The Bridge Season 1 Review “All About Eva”

Now this is the show I always wanted to watch.

After touting the prospects of The Bridge for the better part of the season, watching David Tate hijack the previous few episodes caused me to face my worst fears for the show. The show did everything it could to make the chase compelling, but in a show with such a deep bench, relying on a know-it-all killer with the greatest iPhone on the planet seemed short-sighted. Now that they’ve freed themselves from the shackles of the Tate storyline, The Bridge came prepared tonight to be the show it promised to be earlier in the season: deep, rich, weird, and always interesting. Gone was hand-wringing and the man with all of life’s cheat codes. Back in were the people and places who struggle to make it past life’s earliest levels. The show was truly staring into the abyss following last week’s episode. Not only did it walk it back tonight, it did in a way that genuinely excited me for a prospective season two.*

*Note: FX announced yesterday the show has been renewed for a 13 episode second season.

With the sense of renewal the episode provided, it was interesting to see the show tab a director who had yet to work on the series. SJ Clarkson’s direction was terrific on both sides of the border last night, but his work in Juarez really shined. There were so many sides to show in this episode, and all of them were shot in their own distinctive way, like wildly divergent parts of an interesting whole. Through different scenes, Clarkson was able to make Juarez feel sprawling and intimate, seedy and pristine, or calm and dangerous. Balancing the parts of a place as diverse as Juarez has been presented on this series would be a challenge for anyone. Clarkson found a way to make it all fit.

While Clarkson deserves some credit for the show’s interesting aesthetic quality, having the full team suit up to play certainly helped matters. The presence of Tate has unfortunately sidelined a lot of my favorite players. Fausto and Linder disappeared for weeks at a time, Charlotte and Daniel Frye were seen sparingly, and even Ted Levine’s Hank Wade seemed muted by comparison. Tonight, all the big guns were back on the field. What resulted was one of the more interesting hours of television the show has produced in its freshman run. I’m slightly dubious of Linder’s love for the missing and assaulted Eva, but I was certainly jonesing for an appearance by our tightly wound coyote. He’s a fascinating man, but I think we’re a lot better off watching him slither around in this dangerous world. Everyone deserves to find love, but I wish it didn’t have to be such an obvious plot device.

Overall, the world that exists in Juarez is many things to many different people. For Fausto, his partnership with Charlotte is at once interesting and terrifying. Charlotte has worked up a lot of gumption over these few months, but she’s not ready for this level of overt brutality. Annabelle Gish does a nice job of showcasing her relative inexperience in this arena as she’s “handled” by Fausto. All along I’ve said I’m far more interested in what’s coming and going through the tunnel than who runs it. Now, I can’t help but be worried for Charlotte as her new partnership takes place. Yet another upwardly mobile movement by the ex-waitress from Tampa.

When discussing the finale, creator Meredith Stiehm has mentioned several times the finale will set the table for season two. What Ms. Stiehm may not realize is that the table has already been set. Now it’s just time to let everyone eat their fill.