'Breaking Bad' Recap: Holy Crap, I'm Starting to Like Skyler

Tonight's Breaking Bad was another laying-the-groundwork sort of episode with the main focus being on the non-Walt parts of the story. Unlike the season premiere—in which a box cutter and a man's carotid artery earned dual nominations for Best Supporting Performance in a Grim Message-Sending Murder—nothing incredibly shocking went down, except for one major plot twist that I never expected to see happen.

I am ... well, I think I'm actually starting to like Skyler.

You know, Skyler. As in Walt's wife. As in the one person in Breaking Bad I have always disliked, not because she's a poor actress or a badly-written character, but because she is who she is. She's often complicated and at turns comes across as loyal, angry, desperate, or confused ... but mostly she's a bitch on wheels.

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From the get-go, the show set up a situation where if you were rooting for Walt—as most of us were—it was impossible to side with Skyler. They could have played her as a sympathetic character, but instead her fury over unraveling Walt's double life made her a sort of villain. It wasn't that we couldn't understand where she was coming from, it was that her relentless bitchiness made her utterly unlikeable.

The early contrast between Skyler's nagging and Walt's doormat persona actually led to one of the most satisfying lines in Breaking Bad history, when Walt finally lost his temper with her:

I haven’t been myself lately, but I love you. Nothing about that has changed, nothing ever will. So right now, what I need, is for you to climb down out of my ass. Can you do that? Will you do that for me, honey? Will you please, just once, get off my ass, you know? I’d appreciate it, I really would.

I can't be the only one who actually leaped up off the couch and clapped during that scene, right?

Obviously a lot has changed with Walt, and it's becoming more and more clear that much has changed with Skyler as well. The way she stubbornly insisted on pursuing the car wash sale, her involvement with the EPA scam, and her final negotiations ... those moments weren't just ballsy, she's becoming more and more comfortable with crossing the line into criminal behavior. What she so vehemently judged, she's now becoming a part of. And there's this intriguing dynamic in their new partnership where her overly pragmatic nature (while still irritating; see also: buzzkill champagne scene) may just provide the balance Walt needs from his increasingly careless and emotion-driven behavior.


I'm interested to see what continues to happen with her character, but I'll tell you the exact moment when I actually started liking her tonight: when she was waiting for the car wash owner to call her back. She'd taken the huge risk of aggressively negotiating the price of the business, Walt had completely dismissed her efforts, and she put on a confident act for him—but as soon as he turned away, all the anxiety and worry was in her face. She was just waiting for that phone to ring, hoping she hadn't made the wrong move. I was hoping along with her.


What do you think of Skyler's character in Breaking Bad? Has your opinion of her changed at all over the seasons?



Image via AMC

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