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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Bridge: “Sorrowsworn”

Illustration for article titled The Bridge: “Sorrowsworn”
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“Sorrowsworn” is the first episode where The Bridge executive producer Elwood Reid’s authorial hand is on most prominently on display. In interviews (such as this one from the Hollywood Reporter), Reid has expressed an interest in abandoning the procedural element of The Bridge in favor of longer, character driven arcs. While the first season of The Bridge had its overarching plotline, elements of the case were often contained to one episode before new clues surfaced and Sonya and Marco were onto the next step of their case. It’s a bold move on Reid’s part, one that has the potential to give the show a uniqueness and heft missing from the first season’s structure. But by putting more emphasis on character, rather than plot, it can slow the proceedings. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in the long run. For example, the death of poor Kyle continued for Sonya and Marco, even though we as an audience (and even they as investigators) knew that Kyle will not be around for future episodes. What Reid is doing is putting more emphasis the season of The Bridge overall, rather about the individual entry. It certainly makes individual episodes harder to judge, but will hopefully lead to a richer whole than the first season. But we’re in this together, right guys? So let’s get to it.

This episode did two things to move the series along: It revealed more about Eleanor Nacht and reintroduces us to old faces from the previous season. Eleanor is a money man for the cartel, one of the lone women who the cartel members respect. That was a fact repeated by so many characters who apparently didn’t know about last season’s dearly departed, badass Graciela, who demanded loyalty via oral sex. Eleanor’s a shunned Mennonite, which explains the clothes but not necessarily how she got in league with Fausto Galvan, nor why our not-so-friendly neighborhood cartel leader is so interested in finding her before everyone else does. Although, her past may explain why she fixates on transformation in this episode, whether it’s stealing the Metamorphosis card (forgive me, I don’t know what the card is from but feel free to enlighten in the comments) or her hiding place for Kyle’s body in the old butterfly sanctuary, a temple to transformation. Potente has been solid balancing her character’s inherent strangeness, but Eleanor’s essential menace was put prominently on display as she spoke with the sales lady in her opening scene. It was an entirely normal conversation, transformed by Potente’s performance.

Ray and Charlotte are, once again, in dire straights, getting into the Fausto Galvan business only to be thwarted by punk kids on bikes. While Steven Linder, now even more heavily bearded reunites with love Eva. The Charlotte and Ray plot is concerning if only because Charlotte used to be in control of her own story. Her arc last year saw her go from spurned trophy wife to a woman with agency, mirroring the fierce Graciela of the first season. It wasn’t necessarily the most positive life change she could make, but at least she was allowed to take control. In “Sorrowsworn,” Ray seems to have taken over, stripping any potential interest from the Millwright character. While Ray has, and remains, an important piece of comic relief in the increasingly dark world of The Bridge, this was Charlotte’s story before it was his. Either way, the con couple are on the run, hopefully with Caesar in toe.

Linder also returns to remind us that Eva is still in play. The enigmatic and creepy Linder remains as such, bashing in the skull of the cop who harassed Eva after learning about the true torture visited upon her (“David took that son of a bitch Goliath down with a small stone,” the roadside proprietor tells Linder, foreshadowing his own break). In an era where rape has become a status quo character point, I applaud The Bridge for how it has dealt with Eva’s sexual assault. She has become more of a character after her assault than she ever was before it. While she the consequences of the violence perpetrated against her are only abstractly seen (her injuries, she has to hide from the cops, it incites Linder into his own spree), more and more of those consequences are revealed.

Possibly the most important step “Sorrowsworn” took is making Fausto Galvan more of a tangible thread that connects all each of the stories together. Right now, he is The Bridge’s lynchpin: Eleanor is (or was) his charge, the Mexican cops (including those who assaulted Eva) are at his behest, the money trail Daniel and Adriana are following leads back to him, and  Charlotte and Ray are now in his not-so-good graces. Galvan takes care of the far-flung stories issues that plagued the first season. It’s important thread, even though sometimes it might need to be pulled tighter.

Stray observations:

  • RIP Raul Quintana. Viva Monte P. Flagman!
  • Knowing the origins of the metamorphsis card may have helped me decipher the title of the episode as well, which seems to be a Dungeons & Dragons reference to demons who feed off the misery of the consequences of war and destruction.
  • “I say we act like white people, disappear and let our lawyer do the talking.” Oh Ray, it make so much sense you decided to hide drugs up a horse’s ass. Poor Vickers.