|Canon||Breaking Bad (Panem AU)|
|Abilities||Fucking up, getting high, brawling, racing, extreme sports, sex|
|Known Allies||Ziva David, Stephanus Reagan|
- "They need a mentor like me about as much as they need a bullet to the head."
- — Jesse Pinkman to Ziva David
Jesse Pinkman is a former Tribute, the victor of the 64th Hunger Games, and current District 6 mentor. He is a morphling addict renowned in the media both for his "bad boy with a heart of gold" image and his psychotic, unpredictable nature in battle.
Jesse's life was relatively unremarkable before his Reaping. He was born to hard-working parents: a father whose intelligence placed him in a good position as an engineer, and a mother who primarily focused on raising her two children. Jesse's younger brother, Jake, excelled at his studies and showed promise as a musician. Jesse, meanwhile, was a slacker and a disappointment, but not exceptionally troubled.
Everything changed when he became the unlikely victor of the 64th Hunger Games. The Arena was a scorching hot desert, which worked to Jesse's advantage, given that much of District 6 is also covered in desert. Already familiar with surviving in such terrain, Jesse was able to immediately find water and squirrel away supplies while most of the other Tributes died of thirst and starvation or otherwise succumbed to heat stroke.
After stumbling upon a half-collapsed mine, Jesse remained underground while the sun was up and emerged at night to restock. At one point, he was bitten by a rattlesnake but was saved by a gift from a sponsor. Towards the end, he was suffering from black lung and carbon monoxide poisoning. The latter actually contributed to his victory: normally gentle-minded and hesitant to kill, he was hallucinating so badly that he mistook the remaining Tributes for monsters and violently bludgeoned them to death with a piece of scrap wood.After he'd recovered from his illness, Jesse was horrified to learn what he'd done. He'd been hoping to peacefully outlast the others by avoiding them entirely. Following his victory, he fell into severe depression, secluded and catatonic for months. Even his family, disturbed the violent nature he displayed in the Arena, did not greet him upon his return, and left him to reside alone in his mansion at the Victors' Village. Wracked with guilt, Jesse prayed that the Capitol would grow frustrated with him and simply kill him.
But Jesse was far too popular for such tactics. His actions had thrilled the audience, who found the sudden plot twist very exciting after a Games that had been initially panned as dull and boring. He would have to pick himself up and move on. When it came time for his Victory Tour, the Capitol arranged for a pretty local girl to introduce Jesse to morphling, hoping that it would help brighten his mood.
It did. Like most District 6 victors, Jesse has remained addicted to morphling and other popular drugs throughout most of the past ten years to cope with his overwhelming guilt and trauma. Every now and then, he'll attempt to detox, which ultimately puts him at odds with the Capitol, and every time that happens, the Capitol's quiet threats against his family send him right back to using again. Thus, the Capitol finds him easy enough to control.
He has come to depend on his celebrity to fill the void in his life, attending or throwing endless parties to avoid being alone with himself and his thoughts. He's embraced Capitol life, with all its hedonistic pleasures and distractions, and given himself up to society's expectations of him.
As a mentor, Jesse tries surprisingly hard. The trouble is that he's completely inept. He wants his Tributes to succeed and he stays up day and night to prepare with them. But there's very little advice he can give them, because he won his own Games by accident and he isn't very skilled or cunning. He contributes mostly by lending a sympathetic ear and by working his charms to gain sponsors for his Tributes during the Games.
PresentationEditAs a Tribute, he was styled as the sweet boy-next-door with puppy-dog eyes and a shy smile. Someone who, due to all his inadequacies, needed to be coddled and protected. A hapless innocent whose very survival depended upon the viewer at home.
That image changed after he won the Games.
When Jesse emerged from the Arena covered in the blood and brain matter of his slaughtered foes, the media thought they had unearthed a secret monster. No one had anticipated what lurked beneath the surface of that angel-faced fifteen-year-old. To the citizens of the Capitol, it was enticing. They had witnessed the corruption of someone who had, at first, appeared sensitive and silly and simple-minded. Before the Games, he'd captured the hearts of a few; after his victory, he seized the attention of many.
In the few short months between the Games and his Victory Tour, Jesse grew from boy to man. His stylists swapped out his colorful oversized hoodies for black leather jackets. He stopped demonstrating tricks on dirt bikes and started driving flashy sportscars. They shaved his honey-blonde hair and decorated him with tattoos. He became (and remains) a roguish bad boy, a rough-mannered rebel without a cause. It's a controlled and carefully crafted dirtiness, just enough darkness to satisfy a certain youthful hunger.
Though he's lost his purity, his public persona still reflects a hint of the tenderness beneath the surface. He's developed a temper, but he backs down from fights as often as he gets into them, and he always displays chivalry in the presence of a lady. He's flirtatious without being pushy and he has a soft spot for children, melting hearts by kissing babies whenever one is thrust into his arms.
Despite spending almost all his time in the Capitol, he's never lost his unique cadence, which makes him sound both humorous and quaintly ignorant. He can flip naturally from shouting obscenities to telling jokes, and while many find him uncouth, many more find that coarseness somehow charming.
Jesse is tormented.
He remains haunted by his actions during the 64th Hunger Games, unable to forgive himself for taking lives even though he was not in his right mind when he committed the acts. Although he has, in his maturity, come to recognize the Capitol's part in what he's done, he continues to blame himself more than he blames them. Every day, he asks himself why he didn't sacrifice himself immediately when he landed in the Arena.
The conclusion that he's arrived at is that he's a coward and an evil man. He believes the only way to go on, now that the deed's done, is to embrace his nature as a villain. He tries to drown his guilt in every way that presents itself: sex, drugs, alcohol, music, fashion, parties. He practices self-destruction by giving his body to anyone who wants it and by pumping it full of every poison he can find. If he could damn the consequences, he would erase himself entirely.
Unfortunately for everyone, Jesse isn't an evil man. He is actually as sweet and kind as Panem originally believed he was. He has a profound love for life and human beings. He hates to see harm done to anyone or anything. He has a strong natural instinct to protect and take care of the helpless. His empathy is so great that it crushes him.
Jesse is not bright or talented. He would hardly be notable at all if not for the circumstances in which he landed himself by sheer luck. He can be clever at times but hopelessly naïve at others. He only excels in spirit, in his desire to serve and to help the people who depend on him. Underneath it all, he is desperately seeking redemption. He wants to see justice done. He just has no idea how to make that happen.
The truth is, Jesse hates the Games. The entire concept is anathema to his personal sense of morality. However, he feels helpless to stop any of it and knows that his interference could very well get his family and his loved ones killed. For that reason, he squashes his selfish pain and carries on doing what he's told, playing the part that's been written for him. Ultimately, he's an obedient follower of the Capitol.
Jesse's fandom nowadays is completely different from what it was when he first participated in the Hunger Games. Back then, it was a tiny, innocent and sweet fanbase. Most of his fans were preteen girls and their mothers; basically, people who thought he was adorable and in need of tender care. They hoped that his common sense and hiding tactics alone, along with their gifts, would be enough to help him win the Games. They were the sort of people who wanted gentleness to prevail.
Naturally, most of them turned on him when he flipped his shit and savagely slaughtered a helpless group of weak, dehydrated kids that included his fellow District 6 Tribute.But that was okay! Because Jesse instantly gained a new, much larger fandom. He became the favorite for everyone who romanticized insanity and ultraviolence and macho brutality - in other words, the devoted mainstream Hunger Games fans. A whole different set of teen girls fell for him, seeing him as a Draco In Leather Pants type: deeply troubled but sweet on the inside. This impression of him was only exacerbated by his naturally kind demeanor and affinity for children, which would from time to time break through the brooding image his stylists concocted.
Jesse, being from District 6, also became heavily associated with biker and car culture. Most of the advertising campaigns he signed onto involved transportation or extreme sports of some kind. At the height of his popularity, Jesse participated in nonstop stunt shows and street races. He was daring to the point of being suicidal, which earned him more respect as a badass than he rightfully deserved. He was showcased as gritty and wild and gangster, not like those other soft and overpainted Tributes. Consequently, this made Jesse much more popular in the outer Districts than in the refined Capitol circles.
Not that the Capitol didn't appreciate him. It's just that he was something of an anomaly, a dirty but endearing pet. Jesse has always gotten a lot of bidders, especially, who want to party hard and see what it's like to spend the night with someone that trashy. The nastiest fanfics about him are probably true, at least to some degree (though there isn't nearly as much Jesse fanfiction as there is for other, prettier Tributes).
As morphling has come to dominate Jesse's life, he's mostly fallen out of the limelight. He's like the Lindsay Lohan of Panem: an embarrassing hot mess. The recent races were something of a comeback for him, but he's mostly washed-up. Occasionally rumors circulate about an overdose or a DUI crash, so people are often surprised to find him still alive when he shows up to a public event. Most of his fans have moved on to Punchy or other "edgy" Tributes, leaving Jesse with a core fanbase that's super skeevy and drug-oriented, not unlike Jesse himself.
Jesse's fans usually just call themselves Bitches because "bitch" is practically his catchphrase. He popularized shaved heads, leather jackets, and tribal tattoos for a while, but that was ages ago and the look is now considered more of an underground thing than actually fashionable. As far as shipping goes, fans tend to ship Jesse with... themselves. If he's ever been in a committed relationship, he's kept it secret from everyone in the Capitol. It's unlikely, anyway, because he's famously slutty to the point where he could conceivably be sleeping with anyone. And that kind of ruins the fun of speculation, doesn't it?
After a long absence sparked by the changes to the Hunger Games, during which he disappeared off to morphling dens and indulged in a nonstop bender, Jesse was finally located and dragged back to his position as a mentor shortly after the Games began in Arena 09. He first had to be carefully weaned off of morphling (at least to a somewhat manageable level) and groomed back into a more appropriate appearance, but Jesse returned to the public eye at Jack Atlas's masquerade with much laughter and enthusiasm.
Jesse, however, was not better. He was far from clean and still unable to cope with the implications of the new Hunger Games system. This led to a cycle of guilt over his failure to help his Tributes, which in turn led to further binging, which led to increasing failure. In the end, the Games in Arena 09 were won by a different district, and Jesse was forced to come face-to-face with the Tributes he'd neglected.
As his first promotional event since his return to the job, Jesse participated in an advanced motorcycle race, along with Ziva David and Ian Gallagher. Although Ziva was originally meant to act as the baton, she became fed up with Ian's driving and took over. Unfortunately, they fumbled on the pass and took minor injuries. Still, the team managed to place second and won a spa trip.
Jesse's social circle may be ever-shrinking, but he does maintain a few relationships.
- Stephanus Reagan (District 6)