Last week, The Bridge ended its eleventh episode in a place where most series would have seen their season come to a close. It was the climax of the conflict between Det. Marco Ruiz and his nemesis David Tate that concluded in tragedy with the death of Marco’s son Gus and, for all intents and purposes, fulfilled the basic requirements of a television drama, even ending with a particularly ambiguous and downtrodden denouement.
But as we see in ‘All About Eva,’ life goes on, painful as that may be. The story of The Bridge continues with a kind of coda for Sonya and Marco’s arc, and the promise of continuation when it comes to the story of Charlotte Millwright (a.k.a. Fausto Galván’s “Man in El Paso”) and the unrestrained (and likely unrequited) romantic overtures of self-appointed lady-savior Steven Linder. Despite a much-appreciated return to these fascinating and highly entertaining storylines, the episode is more than a continuation of subplots; it also allows for the proper recognition of everything Marco lost in the previous episode.
In doing that, The Bridge continues to play with expectations and comes up with a nice surprise in terms of the season’ pacing. It’s something the series has done before, by turning the initial plotline on its head and revealing its supposedly politically motivated serial killer to be a revenge-driven fanatic that’d likely seen too many ’80s action movies. What ‘All About Eva’ reveals, though, isn’t merely how Marco, Sonya and Hank have each begun to deal with the fallout of David’s horrific and horrifically showy bit of performance art/misguided retribution; it reveals just how fascinating and well-drawn these characters can be, when they’re not dealing with a problem like David Tate.
As terrific as the performances have been during Tate’s arc, there’s more apprehension in watching Annabeth Gish descend into criminality and as calmly villainous as Eric Lange managed to be, Thomas M. Wright can out crazy him with one sideburn tied behind his back. For all the propulsive thrust Tate’s actions brought the story, it transitioned the emphasis on character to the hackneyed plot of his revenge. And by bringing that to a conclusion within the framework of the first season – as opposed to having it serve as the finale – the emotional weight of what happened is shifted once more to the characters, giving them additional depth and granting season 2 an opportunity to start fresh and go easy on the “previously, on The Bridge” exposition.
Here, a totaled Ford Bronco and an unspooled cassette tape become symbolic of what Tate’s rampage has wrought, and the expression of simple joy that erupts on Sonya’s face after Hank demonstrates how she might salvage the memory of her sister a little faster resonates as effectively as watching Marco smooth the edges on the freshly made bed that used to belong to Gus.
‘All About Eva’ uncorks several bottled plots and allows them time to breathe. It also ties the disappearance of Eva to the police and brings things back around to the frightening implication of countless missing Juárez girls and faceless terror known as The Beast. It’s less about resolution, and more about coping, suggesting that, in the world of The Bridge, perhaps all anyone can hope to hold on to is one more second of peace in the morning and a pink cross in the desert.
The Bridge will conclude next Wednesday with ‘The Crazy Place’ @10pm on FX.