Bryan Cranston - Chemistry Gone Bad - Where Breaking Bad (Rarely) Gets It Wrong

It’s Breaking Bad weekend! Well, almost – the now iconic show returns for its final 8-episode run this Sunday and it’s all anyone can talk about – this staff writer included, of course. So, without further ado, here are the top four facts we bet you didn’t know about Breaking Bad (and which, objectively, you probably don’t need to know.)

Bryan Cranston, Ed Sullivan Theatre
Bryan Cranston looking almost as badass as his character.

1. The meth crystals shouldn’t be blue. According to a recent article in The Business Insider, the crystals of supposedly ultra-uber-pure methamphetamine that Walter White is known for producing… should be clear. If they didn’t have any impurities, the crystals should be completely clear and even impurities (or a special ingredient by Walt) should not give them a blue, but rather, a yellowish tinge. So does that mean the secret ingredient is love? We doubt it.

Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Sony Lot
The end is nigh...

2. Hydrofluoric acid would actually work for dissolving a body… but is definitely not the most practical chemical for that purpose. The scene where Jesse uses the highly corrosive acid to dissolve the remains of drug dealer Emilio in the first season (this show isn’t for people with weak stomachs, guys) is actually fairly accurate. Hydrofluoric acid really would eat through… um… flesh, as it would through ceramics, wood, glass and many types of plastic. So why wouldn’t Walt, a chemist, who definitely knows his stuff, not just use a base? According to this about.com post, lye is typically used to dissolve roadkill, leaving behind a brownish sludge. In addition, it wouldn’t harm the bathtub and could easily get washed down the drain afterwards. Oh, and Walt wouldn’t have to steal t from the school supplies. We smell a plot device.

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad Still
So here are a few myths, debunked.

3. Walt’s P2P meth cooking method, while apparently the only option that avoids using pseudo or pseudoephedrine, isn’t all that efficient, says chemistry blogger Puff the Mutant Dragon. The problem is that, in real life, the method would result in a 50/50 mixture of S-meth, which is, well, meth and R-meth, which is actually a decongestant. So, unless Walt is actually going through a much more complicated process that the show chose to omit… his customers shouldn’t be as satisfied as they are with the product.

4. Lastly… cooking meth is actually not that hard – you don’t need a world-class chemist to make a pure product. Still, there’s always the possibility of poisoning or blowing yourself up, not to mention a whole host of other scary possibilities. Definitely not advisable.

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad Still
Walter White's transformation is almost complete.


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