Even though Skyler is not connected to organized crime in the way Walt’s many enemies are, she is probably his most significant obstacle. Walt’s struggle is his double life, walking the line between his life as a drug kingpin and his life as a normal, cancer-ridden father. While they have two kids, the picture of the “normal life” is Skyler.

During the show’s 10-year reunion panel, it was revealed the writers decided early to bring Skyler in on the crime, tying her directly to the show’s dramatic focus. As the walls between the sides of Walt’s life dissolve, Skyler learns more about the crimes he’s committed and the increasingly evil man to whom she’s married. She feels the effects of his criminal work more visibly than anybody else in Walt’s life. She knows enough to fear Walt and hate him, but soon becomes entrenched in the lifestyle in the exact same way.

She helps to launder money for Walt’s dealing, but can’t bear the pain of seeing her husband’s monstrous extremes. During his 51st birthday in the show’s final season, she attempts to drown herself in the family pool before being rescued by Walt.

In many ways, Skyler’s perpetual antagonism towards Walt led to hatred from the show’s fanbase, who at their worst saw the show as a misogynistic power fantasy. Where Skyler’s arc was a complex study of complicity and psychological abuse, many seemed to see it as evidence of her hypocrisy, or that she deserved what she got. If the show had followed through on the initial suggestion of her suicide, the writers would have made the wrong call.