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'Breaking Bad' - 'I.F.T.' Recap

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 5th 2010 12:01AM
'Breaking Bad' - 'I.F.T.'
(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.

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Danielle

Def think the reason for fucking Ted was to get Walter out of the house and agreeing to the divorce. Im hoping the twins didnt kill the redhead woman. They didnt kill that family when they took their clothes off the clothes line, so they are not that cold-hearted.

I had a feeling eventually Jane's number would be disconnected. Its time for him to move on.

April 09 2010 at 9:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Danielle's comment
Melly

Yeah, it'd be nice to think the Terrifying Taciturn Twins didn't kill the old lady, but they most likely did.
The van was worth way more than the clothes, even if that family was extremely poor. The family also live under the cartel's thumb, so they know to let those guys be. You could tell they fully expected to be killed and were so relieved when it was only the clothes that were wanted.
The old woman, meanwhile, would likely call the police for her stolen vehicle, or at very very least put up as much of a fight as she could about it. And would have no respect for the Cartel.
Yeah, she's definitely dead, for the same reason they killed everyone in the border jump attempt: the simple possibility of a loose end.

April 14 2010 at 9:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Quartknee

The AV Club did a great job getting to the heart of this episode: CONTROL. Gus, a character who always appears to be in control, suddenly loses some of it due to the Cousins and the Don. Walt's breaking back into his house and his father role were attempts at gaining control. Skyler, who is typically in control, loses all of her control and cheats on Walt as a way to gain some of that control back. Hank is given an opportunity, but has lost a bit of control due to his panic-attacks or PSTD, so his death-wish bar brawl was a way to keep it in check.

Brilliant show. Brilliant episode.

April 06 2010 at 3:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cyn

I love this show! It is so well written and well acted! The twins are terrifying in their silence and menacing ways. I detest that old, bell-ringing guy in the wheelchair. Ugh.
I sympathize with Walt. He got into all this to provide for his family and now Skylar is abandoning him. I think she slept with her boss because she feels so helpless and angry inside she had to punish herself and Walt. The act itself made her detest herself and repulse Walt. She needs to hide the money in case DEA tries to seize their assets. Walt does put his family in danger if he continues to live with them.

April 06 2010 at 8:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Takayo

I envy you for having episodes four and five already.

This episode was truly brilliant, and I completely agree on having trouble rooting for anyone. Walt has truly become the perfect monster, and, in a way, he reminds me of Dexter Morgan. The difference is he's still too sloppy to keep his lives separate, and now he's drastically affecting people in his family. I'll bet Tuco's (sp) cousins are going to end up going after Walt's family, which I think is why I leaned towards Skylar being logically correct.

Although I'm also kind of thinking the cousins may head for Jesse- Maybe Gus still considers him expendable/a weak link in the operation and will feed the cousins his info and connection to Walt.

Either way, this show definitely has me hooked!

April 05 2010 at 6:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
FlagPatrick

Re: Scott
I definitely think the whole fucking Ted mess was basically to goad Walt into the divorce. Walt continues to deny that he is a bad guy and that in his head everything he did was morally righteous, things should go back to the way they were in Walt's eyes. That's why he forced himself back into his house. And in this episode he forces himself back into his "dad" role, inviting Louis over, cooking food, etc. Skyler wants to show Walt that things can never go back to the way things were... "he's changed things". You gotta love Breaking Bad, they don't beat around the bush and push things out until the end of the season. I didn't think She would fuck Ted and then go rub it in Walt's face immediately no one saw that coming, you figure that Walt would find out couple episodes later. Meanwhile the cousins, will try to kill someone else if they can't kill Walt.

April 05 2010 at 1:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott

So, do you think Skyler had sex wth Ted to 1. Get back at Walt (i.e. "You've been a sh*t to this marriage and done what you wanted without my knowledge or permission, so I'm going to as well.") 2. Move on emotionally from the marriage or 3. Do something that she thinks is so unforgiveable in Walt's eyes that he'd hate her and consequently want the divorce.?

April 05 2010 at 12:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Crow

Who says the Cousins killed that red headed lady? Maybe they just took her van.....naw....they killed her. I think that Hank started the fight in order to screw up his chance at being sent back to El Paso.

April 05 2010 at 2:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Crow's comment
Joel Keller

That makes sense re: Hank and the fight.

April 05 2010 at 10:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim

I thought the same thing. Good call.

April 05 2010 at 11:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Zamir

it's was great episode as always, but did the twin assassins kill that elderly red-haired woman to take the wheel-chair accessible van for the old ring bell dude, seem a little unnecessary .

April 05 2010 at 2:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
e

The thing about Skyler telling him she had sex w/Ted is: it's entirely human. So it's annoying as hell.

This is the best written/acted/cast show since the Wire, Rome and others I wish had never ended. I wish I had not seen any of the episodes so I could watch them again. But I'm sure that I'll be happy to see them again five years after it ends.

April 05 2010 at 1:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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