Breaking Bad Season 5: Xeni air-drops into the best viewing party in the world, in ABQ (video)

[Video Link: Our episode recap and review, with a room full of ABQ locals.]

My aviator boyfriend Miles O'Brien and I are flying in his plane from California to the east coast this week, before I start 6 weeks of radiation treatment for breast cancer. When you fly in a single-engine plane like his, you have to stop every 4 hours or so for fuel. When we woke up Sunday, the day the first episode of the new season of AMC's BREAKING BAD would air, we thought: hey, why not plan today's stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the show is based? And why not try to find some fellow fans, and invite ourselves into a ABQ BrBa premiere viewing party tonight?

So we did. I put out the call on Twitter, and hours later, a fellow fan in ABQ named Shanna Schultz tweeted back, come on over.

"Booze-wise we're making an asston of blue jungle juice in honor of the blue meth," Shanna said, "plus we'll be grilling."

Heading in for landing at ABQ, in Miles O'Brien's plane.

When we showed up at Shanna's house (a classic Albuquerque stucco), her boyfriend Matt, their dog Kita, and ten of their friends were hangin' out eating Pollos Hermanos chicken, handing out Heisenberg-style blue ice rock candy, and ready to hit "play" on the DVR (we got screwed up with the time zones, and rudely arrived late).

Breaking Bad-themed party snacks.

They all kinda looked like they could have been characters in the show—total Burqueños, a true Albuquerque vibe. One guy looked like a dead ringer for Walt. We thought we were crashing a party via Twitter, but we soon learned that everyone in the room first met via Twitter, anyway.

Miguel Jaramillo (@muggle505) and Kim Shay (@chezshay2).

These like-minded locals into indie culture, cool downtown creative stuff, and the best TV show of all time all connected through Twitter. That's even how Shanna and her boyfriend first met.

Party hosts Shanna Schultz (@shantr0n) and Matthew Reichbach (@fbihop)

The first episode of Season 5 was, to paraphrase Tuco in Season One, tight tight tight. Fucking magnets, how do they work? Walt emerges as an ever-darker dark lord, and it was interesting to see Skyler descend further into darkness, and "breaking bad."

You know you're in a room of dorks when you hear several people scream "magnets!" before Jesse's reveal, and this was definitely a room full of dorks. There was much discussion about spelling your birthday in bacon, file size estimates for surveillance video storage, Ted Beneke's fate, the pros and cons of various poisons, and whether Gus Fring may have been enough of a crypto or cloud computing expert to protect damning evidence in ways yet to be revealed. Walt as Scarface? Sounds about right. More about the content of this episode in our recap discussion video.

Engrossed in Episode One, Season 5.

Over the weekend, Miles and I interviewed Donna Nelson, the University of Oklahoma chemistry professor who is the show's science advisor (we'll post that video soon). Dr. Nelson said that over the course of her experience as a consultant to show creator Vince Gilligan, she learned that the first portions of the show contain a lot of clues about what will follow. That certainly rang true in "Live Free or Die."

It was so much fun watching the season premiere with fellow fans who actually live in the town where the story takes place. They called out familiar locations as the episode unfolded. For instance, the burger joint that changes its sign to Pollos Hermanos for shoot days, then leaves it up for a day after, attracting fans of the show.

When the show was over, Miles shot the conversation that followed. It contains some spoilers, so do watch Season 5 episode 1 before you watch our video.

More: Boing Boing Breaking Bad archives. And this Slate V recap of seasons 1-4 is excellent.

Party participants you'll meet in the video:

Shanna Schultz (@shantr0n)
Matthew Reichbach (@fbihop)
Kim Shay (@chezshay2)
Miguel Jaramillo (@muggle505)
Charlie Pabst (@charliepabst)
Don Jarrett (@theGZA10304)
Laura Enciñas (@llaurs)
Deandra Marie (@deandra_marie)
Mike Daniels (@mikedaniels)

(thanks, Christopher J. Ortiz!)

Obligatory humblebrag pic of Xeni and Miles flying in Miles' plane.


      1.  Hey, she’s going to look really awesome glowing in the dark!  Ok, not really, it’s going to suck, but we all wish you the best, and it’s good to see you in this good shape after the last few months.

  1. So, no problems with the tower?

    I heard they had some issues with their air traffic control, some time back.

    I’m finally watching the series now, just a few eps into S3. John de Lancie did a spectacular job in that role. Just heartbreaking. After all his other roles, this is the one that made me stop thinking of him as Q, seeing him as such a father, trying so hard, his life so destroyed.

    1. I was going to make a joke about Q but I’m late to the comments and you beat me to mentioning him (too tempting since they flew in). 

      I agree that he gave a great performance. Easily the best and most heartbreaking performance among the various side characters that show the effects of drugs on society, and one of the best performances of anybody on the show.

      It wasn’t enough to make me stop thinking of him as Q though, probably because I just watched all of Star Trek TNG a couple months ago (and a few DS9 episodes including the one he’s in). Such a great character, perfectly played by de Lancie :)

  2. Dammit, I wish I had an aviator boyfriend – and I’m straight. 
    We could fly to whatever backwards ass country Game of Thrones is set in to catch an episode.

  3. Awesome Xeni!!  Yes, Miles makes a wonderful boyfriend. He is so lucky and so are you. Two wonderful people that deserve some happiness.  Breaking Bad was awesome!   I’m glad you had a good time at the drop in party.

  4. Coolness – and to think I got to stand on the same set while you guys first talked about playing Second Life, and a shouty electronic ‘translator’ device that made everyone cringe…

  5. Those “Walter White Meth Labs” t-shirts are hilarious. May the forces of Disney’s lawyers overlook their trespasses.

    Xeni, will you & Miles be coming to NYC on your trip? We’ll have to arrange something analogously awesome if so.

  6. What a cool thing to have pulled off! Big thumbs up to the ground team, and their little dog, too!

    I’m watching the season premiere tonight.

    In the meantime I started tweeting #breakingbadspoilers to sow confusion and delight.

  7. I’ve driven through Albuquerque several times, and slept in Wal-Mart parking lots on both sides of the city along the highway. It was interesting to watch Breaking Bad, and now to see this group of people, and realize that my assumptions based on what I briefly saw of the city were both right (lots of shady, drug-ravaged parts of town including the area surrounding the Wal-Marts I stayed at) and wrong (plenty of nice parts of town and plenty of nice, intelligent people). Pretty sure it’s not the place for me but I’m glad it’s not actually a wasteland ;)

    Just gotta be careful not to make any wrong turns.

  8. I live in Albuquerque and always enjoyed looking for places I can recognize. Right now I have Dish Network and am not sure how I will watch the rest of the season as Dish dropped AMC.

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