[This is a review of The Bridge season 2, episode 8. There will be SPOILERS.]
Season 2 of The Bridge has largely concerned itself with an exploration of retribution and how it plays into an incredibly large and complicated system, like, say, law enforcement or even the war on drugs. And as the series suggests, despite the appearance of confusion or disorder, that system actually consists of a strict set of codes and rules, with an equally strict set of consequences for failure to adhere to them.
What’s been interesting so far is that regardless if the retribution in question is coming from someone like Hank Wade, Marco Ruiz, or even Fausto Galvan, the repercussions of that act reverberate through the confines of the system.
For his part, Galvan has been the major player with regard to dolling out payback, and he has often done so against the wishes of people like Sebastian Cerisola, who have a certain amount of influence on Galvan’s empire – or at least some say over how many government agencies are sniffing around the empire at any given moment.
When Galvan’s not sending a hit squad to exterminate a group of drug-stealing teenagers or having state prosecutors abducted by the police, he’s facilitating Marco’s infiltration of David Tate’s prison, and then having Tate murdered after Marco changes his mind. Why, in this episode alone, he even sends a hitman named Chopper to deal with Sonya for her part in the investigation of the attack on Lucy that was meant for Adriana and Frye.
But because Galvan is operating inside the confines of a controlled system, which he erroneously believes himself to exist outside of, there’re consequences to his actions – and not just from those trying to usurp control of his empire.
There is a hierarchy at play, even in a place as seemingly unruly as the Juárez cartel scene that determines how and when action will be taken, and what kind of behavior will be tolerated and what will not. As evidenced by the military raid on his hideout, and by Cerisola’s attempts to wash his hands of his co-conspirator, Fausto Galvan’s efforts to demonstrate the consequences of breaking his rules have ironically been met with some serious consequences of their own. In a way, Galvan was the episode’s titular Goliath, but in another, the larger (sometimes corrupt) system that allows people like Galvan to flourish and escape DEA prosecution could also be considered the Goliath in question.
Regardless, the goings-on of the episode all fit into the series’ fascination with the concept of consequence that was explored in a more traditional way over the course of the first season. This time, though, the series takes a step back to explore the notion through a much larger and more complicated system that responds to certain situations with a set prescribed reactions — depending whose point of view is being presented, of course. And through that exploration, The Bridge continues to develop its characters by having them make choices that either alter their interpersonal relationships or force them to examine how comfortable they are with the ramifications of their own actions.
For example, Sonya’s adherence to her very stringent belief of what’s right and what’s wrong finds her at odds with Hank and Marco. Both men recently revealed themselves to have been splashing around in some morally gray water that did not belong in her clinical definition of justice. Sonya is uninterested in hearing why Hank shot Jim Dobbs or why Marco would think striking a deal with Galvan would keep them both alive. And since ‘Goliath’ is so centered on Sonya, her unique, mostly inflexible concept of right and wrong becomes an even bigger element to the story than it was previously.
That focus on Sonya makes one wonder what she would think about what Steven Linder and Eva are up to, whether their past experiences justify them taking the law into their own hands.
But Linder and Eva’s actions only bring the episode’s idea of retribution full circle and further complicate the already tricky concepts of right and wrong. What is right in a legal standpoint may not be true when it comes to a victim’s idea of justice. And when it comes to the question of Hank and Marco’s decisions during last week’s ‘Lamia’ and again here in ‘Goliath,’ things get even more problematic, as Chopper’s attack on Sonya raises more questions regarding making the morally right choice versus making the choice that helps the system maintain its order.
The Bridge continues next Wednesday with ‘Rakshasa’ @10pm on FX.
Photos: Byron Cohen/FX