It was fun to be Walter White for a day. I even got to go to my workplace where I tutor chemistry in costume for a little bit. In fact the next day, someone who had seen me in costume the day before, said, “Oh, you’re the crystal meth girl!”
So here are some fun pictures:
Taking a break while cooking that sweet baby blue:
Back to work cooking that good shit:
The final product:
By the way, this is totally misleading. We did not actually cook the blue stuff. We tried. To make rock candy, I mean, not meth, but two chemists had a pretty epic chemistry fail and didn’t realize how f’ing long sugar takes to crystallize and tried to cook the stuff at the last minute using the principles of basic recrystallization that we’d learned in organic chem lab. We ended up with blue syrup. But luckily I had ordered some rock candy as a backup.
When we were carrying the little baggies around we got some great comments. One person said, “They have blue rocks! That makes me so happy!”
Oh and here is another attempt at that iconic Walt and Jesse shot with beer and popcorn, with our suits halfway unzipped but this one doesn’t work quite so well. Mostly my fault.
A few months ago, before the start and end of Breaking Bad‘s final season, I wrote a post on here about this really odd story I was conceiving at the time, and asked for some input on point-of-view. I wanted to create a feeling in the reader of almost being too close, too intimate with the two main characters in the story. Usually the way to create that sense of closeness is achieved through using first person, and certainly one approach would be to write from one of the character’s own perspectives, put the reader in her head, in her sensation of the situation being painfully awkward too close for comfort.
But I was a little burnt out on first person and thought there might be other ways to go. When I pictured writing the story in my mind, I saw it as third person, he, she and all that.
One night, in my room early as usual, I was laying in bed, trying to sleep, trying not to sleep. My light was still on and I looked at my big red numbers on my large-print alarm clock, doing math problems with the numbers as always. It was 8:17. One and seven made eight. 8:24. Twenty-four divided by eight was three. Two times four made eight. Suddenly I remembered something. It came to me out of nothing. A long time ago, maybe when we first moved in to our house four years ago, Dad had said something about a crawl space or something in our basement. It might be almost like a secret passage.
Later that day, after Dad got home from work, Mom and Dad sat me down. It was in the kitchen this time, at our big white oval kitchen table. Mom wasn’t saying anything, which I realized was way worse. Screaming would’ve been comfortable in its familiarity but this was something else. Across the stable, she looked still but I could feel her vibrating with rage.
“I just don’t know what to do with you anymore,” Mom said, “I just don’t know what to do.” She wasn’t resigned or sad. She was on some edge, like she might crack and get stuck, just repeat this sentence over and over and star pounding on the walls or the table or me, lie she could barely keep crazy away. I knew then that though she hadn’t said anything to me, Mrs. Domaracki called my mom.
“I’m sorry,” I said in a pathetic, pleading voice, and started to cry. This time was too different. I knew better than to argue.
I thought about it all morning, trying to imagine how Mom would explode if she asked for the key back and he didn’t have it. If I could endure it in my head, maybe I could endure it in real life. If I imagined it all in exquisite detail, maybe the key wouldn’t be his and he would have our key tucked safely in his backpack. But I just couldn’t imagine it. I hit a wall once I imagined her finding out. I couldn’t go past it. I still felt like I might puke.
It was March when Mom gave Randy the house key for a day. One day we had to walk home together, not go to Centerstream, and let ourselves in. Just this once. My little eight-year-old brother got the key, not me. I walked home with him like it was a regular day, Randy leading the way, and nothing disastrous happened.
The next day, Mom picked us up from Centerstream as usual after she got done with work or therapy or whatever. The sky was dark when we left around five-thirty, a deep cerulean blue, just the tiniest twinge of dusk left in the sky. We got to a crosswalk on our way to the parking lot and Randy started crossing the street.
“Randall James Jordan!” My mom’s voice screeched, “How dare you?” I froze, her voice higher and more hysterical than maybe ever. What was going on?
“Just get me home. Just get me home. I’ll do the rest.”
So much to say that it’s hard to know where to start. I’m so full of different emotions. I loved the finale. It was so bittersweet and surprisingly hopeful, and full of sad goodbyes that were heartbreaking but understated and not sentimental. And then there are all the feelings I’m having as a fan. It was actually hard to watch the finale a second time in order to write this post because all the goodbyes hit harder the second time around. It wasn’t just Walt saying goodbye in different ways to the people in his life, but us saying goodbye to all these characters we’ve lived with since we started watching the show, characters who were written and acted so vividly that they seemed almost alive and breathing in the real world.
It’s a big loss. No more predicting what Walt or anyone else will do. No more suspense, or shocking surprises. No more crazy, off-the-wall scenarios tossed out during the weeks or years between episodes. No more time with these wonderful awful people who are all so flawed and human. But even this loss puts some sweetness in the bittersweet of it all. The show did go out on top. There are shows I love that have just gone on too long and shown a drop in quality, and it’s usually around the fifth of sixth season, sometimes sooner, so that by the end, no one really cares anymore, and just watches out of habit if at all. And there are shows that ended too soon (The Killing, anyone? Don’t get me started) with stories unfinished, left on cliffhangers that will never resolve because the writers didn’t know the last episode was the last episode.
Vince Gilligan and his brilliant team of writers did know, for a long time, and so they could craft an ending, build up to it. And craft they did.