Review: ‘The Bridge’ – ‘Old Friends’

A quick review of tonight’s “The Bridge” coming up just as soon as we’re on Mars…

Because “Bron” season 1 only ran 10 episodes, and because Meredith Stiehm has said that this case would conclude before the end of season 1, I assumed at a certain point that this episode would bring a close to the Tate investigation. Instead “Old Friends” is mainly a (pardon the pun) bridge episode, filling in the gaps from Tate’s abduction of Gus to the revelation of his end game. We still don’t know whether he’s dealt with next week, the week after, or even in the finale (it’s entirely possible Stiehm just meant that they would identify the killer before season’s end), but a lot of this episode unfortunately felt like marking time, despite the continued strong performances by Diane Kruger and Demián Bichir, conveying the varying levels of physical and emotional exhaustion both Sonya and Marco are feeling at this point. (At the same time, it feels absurd that Hank would let these two, in their conditions – and with Marco’s personal investment in the case – work alone like this, rather than sending Cooper or some other unidentified officer to travel with them for backup.) I like that Eric Lange has been directed to play Tate as extremely calm and laid-back, which undercuts a lot of the criminal mastermind tropes he embodies(*), but I’d have been more than happy to see him disposed of this week rather than down the line.

(*) Alyssa Rosenberg wrote a terrific piece earlier this week about why TV needs to take a break from evil masterminds for a while, referencing “The Bridge” and several other current shows.

As a result, the episode’s most interesting parts happened outside the main plot, with Charlotte executing Tim and taking an unapologetic step into the criminal life, and Adriana nudging Frye to attend his first AA meeting. Even 10 episodes in, Charlotte’s such a blank slate that I can’t decide if I buy her going gangster like that in the desert, but as with Graciela’s death last week, this is a direction that at least seems more compelling than her fumbling for answers earlier in the season. And Matthew Lillard was just terrific, both in the empty newsroom scene with Emily Rios and later at the AA meeting. I have to keep reminding myself that this is the guy from “Scream” and the “Scooby-Doo” movies, because he’s doing some really mature, grounded, powerful work here, and I sure hope that Tate just drugged him without killing him in the parking lot.

Before we go to comments, I should warn you that the season’s final three episodes will be airing at a pretty terrible time for me, scheduling-wise, with all the fall premieres. I may not have time to watch every episode in advance, and reviews may be some combination of short, late or non-existent. Things will have slowed down a little by the time we get to the finale on Oct. 2, but there’s a chance even that review may be delayed a while. I can only do so much.

What did everybody else think?