Around the same time The Bridge was wrapping production on the initial 13 episodes of its first season, the producers and cast made a presentation at the 2013 TCA gathering, wherein it was discussed how the central murder mystery would be resolved before the season ended and that the series wouldn’t follow a traditional path of tracking down a new killer or necessarily following just one new case each season.
While it remains to be seen whether or not the series will continue after season 1, it’s clear that after ‘Take the Ride, Pay the Toll,’ the producers have stuck to their word about resolving the mystery since it was revealed that former FBI agent David Tate was on a one-man mission of vengeance against a philandering Juárez homicide detective and the drug-addled journalist he held responsible for the death of his wife and child.
And while the events of the episode are important – and end in catastrophic fashion for both Marco Ruiz and Daniel Frye – the fact that two episodes still remain to investigate the stranger, more ancillary (but no less interesting) storylines revolving around the recently widowed Charlotte Millwright and all the death around her ranch – and, of course, the spectacularly bizarre adventures of Steven Linder – means there’re still some interesting avenues left to explore. Bearing in mind the way the David Tate storyline played out (with Gus losing his life, Frye winding up in the hospital with horrific injuries and Marco nearly taking Tate’s life in an act of retribution), it’s hard not to look at the two aforementioned subplots and think that prior to the events of ‘Vendetta,’ that’s where the series generated the most interest.
In that regard, there’s been a bizarre unpredictability to The Bridge that, even in its most hackneyed and clichéd moments (it’s strange to think how the term “dead man’s switch” is such a part of the pop-culture lexicon), it still manages to find a moment from which it can wring emotion out of something off-kilter or even familiar. The only question is: Does the show’s ability to pinpoint that emotionality and meaning for the characters outweigh the worn-out delivery that got them to that point?
That’s not to say there wasn’t an emotional core or larger context to Tate crimes (whether social awareness was a secondary goal of the killer or not); it’s more that the manner in which he chose to seek his vengeance felt very familiar, and almost anti-climactic in such a way that the banality of it seemed to have been deliberate. On one hand, the theatricality of Tate’s deeds speaks volumes about his manipulation of the events and those around him to ensure his point of view was given maximum consideration and that punishment was dolled out as he saw fit.
And even though his desire to have Marco become like him was stymied by Sonya trying to do the right thing for her friend, Tate still managed to prove a larger point about how people must act in order to create change. And besides, even if he didn’t commit murder out of a need for vengeance, Marco may yet be a broken, hollow man, just like Tate.
The Bridge continues next Wednesday with ‘All About Eva’ @10pm on FX.