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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Bridge: “Harvest of Souls”

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The Bridge never feels like it’s on solid ground. Last season, it teetered on the edge with its insistence on focusing on a played-out serial killer plotline. This season has so very much going on, and the writers keep piling more and more. It’s sprawling, which can be good, allowing new interesting characters to flourish while placing greater importance on old ones (namely Daniel and Adriana, who have very much become the rock of this season). But it can also feel overwhelming at times, stuffed to the gills with plotlines that multiply, leaving original plotlines stalled or ignored. Since we found out that Fausto Galvan is in possession of someone (something?) closely associated with Eleanor Nacht (Is it bad that I keep picturing this being as Sloth from The Goonies?), we’ve heard nary a word about it. And nary a word about Eleanor (other than her predilection for romance novels) since. While she has been relegated to the background for the last couple of episodes—used only to illustrate the apparently uneasy alliance between Cerisola and Fausto—more has been made of Jack Dobbs, who went from eye candy to major player with one well-placed hole.

So when does it all become too much? The Bridge isn’t at a place yet where plots are entirely muddled or characters feel wholly lost (although Charlotte and Ray are close to that point), but that ground is certainly not solid enough to continue to hold.

Marco and Sonya are simply better when they are together and considering Sonya has effectively murdered a Mexican cop (she’s not sanctioned to use a firearm in Mexico), it seems as if their pairing will be stronger in future episodes. Their attempt to find Eva’s statement was one of the more thrilling scenes of the season, and it punctuated how much more I like them working together than on their own, as they were last week. Or, more importantly more than when Sonya concerns herself with Jack Dobbs, who in one short scene, opened up where Sonya will likely be headed for the rest of the season. He follows the trail left in his brother’s pictures only to reveal a corpse. Cut to Sonya, who regrets taking Jim’s ashes with her. I understand that executive producer Elwood Reid’s goal this year was to make The Bridge darker and more character-based, but as someone watching the big picture, it’s the Jack Dobbs plotline that concerns me, if only because its purpose at this point is to be dark for darkness’ sake, rather than move the plot forward. On the other hand, Marco’s personal demons feel more part of the whole because of the connection to Fausto Galvan. Giving a character more depth is never a bad thing, but in this case there’s simply so much going on that this rather strange backstory developing for Jim Dobbs gets buried by all of the other issues at play, especially considering that Jack himself is not a particularly fascinating character.

Unlike Jack, I continue to be fascinated by the power play going on between Fausto and Cerisola. One of the best aspects of the first season of The Bridge was the world it created. Fausto and Cerisola are perfect examples of this world. They are the show’s two biggest power players at this point, operating on two wholly different levels with two very different tactics of business. Fausto succeeds in a world where the murder of a prosecutor (RIP Abelardo) by an underling is not an issue. For Cerisola, the facade of legality is incredibly important. The power play is almost The Wire-lite, between those who wear the suits and those who don’t. It’s particularly at play when Cerisola says, “In public, power is best wielded with a gloved hand, not a clenched fist.” Fausto’s response is perfect: “Anybody who says that has never been to my neighborhood.”

While Adriana and Daniel have been the stable presences of season two, I am not a fan of Daniel leaving the El Paso Times. The paper gave him a reason to exist within the confines of the story. While it was glorious to see Daniel kiss off his editor in spectacular fashion, I don’t really buy why he left, even for a man with convictions. Granted, I did not get the opportunity to read his story, and I may be too close to the profession, but any serious reporter has run up against the confines of the legal department at their paper and an anonymous hitman-sourced story containing accusations of murder and a take-down of a major corporation does not pass the smell test. There are reasons stories get killed when they’re less legitimate than this one, but I side with Daniel’s editor. I don’t worry for Daniel as much as I do Adriana, the new target of the snake-in-a-suit Cerisola. I’d like to see how Adriana handles taking the lead, even if that puts in her more danger than she was when she played second fiddle.

Stray observations:

  • In this week’s entry in The Bridge’s batshit body art contest: The priest’s cranial tat.
  • I love Fausto-isms: “My wife breaks my balls, my girlfriend breaks my wallet.”
  • Theme for Eva this week: Hell hath no fury.