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The Bridge Ep. 2.12 “Quetzalcoatl” a methodical, effective penultimate hour

The Bridge Ep. 2.12 “Quetzalcoatl” a methodical, effective penultimate hour

The Bridge Season 2, Episode 12 “Quetzalcoatl”
Written by Dario Scardapane & Adam Gaines
Directed by Jakob Verbruggen
Airs Wednesdays at 10pm ET on FX

 

With all the pieces of The Bridge‘s second season neatly in place for the finale before “Quetzalcoatl” even begins, it’s no surprise that things don’t really go anywhere in this penultimate hour. Throughout, it feels like a buildup to two big events – Galvan’s Last Stand, and Linder’s Final Act of Vengeance – but neither comes to light in the framework of this episode, an hour that methodically fans the flames of the season’s conflicts, with Eleanor continuing to poke her head in and out from the shadows said fire casts on the metaphorical wall. That doesn’t mean “Quetzacoatl” isn’t an boring hour, though: as the show pauses to consider just how far Galvan’s gone with the approval of the CIA, and how little anyone involved can do about it, The Bridge finally feels like the show it’s always wanted to be, occasional spurts of blood and all.

A lot of “Quetzalcoatl” is obligatory Point-A-to-point-B material, with Sonya trying to track down Eleanor and Marco at the same time, still unsure of exactly how all the pieces are connected. What her and Hank understand, however, underlines the moral exploration of The Bridge’s second season: how long can one turn the other cheek and ignore corruption? Corruption of self, country, friends, colleagues… at the heart of this show is an exploration of things that are broken, whether it’s people, political systems, or illegal organizations, and what happens when those things are brought to light. Season one dealt with Marco’s infedilities and shortcomings as a man and father – but season two’s pushed the scope much wider, encompassing everyone from Sonya, to Galvan, Eleanor, McKenzie (RIP, big guy), Hank and everyone in between, as everyone comes face to face with overwhelming amounts of evil (and temptation), exploring just how far one can go before they’ve been completely lost.

Of course, there’s no moralistic theory or scale that The Bridge subscribes to; and it’s that ambiguity, that ability to stay objective and give us both sides of the equation, that “Quetzalcoatl” (and the second season as a whole) becomes such engaging television. Who is more evil; a cartel leader holding people hostage to escape, or the government who put him in power, letting said leader massacre its own fellow law enforcement officers to keep them quiet? Where the first season of The Bridge struggled to convey the slippery slope of international politics, season two of The Bridge has thrown caution to the wind and displayed an American government as opportunistic as its Mexican counterpart, two countries playing political chess with drug cartels – the only difference is, the Americans are trying to do it in secret, essentially causing all the bloodshed that’s formed the last season-plus of the show, since the first money laundering location was found.

But this isn’t a huge focus of “Quetzalcoatl”, except the fantastic scene where Sonya and Hank wait to break up a potential money laundering operation (now in the control of Cerisola, as we see in the scene where Robles shoots Linder in the gut, arguably the most surprising moment of the season): for the most part, this episode is performance-driven, simply maintaining pace until next week’s finale. And it’s a damn fine example of dramatic stalling at that, narrowing the focus more and more down to Galvan’s battle to escape, and the CIA’s attempts to worm its way out of the bloodbath that’s finally spilled north of the border. Not a satisfying climatic episode, but it’s not one aspiring to be – which is fine, especially when the show does such a fine job of spinning its tires for an hour, throwing in the tease of the truck bust and Linder’s possible death to whet our appetite until next week’s conclusion.

 

— Randy

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