‘The Bridge’ Season 1, Episode 2 Review – No Country for Nosy Neighbors

Published 1 year ago by

Matthew Lillard and Emily Rios in The Bridge Calaca The Bridge Season 1, Episode 2 Review – No Country for Nosy Neighbors

Following the series premiere of The Bridge last week, it seemed as though the depiction of its female lead, Sonya Cross (Diane Kruger), generated as much discussion as the hot button issue that is the show’s setting on either side of the El Paso-Juárez border. And while the sociopolitical elements of the story are what sets it apart from most other police shows on television (and will hopefully lead to some compelling and thought provoking storylines beyond the central serial killer plot), it feels as though Sonya’s portrayal, if not handled properly, could wind up being the more contentious element in terms of the audiences’ response.

Since the pilot was filmed in December of 2012 and filming on the rest of the series didn’t commence until April of 2013, there’s a good chance certain elements of Kruger’s character might have been scaled back a bit or reinterpreted by head writers Meredith Stiehm and Elwood Reid, as it felt her undiagnosed psychological condition was not as deliberately irregular in the second episode – or at least that was my impression, watching her co-interrogate Daniel Frye with Marco Ruiz, or even later, when she was dealing with Ruiz’ captain.

Rather than being at the forefront of all Sonya’s mannerisms, her social awkwardness, lack of empathy and very literal interpretation of the world around her seemed to work more to the advantage of the character’s development within the context of the series this time around. There were still strong signs of Sonya’s inelegance around other people; her incessant questions, her matter-of-fact technique of getting a stranger in the sack, and the way she shriveled and held a remorseful hand up when Hank Wade thunderously asked how the El Paso Times had been able to reproduce the killer’s message verbatim.

Ted Levine Demian Bichir and Diane Kruger in The Bridge Calaca The Bridge Season 1, Episode 2 Review – No Country for Nosy Neighbors

All of this points to an interesting interpretation of her personality and psychology, something significantly more than just being awkward or difficult. And Sonya’s awareness of her idiosyncrasies (if you can call them that) also spoke volumes about the character, and perhaps her depiction moving forward.

But this is a large show with an expansive cast, so it’s good to see the writers spending some time developing one of the two ostensibly core characters in what is otherwise an ensemble. Another positive would be how ‘Calaca’ was determined to develop (in an admittedly limited and ultimately plot-oriented fashion) characters like Daniel Frye and Adriana Perez, the El Paso Times reporters who were first introduced late in the pilot. This element also demonstrates just how serialized The Bridge is, as it picks up shortly after Daniel Frye was locked in his car with a what appeared to be an explosive device meant as a message from the killer of Judge Gates and, possibly, countless Juárez girls.

A great deal of ‘Calaca’ involves spending time with characters who live in a complicated place and have outwardly simple (but privately complicated) lives, thanks to their chosen profession, and/or idiosyncrasies. Some are, more or less, readily evident: the life of a detective is complicated, but the life of a detective in Juárez, Mexico is decidedly more complicated and for completely different reasons. Meanwhile, the show continues to establish and spend time with other individuals outside of those who have already been introduced.

Lyle Lovett and Annabeth Gish in The Bridge Calaca The Bridge Season 1, Episode 2 Review – No Country for Nosy Neighbors

In that regard, the second episode doesn’t spend too much time with Steven Linder – we do learn that he’s a social worker, and that somehow makes him even creepier – but he’s never far from thought, as Hector Valdez (Arturo del Puerto) does his best Anton Chigurh by relentlessly stalking Linder and eventually killing a nosy neighbor in a scene that is eerily reminiscent of Chigurh’s strangling of a deputy early on in ‘No Country For Old Men.’

Overall, ‘Calaca’ doesn’t show any of the telltale signs of second episode jitters. It’s a confident hour of television that’s comfortable enough with its characters it’s willing to give them long scenes that have little to do with the overall plot, and that’s a great sign of things to come.

As far as the plot goes, however, the episode here is also assured in furthering tangential storylines, such as the recently widowed Charlotte Millwright (Annabeth Gish) and the discovery of her late husband’s less-than-savory endeavors smuggling humans across (well, under) the border and into the United States. Right now, it’s unclear just what Lyle Lovett has to do with Karl Millwright’s smuggling trade, but he’s a welcome addition to a series that’s proving to be a welcome addition to summer TV.

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The Bridge continues next Wednesday with ‘Rio’ @10pm on FX.

Photos: Prashant Gupta, Byron Cohen/FX

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6 Comments

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  1. Wow! Great and thrilling episode. I though the illegals were going to find charlottes tunnel! But seems like the lead lady found that weird guy. I also noticed they toned down her disability a lot this episode. Love Damian bichirs character so much,

  2. I wonder what the killer’s plans are for Frye. considering he’s a reporter, he’ll probably try to force him to write about the politics. hmm http://bit.ly/18mO5zL

  3. Very slow-going but it gained momentum in the final 10-15 minutes. At this stage, I’d like to know more about the investigation and less about the characters. They reveal themselves enough along the way that 3-4 scenes dedicated to Sonya’s awkward tendencies wears thin. Episode 3 might be the make it or break it for me. For now, it is the peculiar chemistry between the two leads that keeps me interested, though Lyle Lovett stole the episode in only two scenes.

    As an aside, I did get a laugh out of Det. Ruiz’s situation. The poor man gets a vasectomy only to learn his wife is already pregnant? Ouch!

  4. We were looking forward to the show – was glued to watching the characters develop and tracking where the story line was headed but after the “bar lets go to bed – oh now I am refreshed to get back on the case” we cannot take any more of the crazies of the Diane Kruer character – and are changing channels – unfortunate as we have yet to be disappointed watching Ted Levine. Good luck, but Diane’s character is just too much to take.

  5. I’m enjoying this show very much, although it can be slow at times and a few things feel disconnected or simply confusing. Sonya is an interesting character. I like her, but sometimes I find her frustrating. I think she’s meant to be like that due to her condition. I can’t help but think that Kruger’s portrayal of Asperger’s can’t help but be controversial, because it’s more realistic than what we’ve seen on television. I find her fascinating though.

  6. I’m hooked on the darker shows – Criminal Minds, Hannibal, The Bridge – that portray the seedier side of humanity. I’m scaring myself, but I love it!

    Funny you should mention Valez’s “Chigurh” tendencies for that’s immediately what I thought of while watching his actions. Dude’s a stone-cold killer.

    In this last episode, I’m getting the vibe of more than one serial killer: The one who kidnaps and kills the young women from Juarez and the one who targets the illegals making their way from Mexico to Texas. Anyone else?

    If for no other reason, I’ll stick with this show just to find out what Cross keeps in the bottom drawer of her desk. Yeah…I’m nosy that way.

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