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The Bridge: “All About Eva”

Illustration for article titled The Bridge: “All About Eva”
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“All About Eva” is a strange episode to review. On one hand, it goes back to what I’ve wanted all along: the world that it initially built so well, focusing on issues so rarely discussed on television. But there’s a reason that the events that took place in the last episode, “Take the Ride, Pay the Toll,” are usually finale fodder. Everything after the events of the last episode feels like a letdown, even if what’s going on is interesting. I’ve compared The Bridge to The Wire before, and this conundrum brought up the comparison again. The George Pelecanos-penned penultimate season episodes contained a Big Bang, leaving the final episode to wrap up loose ends with that season’s focus. But there’s a couple huge differences when it comes to The Bridge. There’s so much still to conclude, or at least take to a satisfying breaking point. The Bridge’s focus became the serial killer as the season went, dwarfing every other plotline. So bringing every character back to reality feels odd without the breather of a seasonal break. A show like Scandal doesn't have this problem because major events happen seemingly all the time. “All About Eva” felt like a letdown even when it wasn't. Even if a month has elapsed between the time of the Tate-bridge showdown and the current events of “All About Eva,” it's only been a week for us.

The titular Eva kicks off events as she leaves the safe house Linder brought her to in the first part of the season. She chooses instead to work in a Juarez factory, leading to possible multiple assaults at the ends of man in a car with Texas plates, and another by a cabal of corrupt cops. Eva becomes the catalyst for the series’ return to its initial concerns of the girls of Juarez. But Linder, who makes it his mission to find his “intended,” is such a weird character that he, like the serial killer plot, distracts from the issues that the show wants to highlight. When Sonya asks why he helps women, he responds because he can. But that's not really an answer, that's an excuse to keep him enigmatic. Going back to The Wire, David Simon allowed the horrors of reality speak for themselves. But now that Linder is becoming a conduit to discuss the plight of the girls of Juarez, it’s his own quirks that stand out, rather than their stories. That being said, the shot of him tacking up Eva’s picture, along with those of hundreds of other girls was an arresting image, getting across more in one scene than anything that David Tate did.

In order to find Eva, Linder enlists Sonya, who, in turn, uses Eva’s disappearance as a way to get back into the good graces of a terminally depressed Marco. His transformation from grieving father to back-on-the-beat was a bit abrupt but I loved his drunken reunion with Sonya, a perfect mixture of intense pain and an absolute lack of fucks given. Bringing Sonya and Marco back together was going to prove to be a tricky situation. Despite their proximity, they still work in different countries. Eva’s disappearance connected to a man driving a car with Texas plates is a strong way to reunite Sonya and the ailing Marco, even if the case feels tenuous. Sonya has found one of few people she is able to connect with so she’s going to work at the relationship as hard as she can. Both have experienced major tragedy in their lives—furthering the duality that has defined the series—and that bond can strengthen the most tenuous of partnerships. The wounds that are still fresh for Marco are now scars for Sonya. She still clings to her sister’s truck, even as it’s clearly no longer drivable. The corruption of the Juarez cops, especially considering Marco’s final scene with his secretary who tells him she’s sick of turning a blind eye, will surely define the future for Sonya and Marco.

The duo I love most, though, remains Daniel Frye, who has made an incredible comeback after falling from the bridge, and Adriana. Like Sonya and Marco, their issues as outsiders align. Adriana may have a family, unlike Daniel, but as a lesbian, she will never be one of them. What’s interesting about Daniel and Adriana is that, before “Take the Ride,” they hadn’t really done all that much. They were more integrated into the very fabric of the show by nature of Daniel’s involvement with Santi Jr., but, for the most part, neither have done much of consequence since Daniel almost got blown to bits and before Tate kidnapped him. But I’m still so much more invested in the pair than any other periphery character. When they weren’t around, I missed them, unlike Linder who I could go episodes without seeing and not be entirely bothered by. Maybe it’s the push-pull chemistry of Matthew Lillard and Emily Rios. Or maybe Daniel and Adriana’s parallel jobs as investigators that have made them seem like they are actively involved. Either way, I welcome the dip back into Adriana’s homelife and their continued evolution of their mismatched friendship.

Charlotte Millwright, on the other hand, continues to feel as if she is working in her own orbit. She’s decided to team up with Fausto Galvan, who remains a favorite in any episode he appears in. His quirkiness—why, for instance, was he watching a circus rehearsal?—is justified by his position. While Linder feels otherworldly, Fausto feels colorful. (Oddly enough, Fausto reminds me of a moment from Bull Durham, when Crash Davis tells Nuke that when he's famous, he can be eccentric, but until then, he's just a slob. Fausto is allowed to be a weirdo, it works for him. Linder is just a distraction.) Charlotte is fulfilling Graciela’s prophecy: They are more alike than Charlotte cares to admit, especially now that she’s going whole hog into the drug-smuggling biz. Fausto gets use of her tunnel, she gets a portion of the cash. Ray is nowhere to be seen in her lone scene. I figure we’ll learn about his whereabouts in the upcoming finale. But, like Linder, Charlotte had been lost in recent weeks. At least Linder becomes a part of Sonya and Marco’s new quest. With the finale coming up, The Bridge needs to make us care enough about these satellite plots so we don’t forget up them come next season.

Stray observations:

  • Speaking of next season, FX renewed The Bridge for a second season. Yeah!
  • Grantland ran a really interesting piece about The Bridge and its inaccuracies about Ciudad Juarez.
  • “Is there any chance she went back to her boyfriend?” “No, not really.”
  • “It doesn’t have a tapedeck.”
  • “I still can smell him.”