If “The Crazy Place”, episode 13 of The Bridge, wasn’t the finale to the first season I wouldn’t be as disappointed. Season finales normally bring some sense of closure to the storylines and hint at the next ones. So, “Take the Ride, Pay the Toll” and “All About Eva” if we were to go the two part finale route. “The Crazy Place” is structurally more akin to the second or third episode of a new storyline/season. Which it is. Sure there are some interesting kinda cliff hangery bits, like, Marco going to Fausto in hopes of the drug cartel setting up Tate so that Marco may kill him. These new threads remain unclosed by the end of “The Crazy Place”, in fact they are just as if not messier than before. Yes they rescued Eva but the hydra of corruption that allowed something like that to take place still stands. I’ve read some interesting reviews of "Felina", who did not enjoy the more plot driven question answer structure to the final episode of Breaking Bad. And to a degree I agree with them, the thing is “Felina” left me satisfied and content with what I’d spent watching. “The Crazy Place” has me wanting more and it isn’t due to excellent Mexican food. There is a reason why people to this day talk about (and overblow) the finale to The Sopranos.
“The Crazy Place” does set up a pair of interesting threads for season 2. First involving the loveable duo of Daniel Frye and Adriana, as they dig into the life of Millie Quintana. What started as an easy story to ease Daniel back into work ends with a dead 100 year old women and her hidden stash of roughly $50 million with 20 million in euros (how do you make that lil sign) of cartel money. Making Daniel even more at home with his job is the appearance of a mysterious message written on a euro urging them to answer “Who was Millie Quintana” and to forget about the money.
Adriana is also being tethered to the main thread now with the disappearance of her sister, which has been setup for episodes. The setup didn’t change the affecting still shot of her mother’s face slowly realizing what it all means. That sense of panic coming across it was just heartbreaking. In another show they would have used this as a fake out and had her get off the second bus. The Bridge doesn't go for such cheap emotional pops. Their version of cheap pops are dark emotional realizations that just underscore the violent and lack of safety in the world of The Bridge.
Charlotte Millwright has been a force long in gestation. This hibernation process is starting to end as she, Cesar, and O’l Ray Ray from a business venture with Monty P. Flagman as a legitimizing force to their drug trafficking. Of all the characters Charlotte has grown the most and gained real agency. Her anger at O’l Ray Ray for slapping her ass “Does Cesar grab my ass?” she retorts. It is becoming increasingly clear that O’l Ray Ray will be eating dust sooner rather than later. His bravado is a hindrance that will get them all caught and I just don’t want that to happen yet. All things are not gliding on easy street for Charlotte with a run in by the mysterious Arliss Frome(Timothy Bottoms whom my parents just lost it for). He isn’t FBI, just something like that, and knows a lot. Perhaps he is the DEA presence in El Paso or just a fellow partner of Flagman.
Drunk and self loathing Marco was well executed but given the choice between that and vengful stab happy Marco, I would choose the later. The way the camera sort of lagged behind the near empty tequila bottle as Marco half heartedly practiced at stabbing it was amazing. Same goes for his quiet rage as he beats the bejeezus out of the “good boy” cop. Bichir does an excellent job selling Marcos emotional state better than any sort of plotting. Ending the season on an extreme close up of his eye as he thinks over asking Fausto to arrange Tate’s murder was a bit dramatic and stylistically odd.
Only now am I remembering to mention Eva. What happened to her was terrible but it was all in service of revealing a larger enemy. They also found her surprisingly easily in the random nunnery for the damned. This thread had done an excellent job of bringing together the more worldly socio-political aspects of The Bridge and its criminal necessities. That is a tough act to balance and it’s an act that this show needs to get better at in season 2. Season 1 had to clear modes of operation which led to very annoying batches of episode as I craved pudding but was given jello (and who likes jello?). The late summer positioning should prove to be a huge asset for the show and FX, giving them 4 shows for 4 quarters to run on Tuesdays or Wednesdays at 10.
“The Crazy Place” did not satisfy me in the was I wanted but it has left me very interested in what this show does next now that they are free of Bron’s trappings.