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The Bridge Recap: The Work Is Never Done

THE BRIDGE - "All About Eva" - Episode 12 (Airs, Wednesday, September 25, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (L-R) Demian Bechir as Marco Ruiz, Ted Levine as Lt. Hank Wade. CR: Byron Cohen/FX Network

While much of The Bridge’s first season focused on the actions of a serial killer we now know the identity of, this series has always cast a narrative net that extends beyond one twisted man’s murderous actions. In this week’s episode — the penultimate of the season and the successor to last week’s hour, which pretty much wrapped up all that Bridge Butcher business — we began to see just how far that net might reach.

The episode was called “All About Eva” because it centered on Eva Guerra — Steven Linder’s “intended,” who wandered right back into danger down in Juárez — and how her disappearance snapped Marco Ruiz out of his drunken mourning haze and back to the business of police work. But really, it was all about the many Evas, the seemingly infinite number of women who go missing in Mexico every day, leaving behind loved ones or determined saviors like Steven to do nothing but frantically search.

The imagery in this episode, directed by S.J. Clarkson, captured the heartbreaking scope of those losses as well as the territory The Bridge will presumably cover in the rest of season one and the now officially confirmed season two. When Steven pinned up those posters of a missing Eva, and the camera panned wider to show just how many pieces of paper featuring faces of gone girls were already slapped on that brick wall, it told us everything we need to know about the vastness of the human-trafficking epidemic and the futility of ever bringing all those women home. Another wide pan — of Steven in an open field alongside mothers and sisters of the disappeared, poking the ground with sticks to see if any freshly buried bodies might be found — was even more wrenching. One couldn’t help but notice that Steven appeared to be the only man bothering to look.

It was ironic that when Sonya showed up at the Juárez police station to run a search for Eva, Capitan Robles looked at her and said, “What are you doing here? I thought our work was done.” No, capitán. It’s never done.

And part of the reason it’s never done is because Robles’s own men — the very people who are supposed to protect women like Eva — have taken her (and presumably others like her) into custody and turned her into their own personal prostitute. Given the Texas license plate on the car that picked up Eva, some American law-enforcers are probably in on this action as well.

Celia, tired of being an accessory to the cover-up of such reprehensible behavior, came to Marco and reported that she saw Eva at the Chihuahua police station. Marco said he would “handle it.” The question is how? Will a still grieving but slowly strengthening Marco direct his latent anger at his boss, one of the many who perpetuates a culture of female abuse? It was Robles who noted that in Mexico the law makes criminals pay “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” Maybe Marco will be the one seeking that payment.

About Marco: I was wrong in last week’s recap when I said that Gus’s death would break him and immediately turn him into the monster David Tate was hoping he would become. Well, at least I was half wrong, so far. During the first part of this episode, which took place a month after Gus’s murder, Marco was definitely broken: not working, still separated from his wife and daughters, soaking himself in alcohol every day and passing out every night in the bed in which his son once slept. The sight of Marco in Gus’s room was as sad in its smallness as that aforementioned shot of all those missing-girl posters was in its expansiveness.

But an extraordinarily persistent Sonya — the best friend a detective could ask for! — didn’t give up until she pulled him out of that inebriated funk. And once he was out, he found the will to make his bed every day, to show up in court to testify against Tate (who, miraculously, pulled up right in front of the courthouse, just in time to flash his best smug-bastard expression in Marco’s direction), and to potentially save Eva Guerra from his own colleagues. He still seems more inclined toward goodness than evil. But I also still think there’s some bottled-up rage in him that, if uncorked, could lead him to do something violent.

Meanwhile, Steven finally established to the El Paso police — or at least Sonya — that he is not violent at all. (Well, unless he’s being attacked by Eva’s sleazeball boyfiend.) He brought Sonya to his trailer and, as part of his effort to convince her to put out an APB on his possible bride-to-be, explained his rescue missions. It was interesting to watch Sonya’s hesitation to enter that trailer, a reluctance that mirrored Eva’s a few scenes prior when she was offered a ride by a cop she wrongly concluded she could trust. Because we can’t get through a Bridge recap without at least one reference to dichotomies or dualities, I am required to now note that Sonya and Steven — in their emotional reserve and urgent need to do good — are really two sides of the same coin. Question: Is it possible that Steven also has Asperger’s or some other syndrome similar to Sonya’s? Because that would make a lot of sense.

A few more thoughts flitting through my mind as we approach next week’s season finale:

* Will we learn more about the circumstances surrounding the death of Sonya’s sister? Sonya was very upset this week to have to give away the totalled Ford Bronco that belonged to Lisa, but super relieved that a pencil eraser was able to save her mix tape. Before the season ends, it seems like we deserve to get a bit more information about Jim Dobbs and what, exactly, happened on the night Lisa died. It’s key to understanding Sonya’s psychology as well as her relationship with Hank, who, as played by Ted Levine, is a grizzled gentleman that I still want to get to know better.

* Is anyone else really worried about Adriana? When she fought with her mother and stormed out of the house, I thought for sure she would get kidnapped by one of the men who took Eva, and then I freaked out because how many horrible things can happen on TV to Emily Rios IN THE SAME WEEK? Fortunately, she’s okay but living in El Paso and on the outs with her homophobic mother. I still think something bad is going to happen to that family, though. I will not be surprised if Adriana’s younger sister winds up on a missing poster very soon.

* Can Daniel Frye continue living and stay sober? Because I really want Matthew Lillard back on The Bridge for season two. Just putting that out there.

* Hey, what the hell happened to Lyle Lovett? Clearly it’s not crucial to answer this question before the season’s over, but I honestly want to know. Is he busy making mad batches of three-bean bribery salad? Was he killed by Fausto Galvan? Is he, perhaps, setting up an underground law practice with an attorney formerly known as Saul Goodman, who’s currently running an Omaha-based Cinnabon as a front operation? And what is his bolero tie up to these days?

* Lastly, a moment of silence for Ray, who appears to have been killed in the grossest possible way by Fausto Galvan. (But what happened to his seashell necklace? Tell me that, Galvan!) That means the unholy alliance that once involved Ray, Graciela, Galvan, and Charlotte has now been stripped down to just Charlotte and Fausto. This is not good for Charlotte, even if she did return that package with the scorpion that stupid Ray stole despite the fact that you should never steal things from drug kingpins, especially when they have pictures of scorpions on them. In summary: Charlotte, you in danger, girl, the kind of danger from which neither Marco “I will handle it” Ruiz nor your shotgun-firing skills may be able to save you.

Photo: BYRON J COHEN/FX