Is the meth cooking depicted in Breaking Bad legit? (No spoilers, please)

Even if he didn’t know to start out, the knowledge is obviously out there and not hard to come by, given that non-genius criminals manage to do it so often.

As I remember (it’s been a while), among the things he had were the understanding of the chemical processes and (relative) perfectionism.

So while “anyone” could make decent enough meth with some basic instructions by knowing that you mix A with B and heat it for 5 minutes, he understood why you were mixing A with B, what temperature it needs to be to start the reaction, what you’re actually (from a chemical standpoint) looking for at various stages, how to optimize your yield, how to keep impurities out of the mix, what (if anything) can be used as a substitute when ingredients aren’t available, etc.

this is emphasized later when Jesse says something like he looks for the barrel with the bee on it. He, at that point, has done it so many times, he fully knows all the mechanical steps as he works through and even some of the checks and balances - but really doesn’t know any of the underlying theory. Walt did.

Thanks for answers. I finished Season 1 today, and all I have to say is, Walter White’s wife is truly a saint. Looking forward to going back and reading the spoilers once I finish the show.

That sounds like something Heisenberg would say.

Don’t forget that by the time Gus takes Jesse to the Cartel, Jesse is cooking at an even higher level than Gale said he could achieve.

Back in the 70’s you could buy ephedrine pills (“white crosses” or “mini-thins”) at gas stations and such in bottles of like 100. But they sold in backs of magazines in huge bottles of 10,000! I always wondered why anyone would want that many of those things. The buzz they produced was terrible. Way more jitters and palpitations than caffeine and your hair felt staticky like it was standing on end.

It wasn’t until I became a LEO in '82 that I learned what people were doing with such huge amounts of those pills.

If you were a really competent chemist, you would not only be able to follow some recipe, you could invent new recipes. Or scale up something that works in the lab. Even discover new drugs (think amphetamine → methamphetamine, dimethoxymethylamphetamine, etc.)

Here in 'Sconsin there’s a guy that wrote a book while he was in prison on how to make meth. With todays laws and such regarding the ingredients I wonder how much in that book is still useful.

I watched the series way back when it first came out. I remember hating his wife.

I have no trouble believing that an organic chemist would have a look at Jesse’s meth lab and think “ah, I see what you’re trying to do here” and make some immediate improvement to the engineering, at least. From there he’d probably consult texts to come up with superior reactions, and he’d make a few bad batches before fine-tuning his process. Which is more or less what we saw in the show.

Folks would be pretty surprised to see the kind of sophisticated illegal chemistry information is freely available on the internet. The knowledge isn’t the bottleneck. The bottleneck is access to precursors and catalysts that are either prohibited, or closely watched.

After my gallbladder surgery I was on Acetaminophen/Codeine. I wasn’t happy taking as much acetaminophen as I was, so I researched how to separate the two. It was trivially simple.

Same…she was my least favorite character (well acted but also a horrible person though a lot less horrible than Walt, ultimately).

You can tell a lot about a person by how they react to Skyler White.

Not sure if I was just praised or insulted!

A cool thing about the show is the way I could see Skyler from Walt’s side and objectively at the same time. For example, when she kicked Walt out, half of me said, “that was out of the blue” and the other half said, “what took you so long”.

Basic chemistry is not “illegal chemistry information” (is there such a thing?) Making and selling crystal meth is what is illegal.

The way Skyler treated her husband before she learned he had cancer (or that he was a meth cook) is the real Skyler.

It’s funny, when I first watched the show as it aired I hated Skyler. But last year I rewatched the entire series and I can’t figure out why I had disliked her so much! Knowing the whole show really changes your perspective.

So again, I’m only done with season 1, but Walter is clearly a distant, deceitful, secretive husband who doesn’t communicate. And now all of a sudden, he’s gone for hours every day without explanation and hanging out with a young druggie whose aspirations include “wheelie school”. Every wife and girlfriend I’ve ever had would blow up if I had ever pulled 10% of the crap that Walter pulled.

Meanwhile, she’s 40 and pregnant, has to be concerned about her financial security should Walter die, and yet stops at nothing to make sure that he gets the best care.

So I’m not sure what’s wrong about her. Now, the fact that she has no job makes me wonder what she does all day when her husband and son are out, so I fully expect my opinion of her to change.

What’s “wrong” is that we* identify with Walt and want him to succeed in his plan to make millions as a meth lord. Skyler and her suspicions are an obstacle to that success.

*By “we” I may be projecting my own views as a man similar to Walt’s demographic. Other viewers may identify with Skyler more strongly, but I suspect the writers’ intent all along was for viewers to identify with and root for Walt.

I’m with you, but can still acknowledge that she has to be a saint to not go apeshit on him every day.