A review of tonight's “The Bridge” coming up just as soon as I turn up the relaxing strings…
“That war is finally here, in the U.S.” -Marco
Season 2 of “The Bridge” has featured a pretty sprawling narrative – too sprawling, on occasion. But the stories have been converging nicely in the last several weeks, and “Rakshasa” is a fairly streamlined episode. There's action on both sides of the border, but all of it spins out of various factions – the DEA, Sebastian and Eleanor, Marco and Sonya – trying to take down the fugitive Fausto Galvan, and on Fausto's attempts to strike back at his many enemies. No reporters this week, no Linder and Eva freelance revenge squadding, just the bare minimum needed to move this part of the story along.
By the end of another violent hour, the Chopper, the DEA agents, Charlotte, Chip the realtor(*) and the notary are all dead – while Hank is badly wounded but is allowed to crawl away by Cesar, whose life Hank saved during the gunfight – but the major players are still standing, and the game is still to bring down Galvan by any means necessary.
(*) Presumably, this is the massacre whose aftermath Monte P. Flagman got on his shoes in the season's opening scene. Well, it's either that, or Eleanor is going to start using that house to butcher many, many people.
That Joe and his partner have been removed from the board complicates things from the American side. But the heart of the show isn't the feuding between different U.S. federal agencies, but the partnership between Sonya and Marco. In an episode that kills off one of the show's original core characters (if never one of its most interesting), the biggest development is the tentative reconciliation between our two cop heroes.
Now, Sonya being taken out to the desert to be killed by the Chopper is on the more clichéd Woman In Peril end of things that “The Bridge” has tried, but director Guillermo Navarro and his crew did an excellent job capturing the oppressive desert heat and light that would make Sonya's escape so difficult. (Sonya's inability to recognize Marco at first, due to both the position of the sun and her own delirium, was a powerful moment.) And I appreciated that Marco saving her life didn't just magically heal the rift between them. Sonya felt too betrayed, and is too much of a rigid thinker, to simply wave away what she believes to be Marco's sins. But she also recognizes the importance of their working together, and news of the shootout at Red Ridge(**) will only increase the urgency that they find a way to end this war.
(**) Sonya doesn't know about Hank yet, but she's spent the past few episodes feeling let down by the two most important men in her life. Here, one of them saves her from being murdered (and, as has been Marco's wont of late, executes a potential threat to Sonya), while the other is shot up trying to play hero with the two DEA agents. Assuming Hank survives, will Sonya be willing to forgive him for what he cost her?
Another strong outing. Season 2's definitely building up steam. The ratings haven't been good, and I have no idea whether FX (which seems to have an over-abundance of original programming at the moment) wants to continue. But “The Bridge” is definitely starting to live up to its potential at this point.
Some other thoughts:
* I keep failing to note that Sebastian is played by Demián Bichir's brother Bruno, and the sibling resemblance adds an extra level of uncomfortable familiarity to their scenes together.
* At first, I assumed the Juarez cops were planning to abduct Sebastian's daughter like they did Eva, but it turns out they were just arresting her for the drugs, since they had already bothered to put her info into the system by the time Marco came over to ask about her.
* I fear for Cesar, especially once he runs out of erotic vampire books to loan to Eleanor. Once he's taught Jaime everything he knows, will his usefulness to Eleanor be at an end?
What did everybody else think?
Alan Sepinwall may be reached at email@example.com