You guys have done a great job articulating the problem I had from the very begining of this show...and that is Walt as protagonist.
In season one he chose his pride over his family (by refusing to allow his friends to pay for his treatment). The character became irredeeable for me in that moment. A man does not put his ego ahead of his family. Everything that has followed is really just fruit born of that poisonouus tree.
I watch the show because the performances are great, the writing is great, and the direction is top notch.....it is just that the initial set up was BS in my mind.
Walt has been doomed from the beginning......his transformation into Heisenberg began when he decided cooking meth was a legitimate solution to his problems. All the violence, the manipulation, the sociopathy are a necessity in the business he has chosen. Walt is a fool, he is a fool due to his hubris and that will be his undoing. Even if he emerges victorious over his rivals, cows Skyler, throws Hank off the trail and overcomes every obstacle put in front of him. He still loses in the end by simply becoming the monster that he must to survive.
As for the Skylar v Walt debate....they are both assholes. Walt's asshattery has been described ad nauseum in this thread. Skylar because she chose to back Walt early on and continues to keep his secrets and enable him. Just as Walt fails as a man and a father by making his initial choice, Skylar failed as a mother when she jumped in his business. Skylar seems more pissed that she is not an equal partner, than horrified at what a monster Walt has become. Sorry, but you dont get to take the money, get off on the excitement, then preserve your morals and keep your family safe. When you make a deal with the devil, you don't get to renegotiate the terms.
These themes have been played out countless times in crime fiction. Michael Corleone dying alone and irrelevant, Tony Soprano forever looking over his shoulder, or even Daniel Plainview finishing his life alone in a pool of his rivals blood.
There is no way for Walt to redeem himself, it may be possible for Skylar, doubtful for Jesse and Mike would just tell you to fuck off if you asked him about redemption. Even if Walt sacrificed himself to save his family or Jesse, there is no way for him to undo the harm he has done simply by producing meth. The plane crash made that point quite clear.
I will enjoy watching the events play out, and see how Gilligan chooses to end this story, but be sure....this is tragedy and it should have a tragic ending.