[Breaking Bad: Season 5, Ep. 1: "Live Free or Die". This blog post and video contain spoilers.]
[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."
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!)
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: email@example.com.