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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Bridge: “Quetzalcoatl”

Illustration for article titled The Bridge: “Quetzalcoatl”
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The end is nigh for The Bridge’s second season (and possibly for The Bridge in general, but we won’t dwell on such scenarios in this space). “Quetzalcoatl,” the penultimate episode of the season, was certainly a set up for the finale, giving each investigator the pieces to move just close enough. But what this episode, and what the last couple of episodes, have proved, is that people like Sonya, Hank, Marco, Daniel and Adriana may fight the good fight but they are facing an unkillable Hydra composed of legal and illegal components of the respective societies. Their work will have little consequence in the grand scheme of things. The DEA and the CIA will still continue their epic pissing matches and another cartel leader will pop up in Fausto Galvan’s place. But that doesn’t really matter, as long as Sonya and Hank have trucks to tail and Daniel and Adriana have leads to chase, each exploring how the United States and Mexico facilitate the drug trade the both contend they are fighting. The finale will bring these investigations to a head but the natural ends to the second season stories will not bring about the outcomes that these characters fully want, because they going up against so much.

For as much as I thought “Quetzalcoatl” was a solid episode, there was still one thing that bothered me, and has bothered me since the beginning of the series: Steven Linder. I’ll admit, I never really got the Linder appeal, through no fault of Thomas M. Wright, who gave a loner with a ZZ Top beard and voice buried deep inside his throat, a soul. Linder was interesting at first because I could never fully get a grasp on him, but then he became tedious. He never did anything for me other than serve as a first season red herring that was never going to pan out. His storyline was clearly meant to set him up to work with the missing girls of Juarez, but when that storyline was aborted with the departure of Meredith Stiehm, Linder, and by extension Eva, continually felt superfluous to the whole. While the second season was a boon for some characters—namely Fausto, the Daniel-Adriana team, and the newly introduced Cerisola—it left Linder out in the cold. Even if he does not die from Robles’ gunshot wound, there’s not enough time in the season to redeem him in my mind.

I admit I’m assuming that Linder’s bullet to the belly was his final scene (and I fully admit Linder could make a Hank-style recovery), Linder has come to encapsulate what I didn’t like about this season of The Bridge. For all of it’s good moments, sometimes the season felt like it existed without purpose or meaning, which felt especially jarring in terms the first season where it’s purpose was always well known. Perhaps Linder’s tangential relationship to everything else that was going on within in the framework of the story would to have bothered me so much if there weren’t so many of these elements that felt like loose ends that similarly felt listless and purposeless, like Jack Dobbs. But in his supposed end, Linder also encapsulated what I said about this episode to begin with. Linder may try to kill a guy like Captain Robles—mirroring Monty’s penchant for concealed weapons—for the first time, but despite the best efforts, the corruption will still walk away battered (in Robles’ case, he has jail time to face), but it will walk away nonetheless.

As Sonya and Hank worked their own sides of the investigation, learning that Fausto Galvan has never been, and will never be the ultimate villain, I enjoyed watching Glavan at the end of his rope. He was a man with great power who had that power taken away from him, once again indicative of the fact that he had been set up as the real villain the entire time when he was simply a part of what was wrong, not the root cause. Ramón Franco has done such and excellent job of bringing this man to life. His contention that Romina, and rich kids in general, have no need for drugs because they have the perfect lives already says all their needs to be said about a man willing to murder viciously in order to gain the power and money he lacked before.

Stray observations:

  • Hands down, my favorite character on The Bridge will always be Monty P. Flagman, who just wants to get the blood off of his boots.
  • Hank is potentially an immortal superhero who can survive gunshot wounds and torture, only to be out investigating on the quick. I’m totally fine with this.