At the latest Pop-Up Meth Lab, Walt and Jesse are packing up from the cook and Walt asks if Jesse can finish up for him, as it's his birthday and he "probably [has] a birthday party waiting for me." Cut to Walt in the driveway of his home, looking around and seeing no cars parked on the street. No friends and family waiting inside to surprise him. Walt's done too many things for the sight of him crestfallen at not getting a surprise party to be total consolation, but it sure goes a long way. Walt makes his way into the kitchen and asks what's up, and Skyler tells him her grand birthday plan: Hank and Marie are coming over for dinner, plus that chocolate cake he's been angling for. She's on the comeback trail, guys.
Meanwhile, Hank and Marie are on their way over and despite the fact that Marie swore herself to secrecy last week about Skyler's affair with Ted Beneke, this IS Marie we're talking about. So she sighs pointedly until Hank asks her what's wrong and she's all "I can't tell you because I made a promise to your brother-in-law only it has to do with infidelity and you'll not get one more word out of me, you hear??" Of course, when Hank jumps to the false conclusion that it was Walt who cheated (that second cell-phone makes sense now!), Marie can't resist correcting him that it was Skyler who strayed. Like Fort Knox, that Marie.
Hank greets Skyler at the door with the most exaggerated and hilarious greeting ever. "HEEEEEY THERE, FAITHFUL SISTER-IN-LAW!" he practically bullhorns to the neighborhood.
Cut to dinner on the patio out back, where Junior is once again trying my patience by bragging about being a speed demon out on the roads in his new car. I know this is just adolescent braggadocio and that he's a good kid at heart, but he's exhibiting signs of falling for the same masculine trappings that have warped his father into being such a monster now. For one thing Hank good-naturedly needles his nephew about how highway patrol's going to pick him up soon and his DEA connections will probably not go very far to protect his spoiled car-wash millionaire nephew. At "car-wash millionaire," Skyler blanches, but no one notices. Anyway, Junior takes his leave of the adults, as teens are wont to do and with him goes much of the energy in the yard. Hank keeps trying to broach different subjects -- Walt's impulse-purchase cars or the quality of the dinner -- and each time either Skyler's weirded-out silence or the shared secret about Beneke hanging over Hank and Marie's heads kills any conversation in mid-air. Without a word, and looking like she might cry at any second, Skyler stands up and starts busying herself with things away from the table. Everybody else decides to give her some space, while Walt tells a story about how his diagnosis was one short year ago. (Marie: "Seems like longer!" Heh.) It's both a heartfelt speech about how his family got him through cancer, but the fact that he can seamlessly weave in references to his surgery and recovery and also things like Hank getting shot (which was fruit of Walter's poisoned tree) makes it impossible to take at face value, if only for the viewer. Also making it hard to feel the love in Walt's words is the fact that Skyler is standing in a straight line behind him, facing the pool. You can't take your eyes off of her.