The Bridge Season 2 Premiere Review “The Yankee”

The Bridge Season 2 Episode 1 Yankee (6)

When The Bridge debuted last summer, FX appeared to have a culty hit on its hands. Adapted from a Scandinavian crime show Bron, The Bridge burst onto the scene with a fantastic sense of place, interesting characters, and a healthy respect for the tapestry in which these things existed. The impetus for the collaboration of Marco Ruiz and Sonya Cross was a gruesome murder on the bridge between Juarez and El Paso, but it was everything surrounding the murder that made The Bridge a potentially special show. Very quickly, the central mystery of the show became the least interesting part about it. It was tolerable, if only because it was what led us into this crazy world.

Then, as quickly as you can say “bomb vest”, the show careened off the rails. All of the show’s intricacies got pushed to the side in favor of a cat-and-mouse game with an all-powerful serial killer. With the mustache-twirling at a fevered pitch, the storyline climaxed on The Bridge of the Americas in a standoff so horrific to watch it made me question my original love for the show. However, these things happen all the time. Some shows start off strong, but don’t really have quality follow up ideas. After a good three to four episodes chasing an unstoppable serial killer, I was prepared to cut bait with a once promising series.

But then something far more interesting happened. After ending the serial killer arc in the tenth episode, the show took the next two episodes to begin the set up for the show I really wanted it to be. The show went back to the fringe favored by season 2 showrunner Elwood Reid. The result was a masterful set up to restore the early faith in The Bridge. Little did we know it would only be the beginning.

The premiere episode of the second season seems to be doubling down on the promise of the final two episodes of the final season. Reid does indulge a little bit in FX’s nudity and violence account, but many of his choices make for fascinating viewing. There are so many characters with questionable motives and unintelligible aims. The show seems to thrive in the places most shows are afraid to go. There’s a through line for the season established by Franka Potente, a murderous cartel accountant, but it’s one of the few pieces of conventional storytelling evident in the premiere.

The cast remains as sharp as they were the year before. Demian Bichir remains a master of the beleaguered look. I admittedly miss the more happy-go-lucky Marco, but watching Bichir drink away his sorrows isn’t bad either. Diane Kruger deserves some credit for dialing down Sonya’s tics while still allowing it to be clear the detective is not your average gruff detective. Ted Levine continues to be the rock of the show. Everything from his mannerisms to his presence seems right on point as the old El Paso Lieutenant Hank Wade. There are plenty of other enjoyable oddities that don’t make their presence known in the opening episode (most notably Thomas M. Wright as Steven Lindler), but there’s plenty of time for their stories this season. The Bridge is back and it seems intent on letting its freak flag fly.