Previously on The Bridge: Cartels! The DEA versus the CIA! Badassery!
Monte Flagman, the remarkably sanguine ear to the cartel lawyer, takes in his cowboy boots to get the murder blood cleaned off of them. Sheesh, he can only spare a few coins for Little Lupe who has leukemia? Surely you could stuff some dirty drug money dollars in that charity collection can, Monte.
After feeding the skeptical boot cleaner a lie about antelope hunting, Monte finds Eleanor waiting for him out back, fondling the shoemaking stabbing tools. “I’ve come through slaughter for this; you’ve somehow come out untouched, Monte. How is that possible?” Well, he provides good counsel, he’s punctual, and he works hard. And he has a preternatural sense of knowing which way the wind is blowing, clearly, having already switched sides to Sebastian Cerisola and knowing Sonya has the all-important ledger.
As he sees Eleanor looking a little too stabby, Monte reveals he’s packing heat (of course) and that he’s “a certified marksman. Okay, but when Eleanor is done “cleaning up,” she expects her due. When he drawls that Sebastian has “other matters to attend to” — namely, his kidnapped drug-addicted daughter Romina, who is in Fausto Galvan’s custody — Eleanor says grimly: “Fausto’s a demon. He will be hard to vanquish.” “We’re workin’ on that,” Monte says smoothly, because he is the king of unflappability.
Agent Buckley tears apart Sonya’s studio apartment looking for the ledger. Unable to find it, he takes out his ire on one of Sonya’s fishies, confirming that he’s a rat bastard.
Sonya’s slipped back into Superlative Detective Mode, figuring out the code to the ledger and hightailing it over to see Hank at the hospital (with absolutely NO DISGUISE; that woman has no more common sense than god gave a squirrel). Sonya reveals the mystery of the ledger: the numbers conceal addresses that hold records of the cartel’s and CIA’s involvement in pretty much all the crimes and evil of the season. Because Hank is a badass, he refuses to let her go alone. He yanks off his monitoring equipment and stumbles out of his hospital bed to accompany her.
Meanwhile, Fausto ignored Marco’s warnings that the Marinas will not take him alive (and offer to be the one to turn him in and let him live). After burning the undercover Marina caught alongside Marco, Fausto seemingly concedes to Marco’s pleas for “medical attention” to the man: to Marco’s horror, Obregon takes out a gun and shoots the Marina point blank.
CIA Agent Buckley has another diner date with his scary overlord supervisor. After they swap pies (he has nut allergies), she more or less tells him if he’s caught, that’s it. “I’m alone on this, I get it,” he says amiably, joking through her warnings. He vows to pay a visit to the “wordsmiths” and shut down the pipeline.
Marco went to Fausto without leverage, Sonya tells Hank: “we need to get it for him.” Hank’s got her back, but he’s doubtful much will change. “Ever spit in the ocean?” he asks her. “It is vast, and we are not.” Of course Sonya doesn’t totally get this metaphorical warning that they’re mere drops in the ocean of the war between the DEA and CIA. “Getting shot always makes me a little soft for a few days,” Hank apologizes for his philosophical musings. “I’ll get over it.” God, I love Hank SO FREAKING MUCH!
At the first location indicated by the ledger code, Sonya and Hank find a pawn shop, already worked over and missing files. “She had help,” Hank clarifies when Sonya says Eleanor beat them to it. Cesar, “the ass-hat that stole my folding knife,” he explains. Oh, Cesar, what have you become, working for Eleanor? You used to just be merely a human trafficker! Takes me back!
“Burn it,” Eleanor instructs Cesar as they get rid of files at the next location. They put the manager at the shop in the car, because “we’re not done yet.”
Steven Linder takes the most visible road of revenge either, heading in to the Chihuahua PD and asking to see Capitan Robles. “What’s that in your hand?” Cecelia asks warily. “A paperweight,” Linder says awkwardly of the rock he’s holding. “Tell the captain no man can run from his past.” He waits until she writes it down and clarifies, “I’m his past.”
So just to get this out there, Linder isn’t taking this road to revenge for Eva. While she waits for him and dreams about the life they might have together in a pink house across the road (seriously, Eva, you could see yourself settling down with Linder? I understand you’re grateful to him, but bzuh?), he’s refusing to give up their killing quest even when she asks. “The world can only bear so much before a sunderance,” he says in that odd voice of his.
It’s clearly a crossroads moment: pursue a normal life with Eva, such as it would be, or take a rock to one figure of injustice. Even at this stage of the episode, we can see how futile Linder’s quest is — like Hank said, “It is vast, and we are not.” One revenge killing will not change these terrible acts bad men commit, and Linder seeing himself as an individual instrument of good isn’t going to get him far.
“Everything’s going to be okay,” Marco tells Romina when he finds himself locked in the same stable stall as her. She leans on him and cries, and he comforts her in a murmur. It’s very much a father-daughter scene.
At the next address indicated by the ledger, police are already on the scene. Shouldn’t you, I don’t know, visit the secret locations OUT OF ORDER, Sonya? “We’re chasing our own tails, now,” Hank notes just as they spot Daniel and Adriana. Refusing to believe Daniel’s flip answer about why there’s there (“we were just cruisin’ for chicks!”), Hank demands Daniel tell them what they knew about Agent Joe McKenzie’s findings, “or I’ll kick your ass.” And hell, even clutching his side where he was shot, Hank’s slamming Daniel against the hood of the car and getting him to yell uncle seconds later.
“If we work together, we can stop them,” Sonya tells Daniel and Adriana, which is far too optimistic and team-work-y for this very likely doomed situation.
“Journalistic probable cause,” Daniel shrugs when Sonya and Hank wonder how they got their hands on McKenzie’s evidence. There’s a map that makes no sense, but Sonya recognizes it. Eleanor’s version in the ledger “has GPS coordinates.” They head to the key destination McKenzie thought was most important.
Upon arrive, they find “a whole bunch of nothing,” but soon come across a US Customs seal. “Good working with you again, detective,” Daniel calls out when Sonya rushes out on her own internally driven mission.
Hank heads back to El Paso PD to deal with the DEA agent in cahoots with Buckley. “You are really into the whole cowboy thing, aren’t you?” asks the agent snidely. “Yes, sir, I am,” Hank answers, because HANK IS A COWBOY, AND DON’T YOU FORGET IT, JERKFACE! The guy acts all condescending and takes one of Hank’s toffees of DOOM (seriously, the last two people to eat those toffees were shot to death by cartel thugs).
Despite bleeding through his damn shirt, Hank tells off the guy, pretty much telling him that in working with Buckley, he’s fucked (“you’re doing a whole lot of catching and not a lot of pitching”). “Either you know jack shit or you’re in on it,” Hank says, exasperated, when the agent claims to know nothing about what’s happening with Eleanor. If he wants to talk, call, and Hank will “help you unscrew your head from out your ass,” Hank says, stalking out bloody shirt and all LIKE A BOSS (seriously, Hank, be careful; I’m worried about you!).
As Fausto’s men set up snipers and put up barricades, Fausto is asking Obregon in exasperation, “Where’s the one [bullet proof vest] I had made for you?” Obregon stammers he can’t find it. “You fat bastard; you’ll suffocate in that,” Fausto says in irritation because Obregon’s clearly put on too much weight to wear his custom-made vest. Those two are such heterosexual life partners. I’m imagining there’s a tag in that vest reading, “Made with care and love by orders of Fausto the crime lord <3 ”
Obregon wants to hide out in the canyon, and thinks Marco’s offer to help Fausto turn himself in is a bum deal. “I’m done running,” Fausto declares, asking to “just bring” Marco and Romina (rather than shoot them full of lead).
Sebastian Cerisola meets with Agent Buckley to remind him the Americans need him for a smooth transition, and he wants his daughter back and Fausto dead. “We all want that,” Buckley tells him, assuring Sebastian he’s “got this.” Yeah, can we say untrustworthy?
“She’s dopesick,” Marco says of Romina, who is coughing as they’re forced to their knees. Fausto isn’t going to give her any drugs; he wants her awake. He uses the satellite phone Marco got from the Marinas to call the colonel. “I’m not negotiating with you, Galvan,” the man answers. “You’re negotiating now, idiot,” Fausto retorts. He tells them he wants safe passage, and uses Romina as a bargaining chip.
Ignoring Marco’s insistence that “this is bigger than Sebastian,” Fausto instead rants about rich kids who use drugs. “How does that happen?” he marvels, saying drugs are for depressed people, not for wealthy kids who have everything. “There’s a genetic component,” Obregon says wisely, and Fausto nods thoughtfully at that.
I do love how those two keep up their domestic banter in the middle of these horrible situations; it’s hilarious, but also a reminder of the “normal” faces criminal people and operations can unsettlingly wear. The Colonel calls back: “you have your safe passage.”
A new prosecutor arrives to target Robles, this one ready to charge him with rape, conspiracy, and corruption. “It’s over for you, Captain,” the man promises. “Bullshit,” says Robles, closing the file but looking disturbed.
Sonya questions a boy at a gas station, near the border crossing closest to Eleanor’s GPS coordinates/ McKenzie’s evidence indicating a big piece of the operation puzzle. Though the kid hasn’t seen Eleanor or Buckley when Sonya shows him pictures, he does remember a guy asking the same thing (likely McKenzie), who also talked to his dad about trucks. “At the crossroad. They come at night,” the boy tells her.
While Sonya pursues her lead, Daniel and Adriana pursue theirs: a former drug buddy of Daniel’s who works at Homeland Security and is supposed to owe him a favor. But no, the man claims Daniel owes him, from “that time at Chi-Chi’s.” “Shame,” the man says regretfully of a fun coke fiend they used to know who’s now a Christian selling shoes at the mall. “It’s a waste,” Daniel agrees.
With a wad of cash supplied by Adriana, the man tells them to their surprise that the Customs seal isn’t a forgery; it’s one they print there. “Big companies get them to make border crossing easier,” he explains; either American or Mexican companies can get them through NAFTA. “you got a hundred bucks, I got a list of companies,” the man adds. “I need to go to the ATM first,” says Adriana quietly; ack, it’s kinda funny and kinda awful that she’s the one bankrolling this investigation of theirs.
We see Fausto and Obregon in the front seat of a vehicle; in the back seat, Romina and Marco slump together. They’re waved through the Marinas blockade, but then the Colonel’s men open fire, riddling the SUV with bullets. “It was a pleasure doing business with you, Senor, Galvan,” the Colonel says smugly. But when he opens the door, the man that rolls out isn’t Obregon, and the Marinas have been fooled by an imposter.
The actual SUV stops at a deserted dirt road; Fausto plans to “use [Marco] and this bitch to trade my way out of here,” by retreating to the mountains he knows better than anyone.
In Juarez, Captain Robles walks into the thick of an illicit and organized operation at a warehouse. “A scorpion falls and another rises to take his place,” he intones to the overseeing supervisor. “I always thought that scorpion shit was stupid,” the man says. He does agree, however, to give Robles the same payment deal as Fausto. Robles clearly plans to take over Fausto’s holdings, at least in Juarez. In the background, workers smooth out a US Customs seal over a departing truck.
Robles departs, walking through the shadows. Behind him, Linder advances, raising the same rock he’s apparently been carrying all day in readiness to brain his enemy. But the little light casts a shadow of Linder’s form, and before he can slam the rock down, Robles pulls out a gun to shoot him. Cripes, I’m guessing that’s the end of Linder. I wouldn’t be shocked; Hank’s already taken the Get Out Of Certain Death Free card for this narrative arc, and Linder and Eva’s storyline has felt tacked on for a number of episodes now.
“That reporter’s right,” Hank says as he and Sonya wait in two different vehicles at the crossroads the boy indicated. “It’s all dirty,” this pissing contest and struggle for control in Mexico between the DEA and the CIA. They get five murders a year in El Paso, Hank says quietly. “And given what’s going on across the border, it just doesn’t feel right. And some of that’s on us.” “Cops?” asks Sonya. “No, Americans,” Hank tells her. Okay, yes — if The Bridge gets picked up for a third season, let’s absolutely pursue this American culpability storyline.
Lights appear in the darkness as two trucks pull up. “They’re switching drivers,” Sonya realizes. “You take the van, I got the semi,” says Hank. “Be careful.” “Copy,” Sonya tells him, and they prepare to confront what’s turned out to be the nexus of the season’s drug cartel/government conspiracy narrative. Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that shit’s about to get real.
Talk to me in comments! Tell me what you think about the stakes getting raised like this, and how you might imagine this crazy town banana pants take-down working out. And be sure to join me next week for the last episode of the this season of The Bridge, “Jubilex”!