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“Welcome to screenwriters 101, today will be writing an episode for FX’s The Bridge.” That’s exactly what the most recent episode, “Take the Ride, Pay the Toll” feels like. There were a few “good” ideas happening but the entire thing just feels very drawn out. Plus we don’t really learn anything new. Not to mention my dear sweet Linder is absent once again.
Lets start from the beginning. The opening scene is of Ray dragging Tim’s dead body through the tunnel. He stumbles upon a bunch of dead Mexicans sitting around a table. Then he comes across someone who is actually alive (the killer?) and shoots him up, framing Tim for the murder, and just dumps the body there (don’t you just love when things work out?). Ray picks up something with a scorpion logo on it. Not too sure what it is, but I’m intrigued. Overall, this had the makings of a great episode, even if the parts don't quite cohere. I'm devastated when I found that this intro has nothing to do with the content of the actual episode. Hopefully they clear this up next week, but honestly I don’t see how with two episodes left The Bridge writers can tie this story line up.
The rest of the episode mostly consists of Det. Ruiz and Tate on the bridge, Sonya trying to figure out where Gus is, and Gus slowly drowning. It's so drawn out! The concept behind it is great! I love seeing those quick shots of Gus, which help raise the stakes but the equation just wasn’t there.
For starters, Tate just pulls over on the spot on the bridge where his wife dies, completely stopping traffic. He makes Det. Ruiz get out and they have their confrontation; of course Tate has a bomb vest on. This is a decent idea, not overly original, but it could work under different circumstances. Except we don’t learn anything new! Tate just reiterates that it took his son ten minutes to die, and then Tate berates Ruiz about his infidelity, and so on. Then Frye comes in the mix and Tate tells us AGAIN why Frye is in the mix. Then Tate forces Ruiz to make the “ultimate” choice between the two of them. If Ruiz shoots Frye, Gus will live. If Ruiz doesn’t ‘t shoot Frye, Gus will die. The lose-lose situation, a must in all good dramas, but the execution of this just screams Screen Writer 101. This dilemma is so drawn out! And Ruiz can’t even make a choice. Tate ends up shooting Frye and he falls off the bridge.
I have a few problems with the entire situation. If Ruiz had chosen to shoot Frye, how would he have been able to save Gus? I mean Gus is far away; was Tate just going to give him the location? Gus still could have died. The entire situation just isn't very well thought out. Maybe Tate planned to kill Gus anyway? Who knows...
While this whole situation is going down, Det. Cross is desperately trying to save Gus. She all of a sudden comes up with a brilliant brain child and figures out that Gus must be at Tate’s uncle’s house. Something about the water moving in the pipes. Now, that house had been searched top to bottom by the police and they found nothing. Of course when Det. Cross hits the scene, she discovers there is a plaster wall. How bad are these police they can’t detect a plaster wall? It just seems too convenient.
Anyway, Det. Cross ends up breaking down the wall. The last shot we see before they cut to commercial is her yelling “GUS!” For a few brief moments, as we fast forward through the commercial, we wonder if Gus is alive. Then we slowly reassure ourselves he has to be. I think this scene is well done. We see Det. Cross running towards Det. Ruiz and Tate on the bridge (she makes good time). She tells Ruiz not to shoot. We as an audience take a sigh of relief, thinking to ourselves “Gus is alive, she did it.” Then the rug is slipped out from under us when we learn that Gus didn’t make it. He's dead.
In my last review I predicted that Gus would live. Oh, boy, was I wrong. As much as it pains me to say this I think the writers made a good choice in letting Gus die because it allows Det. Cross and Det. Ruiz to grow as characters. Ultimately Det. Cross shoots both Ruiz and Tate (not fatally).
Now this character growth that I'm discussing is a bit hidden and that's the writers' fault entirely. There is a great scene between Det. Cross and Det. Ruiz in the hospital. Cross says she lied because that is what Ruiz wanted to hear. This moment could have been so powerful but the lead up just isn't there. We have seen a few instances in past episodes of Ruiz trying to help Cross out with “friendship lessons,” for example, when he barrowed money for flowers. Yet these scenes were so limited that Cross’s character growth just hasn't been the focus as much as it could have been.
Det. Ruiz is struggling with his own demons. There is a particularly chilling scene when Ruiz visits his son in the morgue. The entire scene is silent, and for a brief moment we feel for Ruiz. Adriana also has her moment with Frye and we come to see that she does actually care for him.
There are two episodes left in the season. Obvisouly I’m going to watch them but I’m not as excited for next week’s new episode as I have been in the past. I’m just really wondering where Linder is and how they are going to tie the whole Charlotte/Ray story in. Also where is Galvan? So many loose ends that need to be taken care of.
Best Det. Sonya Cross Quote: “I did what I though was best.” Sonya says this when she is talking to Hank in the police station in the aftermath of what happens. This shows some of her character growth.
Bad Ass of the Episode: I guess I’ll give it to Ray. He disposes of a dead body and kills a rando dude. He also comes across this mysterious scorpion packages that I find intriguing.
-- WHERE IS LINDER? HE BETTER BE IN NEXT WEEK’S EPISODE!
-- Where are Alma and the girls during all of this? I know things aren’t great between her and Ruiz, but where the hell is she?
-- Where is the show going to go from here?
-- What’s the scorpion package? I must know!
-- Will Frye live?