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The Bridge 2.13 “Jubilex” rushes to the finish line

The Bridge 2.13 “Jubilex” rushes to the finish line

the bridge 2.13

The Bridge Season 2, Episode 13 “Jubilex”
Written by Elwood Reid
Directed by John Dahl
Aired 10/1/14 on FX

 

Well, that all certainly happened quickly: once “Jubilex” gets rolling, Big Things just start happening left and right in the second half. Galvan is down – and brought in by Marco to be booked into Mexican prison. Eleanor’s father gets to see sunlight – and promptly gets a bullet in his temple before Eleanor is arrested by Sonya. Buckley gets taken out, and Daniel and Adriana get closer as friends; all of these things are happening in the short 46 minutes of “Jubilex”, so it’s no surprise some of it feels compressed, highly coincidental – or in some places, downright nonsensical (wait… so Eleanor got overpowered by her captive, weak father? And Cerisola knew she was going to the tree she was raped at… how?). Thanks to spending half a season untangling itself from the messes of last season, “Jubilex” feels like its larger stories are just starting to apex when Sonya happens upon Eleanor in the closing scene: and after the 40-plus minute sprint preceding it, ends the season on a bit of an underwhelming note.

The problem of “Jubilex” comes from the season’s overall structure: as the story re-formed itself into something new in the season’s second half (the post-Tate/Dobbs era of the show), it ran out of time to deliver both an exciting dramatic crescendo and a satisfying ending: and the last few episodes are left scrambling to do both, swiftly executing a world-shifting event with precision (Red Ridge), and then scrambling to keep the scattered pieces arranged in the final few hours, which eventually lead to conclusions like Marco bringing Fausto into prison… and then basically disappearing from the last ten minutes until he catches up with Sonya at the end (which is pretty much their only scene together in the finale, a large disappointment unto itself, as much as I appreciate what it is attempting to do), leaving Fausto sitting in prison while Robles goes back to work (?).

Which then begs the question: how and why does Linder end up in a truck full of guns, setting off the whole chain of events to the episode’s final moments?

If you pull at any of the many loose threads in “Jubilex”, the entire construction of the episode begins to fall apart. It all feels rushed, from Buckley’s silencing (nice cameo from the tortured hitman we saw earlier this season, who I’ll dearly miss) and Eleanor’s capture, to Romina surviving a gun shot wound (for what feels like quite awhile, even though most of it is spent off-screen) and Marco and Sonya suddenly reunited in the end. On a plot level at least: “Jubilex” may not cash in on some of its narrative build-up well, but does well when it comes to serving its main characters: Marco finally proves to Fausto that he’s not his father, and Eleanor gets over her daddy problems as well, with the help of Sonya and her trusty aim, two predictable, if satisfying conclusions to their personal journeys through the season’s second half. By the same token, it’s not really a surprise that something is revealed that bring Daniel and Adriana’s friendship closer – but seeing Frye’s reaction to Buckley’s reveal of her suicide attempt is affecting nonetheless, a great capper to a fine season from Matthew Lillard, who has breathed life into an archetype character all season with his ability to put the “em” in em-pathetic addict, a balancing act between cartoon comic relief and over-serious Story About Drugs that only a few shows (like The Wire‘s Bubbles, or Deadwood‘s Calamity Jane) that only works with the right balance between writing and performance.

That’s never been the problem on The Bridge though; no matter how Tate-ian things get, the performances are always top-notch: even when characters like Eva and Linder are lost at sea, the actors are able to keep us engaged with them, even when what’s happening makes no sense (I still don’t understand why Linder is alive – Robles had a loaded gun in his hand he had just used!!!). And even though it’s frustrating we may never get a third season to see where all this Cerisola/Eleanor/Fausto/CIA material was really, really going (“all the way to the top!” Daniel exclaims in the episode’s lamest bit of dialogue), at least season two was able to move away from the serial killer nonsense of season one, shedding its lesser skin and growing into something a little more geared towards shorter arcs, a grittier, bloodier visual style, and a lot of parallels between countries and characters (its greatest improvement, be it Mexico/American parallels, or those found with Marco/his father and Eleanor/Sonya), one of the most-improved shows of the year. Unfortunately, it feels like The Bridge knows its days are numbered: “Jubilex” is not a satisfying finale – instead, it’s more like an exhilerating rush to the halfway mark, something I’m hoping FX will allow Reid and company to rectify in 2015. We can always hope, right?

 

— Randy

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