Looking around the Internet, reviews of The Bridge review read “The End of a Nightmare”, “The central mystery hits its peak” and, most amusingly, “the killer’s motives and methods are revealed” (these weren’t clear before?). None of these statements are incorrect…and yet I can’t help but feel frustrated and annoyed at this supposedly “climatic” episode.
Let’s bitch it out…
It’s clear at this point that The Bridge was either feeding us a lie in those early episodes by suggesting that it was interested in telling a broad variety of stories exploring the border between El Paso and Juarez. Either that or the writers dangled the Bridge Butcher serial killer storyline as a hook to snag viewers before they realized it would require some substantial screen time to wrap it up before they could move on. Whatever the excuse, these last few episodes of the show have been an arduous slog, so if this is the “end of the nightmare”, then I can only hope it’s the end of my nightmare and the remaining two episodes of the first season can redeem this once promising show that has gone so spectacularly off the rails.
Whew…that was ranty, no?
I will acknowledge that I’m put off by shows that don’t do what I want/expect, though I’m not adverse to curveballs (say, actually killing Carlos Pratts’ Guz, for example). My issue with this entire David Tate (Eric Lange) storyline is that it hasn’t broken any kind of new narrative ground. As a result of all of this focus on the wronged former cop with a Machiavellian plan for revenge, the elements that originally helped to distinguish the show from the glut of other police procedurals have been sidelined. In their place, we’ve had a series of long-winded, boring, repetitive exchanges wherein Tate whines about his dead family and Marco (Demián Bichir) yells. (Sample dialogue from this episode = Tate: “blah blah blah my dead son“, Marco: “Where is my son?!”). We get it…we got it about three episodes back. It’s simply no longer fresh, nor is it interesting to watch.
This is why despite marking the end – the climax! – of arguably the main storyline of this first season, I spent the majority of ‘Take The Ride, Pay The Toll’ searching the Internet for usable promotional stills for this review. Hopefully now that Tate is in custody and the relationship between Marco and Sonya (Diane Kruger) is in ruins and Daniel Frye (Matthew Lillard) is on life-support, we can dig into some meaty character drama and set-up for a (potential) second season.
- I’ve done drinking games for some of my least favourite shows this summer (*cough Under The Dome cough*), but slamming one back for the word “son” in this episode would have resulted in catastrophic liver failure
- Although it’s far too brief, Adriana’s (Emily Rios) concern for Daniel is touching. I’m not really sure it constitutes a storyline for either of them, but it’s been interesting to watch these two come together as Marco and Sonya splinter
- I’m interested to know if the Diane Kruger haters have come around to her nuanced portrayal of Sonya. The show has definitely softened its approach to the character, and her confessional moments with Hank (Ted Levine) and Marco after the confrontation on the bridge continue to highlight the fine work Kruger is doing and how interesting a character Sonya is
- The shot from inside the barrel as Sonya lifts the lid on Gus’ corpse reminds me of so many similar ones from Breaking Bad. This show could do worse than borrow the visual signature of the departing AMC show, though it’s nowhere near the same quality
- In the only non-Tate storyline of the episode, the cold open features Ray (Brian Van Holt) disposing of Tim’s (Don Swayze) body at the other end of the tunnel. And just to ensure we remember how much of a profiteer Ray is, he snags a brick of what appears to be cocaine (maybe heroin?) after positioning Tim as a participant in the shoot-out. Gotta love how sleazy this guy is
- Finally, no Linder (Thomas M. Wright) again?! Fail, The Bridge, fail
You’re up: are you as glad as me that this nightmare Tate storyline is over? Do you think Daniel will recover? Will Marco and Sonya reconcile? Will Marco pursue Tate for revenge (as Tate predicted when he suggested Marco would “become like” him)? And where is Linder in all of this? Hit the comments below with your thoughts
The Bridge airs Wednesdays at 10pm EST on FX