Previously on The Bridge: Hank, Cooper, Sonya, and Marco got caught in crazy Childress’s crossfire. Deputy Stokes and Daniel Frye made me flail around in shock and worry. In less heart-pounding plotlines, Linder found another way to put himself on Fausto Galvan’s kill list while Man-Toy Ray serviced multiple ladies because he loves a good tunnel (I’m not even sorry).
Let’s get some backstory for Daniel Frye’s coke-snorting stripper-club-frequenting decadent days of yore, shall we? Six years ago, half-naked Frye does lines until “I can’t feel my dick!” and forgets his passport so he can’t accompany his pal to Juarez when the drugs run low. His wealthy Mexican friend careens off in his car in search of new blow. Frye looks suddenly sober as soon as the car’s gone, because apparently back then he could do massive amounts of freeze and play a part in some covert complicated scheme we have no clue about yet.
“I don’t know them,” Childress says irritably about the list of victims as Hank and Sonya question him. Direct queries about the Bridge Butcher’s role (like why didn’t he shoot Marco back at the warehouse if he wanted him dead?) only make Childress insist his brain needs a rest. Honestly, I don’t think he could seem less like the killer they’re after if he tried.
Marco drops by Juarez to see if anyone’s proud he helped catch Childress. But only Gus is home, and he’d rather talk about how he once let a truck flatten the bike Marco got him because he was angry about his parents’ divorce. Ouch and ouch. “Your marriage is falling apart, but congrats,” Gus shrugs when Marco tries to explain daddy did good. Oh Marco, your lines lifted from the absent dad manual (“You can always talk to me”) are so awkward and sad.
Hank leaves with Kitty to smoke a victory cigarette for nabbing Childress. Sonya, still doubting they’ve found their killer, quizzes Childress about what authorities stole from him. His complaint about missing “key writings” sends her paging through files until she finds an FBI agent connected to three different incidents related to the murders: David Tate, who Marco worked with years ago. Has she found her suspect? Eh, too bad about him being dead. Nerts!
Over at the El Paso Times, Daniel Frye’s looking wrecked, but hey, for a “guy who just had a big-ass seizure,” at least he’s alive. He passes off a charity party invite to Adriana so he won’t be tempted to drink. Even the new sober Daniel is still a dick, Adriana muses when he tells her to “wear a dress, you got a nice ass!” and jokes about seducing the wealthy donor’s son, Santi Jr.
Ray’s gun pal, Tim, drives an ice cream truck loaded with guns to Charlotte’s. Ray grumbles as he hauls everything through the tunnel (his “Mother of pearl!” exclamation when he drops a box on his foot totally beats out his swearing about how Tim sucks Satan’s cock because he wouldn’t lend a hand). Back at the ranch, Charlotte discovers Tim relaxing poolside. It’s totally okay if he stays forever in the pool house, right? Charlotte shakes out her new shorter hairstyle as it FINALLY dawns on her Ray might not be quite the awesome tunnel-runner she’d hoped for.
Sonya makes Marco take her to Juarez PD to find out if Tate is actually dead. Though his death was ruled a suicide (he turned to drugs and drinking after losing his son and wife in a car accident, and was fired from the F.B.I.), no one ever ID’d the body or found a note. “We have so many murders here we hardly investigate the suicides,” Marco’s colleague admits. “Ay, dios mio,” Marco mutters when Sonya charges off to find the truth.
Steven Linder finds Eva Guerra in his apartment, cooing she’s come to pay the debt she owes him. As she kisses him and slides onto his lap, he pants and then starts when he sees Fausto Galvan instead of her. Linder wakes up, horrified, and probably with the weirdest boner ever.
Sonya drops by Tate’s sister-in-law’s and learns Jill Tate had been cheating on her husband and was planning to leave him before she died.
In the back room of a deli, Ray waits around while Graciela regards a plate of fried food with more passion than she can muster for him. “Am I required to seal the deal again?” he asks when she merely tosses him a duffel bag for the guns. “The last time you were begging me for it and shit,” he adds when she professes not to know what he’s talking about. “Get out,” she orders him. Wow, lesson NOT learned, Ray; Graciela calls all the shots in this arrangement.
Instead of taking time off to deal with Deputy Stokes’s death, Tim Cooper has been overseeing the razing of Childress’s place. “Who the heck is this?” Hank exclaims when Cooper shows him the skeleton they found buried under the cement.
Well, Hank, it’s Kenneth Hastings, the racist Minuteman nemesis of Childress who’s been missing since ’06.
“It doesn’t fit with the other murders,” Sonya exclaims back at El Paso PD; for her this is proof Childress isn’t their guy. “I know you’re shutting this down, Hank,” Cooper interrupts when Sonya suggests David Tate is behind this and other murders. Cooper demands a limit “to how much we indulge our village idiot savant here.” NOT COOL, COOPER! Marco shakes his head in disapproval while Sonya looks horribly hurt and distressed (my poor girl!).
Dani, Adriana’s younger sister, moons over how how Santi Jr. is while Adriana’s mom zips her into a too-tight dress for the charity event. “You know what’s sexy; saving it for marriage!” her mom interrupts. Hey Dani, don’t walk alone, and your mom will pick you up from the bus stop tonight! All this warning has me worried Dani is soon marked for death.
Of course Alma and her nebbish-y new boyfriend are at the party; they both work at the library. “You’re so easy to be with,” Alma muses. That’s because he’s so. very. boring. He’s so boring I haven’t bothered to learn his name; thank goodness for closed captioning to remind me it’s Kenneth.
Say. Wait. Wasn’t Childress’s dead and buried nemesis named Kenneth? Can there really be two random Kenneth’s in this ep? Or who the hell is this guy, if he’s possibly assumed dead-in-the-cement Kenneth’s identity? WARNING, WARNING, ALMA RUIZ!
Steven Linder has a breakdown at work, leaving his poor colleague Darci in charge while he takes a few days to get his Fausto-Galvan-haunted head together.
Poor Sonya needs comfort as she rocks in her chair and looks positively wrecked from Cooper’s railing. Gus shows up to creep on her some more and ask how she liked the candy he sent. I’m pretty sure Gus is supposed to seem like he’s got an awkward young guy crush. But since the actor playing him looks nearly thirty, from where I’m sitting it just seems like he’s preying on a woman who doesn’t know how to tell someone like him to leave her alone.
At the party, Adriana hob-nobs a bit with Santi Jr., but he denies knowing Daniel Frye when she mentions they have a friend in common. I wonder what’s between those two, besides potentially a disavowal of a drug-using past? No, Santi Jr., Adriana doesn’t want to leave the party with you; even if she weren’t a lesbian, you’re scoring points with no one by acting like a jerkwad and suggesting libraries aren’t cool.
“Your hair looks sexy, baby,” Ray offers when Charlotte confronts him coming out of the tunnel. She demands he drop whatever stupid scheme he and Tim are running. “Stupid?” Ray says, indignant at that part rather than the scheming accusation, because wow, is he ever not the sharpest knife in the drawer. “Has ol’ Ray ever let you down?” “A million times,” Charlotte answers. Why, Charlotte, why did you ever put him in charge of anything?
Graciela’s minions run out to find her to tell her they’ve found transmitters in the guns. I guess the FBI is so suave at tracking this gun running operation that they placed easily located tracers in every firearm. Nice going, guys. How soon do we think it is until Ray gets gunned down?
Sonya uses her computer-fu to find Kenneth Hastings’s current driver’s license, and HOCRAP, it is the guy Alma’s having the affair with! “That’s David Tate,” Marco says slowly. I love that they took an essentially inconsequential character and made him absolutely key to the plot.
Alma confesses to “Kenneth” that she’s recently pregnant, and reminds him she’s still married and has small children. But he seems super fine with it (perhaps a good clue something’s seriously amiss, Alma). Hey, he’s so fine with it, they should totally get out of here and celebrate their messed-up relationship, riiiiiight after he stalks Santi Jr. into the restrooms.
Once he’s rinsed off his hands, “Kenneth” quickly pulls a switchblade on Santi Jr. Turns out Santi was the one who ran down Tate’s wife and child before fleeing the scene. “You took my whole life away then just drove on like it didn’t matter at all!” Tate rails while he slits Santi’s throat. Cripes, I can’t believe I ever thought “Kenneth” was boring! When Santi flail’s on the floor, blood soaking his shirt and pooling around him, Tate kneels down to put an object on him. Then he smacks his bloody handprint on the bathroom mirror, because apparently it’s time to tell the authorities exactly who the sonofabitch is that did this. Oh my god, this character went from eh to fascinating in sixty seconds!
Sonya, Marco, and Hank crowd into the bathroom. HOCRAP, THERE’S A BEAD ON SANTI’S BODY! Okay, okay, so I get that this episode is building to the claim that “Kenneth”/David Tate is the Bridge Butcher, and the identifying bead that’s been on every case-related body turning up on Santi’s corpse drives home that link almost irrevocably. But it still seems all wrong to me! All the Bridge Butcher’s killings had a dark social justice angle to them; Tate’s killing of Santi was an act of very personal revenge. Hell, Childress’s shooting of Deputy Stokes was more politically significant than this murder.
So this could go one of two ways: maybe Tate isn’t the actual killer, but someone who is nonetheless caught in many of the threads that are related to the serial murders (he worked with Gedman; he took part in a raid on Childress’s place; he obviously knew Marco; he’s having an affair with Marco’s wife). OR maybe the Bridge Butcher’s seeming agenda of breaking down inequitable binaries was in fact the smokescreen to cover for Tate’s private vendetta, an immense and complicated revenge against Marco Ruiz? If so, that is a massive smokescreen with huge, international consequences.
While Marco’s Capitan Robles spars for power with Hank (in the form of who gets to take possession of the bead from the scene), Marco looks at the bead and flashes to a necklace swinging from a woman’s neck as they have sex. Dear god. The other affair Alma and Marco referred to — it was with JILL TATE, Tate’s dead wife. Marco gags and vomits at this realization while Sonya indignantly yells he’s contaminating the crime scene.
Outside, Marco confesses he had an affair with Jill Tate while he was friends with (and working with) David Tate. He asks Sonya not to tell Hank and the others, even as she insists she has to reveal it. “I know I was wrong not to tell you,” he confesses, and you can see the heaviness of the guilt here (Demian Bichir is oh so good at absolutely every emotional reveal).
Sonya slumps on the bench next to him. “You’re the man across the bridge,” she says in realization that he was the one Jill was heading to see when she was killed.
Hey, now that the two of them are skipping out on the party, Alma doesn’t feel too tired, she tells her boyfriend. Neither does “Kenneth”, he confesses to her. Wink wink! Oh my god, Alma, I’m so worried you’re going to get killed in horrible painful ways! D:
Okay, if Tate is indeed our serial killer, how astounding is it that The Bridge has revealed him not in the penultimate episode, not the final episode, but with five full episodes left to go? Or perhaps this is another mislead, and our killer is someone else entirely? Tell me what you think! And definitely join me next week for the next episode, “The Beetle.”