“Matthew Lillard is Kinda in This”- The Bridge Season 1 Episode 2 Review- ‘Calaca’
This review might be late, but it exists, so who’s counting?
Another week, another update as to the presence of Matthew Lillard on this show. Week Two picks up where Week One left off, the intriguing if lukewarm opening that it was. The bodies are piling up, Charlotte finally opened the door, and that bizarre “Steven” character with mutton chops is still killing ladies and not annunciating.
Sonya and Marco are still palling around, enjoying a lovely partnership that please God hopefully doesn’t lead to a future relationship. I’m positive that would be the absolute worst idea. It doesn’t seem like the show is headed in that direction (even if we did see a bit of jealousy from Marco’s wife tonight), but I’m still terrified. Any show where the two main characters are of different genders always goes to this well eventually unless it is explicitly stated that those two people are related by blood, so unless there’s some really unexpected twist coming where it turns out Sonya is half Mexican, we will be in constant danger of this development so long as the show remains on the air.
I think I was underestimating how much of a slow burn this show would be. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The show’s pace seems deliberate, if not exactly going anywhere in a hurry. But, then again, we are only on Episode 2. I think Lost spoiled me into thinking that every second episode would have at least one polar bear in it.
I also think that the stylized dialogue the show occasionally attempts at isn’t quite gelling. The Bridge seems much better-served when it’s straight-forward. This isn’t a very “TV” TV show, sticking mostly to emotional and verbal realism from its people, so when we get weaving threats or witticisms it just doesn’t seem to match up very well.
Those two things being said, The Bridge seems to be shaping up very nicely into something I’ll enjoy watching and writing about every week, so let’s see if we can’t take this sucker bit by bit shall we?
Sonya, Acting Even More Like Carrie from Homeland
I find it incredibly funny that Sonya is doing criminal investigating while surrounded by books about criminal investigation. This may just be my traditional conditioning from other TV and movie cops, but I figured that being a cop important enough to handle this case meant that you already had a certain mastery on criminal investigation, at least to the point of no longer needing to consult the assigned reading.
Not helping some already frequently drawn comparisons between Sonya and a certain other gorgeous, petite, blonde criminal investigator with a social disorder who copes with loneliness by hooking up with random men at bars that needs an older male supervisor to help her do even the simplest of tasks, tonight Sonya went to a bar and seduced a random man. And in a refreshingly frank way. Amirite, fellas?! Right now I’m not exactly seeing what it adds to her character, but we’re still young here. Maybe her promiscuity comes in handy later, or gets her into trouble with that mumbly fella who shoves ladies into trunks.
A facet of her character I did enjoy having revealed was that going to Juarez makes her visibly uncomfortable. She’s a social maladjust, letting the most grievously inhumane human interactions wash off her back, and yet even she is shaken by taking the trip down south of the border. It’s a nice touch added to a character who has the potential to ruin tension by not being afraid of things, and also showcases what we keep being told: That Mexico is a terrible place to be.
I also enjoyed how much the show has backed away from the “look how weird Sonya is” stuff that was a bit burdensome last week. There are no new revelations about weird things she has hidden in her desk, and I don’t recall her deceased sister being mentioned at all, which I definitely prefer over her post-mortem oversaturation last week.
Marco, The Long ‘Stache of the Law
Marco has mostly been defined so far through his relationship with Sonya. He has family problems, sure, but half of those problems are related to how much time he’s spent with Sonya in the day or two since the first episode. I said last week that Marco was the most easily-accessible and likeable part of the show and I stand by that, and I hope we get some more depth on this guy soon.
Marco is an interesting perspective to take, the cop worn down by constant danger and drama, and I want to see more from him. Don’t worry. I’m sure we’ll get plenty when one of his family is inevitably kidnapped or in danger later in the season. I don’t see a possible way to avoid that.
Charlotte’s Secret Tunnel
After what was maybe the worst cliffhanger ever, Charlotte has finally found out that there’s a tunnel in her barn! Hey, at least it’s not a mistress. When she starts doubting whether or not running immigrants in and out of the country is the best way to mourn her fallen hubby, a man in a cowboy hat shows up to threaten her. It was at this point that the dialogue and acting problems in this show started to show through the cracks.
I got that the man in the cowboy hat was supposed to be a combination of “threatening” and genteel” but really came off as “not really acting all that much.” It was an attempt at something sly when this show seems to function at a much higher level when it’s just being direct. This is a Southern-flavored Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and I think The Bridge needs to learn that sooner rather than later.
Charlotte’s decision to not play ball is a strong one, and one that probably means that we’ll have to deal with this cowboy hat guy for weeks to come. Not excited.
Matthew Lillard Watch 2013
Lillard’s Daniel Frye, a welcome return character from the pilot, seems to be busy answering the question of “Who tried to blow me up?” while the proper authorities are busy having anonymous sex and not answering that question. The whole bit where they were instantly able to figure out that the map was showing coordinates was a tad bit convenient, but it’s all still going. The wheels are in motion here, and I want to see where they’re turning.
Border Crossing Gone Wrong
I don’t really know who these people were. I have a pretty good idea that they wanted to get into America and that they are very accepting of free water. This was a Breaking Bad teaser flashforward stretched to an entire episode and it’s hard to judge because nothing really happened.
It did bring up that this show has not yet mastered its act breaks. These jumps to commercial aren’t the big hooks they’re supposed to be, or at least what we’re used to from a cable drama. They’re not he most interesting bits of plot, but they match up mostly well with this crock pot of a drama.
Meanwhile, in the Rape Dungeon
His name is “Steven.”
That’s about it.
I think it was him there at the tail end of the episode picking up our lead border crosser, but I wish they had just shown it. Suspense is not bred from shadowy faces, but from the cool reveals of who is behind those shadowy faces. But at least we didn’t end on an opening door this time…
Final Verdict: B – We’re getting a bit more promising here, but The Bridge is showing some trouble finding its footing.
Chekhov’s Gunman is a film and television blog moderated by Kevin Lanigan, a future writer of movies and TV and current writer of advice letters to the would-be kidnappers of Marco’s family. Be sure to follow or subscribe above, and comment with your thoughts below.
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Sonya be trippin’…