Breaking Bad’s Betsy Brandt, Walt’s kleptomaniac sister-in-law Marie, has no idea what is really going on in the White household — and after last night’s episode, it seems she’s going to stay in the dark for at least a little while longer. She now knows that Skyler had an affair with her injured ex-boss Ted, true, but she thinks the accident is to blame for Skyler’s near nervous breakdown at the car wash — not the fact that her sister is married to a manipulative meth king. (The very meth king her husband is chasing down. This finale is going to be unreal.) We spoke with Brandt about Marie’s misguided trust, Hank’s dickish behavior, and what she thinks of Walt’s increasingly evil ways.
You had two intense scenes in last night’s episode: One with Skyler, one with Walt. Which was more difficult for you?
They were both so much fun. I told Vince [jokingly], “You know, Cranston really showed up that day. You know how sometimes he’s there, but he’s phoning it in? I got Bryan on his one good day, that episode.” [Laughs.]
Why does Marie trust Walt so implicitly in that scene? She bought his explanation without even talking to Skyler.
Because it would be crazy for her not to; she has no reason not to trust Walt. Oh God, how disturbing was it when you saw Walt with Brock? Peter Gould, the writer, he and his family came over last night and we watched the episode together, and I’m like, “I’m nauseous. My stomach is upset.” We did have Mexican food — but I was like, “I think I have heartburn just from seeing that moment.”
Do you have viewing parties like that often?
No. That is the closest I would do to a party. And I’ve had people ask me to come and have a viewing party and I can’t. I’m just really not comfortable. I feel like you may as well have a T-shirt on that says, “Did you think I was good?”
How is the cheating news going to affect Marie’s relationship with Skyler? I’d imagine Marie is going to be mad at Skyler.
It’s funny, because I don’t know if she’d be mad so much as judge-y — but with anyone other than Skyler. I think she’s surprisingly empathetic with the people who she chooses to be empathetic with, and one of those people is Skyler.
Then maybe Marie will take it out on Ted and pay him a visit at the hospital?
Oh, I really like that. [Teasingly.] You should come in and float some pitches.
No, I know you can’t say. It just doesn’t seem like Marie will be able to let this go is all.
No, Marie doesn’t really let things go.
If Skyler winds up confiding in Marie about what’s really going on, and Walt finds out, Marie could be in trouble.
Would you be okay with that?
Well, on this show, anything could happen. I hope to be standing at the end.
Although if Marie gets killed, it could be a good thing for your character. It’s like on Dexter —
Yes. Exactly. Her death was one of the greatest moments on the show, so she’s sort of immortal.
Oh, listen, I’ve known people on Dexter who’ve been like, “God, I hope I get killed. Like, really badly, viciously.”
You’re usually a source of comic relief on the show, but last season was heavy for you.
Yeah, I told Dean that after this is over I’m entitled to some sort of alimony from him. So that’s what I’m focusing on now. I’m going to talk to [Bob] Odenkirk [who plays Saul] and ask him to represent me.
What can we expect for Marie and Hank? It seems like you guys are happy again from the way Marie was talking to Skyler. But is there any resentment on Marie’s part for how he treated her after the shooting?
I don’t know that I would say resentment. In my mind, she owes him. Because, my God, even just helping me not get arrested with the spoons and all the other shit I’ve stolen — you know? And that’s just what we see. In all the other episodes we don’t see, he’s putting up with her and saving her. We’re just coming into their life; they’ve been together how many years? Even though they have hard times, they just have a beautiful relationship. I just think that’s part of marriage.
But he was pretty bad to her.
She just can’t imagine life without him. So to come that close to losing him, I think she was just happy to …
She was willing to take it.
She was willing to take it. And I think just grateful to take it because it meant he was there.
Now that he’s recovered —
He’s on his way; we don’t come back this season and he’s pole vaulting. [Laughs.]
Right, right. Is she going to give him a hard time about going back to work?
I don’t think it took him going through physical therapy and being laid up for so long for her to get how important work is to him. I think that when things are good at work for Hank, that Schraderville is a much happier place to live in. And she’s aware of that.
Why don’t Hank and Marie have kids?
I want to know too! I’m fine with them not. But this is one of the things I love about Breaking Bad: The things we don’t say, we deal with them without straight-on dealing with them. It will be addressed, but not directly addressed, in an upcoming episode.
Is it true the cast has costume wrap parties?
Oh, Bryan and Aaron dress up every year.
Yeah. It’s just this thing they do; it kind of bonds them as a couple, I think. They’ve dressed up as each other. They’ve dressed as their significant others, like Aaron went as Jane and Bryan went as Skyler. Last year, Bryan was Tio. He did that [points finger like Tio].
What do you think of Walt at this point? Is he totally evil?
I just think he’s becoming a different Walt. It used to be that even though he would do these horrible things, I would still root for him. Like, “Well, he had to. It was him or that guy” — but it’s getting harder. After the kid? Did he know that it wasn’t a lethal dose?
It’s always going to be a risk if you poison a kid. He has this God complex now.
You mean Walt — not Cranston, right? [Laughs.]
Yeah, Walt. But I watched that bowling video you guys did, and Cranston did seem to have a best bowler complex.
Bryan said something like [in a sarcastic, bragging tone], “Well, I just happen to be good at baseball, bowling …” And I said, this is going to be a quote from you: “I’m just excellent at everything. That’s my cross to bear.” —Bryan Cranston.
Is this Breaking Bad’s year to win the Emmy?
Don’t jinx it. Don’t jinx it. There are other great shows out there that I’m worried about. Before we go, I would love to be able to fall down on my way up to the stage. It’s a price I’m willing to pay. [Laughs.] And just, lose my mind and embarrass myself crying in front of everyone in America. I just would really love that for us.
Have you seen or heard anything about the last eight episodes?
No. I mean, a little bit of speculation, but I don’t know what’s going to happen.
Does the cast talk about what they predict will happen?
I don’t know if anybody else does. I joke about my spinoff with Hank, and how I kill Walt with my bare hands. But we used to get these outlines and at first I didn’t read outlines, because what am I going to do? I just would never in a million years go into any room of writers, let alone this room of writers, and be like, Guys, I’m not really happy with that. Let me tell you how to do your job. But then once I started reading the outlines, I couldn’t wait to get them, just because I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen. I mean, there has been really only one time I can remember where I said something to Vince [about an outline]: It’s when Walt was in the hospital after he disappeared and showed up naked in the grocery store. And Hank and Walt Jr. are at the hospital and I said, “Marie would be there.” I said, “I’m not trying to give her more scenes, more lines, and make scheduling more difficult — but that’s the thing about her. She shows up. Whether you want her to or not, she’s there.” And Vince was like, “Yeah, you’re right.” And he e-mailed me back, like, “I’ve got it.” So in the episode, when they do the scene, there’s this bright bouquet with balloons that say, “Happy, happy, happy!” And Walt says, “Oh, Marie dropped it off on her way to work.” [Laughs.] I feel like I got a laugh and I did nothing. But Marie would show up.
That’s why I don’t think Marie is going to let Skyler get away with not telling her what’s really going on.
Yeah. I think that’s an interesting instinct.
She’s going to needle her until she gets information.
The only thing is, she doesn’t really know the gravity of what she’s needling for, so you have to keep that in mind. But, definitely, there’s something going on with Skyler and Walt. And Marie is going to want to know about that. Because she likes to know.
A question about Magic Mike: Is Channing Tatum a Breaking Bad fan?
I don’t know! I don’t think so. I feel like he probably would have told me. He’s so sweet. He is just one of the nicest people you will meet. I told him, “I know you have your clothes on in this scene. But if you want to take them off, I do not want to get in the way of any actor’s process.”