Breaking Bad: Three key characters (who are not Walt)

A look at Jesse, Lydia and Skyler and how their roles are crucial to the show's plot.

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Instead of doing a standard recap of Sunday’s episode of Breaking Bad – you watched it and don’t need me going over everything, plus there are too many exceptional ones out there already – let’s talk about where things are likely to go from here by highlighting a few key characters from this week’s episode.

Skyler

Unlike wives in other great dramas who get in the way of the vice(s) of our leading man, Skyler has been an integral part of Walt’s operation since mid-way through season three. She’s never been supportive of his actions but has protected them for the sake of their family. Thanks to her money laundering talents she’s now as complicit as he is. Hank, who has seen 99 percent of the Heisenberg forest through the trees but is missing that last branch, can’t sense that she’s not innocent in all of this. However, Marie, in just a few seconds, deduces from Skyler’s face that she’s known about Walt for quite some time.

Her worst fear is realized. The family she tried to protect is now splintered, only a few steps away from shattering. She’s not giving up anything to Hank, correctly figuring that a quiet strategy is the best one. This was an especially strong episode for Anna Gunn, who always plays Skyler wonderfully but rarely gets meaty scenes like the one with Hank in the diner. I fear for Skyler, though, now that our favorite Stevia drinker needs a new meth cook. Which brings us to …

Lydia

She’s come a long way from the timid, jittery woman in the diner with Mike at the start of the season. There’s a glaring need for a top-notch cook now that Walt has bowed out, and Declan’s crew wasn’t cutting it. Todd may make a passable product, but it’s the 99.1 percent purity of Walter White’s blue crystal that has lined her pockets. A cancer stricken Walt wouldn’t have much motivation to cook if his life was threatened. If his family’s was, that would be a different story.

I’m sure this theory will change as each week passes, but as it stands right now the machine gun in Mr. Lambert’s trunk and the ricin in his hand would seem a good fit for Lydia and Todd’s crew. Walt almost used the ricin on Lydia near the mid-season finale, until she proved herself useful. Now that he’s out of the game, and she’s going to be causing issues, perhaps he’ll send her on a trip to Belize with the machine gun reserved for Todd’s skinhead pals.


Jesse

He’s still the biggest wild card in all of this. Hank is missing the one piece of evidence that can tie Walt to everything. There are no fingerprints. No smoking gun. The money is buried in the desert. Well, Walt’s money is. Jesse is flinging his out of his car like the world’s best paperboy, which brings him to Hank’s attention once again. Jesse may hate Hank, but he despises Walt – who turned him into a killer and robbed him of everything he once loved – more. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. He has every reason to tell Hank everything he knows. The DEA should be able to grant him immunity for most of what he’s done, and even if they can’t cover everything it doesn’t seem like Jesse cares at this point.

Unless the writers come up with a compelling reason for Jesse not to spill his guts, I don’t see him not doing so. Walt and Saul tried unsuccessfully to reach Jesse this week. It won’t be long before Walt connects the dots that Hank has gotten to Jesse. This show has gone five seasons without a member of the main cast dying, which is unusual for this type of drama. As it stands now I don’t see a way Walt can keep him alive.


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