Previously on The Bridge: Creepy Mutton Chops burned up all Eva’s belongings and fixated on a blonde homeless woman. Sonya leaked the serial killer’s message, stuck her nose in cartel killings in Mexico, and made a guy at a bar feel cheap with their meaningless but hot sex. Marco was a serious BAMF while questioning Daniel Frye and confronting pimps, but yes-dear-ed his wife ineffectively about family problems. Charlotte found her husband’s human trafficking tunnel and refused a casserole full o’ cash. Our reporter pals broke the story about the serial killer and found the poor border-wandering illegals dead from poison (save one who crawled away). Oh, and the adult braces wearing deputy = enthusiastic, suspicious, and still my choice for comic relief.
At the ranch, Charlotte buries her husband in a ranch-y well-attended funeral and stares awkwardly at the tombstone next to his with her name on it (because that’s just practical death-planning, and not in any way an omen Charlotte herself may soon bite the dust!). She tries to make nice with the mourners, only to have her resentful stepdaughter call her a whore and the ladies from the Art Walk titter at her because she’s a trashy trophy wife from Tampa. Hey, who’s that stern woman lurking in the background? Who else guesses this is the tunnel run organizer?
We spot the only survivor from the band of illegals in the backseat of a car. The driver’s clearly the killer — he’s the only one we get the boot-focused shots of, and to add to his creepy wardrobe, he’s wearing ominous crime-committing gloves.
Back at the deserted trailer, Creepy Mutton Chops stands in his tighty whities doing the most awkward version of the Sun Salutation ever. He takes a break from yoga poses to stroke his disturbing arm scar and pour water on his bare feet. Since we’ve gotten shots of the serial killer only from his boots, the foot-focus seems another misdirect or clue.
At the site where the illegals were found, Marco, Sonya, and Hank discuss how the killer’s M.O. is changing (I’m not sure he ever had a stable one, but never mind). While the FBI charges in to take part in the investigation, Hank stage-directs, telling Marco to follow Sonya, and ordering Tim “Pornstache” Cooper to work with Deputy Adult Braces so he can figure out if he’s just randomly awkward and weird and likes killing coyotes, or actually has something to do with the murders.
Sonya and Marco realize the killer must have watched the victims die, and hey, look over there, it’s Creepy Mutton Chops’s trailer! Gosh, my misdirect theory about Creepy not being the killer is just getting riddled with holes. Sonya finds burnt clothing and gets impatient when Marco tries to go rogue and break in without a warrant.
Wait, did Frye just sniff glue at the police station? After getting sass from Kitty, he submits (barely) to Hank’s questioning. “This guy chose you for a reason, son,” Hank insists, what with using his car for the body drop, almost pipe-bombing him, and calling him with the dead illegals GPS information. He orders Frye to contact them immediately if he gets another call from the killer, offering exclusive developments in return.
Despite how Marco perfects his Heavy Sighing of Significance, he still has to spell it out for Sonya that he’s upset the Attorney General of Mexico City is investigating Sonya’s complaint about him compromising the crime scene at the bridge. “What would it take for you to drop this complaint” about letting the ambulance through? Sonya declares it’s impossible, because diplomatic flexibility appears nowhere in her rulebook.
Charlotte confronts the lurking woman from the funeral, now lurking at the horse enclosure. At least she’s consistent. “Didn’t Karl just love you?” the woman says to a horse (probably the payback-horse for letting the tunnel run on Karl’s property). “I understand you didn’t enjoy the casserole,” she says ominously. But be fair: it’s just rough to expect green beans and end up chomping dirty money.
“The tunnel has got to go away,” Charlotte says with finality, ignoring the woman’s warning they’re more alike than she realizes. “Goodbye, handsome,” the woman tells the soon-to-be-offed horse in an undertone. Charlotte, CALL THE FBI! You are even more in over your head than when you’re pretending to be an artsy society woman!
Our reporter pals head to Juarez to meet with the elderly couple that stayed behind when the rest of the now-dead illegals attempted to cross the border. “Sorry to show you how people actually live,” Adrianna tells Frye when he complains slums and shacks aren’t fun like the prostitutes and pharmacies he usually visits in Mexico.
The killer phones Frye, tell him “I have her [the kidnapped illegal]. I’ll let her go for a price.” He names the four richest men in El Paso who are to supply the ransom of a million dollars. “What’s your point?” Frye asks about all of the killer’s actions. “Dialectics.” The killer walks on a dirt road, seemingly vanishing in the heat distortion.
The FBI runs a meeting of what is now a joint task-force at CAP El Paso. Okay, Sonya, you can’t just do things on your and Hank’s say-so anymore. Charlotte shows up, because her husband was one of the rich men named by the killer. Hey, now would be a good time to tell someone ABOUT THAT TUNNEL. She disses Sonya, talking only to Marco (she’s going to remember who stopped that ambulance and who let it through forever), though she tells him next to nothing about her dead husband.
Sonya hits pay dirt when a homicide turns up at Creepy Mutton Chop’s apartment address.
She and Marco head to the shelter to haul him in for questioning about Wanda Cunningham’s death (in reality, you’ll recall, she was killed by Scary Tear-Drinking Thug). “Is her cat okay?” Creepy asks, because of course he would fixate on that (omg, I hope that cat is okay!).
Marco and Sonya ask Creepy about a “girl, Mexican, crossed the border then disappeared,” which fits the profile of both Eva Guerra (who Creepy “helped” cross) and the young illegal who escaped. “I’m just a person who helps people,” he repeats awkwardly through Marco’s increasingly hostile questions about his spooky kidnapping trailer and the burnt women’s clothes on his property. Sonya confronts him with the photo he dropped of the blonde woman from the shelter. It’s his sister, he claims, who he hasn’t seen since they were placed in separate foster homes. Okay, that could be legit, or it could be another cover for his “helping”/kidnapping career.
Hank ousts Marco from the room for being belligerent, and then has to tell Creepy he can go when he denies any knowledge of the murders. “You seem very upset,” Creepy tells Sonya; he would be too if he was looking for a lost girl. But he is looking for one, Sonya points out, if he’s trying to find his sister. Oh sure, lost girl, right! I just can’t figure you out, Creepy.
Marco’s wife and son Gus show up at the station to interrupt his frustrated brooding.
Earlier Mrs. Ruiz found out at her campus job that Gus is pretty much failing all of college; she’s there in part again trying to get Marco involved. But Gus has no time to turn his grades around, not when he’s listed leering awkwardly and obviously at Sonya as his A-1 priority.
On the streets of Juarez, one man shoots another right in front of Frye. Adrianna grabs panicking Frye and takes him to her family’s Juarez home, filled with people because “we have the biggest TV on the block.” Wow, can anyone supply Fyre with a drink to combat the DTs? Adriana’s all-female clan does that and offers more. “Can you guys stop throwing your pussies at my co-worker?” Adriana sighs, to which Frye toasts everyone with tequila and says, “You can throw whatever you want at me.”
Sonya and Hank put up photos of the victims and discuss “dialectics” (illegal/legal, Mexico/USA, all the various dichotomies of this case). Marco pulls out the flowers he bought earlier for Kitty’s birthday and presents them from both him and Sonya. Poor Sonya is flummoxed by this strange-to-her social smooth-over white lie (though perhaps not as much as Kitty when told anti-social Sonya actually got her a present).
Creepy Mutton Chops walks the streets (I can’t tell if this is El Paso or Juarez), asking about Marina, the blonde girl in the photo.
Scary Dude stalks him, but homophobia saves the day when Creepy hides in an alley where one man is getting a blow job from another, and Scary walks away in disgust.
Marco pays Charlotte a business call: he wants her to sign a statement saying he didn’t take a payment from her on the bridge (I guess Sonya’s accusation implies he did? Ugh, Sonya, seriously?). “I thought all Mexican cops took bribes,” Charlotte says blithely even as she acknowledges Marco didn’t take hers. Marco is rightfully offended, but not enough so that he turns down Charlotte’s pass at him.
I was not shocked Charlotte tried to get with Marco — her life is a serious lonely mess right now even without her husband’s pre-death rejection, and Marco’s been one of her few sympathizers. I was surprised, however, that Marco gave in oh-so-quickly, because part of me thinks of him as a moral compass character. But hey, he has masculinity issues aplenty, given how often he loses his temper and given his insecurities about his vasectomy and his family problems. Additionally Sonya’s had to stop him at multiple points from acting rashly, and illegally, in their investigation. To see him dive into infidelity on impulse isn’t that far afield from all that.
All this is just to say there are some intriguing character flaw issues at play behind what was a seriously hot onscreen make-out session.
Daniel offend-apologizes to Adrianna for “being a girl” when he saw the street gunfight and then asks why she lives in a “dump” and didn’t end up “pregnant and watching novellas the rest of your life” like the rest of her family. Gee, he’s A+ at being a congenial colleague. She made her way to a degree at UT Austin in part because “I didn’t mess around with boys.” “Strategically?” Nope, not liking them saved her. “Don’t think we’re friends or anything now, because I told you some shit,” she points out. Adrianna gets more intriguing every scene, I swear.
“What are you doing here?” Sonya asks, mystified when her bar pick-up shows at CAP El Paso to ask her out. “I can’t have sex at work.” You can see Tim and Hank behind her internally screaming, “Oh my glob!” I would call Sonya’s man toy a stalker for showing at her workplace, but on the other hand, she seems fine with giving him her number and agreeing to a dinner date. Hey, he could be similarly awkward; we don’t know, given how quickly they skipped small talk and got down to business.
Charlotte sees Marco off while wearing a fancy full-length silk nightgown. As he drives away, she hears a sound from the stables. Wow, there is going to be one dead horse in there to send a tunnel-related message, right? But dear god, I didn’t expect to see it strung up and being drained of its own blood! It’s an eerie parallel to how Judge Gates’s lower-half was found in that car, neatly drained of its blood.
Sonya wakes Hank at home in bed with his wife to tell him to look at the El Paso Times website, because “we found Maria,” the surviving illegal. Holy cripes, the killer has her duct-taped to stakes, suspended just above the ground in the hot sun, a video camera above her recording her struggles. In a series liberally strewn with dead bodies so far, this may be the most disturbing scene yet. As the camera pulls back in the bright sun, Maria fades from view with the heat distortion briefly before reappearing in a vast and deserted field.
I hope Sonya’s man toy stays on the scene; Diane Kruger is doing such an excellent job at depicting a detective with Asperger’s Syndrome, but we need more personally challenging complications in her character’s life besides just her dealings with Marco. I still think Creepy Mutton Chops (should I start calling him Steven Linder, or keep his Creepy moniker?) isn’t our serial killer, but wow, he sure has other skeletons in his barred-window trailer closets (Thomas M. Wright is absolutely fantastic at playing up the unsettling ambiguity for his character). I’m now really curious to find out if Charlotte will play ball with her horse-killing illegals-running crime boss, or will turn to the authorities. And will Scary Dude get the drop on Creepy, or lead us closer to the killer? Are Marco and Charlotte going to continue their affair? Will Gus Ruiz ever get his leering act together and pass a damn class? Tune in with me next week for episode 4, “Maria of the Desert,” and maybe we’ll find out!