‘The Bridge’ Recap: Daniel Gets Locked In Car With Bomb
The Bridge, FX’s intense new drama, debuted strong, establishing a murderer so cunning he can shut down the power along the El Paso-Juarez border separating the United States and Mexico while he carefully places a body right between the two countries. As police cars swarm to the scene, a mysterious man watches from below the bridge, smoking.
Detectives Ruiz (Demián Bichir) from Mexico and Cross (Diane Kruger) from the U.S are the first on the scene, and they butt heads immediately. Cross, a territorial, no-nonsense homicide detective from El Paso barely looks Ruiz in the eye, and has her ear buds in throughout their interaction. She wants the body, and Ruiz surrenders it to her without a fight, saying he has more than enough murders to solve on his side of the border. Cross delivers an awkward death notice after identifying the victim as a judge known for her strong anti-immigration beliefs.
Cross clearly has trouble socializing and empathizing with people – a fault she knows about, but doesn’t seem to want to change (not that she could even if she wanted to). Ruiz, on the other hand, is not afraid to express his emotions. When he comes home and smells pot coming from his teenage son’s room, he immediately grounds him and becomes worried that his son now owes a debt to a known drug dealer.
Alas, a full night’s rest is not in the cards for Ruiz. In the middle of the night, the coroner reveals that the body found at the border is not one body chopped in two, but two halves of two very different bodies. The legs belong to a missing Mexican girl, one of the Missing Girls of Juarez, while the torso and head belong to the Texas judge Cross had identified. And, just like that, Ruiz and Cross are fated to work the case together.
Neither Cross nor Ruiz are particularly thrilled to be partnered. Cross, who’s social awkwardness and general rudeness alienate her from her coworkers, does not hesitate to make her unhappiness known, while Ruiz is more calm and collected.
Ruiz is cautious of upsetting the corrupt powers that be, so he keeps his head down – a trait he’d like his son to pick up. As a member of the law enforcement, Ruiz walks a fine line between being a hero and a villain, evidenced by his interaction with the Captain, from whom he must request permission to work on the murder case. The Captain sits, playing poker with other threatening men, and appears fond of a certain caged tiger pacing menacingly nearby. The scene is more reminiscent of The Godfather than any network procedural.
This is just one of the many polarities set up between Ruiz and Cross. While Cross follows strict guidelines and has the support of her captain, Ruiz must go through backchannels to do his job.
While Ruiz and Cross begin their investigation Steven Linder (Thomas M. Wright), who watched as the body on the bridge was discovered, crams a Mexican girl into the trunk of his car and takes her across the border. She’s scared and crying, but he doesn’t hurt her. Not yet, anyway. Instead he speaks to her in English and a little bit of Spanish before taking her ID and locking her in his trailer. Could Linder be the killer Ruiz and Cross are looking for?
Ruiz and Cross have found the wallet of the American judge next to her surgically removed legs in the desert. The ID in her wallet is missing. The legs have been drained of blood – the work, Ruiz theorizes, of a doctor.
There is also the case of the mysterious Mr. Millwright, who dies of a heart attack right after telling his wife, Charlotte (Annabeth Gish), that he wants a divorce. Unfortunately for Charlotte, he takes his secrets with him. When she returns home, Charlotte is ready to discover them. Her groundskeeper shows her a secret door her husband had been hiding, and she is just about to open it. But of course, the contents behind the door remain a mystery.
Daniel Frye (Matthew Lillard), a reporter for the El Paso Times, finds himself in our potential killer’s crosshairs when he locks Frye in a car with a bomb. Ruiz and Cross arrive on the scene, but they can do nothing to save him. Cross talks Frye through what he believes to be his inevitable death, but, when the countdown ends, there is no explosion. Instead, a recorded message begins to play: “Why is one dead white woman so much more important than so many across the border?” asks the distorted voice.
Perhaps The Bridge will attempt to answer the killer’s question next week, Wednesday at 10 P.M. on FX.
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