You guys! The band is back together!
In “Yankee,” the first episode of the second season, my main criticism was that there was a lot going on that could either fall into chaos or come together in a way that the first season never really did. The main thrust of that criticism came from the first season where all of these different worlds existed but never felt truly connected to the central storyline. Charlotte Millwright and Steven Linder (who we still haven’t caught up with) led interesting lives, but they contributed little in the way of the of the thrust of the main story. It didn’t bother me as much as it did other critics, considering I liked the world these people lived in and I figured it was a kink that could be smoothed out if The Bridge was granted a second season. So here we were last week and everything once again felt so disparate. Okay, first episode throat clearing, totally acceptable. But things were going to need to start coming together, and they were going to need to quickly.
So when Fausto Galvan—a favorite of mine from last season—made his desire for Marco to rejoin Sonya and act as his main on the inside known, I saw that the potential of the second season was tipping from chaos to controlled order. The entire episode was about bringing these worlds together earlier in a cohesive way. But seeing Sonya and Marco return to their roots, looking over crime photos was a particularly heartening visage. They needed to brought together in a way that didn’t scream “This is a plot device.” Fausto’s insistence that Marco take part in the case felt like a natural extension of his power and Marco’s current weakness. How Marco balances his apparent forced loyalty to Fausto and his budding relationship with prosecutor Abelardo Pintado (Manuel Uriza) will be an interesting dichotomy in future episodes.
The Bridge has always been a show of couple and diametric opposition. Marco and Sonya’s new union means she’s once again coupled off, completing a trifecta of investigatory pairs including DEA agents Rebus and McKenzie, Daniel Frye and Adriana, and now Marco and Sonya. The Sonya and Marco pairing—along with Sonya’s ICE actions earlier in the episode regarding putting an APB on Eleanor Nacht—have made it clear that they won’t be working together to find the mysterious “Amish-esque” woman with a penchant for taxidermy, but against the DEA couple. Daniel Frye and Adriana’s investigation into the drag clubs of Juarez was one of those great, weirdo slices of life that I’ve come to appreciate from The Bridge. It led them to episode’s second decaying body, but it got there in an interesting way.
The reunion of Marco and Sonya highlight the growing rift between Sonya and her father-figure Hank. Like the first season, he will continues to operate alone outside of the investigation but his position of all-righteous goodness may change. Hank has been known to overstep his authoritarian bounds to protect Sonya, as evidenced by the shooting of Jim Dobbs, but this incident was particularly rich. Sonya is not afraid to tell Hank that she would be treated differently if she were a man, but that does not stop Hank from confronting Dobbs’ brother Jack (Nathan Phillips) about his dalliance with Sonya. The growing rift between Hank and Sonya was an unexpected avenue for the second season of The Bridge to take and I’m interested to see how it plays out in future episodes, and how it affects the investigation as a whole.
The one piece of the pie that felt out of sync with the rest of the episode (and purposefully so) was Eleanor Nacht’s storyline. The title of the episode, “The Ghost Of A Flea,” shares its name with a William Blake painting, featuring the titular insect portrayed as a muscular man-bug with scaly skin and flickering tongue. The bloodthirstiest among us don’t always come in expected packages, to the detriment of the boy who decides to lend her a helping hand. First, the good news: I appreciate that Eleanor Nacht’s identity is not clouded in total mystery. The cops know who she is immediately, even if they don’t know anything about her. As semi-omniscient audience members, we know that Fausto and Eleanor are connected. Unfortunately for the teenage boy aiding Nacht, his death was a foregone conclusion. Much like many of the lesser plots of the first season, Nacht’s storyline in “The Ghost Of A Flea” hinged on a believing that a teenage boy would help a mysterious, blood-soaked stranger based on his budding sexual desire. Look, I have never been, nor will I ever be, a teenage boy but is pubescent sexuality that much of a force to compel this kid to go on the lam with a woman he only knows was once covered in human blood and has tattoos to mark the metaphorical demons she’s encountered? I don’t buy it, but it did allow Nacht to stay at the forefront of the episode without actually contributing much in the way of unraveling her own mystery, a necessary evil in the midst of an otherwise good episode of television. Season two of The Bridge is still clearing its throat to get to the meat of the season, but it’s getting there in a cleaner way than “Yankee” initially pointed to.
- Eleanor Nacht is going to be a fan favorite, for sure, but I’m so digging Abrabham Benrubi (Jerry from ER!) as Agent Joe McKenzie. Exhibit A, his love of canines: “The dog is a goddamned hero.” Exhibit B: His hobby of painting fantasy figurines:“”Are you an ogre man or a troll man, Rebus?” Rebus’ response: “I like Call of Duty and pussy.”