A quick review of tonight’s “The Bridge” coming up just as soon as I invoke the Three-Second Rule…
“Destino” introduces only our second real suspect for the Bridge Butcher murders of the season, and our first since the show more or less cleared Steven Linder a few weeks ago. And by the end of the episode, it seems pretty clear that Jack Childress is not our man. It’s too early in the season for Sonya and Marco to catch the killer – even though Meredith Stiehm has said this specific case will be closed with at least a few episodes to go – and as Sonya points out, Childress is too crazy to be playing the very long, meticulous game we’ve seen from the Butcher. Also, his attitude towards Mexicans turns out to be a 180 from what little we understand about the Butcher, who seems to feel there’s an unfair imbalance in the lives of people on different sides of the bridge.
So “Destino” could feel like some of those “Killing” episodes that tried to wrap us and the cops around the idea of a red herring character being the murderer. But it doesn’t. The shootout in the trailer park is a taut and unnerving action set piece – even the dramatically-timed murder of Deputy Stokes at the exact moment he was going to tell Marco his theory of the case wound up working because of the bluntness of the gore, and the way Chris Fisher staged the scene and directed Demián Bichir – and one that wasn’t easily sloughed off after it was done.
Sonya carries not just the physical scars of taking a bullet to her vest, but is emotionally wound up (and perhaps thinking of her sister’s death in the closing moments). Even a fairly minor character like Tim Cooper is deeply affected by Stokes’ murder, and inadvertently sets up Hank for a sad punchline to last week’s conversation with Marco about Jim Dobbs.
With the cops busy chasing this one trail, the rest of the episode devotes itself to world-building. We get a better sense of how Linder operates in Mexico – and create another link between him and Fausto Galvan (who turns out to have some vanity, after all, with the way he responds to the tailor’s comment about his weight gain) – see Frye suffering the physical effects of going cold turkey (and see Adriana career prospects rise as a result) and discover Graciela’s very unusual method for closing a deal. The episode’s sex isn’t quite as graphic as its violence, because you’d need something akin to porn to match the image of Stokes’ head blowing up, but the context of each is fairly strange. (Even Alma sleeping with her co-worker to get back at Marco is largely shot via the reflection of the motel TV. On the other hand, doesn’t Charlotte know that any question you ask a man while having sex will not be answered honestly?)
The longer this season goes, the more eager I am to move past this serial killer story, but the characters and the world they live in remain strong enough to stick through whatever the resolution turns out to be.
What did everybody else think?