Previously on The Bridge: STANDOFF AT THE ACTUAL BRIDGE! Oh, and someone got hefted over the bridge, Sonya and Marco came together and fell out, and god, just, freaking tragic things, y’all.
This week! Steven Linder shows up at the Ranch of Sexy Endangered Women telling Pastor Killed-a-Guy he’s there to propose to Eva. Wow. Those of you who missed the creepy and deluded side of Linder, tah-dah! Only one problem (ONLY ONE?): Eva left a week ago. Well, if tilling arid fields and wearing hardcore Mormon dresses cowering in the middle of nowhere under huge-lettered bible verses didn’t appeal to her, there is just no pleasing her! Linder takes off in his car to find her.
See, if the episode ever really found Eva, I would be freaking thrilled. I loved the title of this episode — here’s a character we’ve seen since the beginning, and we’re going to learn all about her? Awesome! Think about minor Bridge characters who became essential, like Ken Hastings, AKA David Tate, or who have gained engaging depth, like my girl Adriana.
But all we’ve seen of Eva has featured her being stuck or locked up places: stuck in Juarez until Linder rescued her by way of the trunk of his car, locked in Linder’s halfway-trailer with so little explanation that it red-herring-ed Linder as our serial killer briefly, and then brought to safety stuck at the ranch until Hector died. I don’t blame Eva for hightailing it out in search of a story she can be the hero of.
Alas, that’s not to be Eva’s fate. This week The Bridge succumbs to a problem it often complains about regarding the terrible destiny many young women in Juarez meet: it uses a young Mexican woman as trade, as a puzzle piece, as a means to enact sexual violence. In doing so, it falls prey to one of the most unfortunate narrative gambits out there: using a woman’s tragedy or death to lend meaning and emotional layers to a man’s character.
Okay, I’m getting way ahead of myself. And seriously, this isn’t to say I disliked this episode of The Bridge — good gravy, I liked certain parts lots, and you’ll hear about why below. But I’m still waiting to hear “All About Eva”. Since The Bridge has been picked up for another season (*fist-pump*), I’d really like to get that in season 2.
Leaving her new factory job in Juarez, Eva misses the bus and decides against her better judgment to accept a ride from a stranger. NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE. The car has Texas plates for added NOPE-i-ness.
“This here’s what we call a total loss,” a mechanic tells Sonya about her truck, and my hand flew to my mouth, because SONYA’S TRUCK that belonged to her sister! See, I had to stop typing to do that again. In the rush of David Tate’s evil shenanigans, I had completely forgotten that the collision totally Sonya’s truck wasn’t just a way for Tate to spirit Gus away, but also the real end of an era for Sonya, who has painstakingly preserved and used every possession of her sister’s she had.
“I want this one,” Sonya protests when the mechanic tells her she can get a brand new Bronco for less. “It was her car; it is not her,” Hank says gently (placating the mechanic he apparently goes to with a shrug but focusing, as he should, only Sonya). Sonya tearfully removes the dream-catcher from the rear-view mirror and takes the unspooled cassette the mechanic wrenched out of the tape deck. “Bye,” Sonya mutters to the truck.
Neither Hank nor Sonya has been able to reach Marco. “I miss him,” Sonya says suddenly. “That’s good,” Hank encourages; why not try to see him? It’s been a month (*reels*): “People stop calling, checking in. It gets pretty lonely.” “I remember,” Sonya agrees, and yes, tying Sonya’s loss of her sister to Marco’s loss of Gus is perfect (by which I mean I’m clutching my heart).
“Bring pastries?” Sonya asks Hank hopefully (remembering Marco doing this the very first episode to greet El Paso detectives). “There you go.” Her little-engine-that-could tremulous smile just about kills me, and I want to write a poster-board sized thank you note to the writers for all the gorgeous Hank and Sonya scenes of this past season (also: HANK IS NOT ALLOWED TO RETIRE).
Oh god. Marco. In Gus’s room. In Gus’s clothes. Of course the place is a wreck when Sonya shows with her sad-hopeful little bag o’ pastries. She mentions needing his testimony for David Tate’s case, and awkwardly brings up Gus’s funeral. “No funeral,” Marco croaks and lights a cigarette (it’s obviously been days since he’s spoken to anyone). He interrupts Sonya’s discomfited small-talk: Alma’s left him, Gus is dead, and a “normal person” would leave him the hell alone. Good thing Sonya’s not normal then, Marco, because you need roughly a thousand metric tons of help! “You don’t know me,” he objects when she says they were partners and shows her the door.
While Fausto Galvan and his pal Obregon (his accountant? Who knew?) throw crap at rehearsing circus performers, Charlotte shows to broker a deal using her tunnel (*coughs*). Fausto grabs her leg, copping a feel and snarling a threat: he sent the balls, prick, and lips of the last guy he killed to his wife. Jeezum crow. I did find the whole “you’d be my man in El Paso?” bit fascinating, as Charlotte’s trying to gain power but still working on the model of having the men in her life take control.
“Remember me?” Steven Linder mumbles to Sonya at the El Paso station. “My bride is missing,” he explains, showing her the photo of Eva he’s been flashing at people on the street. “She’s more like my intended,” he corrects himself (though I appreciate Linder being the only person to give a crap about where the hell Eva’s gone — she’s been missing for three days now, cripes — the creepy, it still burns), and takes Sonya to his trailer to prove he’s a good Samaritan rather than a murderous weirdo who burns the clothing of women who have disappeared (awkwardly, all of the last bit = true).
At the trailer, Sonya does indeed find the evidence that Linder helps “women being abused by a violent husband, partner, what have you.” One intriguing bit: Linder carefully doesn’t name ANYONE else involved in his saving-people-thing (Pastor Bob and the woman who connects Linder to his endangered girls are left out of everything he tells Sonya).
Any chance Eva went back to her boyfriend? “Not really, nope,” Linder muses, leaving out the whole I-ironed-her-boyfriend-to-death thing. Why call her his bride if she’s not? “Because I am bound to her.” Yikes. “I’m not a Juarez cop,” Sonya says with finality. But from asking at the factory, Linder’s learned the car that picked Eva up had Texas plates. Hello, Sonya’s jurisdiction.
At the hospital, Adriana and Daniel Frye talk life-flashing-before-his-eyes thoughts while she guides his wheelchair. “Check me out, I’m superman?” she guesses. Life is too short and he’s wasted his, he mopes. She “Okay, Yoda”-s him and abandons him to wheel himself back (protip to Daniel Frye: telling Adriana she loves you and “just want to have my babies” isn’t the best way to finagle a lift back to your hospital room).
“You said at the hospital he locked you up; that’s very serious,” a cop in plain clothes tells poor rattled Eva Guerra, who he leads right into a cell and tells her to wait. Riiiiiight, because that’s what policemen do with abduction (and probably rape) victims when they’re not crooked. “Relax,” he advises, and cripes, she still has the hospital bracelet on her wrist.
After discussing with Hank about how she’s taking the Eva Guerra case in hopes that it will get Marco back to work as their Juarez connection, Sonya heads to a bar to find Marco. Ugh ugh ugh, he’s wearing Gus’s red sweatshirt with the hood up. Marco drunk-talks Sonya about how she can’t understand if she doesn’t have kids, yelling in the streets at the people still sleeping while he’s grieving.
“I don’t find people very often, Marco,” she begins back at his house. “Don’t tell me you’re not my partner, okay? And don’t send me away.” I LOVE her refusing to let him shut her out. Marco says “I can’t stop thinking about him,” meaning David Tate rather than Gus. “Why does he get to live?” Sonya uncurls her fingers out of a fist and takes Marco’s hand to comfort him.
“My mom always liked eggs in the morning after a rough night,” she says in the morning as she serves Marco breakfast, simultaneously conjuring family meals and care-taking her alcoholic/addicted parent. “Did you make your bed?” she asks. When Hank and his wife Carmen took Sonya in after her sister’s death, there was one rule: “Always get up and make your bed” to face the day. “I think I’ll go into the station today, say hello,” Marco says slowly. She wants to come along. “And run the girl’s name,” he says, commenting, “Okay, see, I remember some things.”
At the station, Marco’s Captain tells him if David Tate was in their custody, “we’d make him pay for” killing a cop’s son. Marco’s colleague Celia runs Eva’s name and info, but no record comes up.
“So, does everything still work down there?” Adriana’s sisters tease wheelchair-bound Frye. Over dinner, their mother tsks Adriana shouldn’t marry a man in a chair. Um, hellooooo, lesbian, Adriana reminds her (kudos to the show for making this a recurring issue in her friendship with Frye and her dealings with her family rather than avoiding it). Her mother insists she talk to the priest about her problem. “Because I date women, I’m an embarrassment to the family,” Adriana says, even though she’s supporting them financially. Ah, crap, her mother slaps her, and Adriana flees the house. “Oh shit,” Frye says, because she was totally his ride.
The plainclothes cop from earlier takes Eva, now drugged and changed into a tight dress, to a party where she’s raped repeatedly. Look, if there’s justice and retribution to be served in Eva’s case in the next episode or next season, let’s have some of it go to a narrative equity, developing who this woman is besides someone who exists to be abducted and abused and locked away repeatedly as an aid to advancing the story.
Marco hasn’t decided if he’ll testify when Hank visits him in Juarez.
“You able to find any peace?” Hank wants to know. Just in the mornings, when he doesn’t remember that Gus is gone, for ten seconds. “Can you let the system take care of David Tate so you can take care of yourself?” Hank asks. Technically they won’t need his testimony; Tate will go to prison no matter what. But if Marco steps up, “you might get yourself another second in the morning.” I LOVE YOU, HANK.
Adriana meets her little sister Daniela at the food truck. When Adriana asks if Daniela misses school, Daniela can only talk about the nice cute new manager at the factory. She also reports their mother says “you can come back, if you change.”
“It has nothing to do with god,” Adriana tells her.
Hank and Sonya meet Marco at the courthouse. She hands him something of Gus’s. The corrections car rolls up with David Tate inside. He gets out and nods to Marco, keeping his eyes on him until the last possible minute. Marco walks into court.
The next morning, Marco wakes up and makes his bed (you should have seen the fool smile on my face). He answers the doorbell to find Celia from the station. “I’m tired of staying quiet, looking away,” she tells him. Ah, crap, she saw Eva Guerra at the police station; “a cop took her away.” Marco tells her he’ll handle the situation. Oh crap, Marco; YOU CALL SONYA RIGHT NOW.
After Linder put posters of Eva Guerra all around Juarez, he met a woman who had lost her daughter praying at a makeshift shrine at a wall covered in missing girl flyers.
“I’ll show you where we can look for them,” she offers. They join a large crowd of people, each with a wooden pole, poking at a deserted area, looking for shallow graves. Nearby handmade crosses mark the area with various women’s names.
I appreciate that we’re returning to some of the original concerns of the show, namely, the way an immense group of young women are treated as disposable by some and helplessly mourned by others in Juarez. I hope next week we can shift from that wider scope to consider Eva Guerra (and the other victims by extension) treated as an individual rather than merely part of a group of bodies — or corpses.