The Bridge, Season 1, Episode 6, “ID”
Written by Dario Scardapane
Directed by Alex Zakrzewski
Airs Wednesdays at 10pm (EST) on FX
This week, on The Bridge: Bobby Cobb gets a name (and a few ideas), Sonya gets a backstory, and Gina gets the eyes right
The Bridge reached an intense season best last week with “The Beast”, so it’s not surprising that this week’s installment is somewhat of a tablesetter, reacting to the events just prior and paving the way for several new arcs that promise character and plot points aplenty. We spend plenty of time at the Peter Meadows crime scene, down to the apparently obligatory reminder of his Colombian necktie (sorry guys, Hannibal did it better), and afterward Sonya unsurprisingly proves a less than ideal interviewer of trauma victims as she questions Gina about her father’s murderer. Serious question- why does anyone, including her, think it’s a good idea for her to be in there, rather than Marco? Though, should The Bridge last long enough, the promise of an interviewee who responds better to Sonya than Marco is certainly tantalizing.
Gina is not that interviewee, however, and her scenes with Sonya are equal parts entertaining (Sonya’s sincere attempts to put her at ease by staring at her) and emotional. This episode features a lot of exemplary casting, one example of which, though she’d already proven herself last week, is Cole Bernstein as Gina. Her rapport with Diane Kruger is great and she manages to make Gina the ball of traumatized complexity she should be while never letting the character’s youth and ordinariness slide out of focus. The scenes with Gina and Sonya, particularly after we’re shown the similarities in their experiences, lull the audience into a false sense of security. We’ve seen this arc before in serialized crime dramas; Gina’s safe, at least until later in the season, when her death should have more impact. Not so here, where her quick death provides far more questions than answers, and emotionally devastates Sonya.
What we know: only the people in their office who saw them leave should’ve known they were going out for food, so they must be under some kind of surveillance. Gina was stabbed in the stomach and died in a matter of moments. Her killer knows how to kill someone quickly and quietly. Sonya found her almost immediately and never saw the killer. He either knows the area really well, is super stealthy and fast, or ducked into a car. Or some combination of the three. It’s an interesting mystery and, as the episodes continue and the world becomes increasingly intertwined, it should be fun to watch the pieces (hopefully) fall into place.
The sole purpose of this arc with Gina could easily have been to prompt Hank’s reveal of Sonya’s backstory to Marco, but given the payoff, it’s hard to mind. The series has bided its time with this storyline, giving only very slight nods towards her sister’s fate and saying almost nothing about her childhood or upbringing. Yes, the dialogue in the Hank and Marco scene is a bit clunky (we didn’t need such an obvious affirmation of the Young Girl’s identity, for example) but that is more than made up for by the final moments of the episode. Fantastic casting alert number two is for Brad William Henke as Sonya’s sister’s murderer and rapist. Henke made a big impression in season two of Justified as Coover Bennett, of course, but he’s also great here in a few minutes with no dialog. In one of Kruger’s best sequences on the show to date, Sonya first loses it at the crime scene after Gina’s death, returns to the office upset (nice callback with the shirt, by the way) and then goes to stare desperately into the eyes of an addled killer, trying in vain to see what Gina and most likely her sister saw, to understand how and why and somehow move on. Kruger is still playing the same detached Sonya, but she’s now layered on confusion and an inability to process and understand her emotions, and this makes for a potent combination.
Also continuing on from last week’s close is (casting alert 3) Brian Van Holt as Ray (not Bobby Cobb, unfortunately), Charlotte’s shady friend from Tampa, who eyes up Charlotte’s property and decides he wants in on the business. We learn a lot more about Charlotte just watching her interact with Ray and, by the end of the episode, it almost feels like the show knows most viewers haven’t connected with Charlotte or Gish. Ray’s increased role opens the door for (casting alert 4) Don Swayze, whose few moments as Timmy promise a lot of humor and intrigue to come with this character. Throwing in a whole separate police investigation or operation seems like an odd choice, but for the moment, the PtB have earned the benefit of the doubt. (Casting alert 5- so glad to see Lyle Lovett back. Can we have one or two scenes of this length with him every week? He brings a delightfully off-putting energy to this role that really adds to the fun.)
Also progressing is the domestic drama of Marco’s marital woes. Presumably Eric Lange will start getting more to do as Kenneth Hastings, Alma’s would-be rebound, in the next few weeks, as his scenes with Catalina Sandino Moreno have thus far fallen flat to the point of questioning their inclusion. Fortunately, Alma’s interactions with Marco remain gripping. The show may not have earned or even tried to explain Marco’s infidelity, after seeming to establish a happy home life, but at least the fallout has been interesting. Marco’s interactions with Gus are another highlight- the difficult relationship feels real and age appropriate (particularly Gus’s angsty exit) and the onscreen texts, though they may be a bit too big, bright, and candy colored for some, are cute and completely character appropriate.
The final storyline to mention is Frye’s new sobriety (love the use of “Brand New Key” to counterpoint his drug and alcohol purge) and his and Mendez’s investigation in Juarez. Their assumption that Marco is dirty has been appropriately built up over the past several episodes and should lead to some tricky, interesting places, and the increased prominence of Ramón Franco as Fausto Galvan has been perhaps the single most important adjustment the show has made since the pilot. The disposal of his non-serial killing victim from last week immediately brought stakes for our intrepid journalists and while it still seems unlikely they’ll get in too permanent of danger any time soon, we at least feel the gravity of the situation for them. Fausto’s interactions with Marco, though, bring another of the highlights of the episode. We learn almost nothing new, but the simmering tension is palpable and it’ll be fun seeing where it leads.
With just under half the season complete, The Bridge still has some problems to iron out, but fortunately it seems to be on the right track. Time will tell whether the writers know exactly where they’re going but until then, there’s plenty here to enjoy.
What did you think of this episode? Anyone else not miss Johnno (Steven Linder, played by Thomas M. Wright) at all? Does Ray’s involvement make you more or less interested in Charlotte? How long will Daniel stay sober? Post your thoughts below!