Breaking Bad: Skyler, Marie, and the anchors of the Schrader/White rift

(the following is a re-post from my old tumblr account)

So, today marks a year since this post on Skyler. A lot has changed in that time. The show has gone even further down the rabbit hole so to speak. One thing that has changed in this year is that Breaking Bad is an even bigger phenomenon than it was then. With such popularity not only is the hate a little more exposed, but Skyler finally has a section of fans to come to her defense (among that section is the actress that plays Skyler - Anna Gunn). Yet, despite the defense force or the attack squad, there are still large misconceptions about Skyler. This post? Not only is it about how Skyler's motivations are ill-perceived by some people out there, but how her sister Marie has seemingly gotten caught in the crossfire.

Why would Skyler side with Walt?

The first thing I want to tackle is the burning question of "Why is Skyler taking Walt's side when she was so against him for so long?". And covering this point actually covers A LOT of the questions people have for her this half of the season. I've seen so many people say that they were initially on Skyler's side, but now that she's taken up with Walt THEY have decided to turn on her. Listen, there's a very simple answer to this question: Skyler has no choice. She has no real out. When Skyler made the decision to launder all of the money, when she decided not to initially spill the beans to Hank and Marie, when she went through the turmoil of 5A and still came out without saying a word, she made her decision.  

Skyler decided to stand by Walt's side for the sake of her family. She knows that no matter what she has to see this through. She rejects the idea of Walt allowing himself to be taken down so that she can escape with the money because to her it's not ABOUT the money. Every step of the way Skyler has been trying to protect her family. She's taken every step to safely secure them all (including Walt) as soon as Walt has allowed her the room to do so. She made a commitment to this man and she has a natural commitment to her children. This was never about the money to her. Walt doesn't want to 'do this for nothing', but Skyler considers raising her children without their father the 'nothing' that he speaks of.

She gave her children to Marie and Hank at first because she was afraid of her family being ripped apart by a drug war. Now there's nothing to fear. Walt is out and they can live a happy life together. There's finally NO power struggle between them for probably the first time in years (before Walt even started cooking meth). Skyler isn't happy about how they've gotten to this point, but she's content with the idea that things won't fall apart. She's moving toward happiness and she's trying to work with her husband to get there when this secret comes out.

THAT is why she's siding with Walt. Because Walt has finally decided to side with HER. Skyler and Walt were clashing over and over again until Walt finally bowed out of the meth trade and took her side. This isn't as much Skyler submitting to Walt, but rather Walt not trying to assert dominance over his wife with a life of criminal activity. It's them coming together.

What's up with Marie trying to steal her baby?

Now, again, here's something else that a lot of people don't seem to understand: Marie had just felt every single wall of her family closing in on her. Of course Marie shouldn't have gone and tried to pick up Holly and take her home, but Marie has always been a very...quick and pretty irrational person. Even in the midst of a semi-rational decision she goes completely overboard. Here's something I don't like: People are blaming Marie for something that both she AND Hank thought of as soon as they found out about Walt being Heisenberg. Hank also demanded that they get the kids again. Hank also tried to corner Skyler and pressure her into doing exactly what he wanted. The difference is that Hank never thought to go and grab a baby. As over the top as Marie's reaction was...it was Marie's way of coping. She wanted to protect the child because as far as she knows that child is in grave danger. Marie and Hank have no idea what the current status of Walt is. All they know is that he's pushed everyone to such heights without remorse. 

Yes, they're at fault for trying to corner Skyler and push her over the rail, but they just found out that this man has made their lives hell and they're doing the only thing they know that they CAN do. Marie does it with trying to take Holly and trying to call Walt Jr. over. She's trying to protect them from the hail storm coming down. Marie's sense is to protect the children. Hank's sense is to cut the snake off at the head and take care of Walt directly. They provide equal parts to a team effort and Marie can't be faulted for her actions if Hank is somehow let go for his.

Marie telling Walt to kill himself

Funny thing: Marie, Skyler, and Hank have all wished that Walt's death came to him swiftly and painfully in one way or another. I've seen hate for Skyler hoping that the cancer would come back. I've seen hate for Marie telling Walt to kill himself. Yet, for some reason Hank wishing for Walt to rot is glossed over. Yes, Hank just found out what his brother in-law really is, but look at what these two women have been through. 

Skyler was going through so much mental abuse at the hands of Walt that she couldn't imagine a healthy life unless he was gone. Her wish for his cancer to come back could have been interpreted in many ways, but look at what happened when it did? Not only did Walt quit, but Skyler was clearly NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT! She just wanted him to get off of her. She needed to breathe again. Now that she's taken her breath she is put in a position where she can't hear herself think clearly again. She just wants things to be okay, so why should she have ever been vilified for that?

Marie? She presents it in the most absolute and pragmatic sense it has ever been. She genuinely asks why Walt won't just get rid of the problem - himself. Marie has never hated Walt. As a matter of fact Marie was Walt's biggest defender back when he got the cancer initially and even before then when Skyler would never get off of his back. Marie loves her brother in law...until she finds out what grief he's caused her.

Hank was shot. Paralyzed and had no real chance of being able to walk again. Marie was looking at a future with an unhappy husband crippled in both body and spirit. Then came further news of the cartel trying to hunt down Hank. There was her sister not talking, trying to drown herself, vaguely telling her that her kids weren't safe at home and handing them over to her, ALL of this pointing to Walt and letting Marie know that this man has brought the worst upon the two most important people in her life. She says "why don't you kill yourself" to Walt with her coldest stare and most honest pain because she loved this man like her own brother. How could he do this? How could he jeopardize everything she holds dear to her? What if he jeopardizes them all even further? What if he puts a target on her husband AGAIN?! If he won't let Hank put him away then why doesn't he just end it and let them all live their lives? This is what's firing through Marie's head and take into account the fact that the woman just learned about Walt (at most) two freakin days prior. This is all rifling through her at a rapid pace.

Marie and Hank's relationship

This is just a final point I want to make. Marie and Hank's relationship is a beautiful thing to me. Not only is it beautiful because they're sticking with each other right now, but they always have. Through Marie's little 'shopping sprees' and Hank's obsession with collecting minerals in a time of recovery; there's nothing that these two wouldn't do for each other. Hank wouldn't be walking right now if it weren't for Marie and I don't mean that by "she accepted the blood money to help him recover". Marie inspires Hank to be a better person (let's be honest Hank is kind of a shithead when it comes to people) and vice versa. Marie BELIEVES in Hank and if you look at the show there really isn't anyone else that does. For everyone in his department, for his so called 'friends' and colleagues, Hank only has Marie. If she were to back down just an inch from him then he doesn't have the confidence to go after Walt. If she second guesses him then he triple guesses himself. 

Hank is the cop that he is...the MAN that he is because of Marie's presence. They're a unit. Much like Walt and Skyler. The reason I wanted to talk about these guys as a couple is because both couples mirror each other in so many ways. The women in the lives of these men that so many people put at the 'center' of the show are truly the driving force of their lives. Walt would have probably turned himself in right now or gotten himself killed if it weren't for Skyler geting involved in the business. Hank wouldn't have recovered or had the drive to go after this criminal the right way if it wasn't for Marie's support. The most important thing is that these women have found out the darkest thread connecting all of them and are firmly planted on a side.

Marie and Skyler have always been there for each other. Through thick and then regardless of what has happened they have fought for each other. Marie can't fathom the idea of Skyler putting the love of her life in danger. It's the sharpest and most painful betrayal she ever could have felt. She put Hank in danger, she put herself in danger, she put those kids in danger, and she put Marie in danger. You can't fault Marie without faulting Hank. You can't punish her for trying to do what she feels is right. The same goes for Skyler and Walt. 

These women are here and they're dealing with the circumstances that they've been presented with. There's only so much that they can do. They're not 'bitches', they're not 'annoying cunts', and they're not here to shut up and be your perfect vision of a wife in a life or death situation. Skyler and Marie are people. They are as flawed and damaged and as far beyond their breaking point as anyone would be. That is what makes them so great. When both of their husbands decide to not do much but circle the issue in anticipation and fear they go for it head-on. Is it the smartest thing? No, but none of these people have managed to do the 'smartest thing'. What fun is it to see 4 middle-class homebodies become experts in the drug trade?

Straight Outta Compton: The Great, The Good, and The Really Ugly

Straight Outta Compton: The Great, The Good, and The Really Ugly

Something needs to be said about Skyler White (AGAIN!)