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Breaking Bad’s Betsy Brandt on Marie’s Big Moment and Being Worried for Hank

Photo: Frank Ockenfels/AMC

(Spoilers ahead for those who haven’t watched Sunday’s episode of Breaking Bad yet. Come back after!) It’s Marie’s turn to feel heartbreak. After being kept in the dark about Walt’s crimelord hobby the longest — well, except for Walt Jr. — Marie finally learned the ugly truth about what Skyler and Walt had been hiding in Sunday’s episode of Breaking Bad, and how it nearly cost Hank his life. There was rage, and tears, and, according to Betsy Brandt, one very loud fake slap. Now Marie is dead-set on helping Hank get Walt before the cancer does. Brandt is already busy shooting her next next series, NBC’s The Michael J. Fox Show, but during a production break she spoke with Vulture about Marie’s heartbreak and why we should probably be worried for Hank.

Marie knows!
Man, that episode, we’ve waited seasons for those moments. At least, I have.

I loved that Marie did all the talking while Skyler’s quietly breaking down.
I loved how they handled that. For me, the question had been, “What will Marie do when she finds out?” Because it’s one of those things you can’t know until you’re in it. I couldn’t see her turning her back on Skyler, but at the same time, of course that’s a deal breaker for her! The fact that Skyler had any part in jeopardizing Hank’s life. It’s just so sad! We just did this podcast where we were talking about that moment and [Anna Gunn] and I were both crying! It broke my heart because that’s done. That family, that relationship, that “we’ll stand together” sisterhood, is gone in that moment. There’s no repairing it. Now, when I say there’s no turning back, I don’t want to say anything about the future, but in that moment it’s “You are dead to me.”

I’m glad she knows, even though it wrecks her.
Yeah, I was hoping that she would find out. I didn’t know what Hank would do after I read last week’s episode. Would he try and protect her and take it all on his own and not tell her? I didn’t know how they were gonna handle it.

Were you surprised Hank did let Marie find out?
Well, he can’t tell anyone at work. When you find out news like that, you have to tell someone. And I think also there are ways in which he’d want to tell her in order to protect her, so Walt doesn’t end up kidnapping her or something. Walt would do anything. But you know, the gloves are off now. It was a huge choice, but I think it was the perfect choice.

The gloves are off for everyone now. Marie and Hank are united in revenge.
I know! Remember when she was telling Skyler, “Don’t forget Walt’s birthday!” Now she’s like, “He is going down. We’re gonna get him.”

Hank and Marie have been through a lot together. I think they could take him.
Their marriage is strong. One of my favorite moments was in “One Minute,” where Hank’s gone to the DEA and says he screwed up, and she shows up in the elevator and he breaks down? It’s such a sweet scene and God, I could cry talking about it right now. There are parts in the series that I cannot watch, like where Hank gets shot by the cousins. Before we watched the [final season] premiere, they had this whole recap montage and the part where the axe comes down in the parking lot, right before Hank shoots the cousin? I’d never seen that before. I know he’s going to be fine, and I get that it’s a TV show, but because I play his wife on TV … I don’t know,  I can’t watch it! I remember I told my husband that I feel it, I feel the stress in my body, I feel my blood pressure rise. There’s another moment later on that we shot in these last eight episodes that was one of my hardest days on the show.

Oh, no… Haaaaaank. 
I’m not saying anything.  I wish I could remember which episode it was. Genni Hutchison wrote it and Michael Slovis directed. I can’t recall, but there’s this scene in there where I just… [sighs]. This is why I wanted to do a comedy!  With drama like this, after a while it’s just not healthy.

I’m going to think happy Hank thoughts and go back to the idea that Marie and Hank are after Walt’s blood now. “Team Schrader for the win!” You’ve been wanting Marie to see some action for a long time. Will she get her hands dirty before the end? 
I can’t say! You have to watch and see, but I will say I was very happy to see the slap. I was like, “All right, that’s a little stunt!”

Did you actually slap Anna?
I didn’t really slap her, which I was really thankful for because then I could really haul back and “do it.” I made no contact. Every actor works differently, and I have to keep things light. Anna likes to stay very focused, even when she’s not shooting, and I totally respect her, but it was really hard for me to not do a spit take. Like if I had my way, I’d  have slapped her, and then told her to slap me, and then I’d slap her again, and then we’d just make out. At least once. But that day I got the feeling that it wasn’t going to happen.

One curious thing for me: Marie tries to take Holly away, but what about Walt Jr.? Doesn’t she want to protect him too?  
Oh, yeah, yeah [laughs]. She wanted to take them both.

Well, where is he? What has he been up to?
Mmmmm, you to have to see. I promise, all the things that I’m not telling you, you won’t be disappointed. There’s an answer. No stone unturned in the last eight episodes. There are no loose ends.

Fair enough. I read that you swore off purple while you shot the show.
And I still don’t wear it at home! But on The Michael J. Fox Show just yesterday, I wore a purple dress. I don’t like to tell a designer what to do, but I did say, “If you could avoid that one color, I’d really appreciate it.” We can work it in as we go down the road, but I said I didn’t want to have a lot of that right now.

Understandable. You’ve OD’d on it.
Yeah, in my life! I mean, honestly, early on, I think it was season three, I told my husband, “Nothing purple in my house.” Not that I had a ton of purple before, but then you notice anything. We were renting a house in New Mexico, and even, like, the purple coffee cup, I’m not even joking, I was like, “Please don’t bring me coffee in the purple coffee cup.” I just associate it so much with Marie. My daughter is allowed. She can have all the purple she wants. Lavender, actually. Lavender [laughs]. She doesn’t have to pay for what I do at work.

Breaking Bad’s Betsy Brandt on Marie’s Discovery