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The Bridge Ep. 2.08 “Goliath” a narrative turning point with a strong central theme

The Bridge Ep. 2.08 “Goliath” a narrative turning point with a strong central theme

the bridge 2.8

The Bridge Season 2, Episode 7 “Goliath”
Written by Elwood Reid & Dario Scardapane
Directed by Jakob Verbruggen
Airs Wednesdays at 10pm ET on FX

 

The longer The Bridge‘s second season continues, the more a singular thematic thread becomes apparent. Regardless of character, the second season of The Bridge is about the struggles of living in a world of compromise, where morals and traditions fall to the wayside, and everything in life becomes a transaction or an ultimatum. Is there such thing as definitive “justice” in the modern world, or forgiveness? Is there such thing as absolute loyalty, or do the negotiations between politics, personal pride, and business ruin those who refuse to live sitting on the fence? These are the kinds of questions the pulpier, more character-based second season of The Bridge is exploring: and although it’s not quite hitting on all cylinders in “Goliath”, that central idea continues to manifest in fascinating ways.

There are just a few pockets of “Goliath” that don’t fit with the rest of the season: as Cerisola’s power play and Fausto’s dwindling influence begin to take center stage, ancillary pieces of the show are falling by the way side. Watching Linder and Eva run around on a vengeance spree is entertaing, sure, but there’s no telling how any of this fits into the larger picture, except that Linder’s taking out some people on Fausto’s payroll – something that seems to stand to help him right now, given that he’s on the run and on the hook for $300 million over Red Ridge (still my favorite thing to be said in Spanish on this show this season), all while his organization crumbles underneath him.

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The easiest way to notice how separated these stories are, is to look at the characters bridging them together: Eleanor’s conversations about her loyalty to Fausto (which, oops: the Marinas find him while Fausto is running) is far more interesting than anything concerning Red Ridge, literally the only thing keeping Charlotte and Ray tethered to anything going on in The Bridge. By the same token, Cerisola’s power play has a lot more meaning than anything Eva and Linder are doing to try and undermine the powerful grip that Fausto’s held on both sides of the border: in a strange turn of events, the bearded man has become less intriguing to watch than the e-cigarette smoking playa playa, which seems to betray the show’s long-term goals (Linder, being a major supporting character in both seasons, not to mention getting a ton of back story in “Goliath”) for its short-term, Cerisola being a suit whose power is wielded with his words, not a type who often seems to last long on The Bridge.

Despite those small bumps in the road (and they’re small; we don’t spend a ton of time with either Eva/Linder or Charlotte/Ray), “Goliath” powers through with its aforementioned thematic unity, centered on Fausto ruling with an iron fist, and Sonya attempting to do the traditional ‘right’ thing when it comes to personal betrayal. Fausto’s aggressive approach to business makes for a great parallel to Sonya’s idea of right and wrong: by the end of the episode, both have willingly isolated themselves from the rest of the world, vulnerable to attack like they’ve never been before (Sonya’s just so happens to come from Fausto, who sends a goofball named The Chopper to kidnap/do other bad guy stuff with her). Sonya clinging to the pillars of morality come at the cost of her friendships: she pushes both Hank and Marco away after she learned of their lies last week, effectively rendering herself alone now that she’s also pushed away Jack for not telling her everything he knew about his (now-dead) brother. In their quests for self-preservation, they’ve lost the ability or will to compromise: and a lack of that is coming at great cost to both of them as the show begins to head into its final, climatic act.

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Self-preservation by way of bold action is all over the map of The Bridge: from Cerisola to Agent McKenzie, everyone is backing away from the middle and drawing lines, effectively erasing the status quo of the show over the first season and a half (or in the case of the CIA keeping Galvan in power, long before The Bridge began). But even as the show’s established world begins spinning out of control in dramatic fashion, “Goliath” keeps the attention (mostly) focused on the immediate fallout of each character’s inability to compromise (or in Marco’s case, inability to not compromise), and remains a much more rewarding show than the overtly plot-driven season one (otherwise known as The Tate Effect).

 

— Randy