Previously on The Bridge: poor Maria freaking was filmed baking in the desert sun while the FBI floundered. Sonya figured out Maria’s location from shadows because she is just that good. Marco found unwelcome help in Fausto Galvan, the SCARY AS HELL crime boss of Juarez. And the killer sent some home truths in the form of another segmented body to Daniel Frye and Marco Ruiz.
In possibly the best scene of the entire episode, Fausto Galvan and his chief minion count ill-gotten cash and muse about what makes a serial killer. “You’re a businessman,” Chief Minion protests when Galvan notes that he himself kills lots of people (their primary working definition). Nah, serial killers are into weird crap like cannibalism and freaky sex. “You’re only a serial killer if you enjoy it,” Galvan concludes. He wrings the name “Steven Linder” from the beaten and bloodied cousin of Eva Guerra’s stalker. “I don’t enjoy this,” he says flatly to his minion before he fires three times, killing their informant.
Marco and family settle in for a cozy dinner when Sonya comes knocking at the door wanting to chat about beheadings (as one does). “Why do you keep looking at me?” Sonya asks immediately embarrassed Gus bluntly, and tells Alma Ruiz she’s not eating because “it doesn’t taste good.” Like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, that one. To conclude her performance as the most unwelcome guest ever, she antes up Marco’s wallet, emphasizing he left it at Charlotte Millwright’s place. You know. When they slept together.
Okay, Sonya doesn’t come out and reveal Marco’s sexy infidelities precisely, but Alma’s no fool, and you can see her putting the pieces together immediately. In the next scene, she throws him out.
At El Paso PD, Sonya notices a girl booked for shoplifting the night before still waiting to be picked up. Later her wealthy dad swings by, more focused on sticking his ex-wife with the bail charge than dealing with his daughter, who would only get between him and his new girlfriend. “I do have an appointment in twenty,” he says cheerfully when she offers to walk instead of getting a ride. Great parenting there, guy.
Inside, Tim exclaims the FBI are nuthuggers (let’s interpret that the filthiest way possible), hogging the info on beheaded Agent Gedman (the one who slept with Cristina Fuentes). “Damn, sorry, buddy,” Tim says feelingly to Marco, who slept in the back of the station. He gives him coffee and explains his distraction of going after Steven Linder to Sonya, saying, “He got the toss last night. He needs to go get mad at somebody.”
Frye has a brief and unproductive appearance, sparring with Sonya about the phone calls he gets from the killer and feeding her a bad line explaining why he does drugs (they’re there, they’re fun, they make you hate yourself less).
In the second-best scene of the ep, Linder, wearing only tighty whities, skips his customary sun salutation to iron his shirt.
Scary Tear-Drinking Thug breaks in to strangle him with a garrote, and yes, gets the hot sizzle as Linder slams him and irons him like crazy. Marco borrows some of Sonya’s bad timing to show up then and question Linder’s many trips to Mexico, but misses the fact that Scary T-D Thug is dying inside. Gah, it’s weird to see Linder kill, and even weirder to see him doing it in only his undies.
Marco tells Sonya that unwritten partners’ rule: don’t tell his wife he’s sleeping around. No one to blame but yourself, Marco! Though Sonya’s still a stickler for the rules (you know, marriage, truth, those crazy concepts) she feels a bit bad that Marco’s benching-it in the back room, and offers him her couch for the night.
At Frye’s workplace, Marco visits, and after some calculated coffee-spilling, pockets Frye’s phone. You know Sonya will say, “Oh my god, RULES,” when she gets it. But she may want to take care when she bemoans wanting to get Frye’s phone records, because we’ve already seen in past eps how Marco’s obviously willing to go the extra (read: not so legal) mile to help out.
You all know I love a complex character, and in this episode, both his phone-stealing and his visit to Linder are excellent reminders of Marco’s many gray areas. Though I still think of him as the moral compass (enforced when he quietly tells the hospitalized Maria to ask for asylum before she gives the police any info, so she can get to her baby in Houston), he’s obviously not above underhanded tactics to get the larger job done.
Alma Ruiz chats with her colleague about how her marriage is tanking, and spots Gus looking suitably disaffected and teenager-y. “He doesn’t think about anybody but himself,” Gus complains about Marco; certainly he feels cut off from his father, but he’s also angry he’s betrayed his step-mother. In a nice bit of relationship-building between the two, Alma insists he “stay home,” when he mumbles about living with a friend.
Oh my god, what are you doing walking over the bridge to Juarez, hoodie-wearing shoplifting girl??
Leaving your uncaring family and starting over in Mexico is not a great idea if your first step is to plop down in a random doorway and wait for something to happen. Hey, don’t follow that random guy upstairs for a beer! Great, now he’s locking her in the apartment with him. His sister mutters, “stupid gringa”; this can only end badly.
Linder wipes his bloody floor with a rag and swathes Scary’s head in plastic wrap to contain the gore. Clever, yet creepy. He pockets something and rolls the body in a rug. Up until now, even though Linder’s halting speech and awkward mannerisms broadcast his oddness, he’s handled some complex situations (like helping Eva) capably, if strangely. Here it’s fascinating to see him stumble through solutions badly: he decides to drop Scary’s wrapped body out the window and frets, “Oh dear!” when the body loudly slams atop the hood of a car.
At the station, Sonya pushes aside her misgivings about possessing Frye’s phone to answer it, and gets her first conversation with the killer. “You don’t like surprises,” she says firmly when he calls her back on her office line. “You talk as if you know me,” he growls in his distorted voice. I thought this an intriguing moment; Sonya doesn’t grandstand about how she’ll be the one to track him down, but she does note that she’s studying him and will find him in the end. It’s less arrogance than a determined declaration to route out this intricate mystery.
“I’m not special,” the killer continues, clueing her in that “If I knew, others knew. Institutions know, and they ignore, and they protect.” Okay, so that’s why the FBI has refused to share the files; they knew about Gedman’s association with Cristina Fuentes.
Hank, sympathetic to Marco’s worry about Maria and her baby in Houston, and hoping to garner some information from Maria, visits a friend at Immigration Services. “Geez, you’re bossy,” she observes even as she concedes to see about a visa.
Charlotte Millwright, who keeps calling for Marco at the station (do not try that with Kitty Conchas, for she sees all!), finally gets him to meet her for coffee. It’s partly clinginess and wanting to keep up their sexy connection, and partly finally telling someone in authority that she’s got Graciela Rivera after her, stringing up her horses and wanting to move people through her land.
But Marco doesn’t want to hear about Charlotte’s criminal syndicate woes. He actually gestures to block his ears. Gah, it’s a bit frustrating that when Charlotte actually tries to tell someone about the scary illegal operation, she gets brushed aside. Long view, what should she do? “Just live your life,” Marco advises. Um. This does not seem like good advice. “I have to take the long view, too,” he tells her, pulling away when she tries to grasp his hand. Burn! Though not nearly as bad as the one Scary got, am I right?
Sonya scolds Marco for stealing Frye’s phone before confiding about the killer phoning her. Both she and Marco are grave as they ponder the FBI’s knowledge of Cristina and the video. Good news from Hank: Maria’s now in the system and will soon have a visa. “Are you coming?” Sonya asks Marco as she heads home. He hurries after her while Hank’s eyebrows shoot up at the (unfounded) innuendo.
While her host/kidnapper phones a contact to kidnap and ransom Gina (the hoodie girl), his sister helps her escape, whew! Though Gina’s appearance seemed random and disconnected at the episode’s start, I loved how her story finally began to thread into the series’ larger issues. Her wanderings with the sister bring emotional charge to the daily disappearances of young women and girls in Juarez. They call the killer “La Bestia, The Beast,” the sister explains when she takes Gina to look at a cluster of pink crosses.
Before he heads to the couch, Marco looks at the scribbled crayon drawings on Sonya’s fridge and asks what child drew them. “Jim Dobbs,” Sonya answers. Not a child, but the brain-damaged man who killed her sister. Though she seems matter-of-fact, when Marco asks, “Was it a violent death?” she lies down without answering. “I’m sure you miss her very much,” Marco says into the darkness. “Sometimes. But she’s gone.”
Gah, I find Marco and Sonya’s partnership SO FASCINATING! Of course there are many moments that seem unrealistic — surely Sonya has had partners before, and been compelled to deal with other people’s expectations. But putting aside that, their interactions, like this wonderful and quiet exchange at her apartment, do so much to reveal both how very alone Sonya is, and how much that fact is changing now that Marco has become part of her work and life.
Charlotte rebounds but quick, phoning an old boning buddy in Tampa to reminisce about “that night on the skiff, you and me, Bartles & Jaymes.” “You call, I come,” he announces when he arrives the next day (too bad he didn’t have a six-pack of Body Shot Lime in his hand). “You did good,” he says of her huge spread (the ranch, geez), and offers to show her his new tattoo. Most miserable rebound effort in the history of ever.
Gina and her friend share churros near posters of missing girls. “Don’t come back, okay?” the friend says, worried Gina could disappear like her sister. Even if it took me a little while to warm to Gina’s storyline, there’s such great world-building going on in those moments in Mexico in this and every ep (I’m thinking of our fascinating and frightening friend Galvan’s stellar appearances as well).
Marco and Sonya head to see Maria. Marco gently tells her she has asylum and will get to see her baby. “Now tell us what you know, Sonya says (all business all the time, of course). She didn’t see the killer’s face, and can’t ID his car, “but there was a cage” in it. LIKE A POLICE CAR. “Maybe he’s one of us,” Sonya notes to Marco.
This is one of my favorite developments yet. Though I love this unfurling of a whodunit with no actual suspects yet (I really think Linder’s ruled out, though tell me what you think in comments!), it’s so intriguing and horrifying to hear that this entire series of murders might have been perpetrated by an insider.
So far The Bridge has done a fantastic job of complicating how corruption works. We see the bribery in Mexico, but Marco doesn’t take bribes (except when he does, with Maria’s ransom). We meet the FBI agents who trumpet their professional connection to the case, and then they turn out to have a bunch of dirty little personal connections to the victims. Now we’re looking with suspicion at the characters at El Paso CAP, considering if one of them, an officer or detective or, dare I say it, lieutenant, might be involved in these heinous murders. Institutions are implicated far more than individuals. It’s one of The Bridge‘s most impressive achievements yet.
Linder drags the body to the desert, digging a grave to conceal it. He yanks the corpse in and stumbles, and suddenly a truck appears, bearing down on him. HOLY CRAP, IT’S GALVAN! “That is mine,” Galvan spits, throwing Linder’s shovel aside.
Tim Cooper tips off Marco and Sonya that the FBI sent Agent Gedman to a psychiatrist, Peter Meadows. They head to visit him while Gina arrives at a very nice house indeed, and lets herself in with the key under the welcome mat. When Marco and Sonya pull up, surprise, it’s at that same house! “Show me your hands,” Sonya yells to a man sitting in a chair (loved her silent intuitive exchange with Marco before they bust the door down).
Uh, he can’t show her his hands; he’s been brutally murdered. At the sound of a girl crying, they open a closet door to reveal Gina. “You,” Sonya says, recognizing her from the station. “I saw him,” Gina sobs. “I saw the beast!” Oh my god, stop any and all thoughts of Gina’s entrance being superfluous to the main narrative. She’s seen the killer!
Wow, EXCELLENT episode this week. I’d absolutely love to hear your thoughts in comments. Quick note: I’m on the road next week when the next episode (“ID”) airs. I’ll do my best to get a brief reaction/recap post for that ep up for you all as soon as I can.