Meanwhile, Walt's peeking in on Hank's hospital room as his brother-in-law sleeps. Behind Walt, Marie rants to Skyler about how she's going to take Hank's story to the cable news shows, and they're going to be outraged, because Hank's a hero, remember, and the outcry will be so great that the insurance companies will be shamed into covering him. Skyler lets Marie spin her wheels and tire herself out, and eventually she sits. Walt once again offers "whatever you need," which sounds lovely in the abstract. Skyler's more interested in making that offer concrete. "Walt," she begins, "We could always pay their bills. Marie says it's tens of thousands of dollars, but Skyler says they have it. Walt tries to stop her from telling Marie, but she barrels on through and says, "He earned it gambling."
At this, Walt's jaw drops but he doesn't say anything. A) because he can't, but also I think B) because he's awfully curious as to where Skyler's going with this. Frankly, so am I. And so Skyler spins a complete fiction for Marie (and Walt), one that explains the marital woes and Walt's erratic behavior last year and the fact that they were able to pay for Walt's treatment no problem. This sideways-universe Walt started from the same place -- too proud to take Gretchen and Elliott's charity -- but instead of dealing, he researched gambling methods and came up with a system for counting cards in blackjack. (Marie: "What do you mean, like Rain Man?") He found a statistical edge and exploited it. At first he went to the casinos, but -- and at this she leans in closer, more conspiratorially -- eventually realized those profits were taxable, so he moved on to back rooms and underground games. One time he lost big, pretty much everything he had. Which led to the fugue state/naked supermarket misadventure. "How could you do that to her?" Marie asks Walt. At least some aspects of this alt world remain the same. But the system finally worked. And worked big time.
And in this alternate version of history, Skyler understands why Walt did it. "I don't think I ever really understood what he was going through," she says, of the cancer diagnosis. "It was more than facing death, it was knowing the he was gonna leave behind nothing." "For better or for worse," she says, looking at him, "he wanted to provide."
Walt looks at her both astounded and impressed. Me too (if Anna Gunn gets properly recognized, this could be the Emmy clip). Did she make this up on the spot? My feeling is she's been working on this for a while. A version of events that would make Walt's secrecy and brand new reserves of cash morally okay. A fiction under which Skyler can accept Walt's money and -- much more importantly -- appreciate Walt's protective instincts towards the family.