The Bridge, Ep. 1.12, “All About Eva”: Strong performances buoy transitional episode

The Bridge promo pic, S01E12, "All About Eva"

The Bridge, Season 1, Episode 12: “All About Eva”
Written by Esta Spalding and Fernanda Coppel
Directed by SJ Clarkson
Airs Wednesdays at 10pm EST on FX

This week’s episode is a crucial one- after “Take the Ride, Pay the Toll” wrapped up the season-long mystery last week, we’re left with only two episodes this season. That’s too much time if the PtB are only going wrap up the hanging threads from the Tate arc and potentially not enough time for them to start something new.  For the show to succeed over multiple seasons, though, a new border-spanning case is necessary and we get just that this week with the abduction and rape of Eva in Juarez by a mysterious Texas-plated car. This case feels like a bit more of a stretch for calling in our favorite international crime-fighting team than the half-bodies posed on the literal border, but given our previous relationships with the characters, it’ll work.

With the case, no matter how brutal, more withdrawn from our leads than Tate’s murder of Gus, it makes sense for Spalding and Coppel to make the rest of the episode more personal, spending a majority of the episode on intimate conversations about loss and fear. Every scene with Demian Bichir or Diane Kruger contemplating their loss works beautifully, from Sonya and her sister’s car to Marco’s solitary despair. Kruger’s performance and the overall handling of the Sonya character by the writers and directors have improved dramatically from the first episodes of the season. The same brittle edge is there, but she feels far more nuanced, a different kind of person than we’re used to seeing on TV, but a fully realized person nonetheless. It’s wonderful to see Sonya fight for her partnership with Marco and the strength of that bond should be enough to get viewers to keep tuning in, both next week and next year.

The Bridge promo pic, S01E12, "All About Eva"

The element of the series that has been the most pleasant surprise is also the highlight of “All About Eva”- the pairing of Emily Rios and Matthew Lillard. Both actors are delightful in their scenes together and they jump off the screen in a way little else on The Bridge does. The two have great chemistry and their scenes usually have at least an underlying thread of comedy that is sorely lacking elsewhere. Their first scene balances the drama of Daniel’s near death nicely with Andrea’s limited sympathies and using him later as a window into her family’s dynamic works well too. While more time with Andrea’s family would be appreciated (all of those scenes have worked so far), her sister’s uniform matching Eva’s does not go unnoticed. Hopefully the writers have something more planned for the sister than they did for Alma- underdevelopment and just enough presence for her eventual terrorizing to pack an extra wallop.

That takes us to Eva. From the moment she goes to the precinct, we know what to expect and while it’s good the show doesn’t pull any punches, that doesn’t make her brutalization any easier to watch. There’s little sense that she can be saved, a feeling underlined by the final moments with Linder in the desert, and the notion of Marco, the one uncorrupt cop in Juarez, somehow taking down the machine feels overly naïve. We’ll see how the story unfolds, and this is certainly a desperate enough case to snap Marco back into action, but unlike with Tate, it’s going to take a lot to make any resolution feel both honest and satisfying. Eva’s abduction is a more interesting way to incorporate Linder, but honestly, unless the writers build up the character substantially, it’s hard not to wish his minutes of screentime were spent elsewhere.

The Bridge promo pic, S01E12, "All About Eva"

The main problematic piece of the puzzle, however, remains Annabeth Gish’s Charlotte. Fausto is an intriguing and powerful villain, but there remains almost nothing to Charlotte, 12 episodes in to the season. We know almost nothing about her and this drastic move, from shooting a woman in self-defense a couple weeks ago to deciding to join an international drug smuggling operation, comes out of nowhere. Perhaps the character can be salvaged, but at this point, the show would be better off marginalizing Charlotte entirely, only bringing Gish in when the main storyline absolutely needed her.

“All About Eva” succeeds in its difficult task of transitioning the series from the Tate storyline to the case that will undoubtedly encompass much of season two, but the same lingering problems remain. Whether the writers will choose to address any of them remains to be seen.

What did you think of this episode? Anyone else love that opera (I want to say Figaro?) is Linder’s jam? Are you interested in Charlotte’s new deal? Think Alma will turn back up in s2? Post your thoughts below.

Kate Kulzick

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