Everything is interconnected, the Bridge Butcher keeps reminding us. In this week’s episode of The Bridge, the evidence in the escalating cross-border murder case illustrated just how true that is.
First our detectives confirmed that the killer’s latest target, Peter Meadows, was indeed a therapist for many law enforcement officials. Then Marco Ruiz further confirmed that one of those law enforcement officials was Lieutenant Hank Wade.
As Hank confessed to Marco, he went to see the shrink because — BIG REVEAL — he was the detective who investigated the rape and murder of Sonya’s sister and fired the bullet into Jim Dobbs’s brain that rendered him mentally incapacitated, only capable of coloring childlike drawings that later wind up on refrigerators. “I was troubled with what I did to the little sister,” Hank explained, “I took away any hope she had of getting answers.” Just as Sonya attempted to connect with Gina Meadows — the rattled daughter who saw “the Beast” tie her father’s fatal Colombian necktie — Hank once tried to connect with a 15-year-old Sonya and felt that he failed, which is why he’s still acting as a father figure to her so many years later.
This is a perfect example of why, six weeks into season one, The Bridge is proving to be an even finer show than its promising pilot indicated. It’s weaving together all its plotlines, within the murder case and outside of it, in ways that illuminate the drama and are becoming increasingly poignant, which is pleasantly surprising for a show that could have been, like so many detective series, cold and clinical. As Hank said of the serial killer’s confounding M.O., “It’s all over the place. It’s personal; it’s political.” In other words, it crosses borders, just like all the story lines on The Bridge.
Hank’s protectiveness of Sonya made sense before, but the knowledge of his involvement in her sister’s case has transformed it into something deeper: a professional and personal relationship laced with profound regret. When Sonya watched Gina die, having been shot by the killer after an ill-advised attempt to run from the cops, Diane Kruger’s performance made it clear that every time something like this happens, Sonya sees her lifeless sister again. And every time he sees Sonya ache, Hank, as played by Ted Levine with commendable restraint, can do nothing but stand behind her and helplessly extend a hand. Heartbreaking, heartbreaking, heartbreaking.
The nature of the history between Marco and Fausto Galvan was also uncovered this week. We knew the two were well-acquainted, but we learned that they’ve known each other since childhood because their fathers, as Fausto put it, “started this business.” Meaning, Marco’s dad and Fausto’s dad were once leading the Drugship Enterprise and, it seems, wanted to leave their pop-and-pop shop to their sons, but only Fausto was willing to take it.
Again, having this backstory deepens our understanding of previous plot points. We get now why Marco was willing to erase evidence of Fausto’s brother’s death from police records, why he’s so concerned that his son steer clear of drugs, and why he’s a man who doesn’t always play by the book. Playing by something other than the book is just in his blood. It’s also interesting that in this episode, Sonya noted that her mother had a fierce cocaine habit. Odds seem pretty good that the powder snorted by Sonya’s mom probably flowed into Texas directly or indirectly because of Marco’s dad. Oh, and it’s also interesting that Marco’s son, Gus, exchanged texts with someone named Zina who said she could make him forget his lust for “that gringa cop.” I’d bet at least some of the money in that bag of cash Marco returned that Zina is a prostitute.
One more thing about Sonya before we cover some crucial Bridge Butcher business: Some viewers, including myself, initially found the cool blonde detective a bit extreme and frustrating because, well, she has Asperger’s, a condition that often makes people extreme and frustrating. But even though she’s still all just-the-facts and no-filter, Sonya has blossomed into a character worth caring about and, contrary to her steeliness, capable of caring. In the pilot, it seemed odd that she could pivot so easily into a source of authoritative, sympathetic reason when Daniel Frye thought his car might go boom. But this week, Sonya exhibited the same behavior when Gina got shot. As a woman still processing the defining crisis of her life, moments of crisis clearly unlock something in her, as does staring into the eyes of the man who snuffed out her sister, who she visited in prison at episode’s end. Those tears that trickled down those Kruger cheeks … oh man, let’s move on to other plot matters before I get choked up.
• So Charlotte Wainwright developed a vision for her tunnel that involves her having tunnel vision. Specifically, she’s appointed Ray — the drug-dealing douche from Tampa — as head of all tunnel-related operations, allowing her to stay in the dark while Ray deals with Graciela Rivera and Lyle Lovett, bolo-tie-wearing lawyer. It seemed like a brilliant plan since Ray — who, apparently, is pretty good at the sex — didn’t appear at all spooked by the sight of Fausto Galvan hauling a corpse into Charlotte’s hole to Mexico. It seemed like a less brilliant plan, however, when Ray called his friend Tim the ATF informant and unwittingly tipped off the authorities. Remember last week when I said Ray would be dead by episode seven? Well, next week is episode seven. Just saying. (P.S. When the names Charlotte and Ray are said together, does anyone else immediately think of The Facts of Life? No? Just me? All righty.)
• Daniel Frye went cold turkey and hunkered down with Adriana to crack the serial killer case. Frye had an FBI file that was given to him by an unnamed source and confirmed that Agent Gedman — decapitated guy — was sleeping with Cristina Fuentes, hooker and bottom half of the killer’s first victim. We know that Frye’s “source” is often the killer. And if Frye has access to internal FBI files, his source — which, in this case, might be the killer or might not — is someone in law enforcement. Frye also suggested that maybe the killer wants them to know about the Ruiz-Galvan link. Who would know about that other than one of Galvan’s people, someone close to Marco or … another cop?
• In keeping with the cop-killer line of thinking, Sonya also concluded that the killer could be someone who wears a badge. After Gina died, she also pointed out that the only people who would have known Gina was at a burger joint with Hank and Sonya were Gina’s Oxycontined-out mother, the FBI and “our people.”
• Gina confirmed just before she expired that she was exactly right about the one detail she remembered about the beast: the way his eyes looked. Is it possible, as hinted in last week’s recap, that they resemble the peepers on this guy?
Look, I don’t want to jump to conclusions. Both Detective Tim Cooper and his mullet deserve to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. And perhaps all these “he’s operating from inside the force” hints will turn out to be as much of a red herring as Steven Linder circa episode one.
Either way, Sonya will likely be looking pretty hard at the sketch artist’s rendering of that killer stare and the killer eyebrows that frame it. If they’re a match with Tim’s, or anyone else who claims to uphold the law, she’s more equipped than anyone to see it.