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Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad is a drama about Walter White, a chemistry professor who is diagnosed with lung cancer. He enlists the help of his former student Jesse Pinkman to manufacture and sell methamphetamine. AMC 2008-???


Episode 3 - I.F.T

25 April 2013

Credit AMC

Synopsis: Skyler calls the police when Walt won’t leave the house. However she refuses to tell them about his illegal activities and confesses to her lawyer that she wants to protect her children. Walt lays out the money and his reasons for gathering it. Skyler sleeps with Ted. Hank picks a fight in a bar to conquer his nerves. Jesse is alone calling Jane’s voicemail before suddenly going cooking. Gus meets with Tio, the Cousins and their boss and tells that that he is working with Walt.

The Good: Finally we got to hear both Walt justify himself to Skyler and the explanation for why she won’t go to the police. Walt really believes that once she hears his justifications she will appreciate what he’s done. He still cannot understand what months of lying did to their relationship. Nor how she views the immorality of what he did. She wants nothing to do with him and seeing as how he hurt her and destroyed their marriage, she takes revenge by sleeping with Ted. It was a bruising moment for Walt who will probably see himself as the victim of this infidelity.

Skyler’s reasoning for not reporting Walt to the police is that she doesn’t want Walter Jr to be crushed by the truth about his father. Though she might feel differently if Walt was going to live a long and happy life. Her admission that she was hoping for the cancer to return and do away with him made bleak sense. The confrontation with the police was well orchestrated giving Skyler the perfect opportunity to hint at his wrongdoing and get him thrown out. But her son’s presence staid her hand. The seduction of Ted looked pretty calculated even though we know she’s already attracted to him. Skyler seems determined to not only refuse to reconcile but to punish Walt for the horrible position he’s put her in.

Jesse’s scenes were also bleak as he calls Jane’s voicemail repeatedly until it’s disconnected. Now that all of her is gone it seems he’s ready to go back to work (see The Unknown).

Hank’s bar fight pretty much put him in the same category as every other adult on the show, he committed a crime and is getting away with it. His unprovoked assault on the two men was an attempt to overcome the panic attacks which have gripped him since he killed Tuco (202). We can feel sorry for Hank’s position but here he abuses his power to his own benefit which inevitably lowers him in our esteem.

The Cartel developments include the flashback to the death of “The Turtle” which linked the Cousins and their boss to Gus and Mike. Gus runs the territory in the States and is supremely confident that Walt will cook again. He sticks his neck out for him (temporarily) and may regret it given the determination of the cousins.

The Bad: Nothing as such, although surely the White’s have two toilets? Why did Walt need to pee in the sink?

The Unknown: Saul is really pushing hard for Walt to cook again. Is it purely financial or is Gus putting pressure on him? It seems that Mike works for multiple people but owes heavy deference to Gus.

In an abrupt moment we cut to Jesse cooking alone in the RV. I did like the fact that he threw his keys on the work surface (after what happened in “4 Days Out” 209) but he seemed to have new equipment. I didn’t recognise it and it will be interesting to know why he headed out alone.

Best Moment: Skyler’s revelation and one of the few swear words Breaking Bad are allowed each season. It’s tempting to feel bad for Walt who really would share everything he’s gained with Skyler and clearly loves her. But we also sat through episode after episode of him lying and being too proud to accept charity. I think he earned this.

The Bottom Line: Another really solid episode allowing the White marriage to disintegrate in a believable and sad manner. Jesse and Hank will both be back to work soon enough and the Cousins are chafing at the leash. Nothing good can come of this.



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  • I thought this was an exemplary character-focused episode of Breaking Bad, and am a little mystified by the (comparatively) low grades from some here. First and foremost, this is Skyler's showcase episode, in which she finally gets to make a counter-attack in the ongoing passive-aggressive cold war of the Whites. And the titular phrase, when it does come, is so cathartic because Skyler has been getting up her nerves to strike back at Walt somehow for so long. She gets her chance to sick law enforcement on him twice, but twice backs down, in what I found to be admirably tense sequences. And the "I.F.T." revelation itself so aptly uses Walt's own methods against him, turning his sickly delusional and hypocritical praise of "honesty" on its head by giving him more honesty than he cares to hear, and then sitting down at the table like nothing has happened, mimicking his usual strategy. That was deeply satisfying in a mercilessly karma-like way.

    Meanwhile, the other major characters also get room to show us interesting things about them. In the placid, wrongly-accused family man front that Walt shows to the police, we see how he is learning how to better use the discrepancy between reality and the image he projects to his advantage. Walter Jr. functions here (as he often does) as the unreasonable voice of every fan who blindly supports Walt because he's so awesome, the writing cleverly exposing how deluded that position is. Jesse calling Jane's number over and over to hear her recorded message, then being cut off by the disconnecting of the line is a simple and brilliant depiction of his grief. And concerning Hank, I agree with Matt and Paul that Hank's seemingly random burst of aggression is in fact a very purposeful strategy (a clever inversion typical of Breaking Bad) to make his return to El Paso less tenable. This sort of willful self-sabotage as a way of not facing his fear is an plot element I find rather compelling. Finally, there's the quietly funny acknowledgement from the cartel head (or is it from the writers?) that the indestructible twins are not "like us," meaning Gus and him, or rather, any normal, multidimensional, pseudo-realistic characters.

    As for favorite moments, the obvious choice is the very end, but since I've already expounded on that a bit, I'll go with the hilarious and surreal cut from the twins hijacking of an old woman's van to the sea of chickens in Gus's industrial farm building. Fantastic editing.

    Anyway, I think I've finally figured out how to make comments here work, so hopefully I'll be able to chime in more. (I had some comments on the superb season 2, but they didn't go through.) A big thanks for putting on this re-watch. It is a splendid idea, and I'm having a wonderful time following along.

    Viewer score: 74 / 100

    Posted by dfault, 25/04/2013 7:21pm (7 years ago)

  • The war between the cartel and Gus begins to heat, as does the Cold War between the Whites. I liked the Mexican standoff between Walt and Skyler; the look of determination on Walt's face as he resigns himself to squatting his way back into the family, gambling that Skyler won't be willing to accept the "blowback" that would come if she ratted on her husband and children's father. Skyler chooses once again to save her life as she knows it by remaining silent. This strikes me as a remarkably poor decision--what does it matter what her son thinks of his parents, if he's dead? She and Walt both remain deluded, certainly to varying degrees, about what consequences are to come.
    I saw delusion as being this episode's theme. Hank cannot deal with his fear of returning to the Texan border and its myriad dangers, instead recklessly endangering himself in an unconscious cry for help. Jesse, believing he has already lost everything, throws himself back into the cooking of crystal, almost in a trance as he prepares the mobile lab once again. Skyler remains convinced that she can strategically ride out the storm and avoid the consequences that Walt's actions are bringing, while simultaneously teaching him a lesson. Walt thinks he can sweep everything under the rug, as usual. Even Gus and the cartel delude themselves: Gus into believing that he can always control every situation, and the cartel into not seeing what a threat Gus is to them.

    P.s.- I took the sink pee to be Walt's sarcastic reaction to Skyler not giving him permission to use the bathroom.

    Viewer score: 68 / 100

    Posted by Matt E., 22/04/2013 9:52pm (7 years ago)

  • For me, the most shocking moment of this episode was not Skyler fucking Ted but Skyler explaining to her lawyer why she wouldn't turn Walt in. Skyler is desperate not to ruin the lives of her closest family since things may resolve themselves in due time. It seems that Skyler was waiting for Walt's cancer to come back as early as Season 3. Though I have to wonder if Skyler might have gone through with her threat to tell the police about Walt if it hadn't been for Junior coming home.

    I'm not grading this episode quite as high as others. Skyler's story was great but I miss the Walt and Jesse partnership when it's not featured. However it's interesting that even when separate Walt and Jesse have parallel stories; both forcing their way back into their old homes against their families wishes and both feeling the love of their lives (Skyler & Jane) slipping away from them.

    Viewer score: 65 / 100

    Posted by Kelly, 22/04/2013 5:37pm (7 years ago)

  • The early goings of season 3 was an interesting phase for Breaking Bad, while it sets up the rest of the season, it was filled with solid, but not spectacular episodes.

    I think I.F.T. is a bit weaker than the preceding two episodes though, nothing is bad by any means but stories are Jesse listening to Jane's voice and Hank's bar fight aren't as entertaining compared to watching the Cousins or Walt speak to the high school. Again, this isn't a bad episode by any stretch, but this is the first episode where the fallout from ABQ is starting to drag a little.

    During my original viewing of season 3, it felt was as if the season got progressively better from episode 4 and onwards. I might go as far to call this my least favorite episode of the season (which is still pretty good).

    Viewer score: 62 / 100

    Posted by Ben F., 18/04/2013 3:06am (7 years ago)

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