Last year, she won with the episode “Fifty-One,” in which her character Skyler White attempts suicide and then engages in a verbal brawal with her drug kingpin husband Walter (Bryan Cranston). This year, she has even stronger episodes from which to choose her Emmy submission.
It may not matter what she enters, but Gold Derby believes that every nominee should put her best foot forward, so which episode is the right one for Gunn?
“Buried” (Episode 2)
Synopsis: Having discovered that Skyler and her husband Walt are criminals, Skyler’s sister Marie and Marie’s husband Hank — a law enforcement agent — begin working to bring them down.
Standout scene: Marie confronts Skyler, slapping her and briefly confiscating her baby in an emotionally harrowing scene that Skyler spends most of in tears.
Analysis: Skyler only appears in three scenes in this episode, but they total a whopping 19 minutes of screen time for Gunn. Each of the first two is an example of the powerfully emotional scene that you look for in Emmy submissions that will be easily recalled by voters. And the third scene has Skyler affirming her loyalty to Walt, which surprises him and reveals her as a villain, in contrast to the crying victim that she played in those other scenes. This duality demonstrates Gunn’s range and sets her apart from other long-suffering TV housewives.
“Ozymandias” (Episode 6)
Synopsis: As Hank is apprehending Walt, Walt’s associates murder Hank, prompting Walt to attempt to uproot his family, but they do not want to run with him.
Standout scene: Walt returns home and orders Skyler and their son to start packing, but they no longer trust him after Hank’s death. Skyler pulls a knife on Walt, prompting him to kidnap their infant daughter. The scene ends with a haunting image of Skyler breaking down in the middle of the road as Walt drives away.
Analysis: Outside two minutes in a flashback at the top of the episode, Skyler does not appear until the second half, but she still amasses 18 minutes of screen time, as she figures heavily in that half. As in “Buried,” she cries in nearly every scene and again has her baby taken from her. This is widely regarded as the strongest episode of “Breaking Bad” ever and an all-time great episode of television, so a rising tide may lift all boats.
Betsy Brandt, who plays Marie, sits at ninth place for a nomination in the same category. If nominated, her best bet is “Buried,” clearing the way for Gunn to submit “Ozymandias” and for the Emmy panel to see two killer performances by her.
What episode do you think has the best chance of winning Gunn an Emmy bookend? Vote in the poll below and then cast your ballot for Best Drama Supporting Actress using our easy drag-and-drop menu.