Much has been written about the character Skyler White from Breaking Bad. She is a popular target of hatred by the fans, for strange and various reasons, but I have found her to be a more interesting character than her husband in many ways. Her moral ambiguity is more ambiguous than Walter’s, for one thing, and small hints about her character and history have long intrigued me.
The most interesting being her past ambition as a writer.
Only the occasional hint is dropped about Mrs. White’s literary past. We do not know if she was an English major, or if she attended a creative writing program. She met her husband while working as a waitress, and she worked for a while as an accountant. After having their first child, she began writing stories and selling items on eBay for cash. For all we know, her stories remain entirely unpublished.
When she and Walt decide to lie about the source of their sudden income, she writes a script for her husband that he finds disagreeable. It seems he does not hold Skyler’s writing talents in esteem.
She is a good liar, and frequently helps Walt spin yarns to keep him (or her) out of prison. By the end of the series she settles comfortably into the role of Lady Macbeth, a role she doubtless assumes very consciously.
All this is in the background. If you watch carefully, you can almost see Skyler writing her own story as the series progresses. In her own mind she fills the roles of the scorned woman, the partner in crime, the liberated adulterer, the abandoned lover, and the tragic loser.
But there is no coherent narrative that can tie all these together. Unlike Walt, who has written his own story as Heisenberg, Skyler has no strong character arc with a beginning, middle, and end. She is too reactive, never as active; too half-hearted, never all-in.
Think of it as a warning from series creator Vince Gilligan: Write, lest your soul shrivel up.