For a few episodes in the first half of the Breaking Bad season 2, Skyler is going out everyday and giving Walt the cold shoulder. The reason is that she knows Walt is bullshitting her and not telling here the truth.

Then some point onwards (seems like roughly when Gretchen comes visit the house), she seems to stop being angry, but without Walt ever telling her anything.

What is the explanation for this? (My guess is that it's just poor writing. But perhaps I missed something.)

2 Answers 2


Skyler doesn't just "become increasingly detached". At the end of S2e4 in the couch scene ("Skyler, what do you want me to tell you?"), if looks could kill, Walt would have been a charred smoking pile of ash right there. She insists Walter tell her what's going on. Walt doesn't and she storms out.

But at the beginning of S2E5 she's on the phone with the insurance company and then talking to Walt and absolutely none of that hostility is evident. There is grimacing over the hospital bill for Walt's short stay (the "world's most expensive alibi) but no ongoing hostility that I could see.

In E6 she's aloof at the lunch party at Hank and Marie's, but that turns out to be hostility to Marie over the tiara. Then back at the White house at the end of the ep, Skyler and Walt have a deep talk after they "learn" that "the Schwartz's are broke and will not be able to pay for more treatments".

That seems to me to be the turning point. Skyler thinks that Walt's big secret was his concern over the lack of continuation of payments, and she takes his hand in support. An ep or two later, Skyler hosts a party to celebrate the impressive success over Walt's cancer and she's all smiles; if that's an act it's a very very good one. She's fine and supportive from then on until Walt's drug-induced "which one?" about the cellphones.

  • Skyler thinks that Walt's big secret was his concern over the lack of continuation of payments -- that's not correct because according to Walt's lie to Skyler, Walt himself also only found out about the stoppage of payments that very same day.
    – user9668
    Nov 10, 2020 at 4:12

I think Skyler's behaviour is perfectly understandable if you consider the developing of her relationship with Walt, whose behaviour is becoming more and more secretive day after day.

If at first the erratic mood of Walter was interpreted by Skyler and the closest members of the family by a more than comprehensible way to cope with the terrible news of the lung cancer that struck him, she starts to become angry at him the moment she feels that Walt is not being true, that he's hiding something and he's covering that something with lies (Walt's disappearance to hide the kidnap by Tuco, the fact that Gretchen and Elliot are not really paying for Walt's therapy, the second cell phone, Walt's fake visit to his mother).

When Skyler begins to understand that something is amiss, she tries to confront Walt but she only receives awkward lies instead of real answers from him. She doesn't know the truth but she sees right through Walt's bull**** (to quote Skyler).

At first she gets mad and angry at Walt, but since he keeps on acting as if everything is fine, although plainly in an unnatural and forcibly manner, she tries to provoke him in order to get the truth from him. When even this tactic fails Skyler becomes increasingly detached because she is simply tired of bouncing against the rubber wall of niceness and affability erected by her husband.

This goes on until Skyler receives the proof of her husband's lies directly from Walt, who gives himself away by revealing the existence of the second cell phone (that he always denied) when he's lying sedated in the hospital bed before going into surgery.

At this point Skyler can no longer ignore the truth and decides to confront Walt again, but she doesn't even give Walt the chance to explain himself because she is fed up with his lies ("Lies on top of lies on top of lies"). And when Walt desperately tries to stop Skyler from leaving him by offering her the truth, she doesn't even want to know, because now she "is afraid to".

I've loved Breaking Bad. I've loved the dialogues and the way the characters were "built" and shaped all throughout the series, and I do not see a shred of inconsistency nor an example of poor writing by the authors in developing Walt and Skyler's relationship, not in the second season and not in any other season.

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