"Breaking Bad" Season Three Episode Three: "I.F.T." Television Review

4/05/2010 Posted by Admin

Television Review

"Breaking Bad" Season Three Episode Three: "I.F.T."

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

I think "I.F.T." is the first real disappointment of this season of "Breaking Bad." Certainly not bad by any means, and not at all lacking in powerful moments, but there just seemed to be a little something missing here and there, whether it be the continued lack of Jesse in the plot, or maybe just too many scenes of pseudo-suspenseful staring contests. Either way, a poor episode it is not, and it has certainly advanced the story a bit, but it could have been something more with a little more, I don't know, "oomph."

Spoilers herein.

So, last week we learned in the extremely tense final five minutes of the episode that the frightening Mexican duo have some sort of connection to Gus, Walt's primary buyer at the end of season two. This episode's cold open reintroduces us to Danny Trejo's one-shot character Tortuga, and we're shown the circumstances surrounding his death and decapitation. It turns out these twins don't quite work for Gus--they actually work for the Mexican cartel boss Steve Gomez, and Tortuga's head being attached to a tortoise shell and sent into the desert was their handywork.

I suppose this was simply the writers' way of showing us more of the twins and also providing some amusing fanservice for the Tortuga lovers out there, but the scene overall, while reasonably entertaining, doesn't really have any place whatsoever in the episode. Does it tell us anything new about the twins? Not really--we've already seen the destruction they're capable of in the season premiere and we could've just as easily learned later in the episode that they work for Gomez. Did we need to see how Tortuga died? No, he wasn't really even that important of a character. So, the scene is pretty much there just to be kind of cool, which is becoming sort of an annoyance when it comes to showing these twins. Are they emotionless hounds of Hell or are they more than killing machines? We get hints of the latter later in the episode but the cold open didn't do them many favors either way.

So, from there we move into the main plot, which basically consists of the drama caused by Walt moving back into the house despite Skylar's attempts to keep him away. Pretty uneventful overall, which is fine, the show is clearly working its way toward some real havoc later in the season, but while the first two episodes were extremely compelling despite the general lack of action, this episode just seemed like more of the same. Skylar's angry, Walt is trying to explain, Walt Jr. is upset at his mother, it's the same thing over and over. It's not bad, exactly, but it is rather dry. It is not, however, pointless. This episode marks a major step forward in both the relationship between Walt and Skylar and the overall theme of the show.

Walt's inability to let go of his family is beginning to cause just as much damage as his drug manufacturing. No matter how much Skylar urges him to go and stay away, he keeps stubbornly returning and begging for forgiveness, for acceptance, and for things to get back to normal. It's hard not to somewhat want the same, having been around Walt for two seasons and growing to know him so well, but how wold you react if you learned your spouse was a drug manufacturer? What would it take for you to forgive them, if you could at all? So Walt's inability to go away has resulted in Skylar herself "breaking bad." She hasn't started making and selling meth, sure, but she's assisting her boss with dishonest business practices--and now she's sleeping with him. Walt's attempts to bring his family back together have only brought him and Skylar farther apart, and now she's seeking revenge, in a way.

This development alone keeps the episode above water. But there are some other great moments as well.

The best part of the episode is probably right around the halfway point, in a scene where Gomez and the twins go to visit Gus and discuss the fate of Walt's alter ego Heisenberg. We learn here that the twins are cousins of Tuco, and they're deadset on avenging his death. Of course, they don't know that it was in fact Hank who killed him--if they do even more hell will break loose--but for now they just want Walt dead, and the scene primarily involves Gus attempting to convice them to hold off until he's done with him. Despite a lack of any real violence or threat, as in the first scene, the twins and Gomez are a lot more terrifying here, and accompanied by Tuco's wheelchair-ridden and bell-ringing uncle they make a pretty fierce group. Gomez tells Gus he can hold the twins off for now, but if Gus interfere's for much longer in their hunt for Heisenberg, he won't be so solid in the cartel's eyes any longer. Ever since his first appearance last season Gus has been an interesting character, so it's great to see so much more of him here. In fact, the episode probably would've been so much better if we stuck with his story a bit more.

The episode also has a few other little B-plots, one concerning Jesse as he attempts to cope with Jane's death and another where we learn Hank has been hired back by the El Paso DEA. Neither are particularly interesting, and like the stuff with Walt and Skylar, it's just more of the same. Not great, not bad, and entertaining enough.

I suppose even at its most middling, "Breaking Bad" is more engaging than most stuff on TV, and that's still the case here. A few moments of true brilliance, mostly entertaining, and sure to build up to something really mindblowing in the future, "I.F.T." is far from the best the show has to offer, but when the worst a show has to offer is this good, it's hard to complain.

Grade: B-

  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes