“ID” was another top-notch episode of The Bridge, albeit one which was mostly playing catch-up with itself. We learned more about the personal histories of Marco, Sonya, and Hank, but only in the usual snippets we’ve come to expect from this series which, while not a complaint, doesn’t provide much more than bits of interesting history. The overarching plot barely moved at all aside from Charlotte diverting her nagging moral anxiety over the tunnel in her backyard by enlisting the assistance of her clearly intelligent and stand-up new boyfriend who I’m sure will live a long and fruitful life in no way impeded by the ATF or Mexican drug smugglers, Sonya’s supposition that The Bridge Butcher may be an active law enforcement officer, and the probably doomed one way or another Gina Meadows dying a pretty terrible death which may or may not have been the work of The Bridge Butcher. Most of the episode spent its time watching characters merely catch up to themselves and each other, but it still contributed to the expertly rendered portraits of its characters the series has been constructing.
Aside from the shocking sights of The Calaca’s knife-ridden corpse hanging from a telephone pole in Juarez, and poor Gina’s tragic, bloody departure, the episode’s most captivating image was its closing scene where Sonya takes the hand of her sister’s now brain-damaged killer while he absently colored pictures of a blonde woman with her face literally blacked out except for her eyes. We already knew Sonya occasionally visits the man, but her futile attempts at discerning some kind of reason for her loss took on new weight when we learned that Hank not only originally took the case of Sonya’s sister’s murder, but that he caught Dobbs and was the one to put a bullet in his brain. I loved that Hank wasn’t disturbed by shooting Dobbs, but by taking away Sonya’s hope for answers. It casts a new light on Hank’s and Sonya’s relationship which elevates it from the typical dynamic usually seen between a protective father figure stereotype and a female subordinate, even more so than has Sonya’s Asperger’s.
Marco continued to struggle keeping his family together, but the highlight of his time in “ID” came from his meeting with Fausto Galvan to return the million dollars cash Galvan provided for Maria’s ransom. Here we continue to see Marco do what he can to remain an honest cop despite the conclusions Frye and Adrianna are making about his career. Again, this characterization is another one which has now taken on greater significance with a last minute revelation, that Marco’s and Fausto’s fathers apparently built Galvan’s drug business together. Nevertheless, I wonder if “ID” would have been improved by spending more time with this development instead of watching the Ruiz family continue to gradually fall apart.
Although watching Gina struggle to make sense of the trauma she endured mirrored Sonya’s own past, I’m not sure how effective this was in achieving what was desired by her death and the aforementioned scene between Sonya and Dobbs. It wasn’t poor, but it took up the majority of the episode for a payoff which wasn’t exactly poignant so much as it was tragic. Meanwhile, most of the rest of “ID” followed Frye and Adriana put pieces together which the audience has already been aware of for some time so it didn’t exactly make for very compelling proceedings. Similarly, I suppose Frye’s new found desire for sobriety has been brought on by his learning just how deep the conspiracy of Cristina Fuentes’ death is buried in the FBI, but I didn’t think this was illustrated very clearly which made me question the efficacy of seeing Frye dump out all his booze and drugs. What I missed most from “ID” was Steven Linder. I’m afraid he’s probably dead in a ditch somewhere for killing Calaca, but I can’t believe after all the time spent with this character we wouldn’t even discover his ultimate fate.
I love everything I’ve seen of The Bridge thus far, including “ID” (especially the eye/vision motif achieved from the eyes drawn by the sketch artist working with Gina, Sonya’s exclamation that The Butcher is watching them, and the drawings from Dobbs), but it seems clear this episode will prove to have been a relative lull in an overall outstanding season of television.