Breaking Bad didn’t become one of the best shows of all times simply because it’s about drug dealers and violence. What makes the show such a gem is how it portrays the infinitely complicated nature of human relationships. Jesse and Walt’s relationship is the main theme of the series, but there are also several other dynamic duos worth examining: siblings, business partners, enemies, and also romantic partners.
Breaking Bad didn’t give us as many romantic relationships as your typical TV shows do, but they were all written to perfection. The reality of them isn’t as peachy as Hollywood movies would have us believe, but that’s just how things work in real life.
Mr. And Mrs. Pinkman
Jesse’s parents are definitely not among the most likable people on the show, but they clearly have a functional marriage. They share the same values and respect for each other. While most other relationships on the show fell apart, these two kept going strong.
Things weren’t always easy in their marriage. Jesse’s problematic behavior was probably a huge test for them. We might not agree with their style of child-rearing, but they are clearly the most successful couple on the show.
Gretchen And Elliot
Gretchen and Elliot are the only other couple who made it through the series alive and well. In season 1, Walt and Skyler went to Elliot’s birthday party and we got a glimpse into the fabulous life they are living. Not only are they insanely rich, but they also seemed to genuinely care for one another.
Gretchen used to date Walt, who built Gray Matter with Elliot. The trio has a complicated past, which probably put a dent in Elliot and Gretchen’s relationship at some point.
Hank And Marie
Hank and Marie went through several ups and downs throughout the series. Since they didn’t have children, there was less pressure on them. After Hank got shot, he became unnecessarily cruel to Marie. He lost his role as the strong protector of the family. As Marie took care of him, he felt ashamed and thus started resenting her for indirectly making him feel that way. Marie in return started compulsively stealing, probably so she would get caught and have Hank save her. After all, he is the biggest hero on the show.
When comparing Marie and Skyler, it’s hard to say which one was a better sister. Marie wasn’t as controlling as Skyler, but she was also less reliable. Hank and Marie had a weird relationship, but they clearly cared for each other very much and didn’t lie to each other as much as Skyler and Walt did.
Walt And Skyler
When we first met Walt and Skyler in the first episode of Breaking Bad, they had a “normal”, estranged marriage. Walt was sleepwalking through life and Skyler micro-managed the entire family. They worked well together and cared for each other, but they didn’t really know each other.
As Walt started living his life independently from his wife, she pressed even harder on him. Ultimately, they were a pretty successful couple: Skyler stayed with him even after she found out the truth about him and even helped him manage his illegal assets.
Skyler And Ted
Ted Beneke and Skyler clearly went way back, otherwise, Marie wouldn’t have called him “Mr. Grabby Hands”. Skyler knew that he liked her and she appreciated his attention when she was struggling towards the end of her pregnancy.
Ted was Skyler’s escape from the horrible reality of her life. She couldn’t tell anyone what she knew about Walt and needed to release her frustrations elsewhere. It could also be that she just used Ted to get Walt to sign divorce papers. Skyler wasn’t in love with him, but they still had quite a successful relationship. After all, she helped him when he was having financial troubles.
Jesse And Andrea
Jesse met Andrea in a narcotics anonymous meeting in season 3. Their relationship was sweet and grounded, and Jesse loved her six-year-old son Brock as if he was his own son or little brother.
The relationship was doomed from the start; one cannot be involved in the drug trade and not tell their partner. They used Brock and Andrea against Jesse and killed Andrea in season 5 as punishment for Jesse. In another life, in which Jesse isn’t a criminal, they would have made for a really cute couple.
Walt And Gretchen
Not only were they both chemistry experts, but they also had a whole lot of chemistry between them. In a confrontational talk, Gretchen has with Walt in “Peekaboo”, we learn that they were engaged to be married, but Walt bolted. Gretchen was from a wealthy family, so it could be that Walt was feeling inferior to her and couldn’t stand the power imbalance.
If they were to stay together, they would have made for a better couple than Walt and Skyler. Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out that way. Because of the whole Gray Matter grudge, they couldn’t even remain friends. Walt taught us a lot of lessons, one of them being that you have to let go of pride every once in a while for the relationship’s sake.
Jesse And Jane
Jesse’s neighbor/romantic interest from season 2 went down to be remembered as the love of his life. While Jesse’s emotions were real, it would be a bit of a stretch to say that Jane loved him too. She had the ability to go from hot to cold in a heartbeat, leaving poor Jesse feeling insecure. She slipped back into using heroin and introduced Jesse to it, even though he’s never done it before. His relationship with Jane was one of the most tragic things that ever happened to him.
When she found out that Jesse is rich, she took the wheel and started threatening Walt, even though that clearly didn’t sit well with Jesse. Both were desperate for love and affection and thus lived out a typical dynamic between a narcissist/addict and a codependent. They were crazy about each other, which was only amplified by their use of drugs. To call that a successful relationship would be a bit of a stretch. It made for a great story arc, though.
Spooge And His Lady
Spooge and “his lady” were together for at least five years, considering they had a child together. They were both drug addicts for years at that point, completely neglected and mentally unstable. After they stole meth from Skinny Pete, Jesse paid them a visit and saw the terrifying conditions they lived in.
These two bonded over their love of drugs, but they clearly hated each other otherwise. After Spooge called his lady “a skank” one too many times, she crushed his head with an ATM machine.