“I.F.T.” is another great episode because it reinforces what makes Breaking Bad such an important show. Last week ended with a really dramatic, terrifying conclusion. The cousins (who we finally find out are Tuco’s cousins!) were sitting on Walt’s bed with a sharp axe. This week, there is almost no physical action to match that suspense (with the exception of Hank’s ninja skills), but the episode is just as riveting. Breaking Bad is a character driven show. We don’t need the action, but it’s still there when the character stuff gets overwhelming.
“I.F.T.” really gets me on Skyler’s side. I’ve always liked her and thought the writers did a good job of balancing her out. For the first two seasons, the success of the show really relied on Skyler. If she had been a dumb, carefree wife, Breaking Bad may have been some weird sitcom type of show. If she had been too suspicious of Walt, Skyler wouldn’t have been so likable and we’d wonder why Walt was doing this for his family. It was an interesting juggling act, but it was handled perfectly. She’d always been a lovable wife, with just the right amount of suspicion. Because of that, we can understand why Walt’s fighting for her.
But one of the things that makes this episode so interesting is that both Skyler and Walt are passive-aggressive people. Him moving back in and acting like nothing’s changed is very uncomfortable to watch on screen… and I don’t blame Skyler for calling the police. There’s this subtle war going on between them and it culminates with Skyler’s final three words (“I f****d Ted”). There’s a maliciousness to her actions - seeing that she’s done this to get back at Walt - that’s very uncharacteristic of Skyler. Again, it’s passive-aggressive on both ends and it plays out in a really creepy manner. To Skyler, she’s won a victory.
Jesse’s story this week isn’t incredibly interesting, but it shows how Jane’s death continues to affect him. Jesse continues to call her phone over and over again to hear the sound of her voice on the voicemail. I like that he’s still not over Jane’s death and I don’t think he’ll ever be. On a side note, I’m not a big fan of how the voicemail shut off in the middle of him trying to call it. I think it would have made more sense if that happened between calls, but that’s a small gripe. Jesse’s story for this week ends with him trying to cook again on his own, which is a bit depressing. That RV needs Walt in it!
We also learn, as I mentioned earlier, that the mysterious cousins are actually Tuco’s cousins - and that they’re the ones who stuck Tortuga’s head on a turtle… an act that caused Hank to have panic attacks. These cousins are bringing a lot of previous story-arcs together. That first flashback scene was uncomfortable because we’re just waiting to see Tortuga beheaded… but that’s okay - I’m just glad he came back this season. I love the actor who plays Tortuga (I should really look up his name - I will later).
One thing I don’t like about this episode is how quickly Ted and Skyler get together. I know it’s been hinted at before, but the whole act happened in like five seconds of screen time. I think it could have been foreshadowed a little earlier in the episode by showing Skyler at work. Ted also has me wondering… does he have a wife? I know he has kids, but damn - at least Skyler has reasons for this affair. I know Skyler and Ted’s prior relationship has been hinted at before, so I suspect their history will be fleshed out more this season.
“I.F.T.” continues to make Breaking Bad my favorite show on television. It doesn’t need action every week with such strong character development - Skyler’s last three words are just as powerful as any other physical explosion the show’s offered.