I hope you enjoyed this week's episode of The TV Drama the Mexican Tourism Board Doesn't Want You to See, or as it's known in Mexico, The Bridge. Things slowed down a bit in "ID" after all the adultery, beheadings, and Linder underwear-modeling of the previous two installments, but the episode did have murder, post-mortem re-murder, a Sonya sports-bra shot, and chili cheeseburgers. There was also an effort to revisit Marco and Sonya's personal lives. But mostly, the show's message was clear once again: Stay away from Juarez!
After being a bit of a Chatty Cathy for the first four episodes, the killer, let's call him Bob, has gone awfully silent. Well, with words at least. He's been letting his knife do most of the talking, taking out Meadows (Gina's shrink dad) with a slit o' the throat last week and, assuming Gina wasn't the victim of a random parking-garage poking, doing the same thing to her this week. There's another lesson from The Bridge: Stop witnessing murders! The killer covered his tracks by offing Gina before she could ID him (there's your title reference!), and he did so by stalking the El Paso PD to see exactly what they were doing. Or he had someone working on the inside who was feeding him tips. Either way, it's scary stuff for Sonya and Marco.
Even scarier is the way The Bridge is introducing and developing new characters only to mercilessly kill them before they have much impact on the story. Last week it was Hector who perished after spending a few episodes creeping around alleys and strangling some lady, and this week it was Gina, who I figured would stick around a lot longer and, I dunno, do something? Anything? Instead she died to remind us that Sonya lacks social poise and also that kids do not make good witnesses to ID their parents' killers.
But maybe Gina's death will mean something important, at least to The Bridge's other characters. Sonya was justifiably rattled, taking it the hardest of all the cops, and now we know why. Despite not having the capability to understand why Gina couldn't recall the curvature of the killer's lips or any other facial feature, Sonya did connect with Gina on a more personal level. It was a one-way street, but Sonya definitely felt some kinship with Gina because Sonya—who had to ID her own dead sister at the age of 15—was once that girl, too. Gina's death was also the first of the killer's hits that was off-message. Offing the girl was a defensive move for him; it had nothing to do with the politics of his manifesto, unless he wants to prove that the investigation will heat up now that an American girl has been killed (and that's like kicking a hornet's nest just to prove that hornets will come after you).
Daniel and Adriana didn't have a whole lot to do in "ID" either. But at least Daniel finally got his phone back. Which he did by retrieving it from the Lost & Found two days after it disappeared, even though he claimed he knew that Marco took it. I don't know about you guys, but that's not an acceptable answer to the Case of the Missing Phone that I made a big stink about last week. Daniel, who flips the bird to authorities for fun, was simply without his phone for two days and he didn't pester Marco or Sonya for it once? Like I've said before, that phone is his link to the killer and the most important puzzle piece to his greatest career opportunity ever. I just don't think he'd sit idly by, especially if he knew Marco took it. That doesn't make sense, and it was sloppy writing just to get the phone into Marco's (and ultimately Sonya's) hands.
But let's get back to our intrepid reporters! Adriana was the one putting pieces together this week, probably because the party was over for Daniel and he was giving sobriety a shot. (Note to Daniel: Hanging out in a bar, even if you're drinking club soda, is a bad plan for getting clean.) They dug up what we already knew/suspected: that Marco was involved with a case involving Faust Galvan's dead brother and a house of full of dead bodies, and Marco buried the case to help Fausto (the situation was first brought to our attention when Sonya went to Marco's office and snooped around about an extra body a few episodes ago). According to Adriana and Daniel, the killer dumped half of the hooker's dead body in that same house in order to get the word out that Marco is a dirty cop. But the details of what happened are still pretty fuzzy, and if you're confused, don't worry, I'm right beside you. We'll just have to exhibit some patience, I guess.
And now let's talk about Charlotte, that dirty little slut. She's really mourning Carl, isn't she? I'm really not liking her now. And bringing Ray, King of the Bros, to the estate for sex is classless. She's already banged two guys since her husband died something like a week and a half ago. And now she thinks it's a good idea to bring Ray in to manage her Mexican-tunnel business? AND she somehow thinks she has the power to lay down rules when Graciela murdered her horse and Fausto is dragging dead bodies through her basement? This woman has some brass balls on her to try to throw her weight around with human murderers and horse murderers, especially when she has lots of her hard-earned husband's money to lose.
I'm not taking blame away from Graciela and her lawyer Flagman, either. Why would they budge to Charlotte's demands and take on some doofus as her proxy? Ray has the honor of being The Bridge's most clumsily introduced character thus far. Is criminal business always this easy? So far, Ray has shown up, said "Let's have a few drinks and then I'll show you my tattoo," had sex with Charlotte, and now he's already partner in the illegal human-trafficking business that runs under Charlotte's property? This isn't like switching the name on a dinner reservation or transferring a will-call ticket to a Justin Timberlake concert; this is a huge criminal enterprise, they have to be careful, and running someone's social security number doesn't seem good enough. Unsurprisingly, it appears that Ray is going to try to run drugs (I assume) through that tunnel using his friend as a connection, completely unaware that his buddy is being played by the cops. Talk about amateur hour. He'll probably be murdered next week, if the history of this show has taught us anything. But his involvement also hints that the Tampa police might get involved in the whole situation, which casts the net a little wider than it needed to be.
It seems like each week, The Bridge raises some very puzzling questions. Sometimes they're obvious errors that don't fit into a crime show: How did Marco not notice his wallet was missing? Same goes for Daniel, but replace the wallet with a cell phone, and why didn't he go after the man he knew took it? And now, why are these human traffickers even considering letting some random gringo operate Charlotte's side of the business? Sometimes the head-scratchers are of a more structural nature. Why did we spend so much time with Hector if he was just going to be killed so fast? Ditto for Gina? What was the point of Ava Guerra? Are The Bridge's purposeful misleads effective, or are they trying too hard?
"ID" was a step backward from "The Beast" and "Maria of the Desert." Yet I'm still fascinated by the series and I'm having a hard time figuring out exactly why. I want to know what happens. I'm intrigued by the odd choices as a student of television dramas. I want to see what makes this show tick. Maybe I'm just infatuated with the killer and how The Bridge has managed to make his character more of a spectre of change instead of a lunatic like the ones who anchor other serial-killer shows. But really I'm enjoying that The Bridge has taken a worn-out genre and made it feel fresh again. I normally don't like detective shows because they tend to be so rigid. But The Bridge, with its odd little eccentricities, is making it work... or at least appearing to make it work.
– Marco: "Sure I'll give you a cigarette, just don't tell anyone, especially Sonya. Here, let me light you up right here in the middle of this office in this room with windows for walls. But don't let anyone see." BUSTED, Marco.
– Does anyone care about Marco's home life yet? I sure don't.
– Ummm, excuse me? But where was Linder? He's my favorite character! He took this week off after we last saw him being confronted by Galvan, and the show was that much less weird for it.
– Did anyone, for a second, think that when Fausto had all his boys pick up knives with Hector's dead body on the table that they were going to eat him? I didn't, but that would have been hilarious.
– Do you think there's anything to how the killer chooses his murder methods? Meadows was killed like a drug dealer with a Colombian Necktie, Gedman was beheaded for partying with prostitutes, the illegal immigrants were poisoned, and the judge and the hooker were "bisected." It's an interesting idea that he might use different "styles" of murder to get his message across.
– What do you think of the "floating" text message effect used when Gus was e-talking to Zina? I think I didn't like it; the mesages were too "loud." I much prefer the way House of Cards did it, with a subtler look.
– Hmmm, holding the hands of your sister's killer in a psych ward while he draws little blonde girls isn't weird at all, Sonya!
AIRED ON 10/2/2013
Season 1 : Episode 13