It is nine years, almost to the day, since Breaking Bad concluded with the final episode of season 5. At the time, it felt like a show drawn straight from the front lines of the drugs war. Now, it feels like a prescient reminder of the ever-changing nature of the trade. It also made an antihero of a mild-mannered high school chemistry teacher who discovers that he possesses a unique skill. Walter White was supremely gifted when it came to making crystal meth. He was, in fact, so gifted that his product was so pure as to appear blue.
The blueness of White’s meth is one small detail where the narcotically well-informed show diverged from reality. Pure crystal meth is colourless or white, but “Blue Sky” was a clever fabrication on behalf of the show’s writers that helped distinguish White’s product from the rest. Yet, even if the plot point was a fabrication, it was based on a foundational truth of America’s drug culture which is the great paranoia around illicitly bought narcotics. Drugs are so often cut with other ingredients, maliciously transformed to make the supply go further by boosting their potency, that it’s often impossible to know what is or is not authentic. White’s drug is pure and blue. Very few illegal narcotics share such a distinguishing feature.