemistry degree from UNM, he initially runs Fring’s super lab, and makes the purest meth next to Heisenberg’s, with 96% purity. But although Gale’s history is accepted by the DEA, it’s perfectly possible that Gus created his identity in order to protect his business.
Now remember, the idea here is that Gus is acting as a future liaison, sent with Mike and Gale to establish and secure a wealthy business for whatever freeloaders await in the future. However, things go wrong when Gus is killed, and Mike is no longer “linked” to his time. At this point, Mike is fighting blind to preserve a timeline that has already been drastically affected by Gus’s death, not to mention the eventual takeover of Heisenberg.
2. Mike’s Death
In this depressing scene, Mike is shot by Heisenberg, the same guy who killed Gus. Everything coming around full circle, Mike finally realizes that the only two people linked to him are dead, and nothing he can do will change the outcome. This leads to him wandering off into a creek where he sits to die in peace, staring off into the sunset.
The real mind-bomb here is that the one guy they were trying to prevent from owning the future winds up killing them all in the past. This is not the most sobering realization, however; Mike realizes Jesse is still alive, and any future involvement with Walt is still up in the air. This means epic failure on all counts — a Heisenberg Boss wipe, if you will.
1. Mike’s Past And The Ricin Paradox
If all of this wasn’t enough to make you believe, then some intricate details might shed light on this theory. First, let’s look at Mike’s past; he was a beat-cop for the Philadelphia police for many years, before mysteriously leaving the force. After that, he was found by Gus Fring, who hired him as his private assassin and head of security. Along the way, he started working for Saul Goodman doing cleaning jobs and investigative work, until he meets Jesse and Walt.
In light of recent new evidence, Jesse is offered a clean slate by Saul, allowing him to completely change his identity for his protection. However, after realizing Walt and Saul poisoned Brock (his former girlfriend’s six-year old son,) he doesn’t take the deal, and instead goes back and beats Saul’s ever-loving ass. However, if he had taken the deal, he would have been up against some incredible odds: the DEA constantly looking for him, protection from other dealers, Heisenberg, etc. It would have been the ultimate game of hide-and-seek. What better way to hide from the cops than to become one, once his new identity is established?
Now, Brock’s poisoning really screwed with Jesse’s head, and assuming Mike is a Future Jesse that actually chose witness protection over revenge, it would only be because he did NOT discover Walt’s involvement in poisoning Brock. In other words, Mike is ignorant of this fact, and thus the reason he is mildly respectful to Walt at first. Mike’s main objective is the business, but also secretly to learn Walt’s true intentions, and to warn his younger self to stray from that path if need be. The ricin cigarette missing from the pack confirms Jesse’s suspicions, though Mike dies before this revelation, thus finally fulfilling his goal. Unfortunately, he was not alive to see it.