The Bridge 2.11 – Beholder

the bridge 2 season 2

Previously on The Bridge, Marco and Sonya rushed to save Hank, Eleanor went from critical condition to creepy torturer, and Fausto got hold of something Sebastian wants to protect.

Fausto Galvan and his wacky assistant Obregon show us the banality and awkward humor of evil in a clever and uncomfortable opening scene. They fuss at each other while filming a threatening video for Sebastian Cerisola, showing his daughter Romina at gunpoint. Fausto’s menacing words about how Sebastian “forced me to remove my gloves and close my fist” are both undercut and made creepier by Obregon’s eager “accion!” at the start and comments on the props. Whoops, Fausto has an unloaded gun at first, haha! Let’s just replace that with a loaded pistol and aim that at Romina’s head, shall we? *shudders* 

At El Paso PD, CIA Agent Buckley and his colleague try to intimidate Sonya by scoffing at her “wild speculation” that DEA Agent McKenzie thought the CIA was interfering with attempted takedowns of Fausto Galvan. “Cock-blocking,” Sonya clarifies helpfully, and immediately presses them to let her stay on the Eleanor Nacht case. They refuse dismissively, and take aim at her credibility, remarking about the “diagnosis in your personal file” and asking blandly about what meds she might be taking.

The vacuum of power left by Fausto Galvan’s escape to the mountains is felt close to home, as Marco’s friend the baker has his shop destroyed by thugs looking for protection money.

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Violence keeps coming closer to home (I mean, you can’t even get a cup of coffee and a pastry without cartel drama, you know?)

“All the rats will be fighting for turf,” Marco explains, offering to help. “Let’s not pretend,” his friend says heavily. “There’s nothing you can do.” On the floor seems to be a sign similar to the ones Marco left behind when his men shot the garage fill of drug-stealing teenage dealers. Hmm.

“Remind me to get cremated, would you?” Daniel Frye tells Adriana with a grimace at Agent McKenzie’s funeral. Talk of Lucy’s recovery gets shunted aside for pressing McKenzie’s wife for details about her husband’s work. No, he didn’t share; just talk of “baseball and dungeons and dragons” (I kind of miss how McKenzie was a Class A Nerd; smug dick though he was, it would have been fun to have his character around longer). Oh, but there was this “special project in the garage”; she refuses them access, because the DEA’s picking it up.

Cut to Daniel flat-out knocking the lock and knob off the garage door with a brick. I guess we threw out subtlety when Daniel poured his piss on the floor at the El Paso Times. Along with the taxidermied Yankee (remember that poor doggy we first saw in ep1?), they find boxes of files. They quickly steal the evidence and skedaddle.

“I think I know where [Fausto] is,” Marco offers when Sonya comes looking for him to tell him Hank is better and the DEA/CIA is taking over the case. Turns out Marco’s father regarded Fausto as his “favorite son”; Fausto may be in his father’s mountain hideout. Before they can get the Marinas on the case, “first, I need to come clean,” Marco explains, asking Sonya to come help him. It feels like a recovery process, as Marco goes through old photos, ordering his affairs and vowing to right his wrongs.

Oh god, who else wants to live in Sebastian Cerisola’s absolutely stunning high-rise penthouse apartment? *whimpers at the views* Oh, fine, so there’s a cost to living that large; Sebastian gets the video of his daughter and is obviously horrified. He waves off his wife saying it’s a problem at the office, and goes off to try to save his child.

“It’s a suicide mission,” protests the prosecutor Marco comes clean to in hopes of finding a connection to the Marinas to hunt down Fausto. “You Americans cloak your corruption behind patriotism, drug war, the wall,” the prosecutor tells Sonya, explaining, “we Mexicans have the virtue of an open corrupt system.” Though the man’s obviously reluctant, Marco promises to deliver Fausto if he can meet with the Marinas, “but on my own terms.”

Steven Linder and Eva Guerra take a break from their sexy vengeful murder spree to have a couple of ice pops and enjoy the breeze that comes down from the mountains. “I think you should shave your beard,” she decides. Oh, but his beard gives him special powers: “inscrutability, disguise, deception.” Yeah, I don’t actually think he’s joking here. *side-eyes*

When Eva explains she wants to see Linder’s face, he agrees as long as she’ll use lather. No, Linder, she’s going to hack it off your face with a dull sword. They watch Robles play basketball with his sons, and all Linder can think is to “hasten him off this planet.” But Eva is troubled that Robles has children. Second thoughts on the murderous rampage of justice, ahoy!

“What you’re asking is simply beyond my reach,” the high-level government official Sebastian seeks out tells him blandly over a plate of salad. Because this administration has made nabbing Fausto a priority, it’s a “beast of its own”, and he can’t help even if Fausto will kill Romina if anyone tries to capture him.

Sonya visits Hank in time for him to awaken, and he looks very old and tired, and I want to cry but I need to keep typing out dialogue. “Did we get ’em?” he asks gamely in a hoarse voice. It’s old school good guys versus bad guys stuff, but on The Bridge, it’s just more complicated than that. Yeah, kind of, but the Feds took over the investigation. He struggles to sit up, and when she tries to get him to calm down, explains she needs to take the ledger he hid at Red Ridge.

“I work so hard for nothing; some people just don’t appreciate it,” Obregon complains after Romina refuses the food he gives her, tries to bite him, and then spits at him. Outside, he vents to Fausto. “What’s that?” Fausto asks, pointing. OH, that’s just one of the many snipers surrounding their hideaway. No, no, the music playing. Ah, that’s a quinceañera; Obregon told them to go ahead and have the party they had planned nearby. “Why wasn’t I invited?” Fausto asks, and my goodness, he actually looks forlorn. We’re getting Fausto at his most malevolent and his most human this week.

Fausto and his men, armed to the teeth, descend upon the quinceañera. Everyone freezes; how would you feel if a drug cartel leader on the government’s most-wanted list crashed your family party? I just kept typing AWK AWK AWK all through this scene. “Good evening, gentlemen,” Fausto greets the guests, before offering his congratulations to the father and daughter dancing together. He hands over a wad of cash as a gift and asks for a dance with the man’s daughter. Though his men put down their guns and Fausto asks the man to “forget who I am,” everyone is uncomfortable as all get-out while Fausto guides the birthday girl around the dance floor.

Sonya quickly locates the ledger in a circuit box at the Red Ridge site and examines it at her place. Among the columns of numbers (very ledger appropriate) and dramatic drawings that look a bit like angels and demons (very Eleanor Nacht appropriate), Sonya finds a sketch of her mother and the lock of her sister’s hair she thought she left with her mom. She brings it to her face and sniffs it much as Eleanor did when she stole it.

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Eleanor and Sonya meet at last. Two German actresses on an American drama focused on the relationship between the USA and Mexico. I mean, just. That happened.

In the morning, Sonya heads back to El Paso PD, where she leans on Cooper until he agrees to falsify interrogation papers and get her alone in a room with Eleanor Nacht for questioning. “You’re not supposed to be here,” Eleanor says almost slyly when she sees Sonya. Sonya presses her about who she works for (“I work for myself,” Eleanor says haughtily; she doesn’t work for Fausto since he sent men to kill her), and about killing that boy. “He was a man,” Eleanor corrects her, “a man who tried to touch me.”

If Eleanor let the other boy live, Sonya posits, he must have “remind[ed] you of someone you lost.” Good call, Sonya: this is where Eleanor feels threatened; not about her associations with drug ringleaders, but probing into her past. “I’m a Mexican national,” Eleanor protests stiffly; Sonya has no jurisdiction over her.

Soon Sonya implores her to help them bring down Fausto Galvan so there will be no more blood. But Eleanor remarks, “there will always be blood. You can’t change that.” “I have something of yours,” Sonya announces, playing her trump card. Then Sonya knows what’s inside, Eleanor notes, warning her to be careful and observing that her mother “has a lot of demons.” Eleanor’s own mother stood aside and allowed her father to rape her. “What did your mother do?” “She…” Sonya begins, trailing off. “She did what she could.” The DEA Agent arrives, castigating Sonya for talking to Eleanor, and Sonya departs.

“We don’t make deals,” the Marinas announce to Marco when he meets up with them. But if they go in with force, he’ll slip away again. He agrees to take two plainclothes dressed Marinas with him, but after a point, “I have to go alone; it’s the only way.” But how much will these guys really concede to Marco’s approach? “I want to be clear that I arrest him, and I take him alive,” he explains. “Well, we’ll see what happens,” they say dismissively.

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Linder and Eva in (not actually) simpler, bearded times.

“I don’t want to live in the past anymore,” Eva murmurs to Linder as she trims and shaves his beard. “I want another life.” His transformation signals a new beginning of a sort, and Linder’s fixation on Eva finally manifests in reality as they have sex in some billowy tent-like structure. At least the scene didn’t depict Linder automatically healing Eva’s rape trauma with the magical power of his penis; she starts to cry during the sex, and he stops to comfort her. But you know what, I’m still seriously creeped out at how Linder effectively gets Eva as a reward, and how her flight to freedom from the very start of the series has narrowed into pretty vessel for Linder’s character transformation.

As Adriana and Daniel comb through McKenzie’s files, they recognize Alex Buckley, the CIA agent they spotted at the diner. He has experience in the Middle East, so what’s he doing navigating an investigation bridging Mexico and Texas? “It’s a war between the DEA and the CIA,” they realize. The DE wants to stop it; the CIA wants to keep it going. “Yeah, but why?” Adriana asks. Well, that’s a question for season three, should we get a renewal, am I right?

“You were supposed to be here when they took out the stitches,” Lucy says when Adrianna finally arrives to pick her up at the hospital. Getting distracted by her investigation with Daniel is merely the first insult, though, because now Adrianna thinks Lucy should move in with her parents. “That’s my house; that’s our home,” says Lucy angrily. Adriana’s too worried about the danger with this investigation. When Lucy pleads with her girlfriend to drop the story, asking if it’s more important than the two of them, Adriana looks haunted. “I’m sorry,” she says, and leaves.

It’s an interesting question, whether Adriana has ranked her reporting above her girlfriend. I tend to think she feels like Lucy will continue to be in danger no matter what, now that Adriana and Daniel have stumbled across such an immense treasure trove of evidence damning the CIA. In a way, the damage has already been done, and she’s seen Lucy be targeted. I’d argue she probably wants to get Lucy out of her life almost wholly for Lucy’s safety. But yeah, there’s also no denying the story is freaking important to Adriana; in that respect, she’s risking becoming like Daniel Frye, isolated and removed from “normal” life so she can pursue the truth.

Obviously moved by her conversation with Eleanor, Sonya seeks out her mother, who is digging around in a dumpster. She gets them both food, and they sit on boxes in much the same pose (kudos to the director and actress portraying Sonya’s mother; there’s a heartbreaking similarity of poses and gestures here that links them as family even as the two characters obviously live in completely separate worlds).

211 sonya and her mother meeting

Look at those mirrored postures; Sonya and her mother share a meal a traumatic family history.

But Sonya’s mother is uninterested in news of Jim Dobbs death; she’s more focused on why Sonya still wears her sister’s coat. “You should throw it away,” she advises, and get a new one: “That’s what I’d do.” Well, there must be a middle ground between completely blocking out the past with chronic drug use and clinging to the last vestiges of a departed loved one by totem-like use of their objects, don’t you think? Sonya hands her a wad of cash and tells her to buy a bus ticket and get out of town. Um, I think we’re going to see Sonya’s mother take a hit before the season closes.

Marco visits an old friend in the mountains, partly so we can get a glimpse of the life he left behind when he became a cop and disavowed his father’s life of contacts and criminality, partly so he can confirm that Fausto is indeed laying low in that mountain hideout that once belonged to Marco’s dad.

Sonya is gazing at an old photo of her mother, looking happy and carefree, and a baby — Sonya herself, or her sister? “Hey, Eleanor’s gone,” Coop tells her. “That spooky ass Buckley signed for her.” Sonya grabs her jacket, suspecting already that Buckley’s up to something.

Of course Sonya’s totally right; Agent Buckley drives Eleanor away from El Paso, making deals that they’ll each clean up their respective messes. “What’s our exposure?” he asks. “Considerable,” she comments. He’ll get her ledger back, but “this needs to be fixed immediately, you understand? That’s why you’re out.” “I will make things right,” Eleanor promises, adjusting immediately to working for her third criminal ringleader with aplomb.

When Sonya sees a car outside her apartment building, she drives on, the ledger sitting on the front seat of her car.

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Lots of “you can’t go home anymore” in this episode; Sonya passes by her apartment building.

Back in the mountains, the Marinas accompanying Marco see a young boy near the hideout and immediately ignore his advice to leave the kid alone. Instead they ratchet up the tension, yelling at the boy, patting him down, and saying, “What’s this, asshole? You’re coming with us!” Fausto’s thugs hear the commotion, because moments later both the Marinas have been shot by snipers. A sniper light dances on Marco’s chest as Fausto’s men walk up to him.

Whew, lots of developments and the gears are spinning like crazy as we head toward the last two episodes of The Bridge. Be sure to tell me what you thought of “Beholder,” and please do join me next week for this season’s penultimate episode, “Quetzalcoatl”!