'Breaking Bad' - 'I.F.T.' Recap
by Joel Keller, posted Apr 5th 2010 12:01AM
(S03E03) One of the aspects of 'Breaking Bad' that amazes me week after week, and one of the things that makes it one of the most compelling shows on television, is this:
Intellectually, as you watch Walter White lie his way through his family's lives and the lives of everyone he comes in contact with, you know he's one of the biggest bastards on TV. And, also intellectually, you watch Skyler have to suffer through all of Walt's lies -- at least the ones she knows about -- and you know she's trying her best to protect herself and her children from someone who's become a monster she no longer recognizes.
But, here's the compelling part: No matter how rationally I think about the situation, I still don't know who to root for.
It's a tribute to Bryan Cranston's performance, as well as the writing of Vince Gilligan and crew, that when Walter moves back into his house, I was actually happy for him. After all, everything that he's done over the last two-plus seasons has been to ensure his family's well-being... right? Well, not really. At first, that may have been the reason. But now, we know that Walt's got a little bit of that adventurous streak in him, and he likes being the bad guy, no matter how much he likes to protest it.
Even so, it still seems like Skyler's being unfair, isn't it? Can't she see what he's trying to do? Why is she locking him out of the house, locking him out of their room, keeping him away from Walt Jr. and Holly? When she called the cops in an attempt to get Walt out of the house, for some reason, it seemed like she was being irrational.
When she confessed Walt's misdeeds to her divorce lawyer, I breathed a sigh of relief when she determined she couldn't let the lawyer call the cops on him. And when Walt confronted Skyler with the bag of money as she was about to go to work, he had me fully in his camp... even though I knew that he wasn't being 100% sincere anymore.
Even after I heard Skyler utter her last words to Walt in this episode, "I fucked Ted," I couldn't muster up as much sympathy for her as I did for Walt. And that's just all sorts of wrong. After all he's put her through, why doesn't she deserve a little break room nookie with Beneke? But, for some reason, I was actually a little angry at Sky for betraying Walt, who, through everything, has at least been faithful. It takes me a second to remember that Walt is a meth cooker who's spiraling out of control.
When Sky told her lawyer she'd rather see if the situation "resolves itself on its own," (i.e. Walt dies of lung cancer) without Walt Jr. ever finding out about his dad's secret, Anna Gunn gasped a little before saying it. No matter what Sky thinks of Walt at this point, her wishing him dead is still a horrible thought to her. Nice job by Gunn in a particularly strong episode for her.
Wonder what Sky would think if she knew he might die well before the lung cancer gets to him? I've always been annoyed at the bell-ringing presence of Tuco's uncle Don Salamanco, but now I know where he fits into the entire scheme of the cartel. And it was scary to think that, as soon as Gus has no more need for him -- basically, when he finds someone who can cook the same high-quality meth Walt does -- then the cartel will sic the Cousins on him.
That is, if the Cousins don't exact revenge on Walt on their own. We see what they did to Tortuga, with the help of the same cartel consigliere that spoke to Gus on their behalf. What they might do to Walt is chilling to think about.
Speaking of Tortuga, the one part of this week's episode, and the show in general, that I've never been 100 percent behind is Hank's PTSD since the incident in El Paso. Yes, it's good to see the cowboy DEA rep be human, but, jeez, isn't it enough that a major meth cooker is under his nose and he doesn't know it? Do we need all the people on the show to lose complete control? The bar fight he got into didn't make any sense to me, even though I knew it was a reaction to being put back on the El Paso team.
Finally, we have Jesse. He's not completely out of his Jane-related funk, and the desperation coming from him was palpable as he repeatedly dialed her voice mail for any evidence she was once alive. But is the best way for him to come out of it to try to cook in order to make Saul happy? Saul is starting to become a much bigger influence over both Walt and Jesse than they ever imagined, and ultimately his presence is going to get both of them in much deeper crap than they ever bargained for.
Wow, what a start to the season. AMC has been nice enough to send me episodes four and five, and I can't wait to see them.