Previously on The Bridge, “A LOT OF THINGS CHANGED,” Marco says in flashback, and okay, yes, that’s as helpful an encapsulation as any before we dive right into the present moment. But I’ll ring those memory bells for last season’s characters and major plot points as we go along in this recap, never you fear!
As for our season premiere, we open with one of those heat-filters on Lyle Lovett (Monte) driving to and walking in a model house. Sheesh, you know, you try to look at some real estate, and you end up getting a ton of blood all over your fancy-schmancy snakeskin boots.
While Monte manages not to slide on the pools of blood and calmly regards what appears to be a massacre, we see fresh corpses dripping blood from the second floor and discover blood spattering a plate of cookies in the kitchen (now that’s just a shame) as well as a cardboard cutout of the agent, Chip Diaz, who is showing the home. “Howdy, Chip,” Monte murmurs, plucking a business card from the cutout. “Looking for a home,” we hear in the refrain of the accompanying music. Yeah, how about not this one; this one is bathed in blood. Wait, this is just the model; does that come standard?
While Sonya floats at her local pool (they really should mark separate lanes for laps and for starfish poses, right?) and rushes off after a locker-room phone call, over in Mexico poor Marco busts a house in combat gear with his men, only to have one nearly shoot him.
A pair of DEA agents find out that with the newly elected Mexican government in place, their plan, codename Condor, is officially shit out of luck. Welp, there goes ten million dollars and three years of planning! What about catching Fausto Galvan (remember, our tunnel-smuggling migrant trafficker-slash- hardass mobster with the BFF he constantly harangues, who made a devil’s deal with Marco and groped Charlotte last season? That Fausto Galvan!)? “Don’t call us; we’ll call you,” their Mexican contact says blithely. Burrrnnn.
Sonya heads to a hospital where she meets Jack Dobbs, the brother of the man who killed her sister. They both stare at the dying Dobbs behind the glass. “I don’t want him to die,” she murmurs to Jack, who is discomfited that Sonya seems invested in keeping his criminal brother alive.
Two new characters, Eleanor Nacht and Yovani, cross the USA-Mexico bridge on foot. “We have a system,” she admonishes him; he didn’t use a separate line like they planned. Okay, so she’s a cold organization type; he’s a loose cannon. On the USA side, he complains the hybrid SUV she’s engaged will make him look gay. She looks like she’s going to give him such a pinch.
While Marco’s corrupt Captain gets a photo op with an arsenal of recovered weapons on drugs (funny thing, when Marco and his men discovered absolutely nothing during the raid, hmmm), Marco has clearly found himself tangled in more police fraud on the job.
Now, who else wanted to physically reach through the television screen and smoosh Sonya and Marco back together? I know they’re fighting, on account of how she shot him (remember that??) to keep him from killing the man who murdered his son Gus. But I can’t stand to see those two isolated and apart; they need to be working together. It’s the backbone The Bridge is built on, and I hope we’ll get much more of it in episodes to come.
At Hank’s ranch, Hank, along with Sony and Eva — wait, remember Eva, the Mexican woman Steven Linder smuggled to the United States? She later hung out at the Ranch of Sexy Endangered Women overseen by Pastor Killed-a-Guy, and then ended up rescued from the horrible gang rape by cops and spirited away to Hank’s place? Cripes, Eva is like the assaulted and missing lost girls of Juarez made flesh. Let’s give her some actual characterization besides being the victim of every possible violent act against women this season.
Anyway, as the three of them repair a cut fence, Hank advises Sonya to steer clear of the Dobbs family (sound advice) and reminds her that “the man that killed your sister left this planet a long time ago,” when she mentions Dobbs is dying. Eva screams, and they run to help. One of the policemen from Juarez stares down the barrel of his gun at Hank and Sonya from his car; Sonya gets a rifle, because she is not fooling around, son. “Shit,” Hank says feelingly. I’m so with you, Hank.
Daniel Frye, recovering-lapsed alcoholic, dickhead reporter, and investigative partner to Adriana Mendez (who is possibly my favorite), examines a pegboard of photos and notes related to the actual house-load of cold hard cash he and Adriana stumbled upon at the end of last season.
His poor beleaguered AA sponsor, Gary, stops by so that Daniel can explain he has his alcoholism totally under control: two beers a day, pfftt, easy peasy. “You’re an addict, Daniel,” Gary protests (and protests any slights against RUSH; apparently even non-Canadians will defend their musical achievements) before Daniel takes a clearly important call.
A wedding ring spins on a table alongside a nearly empty bottle of tequila. We pan back to see Marco; Sonya is separated from him by the glass outside. “At least you can have sex with other women now that you’re divorced, huh?” she says brightly when he lets her in. No, Marco, Sonya isn’t rubbing in your new status as a single man; I think she’s actually trying to bright-side this whole thing with your now ex-wife refusing to let you see your remaining kids or attend the birth of your child.
“They know we saved her,” Marco tells Sonya grimly, about Eva, and “if they want me dead, they can make it happen, like that. Same for you.” When she asks what they’re going to do, he scorns her help, saying, “This is my problem. I’ll deal with it.” Marco, if you taught Sonya anything last season, it’s that the two of you need each other; stop trying to go it alone. Call “when you’re ready to do something,” she tells him, leaving in a huff.
Over at the Rayburn National Bank, Eleanor the Organized tells Yovani the Unpredictable, “yes, bring your tools” to their meeting inside. Oh, that doesn’t sound ominous or anything. They meet with Mr. Delarge, who clearly screwed up at the house full of money that Daniel and Adriana found last season. “Why wasn’t the money moved when it was supposed to?” Eleanor asks calmly, noting they lost 60 million dollars. Oh, it totally won’t happen again, Delarge claims (while I start hiding behind a couch pillow); she definitely doesn’t need the name of his courier who “has a family.”
While Yovani makes threatening sexual comments about Delarge’s daughter in a photo and messes around with expensive baseball paraphernalia, Delarge’s assistant comes in with tea for Eleanor. OF COURSE HE SPILLS IT ALL OVER HER! “Don’t’ touch me,” Eleanor says sharply when Delarge offers a handkerchief, and calls Yovani, who slams the guy into the wall. “Finger? Hand? Ear?” Yovani asks, like they’re trying to decide what they might get for lunch. “Ear,” Eleanor decides coolly; the assistant screams in pain while Delarge vomits and, terrified, agrees not to call the police. “Now I need the name of the courier, please,” Eleanor comments as the assistant bleeds away on the floor.
Back at the criminal hospital, Sonya runs into Jack Dobbs again. He seems apologetic for telling her she’s “weird” for wanting to help his brother; they go outside to talk. He normally doesn’t like talking to cops. “Why, are you a criminal?” she asks sharply. “No, not right now.” That there is a joke, Sonya; Sonya laughs awkwardly. Turns out the entire Dobbs family suffered after Jim Dobb’s heinous crime; their father committed suicide, and their mother passed away soon after. Well, Sonya doesn’t believe in karma, despite Jack trying to see a pattern for the mess that’s been made of all their lives. “There’s something I want to show you,” she says, leading him away.
Back at Sonya’s apartment, we again see her shrine to her dead sister before she gives Jack a photograph of him and Jim as children together. “He had it on him when he was arrested,” Sonya says, explaining how she came to possess it. “You mean shot,” Jack corrects (remember, Hank was the one who shot him? Now you do). Okay, Sonya, is this the safest, wisest idea you’ve ever had? Because I for one think it is not. Too late, she’s already told Jack she doesn’t want him to go, and she moves right to the crotch before he can start to kiss her. The episode earns its nudity rating as Jack pulls off Sonya’s jeans and underwear.
I’m really curious how viewers found this choice, to have Jack and Sonya sleep together. To me it made a strange, sad sort of sense. Both Jack’s and Sonya’s lives were defined since they were young by Jim Dobbs crime and Sonya’s sister’s death. Now, with Jim Dobbs dying, they’re one another’s last connection to the trauma that shaped them as people. However much accrued emotional confusion and anger has fueled this encounter, though, I think we can agree that the two of them hooking up is probably THE WORST IDEA EVER, OH MY GOD.
Daniel Frye meets a contact, an ultra-conservative conspiracy theorist who has some off-the-record information about Frye’s FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request. His department chief is stalling it, but the man (who Frye immediately christens “Dick” for his codename) passes along the information that three people with the surname “Quintana” were given asylum in the USA on the same day. So like Millie Quintana, who owned the house full of money.
Armed with this lead, Frye immediately interrupts Adriana’s romantic lunch date with her girlfriend Lucy, cutting off their conversation about Adriana’s missing (and probably dead) little sister, Dani. When Lucy says she’s heard a lot about Daniel, he exclaims excitedly, “That’s me, the dickhead,” and starts eating her lunch. When he starts raving about her looks and “perfect lips”, Adriana asks in exasperation if he’s been drinking. “Full disclosure; this dickhead is also a fully functioning alcoholic,” Daniel says merrily. Also, he’s found Millie had contacts in Immigration; “we need to find those relatives” that were granted asylum, Adriana says immediately.
So yes, we’re reminded that Daniel is a rapscallion, Adriana is a lesbian, and together they fight crime! But what about that gratuitous blink-and-you’ll-miss-it mention of Adriana’s missing sister? Now that show developer and writer Meredith Steihm has left The Bridge to return to Homeland, it’s unclear if the show will continue to explore the gendered aspects of violence in Juarez and Mexico (one of Steihm’s narrative investments), or if we’ll go in new directions. So is reference to Dani just a continuity tie-in? Or are we really going to get more focus on the lost girls of Juarez in season 2?
“I thought you were going to go for the hand,” Yovani muses to Eleanor as the two of them drive to the Ridge housing development. Because sure, after you hack off a guy’s ear for tea-spilling, it can be a good opportunity to look at exciting new options in luxury home living. Um, is this before or after the model home was turned into Murder House? “Ear was better. He wasn’t listening,” she says.
When Yovani suggests he can help her shop for new clothes after we “get the yankee”, and tell her what looks good, Eleanor shuts him down because she doesn’t need new clothes. Nope, those Mennonite-esque garments will do her just fine in her demanding work of organizing huge amounts of money laundering and enacting vengeance on sloppy shadow partners. You better watch yourself, Yovani; Eleanor does not look like the type to suffer fools — or not so veiled sexual advances — gladly.
Now, who should answer the door to the doomed model home but Chip Diaz? Remember, he of the cardboard cutout likeness splattered with blood? There’s no massacre in the model house yet, so now we know, perhaps unsurprisingly, that Eleanor and Yovani are the instigators of that particular soon-to-be slaughter. Yikes, was Chip Diaz the courier? Chip offers them refreshments while Yovani offers to get his tools. “No,” Eleanor demurs. Why does this not comfort me? Oh yes, because we’ve already viewed this house bathed in blood.
Back in Juarez, Abelardo Pintado, the prosecutor for the State of Chihuahua, wants to talk to Marco’s corrupt Captain Robles. So of course Captain Robles hides in the bathroom and sends out Marco to answer his questions. “My condolences for the loss of your son,” Abelardo mentions as Marco leads him to the records room; great timing, Abelardo, because it’s also the day Marco’s divorce became finalized.
When the prosecutor mentions he’ll have questions for Marco later, Marco cautions him he’ll need to check with Robles first. Does Marco clear everything with his Captain, Abelardo wants to know? It depends on what Marco thinks he needs to know. “That attitude can be dangerous,” Abelardo lectures. Yeahhh, okay, smart guy: what are you looking for anyway? “I’m not sure yet; I’ll know it when I see it.”
Oh god, the awkward aftermath of Sonya and Jack’s ill-advised hookup. *covers face with hands* “Did he [Jim Dobbs] give you those?” Jack asks uneasily, gesturing to the freaky childlike drawings all over Sonya fridge. “I like looking at them,” she says, which is about when Jack starts backing out of the room before he’s totally dressed. Sonya smiles and says bye hopefully, and ugh, he’s so obviously like “I’ve made a terrible mistake.”
Hank sends Eva off with Pastor Killed-a-Guy, Bob (he of the Ranch of Sexy Endangered Women), but not before snapping a picture of the Pastor’s license with his phone and telling him he knows all about Bob’s past felonies and meth addiction. Hank says flat out he doesn’t trust him and “I don’t trust that wing nut Linder either,” (I’m with you on that, Hank). “Anything happens to her, you answer to me, you understand?” Oh, Hank, you and your lost girls; his ranch, you probably remember, was where Sonya went as a kid after her sister was murdered.
Here’s another one of those weird isolation moments — like we keep seeing Marco and Sonya fumbling along on their separate ineffectual paths instead of getting shit done together, Hank seems cut off from police work, just safeguarding Eva at his place and wagging fingers at Pastor Bob. Has Hank already retired, as he kept saying he’d do last season? I’ll tell you that when he and Sonya went to confront the man stalking Eva earlier, I said aloud, “There will be hell to pay if anyone kills Hank this season!” But you know, let’s keep Hank in the action instead of on the sidelines in future eps.
Marco returns to his apartment above a noisy club, and weaves his way through revelers so he can drink alone on his balcony upstairs. A car across the street seems to be keeping vigil on him, but who knows. “You want to have a drink with me?” he asks his interested neighbor. I guess Sonya’s bright-side about Marco being able to sleep with other women now that he’s divorced is ready to rev into action.
Meanwhile back in Texas, Sonya investigates a crime scene, using a flashlight to show the blood-spattered windshield of that earlier discussed hybrid SUV in which, oh damn, Eleanor’s not so obedient minion Yovani is dead and lifeless behind the wheel. The vehicle continues to circle, its steering wheel wrenched into keeping it going at a slow curl. “Is that a dog?” Sonya asks, noticing what looks like a dead or taxidermied canine with its head sticking out the back window. “Trucker called it in,” Cooper (remember, he of the pornstache and police work with Marco, Sonya, and Hank?) comments, noting “of course it’s a hybrid, so it ain’t like we can wait it out” for the car to run out of gas. Gosh, that is awkward.
Two boys on bikes ride up to what looks like an empty loading dock/truck stop, where hey hey hey, Eleanor is naked, hosing off blood, and showing off some seriously scary ass BAMF tattoos — one is a demon that extends up her back along her spine, ending with her as the head, and looks to be one of those illustrations William Blake did for Milton’s Paradise Lost. That’s some serious shit, Eleanor. Run, run, you two crazy kids! This is a woman who probably just murdered a model-house full of people and set up her second-in-command in some weird tableau making a pointed joke about hybrid vehicles! “Help me,” Eleanor says hoarsely to the boys, and SCENE.
Okay, I’m not sure if enough happened in that episode Hahahaha, I’M KIDDING! Wow, that was a jam-packed blood-filled violence-strewn hit the ground running premiere, am I right? I’m going to need a week to recover, but join me then for the recap of our next ep of The Bridge, “Ghost of a Flea”.