Breaking Bad 3-3: “I.F.T.”
The opener/teaser of episode 3, season 3 shows us how Tortuga, the DEA informant from episode 7, season 2, lost his head. We can’t see it’s him at first, but someone in a Mexican bar is having his cigar lit by the bartender. When he asks for more tequila, the barman says, in Spanish, “Careful, señor.” (All the dialogue in the opener is in Spanish.)
The man, who has a ponytail and is wearing a black Western shirt with red roses on it, says, “There are two kinds of men in this world – those who drink and those who pour. Shut up, and fill my glass.” Ponytail, who may be recognizable to some viewers by now, then tells two young laborers at the end of the bar that he, too, used to dirty his hands for “the man,” till he learned that “a man can never drink his fill by waiting in line at the tap.”
A man in a Panama hat appears in the open bar window, and tells the young men that Ponytail/Tortuga “knows what he’s talking about.” When he enters the bar, Tortuga greets him as “boss.” They sit down at a table, and el jefe, says, “Don’t you have something to deliver?” Then he apologizes for missing Tortuga’s birthday, and says he has something for him in the back. It’s the tortoise from 2/7. “Let me sign it for you,” el jefe, says, and writes “for the big talker” (“gran philosopho” in Spanish) in white paint on the turtle’s shell. Tuco’s cousins then come in, bend Tortuga over a table, and cut off his head.
Scene 1: Casa Blanca
The pizza Walt threw up on the roof in the last episode is still there. Wearing rubber gloves, he climbs a ladder and removes it, while Mike, on the phone in his car, tells Gus, “He’s still breathing. By the looks of him, he has no idea how close he came.”
After Mike leaves, we see Skyler driving her Jeep, a pink-clad Holly in her car seat. A tape of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” is playing, and Skyler’s gamely singing along. She sees Walt’s Aztek in the drive, pulls in, and calls him on her cell phone. “Walt, are you in the house?”
Looking out the window, cell phone in hand, he says, “I’m back.”
“No! Get out!”
“It’s my house, too.”
“We had an agreement.”
“I didn’t agree to it. Come inside, and we’ll talk it through.”
“No. There’s nothing to talk about. I’m not coming in until you leave.”
“Suit yourself.” Walt hangs up.
Skyler, dressed in white, comes in the house, and sets the sleeping baby on the table. “What is wrong with you?”
“Skyler, I have every right to be here.”
“No, you don’t. You don’t live here anymore. We’re getting a divorce.”
“I don’t agree to a divorce.”
“It’s not up to you. If you don’t leave right now, I’m going to call the police, and tell them everything!”
“There’s the phone.”
Skyler dials as Holly fusses. “It’s ringing…Yes, I want to report a disturbance…It’s a domestic issue…They’re connecting me.”
“Do what you have to do, Skyler. This family is everything to me. Without it, I have nothing to lose.”
Skyler: “I need police assistance at home right away. My soon-to-be-ex-husband broke into my house, and I need an officer to come and remove him…308 Negra Arroyo Lane…They’re coming.”
Saying nothing, Walt returns to some papers he’s been grading on the dining room table.
There’s a noise at the door, but it’s Junior. “Dad’s here? Great!” Walt gets up to embrace him. Skyler tries to get Junior to go to his room, but he ignores her, accepting Walt’s offer of a grilled cheese sandwich. The two sit together at the table and eat their sandwiches and chips. When the doorbell rings, Skyler lets two uniformed officers in, and complains that her husband’s been trespassing.
Junior: “You called the cops on Dad?”
Skyler talks to one cop, while Walt talks to another, Skyler saying, “I want him out.” She says no, he’s never struck her, and, no, they’re not divorced or even legally separated. But they’ve been apart for two weeks, and she’s changed the locks. “Isn’t that breaking and entering?” Yes, the title to the house is in both their names.
Cop: “I can’t arrest a man for breaking into his own house without a court order that he stay off the premises. Has he threatened you or the kids?”
“No, but having him in the house is just not a good thing.” She turns to look at Walt tending to the fussy baby. Walt admits that there have been “disagreements. I haven’t been the most attentive husband lately.”
Skyler’s cop asks if she’d rather talk outside, and she declines. Then he asks if Walt has “broken any laws,” if there’s even been “suspicion of any wrongdoing.” Perhaps because of Junior’s presence, Skyler says “No.”
The cop says he has “no legal basis to remove” Walt and recommends that she call the “family hot line.”
After the police leave, Junior asks Skyler, “Why you gotta do this to Dad?” Walt says, “Don’t blame your mother,” and the boy goes to his room. Skyler takes Holly from Walt, looks him in the eyes, and says, softly and bitterly, “Welcome home.” She takes the baby down the hall and shuts the master bedroom door.
Scene 2: Jesse’s house
Jesse’s listening to Jane’s answering machine message for the umpteenth time in his empty house when Saul rings the bell, and says, “He lives!” He hands Jesse a cactus plant. “Happy housewarming, kid! Don’t look so glad to see me!”
“I like the minimalist décor…Stayin’ clean?”
Saul urges Jesse to contact Walt and get him cooking. “Not you yourself – just the master chef.”
“Sure, man – whatever.”
After Saul leaves, Jesse sits back down on the floor between the fireplace and the stairs, and sighs. Wearing a plain, gray, V-necked shirt and dark gray pants, he dials Jane’s voicemail again.
Scene 3: Hank’s vehicle, outside a bingo hall, Gus’s chicken farm
Getting a call, Hank says, “Great news, sir!” When Gomez gets in with their coffee, he says, “El Paso wants me back.” He doesn’t seem happy about the news.
An old lady with dyed red hair rides her Amigo from the bingo hall to her handicapped van. The door’s opening for her to ride up the ramp when the cousins appear. They steal the van, leaving the Amigo on its side in the parking lot, wheels spinning.
The van pulls up at Gus’s chicken farm, the side door opens, and Hector Salamanca, wearing a Panama hat and sitting in the old lady’s Amigo, rolls down the ramp in his wheel chair. A red car pulls up beside the van – the jefe from the Tortuga killing.
Gus is in his office at the site, pulling the plastic off a celery and carrot sticks tray. He goes outside and greets the jefe, Tio, and the cousins in Spanish. The cousins carry Hector in his chair up the steps.
Inside, once everyone’s seated, el jefe says [translated], “Excuse us – it’s your territory. You had a right to okay the order. We didn’t know the man would be of concern to you. You’re in business with this Heisenberg?”
“I don’t know him by that name, but, yes. I’ve always done business with local manufacturers.”
“Tuco was mentored by Hector; he thought of him as his son. When Don Salamanca was no longer able, Tuco took over for his uncle. Tuco was a key man in our North American operation. He was loyal. This Heisenberg, Walter White, was one of Tuco’s local suppliers until he betrayed him. So, now you see, blood must be repaid by blood. Tuco’s cousins here have a right to exact the vengeance. The Salamanca family, the cartel, everyone stands shoulder to shoulder on this.”
Hector: “Ding! Ding! Ding!”
Dressed in a white striped shirt and a gray jacket with a blue ribbon pinned to it, Gus says, “Don Salamanca, señores, I feel your loss deeply, and extend my sympathies. I have no issue with your right to vengeance. But I am presently engaged in business with this man. When our business is completed, he will no longer be of any concern to me. Till then, I need him alive.”
“Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!” El jefe stays Hector’s hand, then goes outside with Gus.
El jefe: “I recommend you finish your business with this man quickly, or you risk losing the good graces of he cartel. Also, those boys inside – I can’t guarantee that they will listen. They are not like you and me.”
Scene 4: Jesse’s, Casa Blanca, Skyler’s lawyer’s office
Both Walt and Jesse have forced their way back into their homes, only to feel isolated. Jesse, grief-stricken, listens repeatedly to Jane’s message, and Walt lies in a makeshift bed in Holly’s room while Skyler smokes a cigarette by the open window of the master bedroom, Holly at her side. When the baby starts to cry, Walt knocks on the door. “Can I help?” He tries the locked door, and asks if he can use the bathroom. No answer. He goes into the kitchen and pees in the sink.
The next day, Skyler tells her lawyer that Walt’s shown back up. “I called the police on him. I was so close – ”
“So close to what?”
“Nothing. Never mind.”
“Skyler, I can’t advise you properly if you don’t give me all the facts. I’m bound by lawyer-client privilege – I can’t tell anyone what you share with me.”
“Even if it’s illegal?”
“Especially if it’s illegal.”
Skyler whispers, “My husband makes meth. Methamphetamine.”
“Your husband is a drug dealer…”
“He’s a manufacturer, technically. They call them ‘cooks.’ I looked it up on the internet.”
“This is my advice, and you should take it. Sue your husband for divorce, immediately. Then go to the police and get a restraining order.”
“I don’t want my son to find out that his father is a criminal. I can’t do that to him.”
“In the end it may not be up to you. Drug dealers have a way of getting caught.”
“My husband has lung cancer. So things may resolve on their own without anyone knowing.”
Scene 5: a low-class bar
Hank and Gomez are in sitting in a low-class bar, and Hank sees two men at a table doing a drug exchange. After having a panic attack in the bathroom, he tells Gomez what he’s seen. Gomez says, “In this place the bartender’s probably holding.” He gets out his phone to call the police.
Hank stops him. “Why can’t we handle a couple of dirt balls?” Gomez gives him a look, and Hank says, “Screw it. Your turn to pay.”
Outside, alone in the Jeep, Hank puts his gun under the dash. Gomez comes out, and Hank goes back in, saying he has to “take a leak.” Inside, he confronts the two guys and beats them up to prove to himself that he’s still a man. When they’re down on the ground, and everyone’s watching, he says, “DEA. Don’t move! Go tell my partner to get his ass in here.” Hard rock music plays.
Scene 6: Jesse’s, the desert, Casa Blanca, the DEA, Beneke
Jesse wakes up in his sleeping bag, and listens to Jane’s message a couple of times. The third time he gets a recording saying, “The number you have reached is no longer in service.” His eyes dark with grief and loss at this final severance, he holds the phone to his mouth and leans his head back. Next thing we know he’s out in the desert in the RV, wearing his pale blue protective suit and a black rubber apron, a fancy lab system set up.
Meanwhile, at the Whites’, Skyler’s sneaking out with the baby, when she sees an open bag of money on the living room floor. We hear Walt’s voice say, “Can we talk?”
Hank’s in the bathroom at work, a wound over one eye. Gomez tells him the story he’s just told the boss about the previous night, then says Merkert wants to see him.
Back at Casa Blanca, Walt says, “I did a terrible thing, but I did it for a good reason. I did it for us. That is college tuition for Walt, Jr. and Holly, if they need it down the road.” He lists other ways the money could come in handy after he’s gone: “birthday and graduation parties – the mortgage…This money – I didn’t steal it. It doesn’t belong to anyone else. I earned it. The things I’ve done to earn this money, the things I’ve had to do, I’ve got to live with them. Skyler, all that I’ve done, all the sacrifices I’ve made for this family [Skyler’s had tears in her eyes till now, but here she kind of rolls them]…all of it will be for nothing, if you don’t accept what I’ve earned…I’ll be here when you get home from work. You can give me your answer then.”
Skyler’s using the copier in the break room at Beneke when Ted comes in for some coffee. While he’s getting it, she comes up behind him and puts her hand on his shoulder. He turns, they kiss, then hear a voice and part.
Ted: “Maybe some coffee.”
“Yeah…Are your kids home?”
“No,” Ted says, smiling.
Skyler comes home after dark. She sits in her car, closes her eyes, and thinks. Inside, Junior and Lewis are watching cartoons, and Walt, in an apron, is cooking pot roast and making a salad. He tells Skyler he’s “eager to hear” what she’s been thinking whenever she’s ready…Honesty is good, don’tcha think?”
Skyler says nothing, just goes over to him at thekitchen “island.” Staring at him, she picks up the salad, and says softly, “I fucked Ted.” Then she takes the salad to the table, and calls the boys to dinner. They’re busy with drinks and the salad while Walt absorbs this taste of his own medicine.