The Bridge’s Second Episode Fails to Grow
Last week, I examined the pilot episode of FX’s new show, The Bridge. It showed promise and had enough intrigue to make me come back for a second episode. The story of a Mexican/American investigation into the brutal murders of two women made to look like one turned political toward the end of the pilot, but all I cared about was the mystery. Primarily, what was inside that basement…
But there in lies the rub. As with most of the exciting mysteries of The Bridge, they’re followed up with a clue or answer that is so painfully obvious, so been-there-done-that, it it leaves me no other option than to not care. The best setup in the pilot is a scene in which Annabeth Gish’s Charlotte is shown the dank basement door that hold her husband’s secrets. It was tense, well shot, and the ultimately cut away from in the pilot. We pick up this week with that door opening.
What we find is a tunnel to Mexico. Charlotte’s husband smuggled human being across the border. While intriguing, the answer is a total letdown. Why? Because the reveal deflated the tone of the buildup. This is something I’m seeing in other storylines.
Detective Sonya goes with Detective Marco back to Mexico. She acts awkward, and is reacted to poorly 100% of the time. Get it? She doesn’t fit in south of the boarder. Over and over again these issues come up and are failed by typical treatment and lackluster writing. The idea that the one victim we saw last week has a friend/relative who is a hard boiled killer from the cartel is fascinating. Yet as we follow this new aspect of the world, the story becomes mired in his angst and not his search. The victim meant something to him, and he’s angry about it, they way he storms about smacking people and killing innocent people is comedic. It shouldn’t be.
Last week, Matthew Lillard was an exciting and fresh presence. This week, he’s the guy who follows orders from the killer even though he shouldn’t and then drinks too much. We get that he’s going to be unwitting tour guide to the killer’s motivations and atrocities. But because we get it so readily, there is no reason to believe Lillard does not. It’s all just silly.
The defining performance of show so far in an understated Ted Levine. Honestly, it would make my day if he’s our killer in the final episode, but that won’t happen. As good as he is, The Bridge does nothing with his talent. Instead, we’re treated to an awkward sex scene between Sonya and a stranger. Her Aspergers in full swing, she just walks up to a man in a bar and asks to have sex. I’m not saying that isn’t real, I’m saying nothing in the show makes me invest enough to care. The writing is on the wall and every twist and turn seems waiting to not surprise.
I’m hoping for more next week, but the 2nd episode was a struggle to get through.
Out of 10: 5