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"Skyler is a pragmatist who will do pretty much anything to keep her family together."
Vince Gilligan
Skyler S3

Skyler's character started originally as a housewife who was clueless of her husband's criminal activities. She appeared to be the one wearing the pants in their marriage - making most of their decisions herself without any regard for Walt's own opinions - ranging from their financial decisions to things as trivial as dinner, likely adding to Walt's feelings of emasculation and inadequacy. She was very capable and willing to get her way in every matter that concerned the family and Walt personally, even planning an all-family intervention-style talk with Walter to utilize family pressure to convince him to undergo treatment and acting up when the talk didn't quite go her way. Nevertheless, she stood by her husband through lung cancer and took a part time job to support her family. However, Season 2 concluded with her realization that he had been lying to her about the source of his money, and Season 3 began with her intention of divorcing him after learning the truth. She hates the situation that her estranged husband has put the family in, but she's not willing or able to avail herself to the choice of getting Walt out of her life. She instead decides to do her part to make sure he doesn't go to prison and thus ruin her family. In a very pragmatic sense, Skyler remains married to Walt (a conscious decision because "spouses can't be forced to testify against each other, so there's that") and soon begins explaining his meth-gotten gains as gambling winnings from a card counting system, as well as using her bookkeeping skills to help Walter launder his money—all of which she does in order to help her family.

Skyler is the primary vehicle behind purchasing the car wash, which is, to her mind, the best fiction that she and Walt can tell the world about their source of income. The whole idea of this fiction that allows them to launder this money is very much a creation of Skyler’s, and part of Skyler's wish to keep the family together no matter what. Skyler goes to great lengths to write a script for she and Walt to memorize in order to convince Hank and Marie that they have come into this large amount of money through Walt’s illicit gambling. Eventually, Skyler's transformation into the manager actively laundering Walt's illicit gains deteriorates their marriage, making it somewhat of an unpleasant business relationship. In some ways, Skyler feels there is no reason for her to attempt to be a caring mother and wife when her estranged husband makes no bona fide effort at it either. As Skyler becomes further embroiled in illegal money laundering through the car wash, her survival instincts cause her to be incredibly cautious about making sure her and Walt's story stands up to scrutiny—this is demonstrated when she criticizes Walt for buying expensive champagne and a costly Challenger sports car for Walt Jr., both of which contradict their story of living on the edge.

Skyler's frustration with her situation with Walt gets to her in several ways: she smoked while pregnant and around her baby, started sleeping with her boss Ted Beneke, and staged a suicide attempt to voice her disgust with Walt's moral decline. Skyler, it appears, can sometimes act with pride and a controlling personality. When she goes to make sure Ted Beneke pays his IRS debt and he pointedly brushes her off (she is also frustrated that he bought a new Mercedes with the money and is considering hiring a tax attorney to try and get a better deal from the IRS), she can't help revealing to him that she was the source of the $600,000 that Ted was told by Saul Goodman had been left to him from his "Great Aunt Brigid's" Luxembourg estate.

Skyler's actions for the sake of the family sometimes left collateral damage to those around them, such as the accident involving Ted Beneke. Another side effect of this action is that she gave away all the money Walt needed to have a "disappearer" take the family to a new life, forcing Walt to take extreme measures with Gus since escaping was no longer an option. But unlike Walt, she chooses to accept the reality and horror of her actions (as painful as this is to her). She becomes terrified of Walt following the murder of Gus Fring and Walt's voluntary re-entry into the Meth business. But her resolve to protect the family remained intact, and she seemed to be at greater ease following Walt's retirement ("Gliding Over All"). Once Hank finally caught on to Walt's former activities, she remained loyal to Walt for the sake of protecting their children. After Hank's death and Walt leaving town, she is forced to defend herself from federal prosecutors accusing her as an accomplice to Walt's crimes. When Walt returns to say help her and say his final goodbye, she is noticeably thinner and appears to be a shell of the person she once was. Once Walt finally confesses that everything he did was for himself, she appears to feel some sense of relief. She is last seen observing Walt feel their daughter for the last time, with what looks to be a soft smile on her face ("Felina").

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