A defining characteristic of Vince Gilligan’s hit drama Breaking Bad is its array of morally ambiguous characters. Even beyond the drug kingpin himself, much of the supporting cast tends to have a hodgepodge of positive and negative traits, making them more relatable and more human. They may be likable and benign in some ways, but often have a darker, more repellent side. This is even the case with Hank’s wife and Skyler’s sister Marie – whose cheery, warmhearted demeanor is counterbalanced with some more irritating traits and bad habits. This Radiologic Technician and lover of purple has displayed some aggravating behavior, though she’s also a deeply sympathetic character at times with all she’s had to go through.
This list will highlight 5 prime examples of these more sympathetic as well as more repellent instances for Marie.
Felt Bad: Waiting On Her Husband After He Gets Shot
Marie may have certain character flaws (namely in the form of shoplifting) as well as intrusiveness on occasion. Still, it can be aggravating witnessing the caring, benign wife of Hank having to deal with the emotional trauma and countless moments in the hospital tending to her ailing husband.
This is especially true given how much she seems to be disregarded and brushed aside by the prideful Hank, who just wants to recover and walk out of the hospital himself. Waiting on the stubborn Hank day after day can’t be an easy feat, especially when factoring in Marie’s own issues and job on top of it.
Hated Her: Striking Skyler And Trying To Take Her Child
One can only imagine what’s going through the mind of a clearly-shocked Marie as she learns about Walt’s criminal activity and the complicity of her own sister. Still, her knee-jerk behavior after becoming privy to it makes for a pretty ugly moment for her character as well.
After a harsh slap to the face for her unsuspecting sister, she outright tries to abduct her child Holly, who naturally begins crying in fear amidst a heated squabble between the two sisters. It’s an emotional moment, to be sure, and one that makes for quite the overreaction on the part of Marie.
Felt Bad: Her Trauma When Finding Out The Truth About Walt
As it’s alluded to on a few occasions, Marie is already seeing a therapist named Dave, who finally makes an appearance in the 4th episode of season 5B. Clearly, Hank’s wife is already struggling to work out certain issues. But the stunning revelation regarding Walt’s criminal activity – not to mention those of her own sister – seem to practically break Marie.
She looks heartbreakingly shattered, despondent, and borderline depressed when uttering her emotional state to Dave during “Rabid Dog.” It’s tough to see this normally upbeat, cheery woman break down to such a degree.
Hated Her: Forcing Skyler To Tell Walter Jr. About Her Father’s Dealings
One less-than-appealing trait of Marie is her intrusiveness when it comes to the personal happenings of Walt’s family. Of course, the ends somewhat justify the means given Walt’s criminal dealings – but her consistently nosy ways tend to get irritating for many viewers. This reaches a head when Walt’s drug empire is exposed and he (briefly) gets arrested by Hank.
This is naturally all the fuel Marie needs in forcing Skyler’s hand to tell her young son about his father’s nefarious actions. It’s hard not to shake one’s head at Marie after seeing the sobbing Skyler and an utterly shellshocked Jr. after hearing this news.
Felt Bad: Walter Jr.’s Coldness Towards Her When She Takes Him In
One appealing aspect of Breaking Bad is the dual nature of many of its characters, which gives them a sense of depth and likability. Marie certainly fits this description during most of the show’s run. While she has her issues, she’s also a warmhearted person who supports her family, even if the hospitality isn’t always returned. One example – which involves a grumpy and downtrodden Walter Jr. – makes her very sympathetic indeed.
After being forced to stay at her house, Marie tries to comfort Walt’s disgruntled son and make the experience pleasant by offering him food. His response is a simple “no” and a sarcastic proclamation that “you can go back to talking about me now” before walking away.
Hated Her: Suggesting Walt Take His Own Life
It’s easy to imagine the disgust that Marie no-doubt has for her brother-in-law after it’s revealed he’s the nefarious Heisenberg. Still, Marie’s request that Walt out to just kill himself to make the family’s predicament easier just seems overly harsh and out of character.
After all, this is the same person that has been kind and supportive to the family and seemingly wishes for peace above all else. Even if Walt may deserve such a statement from an objective standpoint, it’s a somewhat repellent moment for Marie’s character.
Felt Bad: Hank’s Snippiness Towards Her At Times
It’s no secret that Hank goes through some tough times in the middle portion of Breaking Bad. Heisenberg continues to elude him, and the pressure of his job as a DEA agent seems to be growing by the day – yielding traumatic scenes and injury. He’s seen his share of action on the show, to be sure. Still, one can’t help but feel bad for his wife as he continually shuts her out, makes her do menial tasks for him, and outright barks at her despite her kind, supportive nature.
Hank really has some repellent moments himself as he treats Marie little better than the minerals he starts collecting…
Hated Her: Getting Skyler In Trouble For Trying To Return The Tiara
While Marie makes a seemingly selfless move in gifting an expensive tiara for their newborn, this quickly shifts to recklessness and a disregard for Skyler. As it turns out, Marie had stolen the item, and worse still – put Skyler in a humiliating, precarious spot when she tries to return it.
Of course, Marie couldn’t have known that she was going to bring the item back to the jewelry store, but the intense detainment of Skyler is still her fault. Not only could she not be bothered to actually buy a gift for Walt and Skyler, but she also inadvertently puts her own sister in harm’s way.
Felt Bad: Losing Her Husband
There are few moments more heartbreaking on Breaking Bad than the conclusion of “Ozymandias,” which shows Marie in stunned anguish after learning Hank is dead. Despite occasional friction, these two were clearly close and loved each other, and seeing this relationship snuffed out at the hands of a reckless Walt is quite brutal.
It’s all the more tragic given how long Marie had spent tending to a recovering Hank, and how just hours before she assumed Hank had succeeded and arrested Walt.
Hated Her: Her Frequent Shoplifting
As viewers know, one of Marie’s defining negative traits is her tendency to succumb to shoplifting, which she’s seen doing (or attempting) several times. Indeed, it seems that Walter White isn’t the only one who “breaks bad” throughout the course of this crime drama.
And while Marie’s kleptomania is small potatoes compared to the criminal activity of Walt, that doesn’t make her bouts of shameless shoplifting any less irritating. As mentioned, these hijinks have unjustly gotten Skyler in trouble, though they’ve also burden her already-stressed husband Hank.