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The Bridge – Rio Review: Baby Got Back Story

We are now in episode three of FX’s new series The Bridge.  After watching the first episode I was officially hooked; the plot completely drew me in. However, I'm left with some lingering questions about the characters.  Episode two cleared a few things up. We saw Det. Sonya Cross’s  (Diane Kruger) emotional unintelligence manifest itself when she picked up a stranger at a bar (more on that later), juxtaposed with Det. Marco Ruiz (Demian Bichir) who is portrayed as a loving family man. But we were still left with questions about many of the other characters and how they are all connected. The most recent episode, "Rio," does not disappoint. Finally we get some more insight into these characters, all of who seem to be flawed in some way. The story lines also start to intertwine with one another. 

At the start of episode we get a bit of backstory on Charlotte Millright (Annebeth Gish), the wealthy widow. Her husband’s first wife died, and her stepdaughter hates her (very original). Later she has an interaction with a wealthy Mexican woman who was in business with her late husband. Through that interaction it is revealed that Charlotte did not always live such a wealthy lifestyle. As soon as we get some backstory on Charlotte, they throw us a curve ball: the wealthy Mexican woman. What we do know about her is that she is a total bad ass. Remember after the funeral when she was admiring Charlotte’s horse and she says “goodbye handsome” (in Spanish of course)? Then at the end of the episode the horse ends up dead. I wonder who did that. Clearly this woman means business. I can’t wait to see how this plays out between the two women because it seems that this Mexican woman represents the strong independent women that Charlotte wishes to become after her husbands passing. This can be seen in episode two when Charlotte refuses the casserole money. Yet Charlotte is deeply flawed and cannot become that independent woman (or at least not yet). At the end of the episode she seduces Det. Ruiz (don’t worry I’ll discuss the implications this decision has on him later). After such a tough and trying time she needs a man to lean on, and can’t face her problems alone.  Personally I find her character kind of annoying in that way, but I do love the way this predictable choice will impact the storyline so I’ll forgive her this time.

As I mentioned before Det. Ruiz and Charlotte get it on at the end of the episode. Or at least that’s what I’m imagining happened. (All they show us is a kiss, then him leaving, presumably some time later.) Throughout the entire episode, as is consistent with his characterization in the previous episodes, Det. Ruiz is portrayed as a loving family man. He is not corrupt and just seems to be a genuinely good guy.  Then he cheats on his pregnant wife (remember in the last episode when she revealed that she was pregnant?) with his wife's opposite. Looks like Det. Ruiz has some edge and isn’t the boring family man I thought he was. In the first episode Ruiz just had a vasectomy; maybe there was some underlying reason for that besides not wanting to get his wife pregnant again. Maybe he just didn’t want to get anyone pregnant. I can speculate all day but clearly Det. Ruiz’s personal life is about to get more complicated.

Speaking of personal life, Det. Cross’s one night stand shows up at the station and Cross utters probably one of my favorite lines of the episode: “What are you doing here? I can’t have sex at work.” Clearly, Cross is every guy's dream girl. Causal sex, no emotions involved, but I have a feeling we will be seeing her one night stand again. Now I admit I do have a huge problem with Det. Cross’s character. Will the show please explain or at least comment on her lack of emotional awareness for the benefit of the audience? Clearly something is off. After doing some research using the trusty Internet many people are saying she has Asperger's. I just wish the show would comment on it and clear up this obvious issue for the audience. Seriously, just one line of dialogue would do it.

Lets move on to Adriana Perez, the reporter. First off, when she and Daniel retreat to her family home after witnessing a shooting Juarez (which, by the way, was awesome), we find out that she is from a large and poor Mexican family. When Daniel asks Adriana how she ended up working for the paper instead of pregnant like her sisters she reveals that she is a lesbian. Looks like she and Daniel won’t be hooking up anytime soon. She is also the complete opposite of her counterpart Daniel. She grew up poor, whereas Daniel grew up with every advantage. Daniel has a substance abuse problem and gets everything handed to him, and Adriana has to work for everything she gets. We see this dichotomy illustrated when the killer contacts Daniel personally. Their relationship does fit into the pairs of opposites that we have going on in the show, such as Det. Cross and Det. Ruiz, Charlotte and the Mexican Women, Charlotte and Det. Ruiz, and Linder and the killer. To be clear, this concept of characters with opposite personalities working together isn’t new, yet for the most part its done right in The Bridge.

Moving on we have Steven Linder, the owner of the trailer Cross and Ruiz encounter in the dessert. In the previous episode he put a prostitute in his trunk and drove over the border, then he locked her in his trailer. We are not exactly sure what happened to her, but in Rio we do see Linder burning her clothes.  Personally, I don’t think Linder is our killer, even though his voice sounds disturbingly like our killer’s. Linder does get questioned by Det. Ruiz and Det. Cross, and through that interrogation we learn that he grew up in foster care and has a sister who he has not seen in some time. He has some pretty heavy baggage, but overall he seems like a very creepy but harmless guy. He even looks for his sister on the streets. I feel like they are setting us up to think Linder is the killer, or at least be a suspect, but I’m not buying it. Maybe I’ll turn out to be wrong, but it just seems like such a cop out to reveal the killer this early on.

Through all of this character development our killer still advances his cause and drives the plot forward.  He makes a call to Daniel asking 4 of the wealthiest men in El Paso to pay ransom for a poor Mexican girl. This ties Charlotte into the mix because one of those wealthy men is her late husband. Then our killer sets up a live feed of the missing Mexican girl tied up in the dessert, and we all have to watch as she slowly dies. He sends the video to the Times, which ties all of our storylines into a neat little bow.




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