The Bridge Season 1 Review “ID”

For the first five weeks of the season, The Bridge took us to a lot of different locales and introduced us to a number of different people. The central conceit of the show was a mystery surrounding a seemingly unstoppable serial killer, but the show became far more than that very quickly. The show seemed to be spreading itself out with designs on creating a large tapestry from which to work in subsequent seasons. Plus, these fringe characters were either very engaging, or piqued your curiosity. As discussed many times in this space, the tapestry became so rich that it superseded the murder mystery. The show really took its time building us and the world to this point. Given the breakneck nature of running a television show, I’m impressed Meredith Stiehm and company decided to slow play us before starting to show their hand. All the temptations were there to let us all the way in, but The Bridge has a ton of confidence in the story it’s telling, and rightfully so. The show has routinely opted for the artful storytelling option instead of the most satisfying one. It’s a series that trusts its vision and resists the urge to stray from it. It may brush up against the edge constantly, but it’s disciplined enough to not take the plunge.

The show remained as mysterious as ever this week, but several of our characters started to fall into line. For the first time all season, a lot of the stories we had been tracking began to mesh. The backstory surrounding the weird paternal relationship between Hank and Sonya was finally covered. However, it was difficult not to think there was more to that story. Maybe I’ve seen Ted Levine be a bad guy too many times, but it seems like he’s making acting choices where he’s hedging his bets. He certainly seems like a decent guy, but Levine plays him as if there is something more lurking underneath. Something beyond failing to execute the killer of Sonya’s sister. We also peeled back some layers from Sonya. Her visit to see Jim Dobbs seems horrifying to us (or to me at least), but it does seem to make sense given what we know about Sonya Cross. I continue to be impressed with Diane Kruger’s commitment to the role, but it had to be a relief to finally be able to show an emotion.

In addition to Sonya and Hank, we learned a great deal about Marco Ruiz and everyone’s favorite killer, Fausto Galvan. Ruiz’s Mexican ties remain one of the fascinating subplots of the entire show. Learning so much more about these two men in this episode does help provide a richer context. Fausto’s exact role in the show remains unfinished, but his connection to Ruiz does allow him an easy entry point (not to mention the one on the Bobby Cobb Ranch) to the show. The two men exist on opposite ends of the morality spectrum, but their chosen professions keep them together. It’s a fantastic decision by the show. FX has gotten a ton of mileage from the Boyd Crowder-Raylan Givens relationship on Justified. It’s hard to look at Fausto and Marco and not think they could be the south of the border equivalent.

While there was a ton of things going on in this episode The Bridge, the absence of Steven Linder was quite noticeable. He’s one of the more interesting characters on the show, and we left him in pretty interesting circumstances last week. That being said, I know I didn’t miss La Bestia this week. The show did a lot better by the murderer last week, but it’s become more of an afterthought for me as the world continues to expand. I appreciate the point of entry into this fascinating world, but would anyone be heartbroken if the murderer was caught next week? The show certainly wouldn’t lack for concepts to explore. As we’ve seen in recent weeks, there is more than one beast on either side of The Bridge.