Spolier Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen The Bridge Season 1, Ep. 2 – “Calaca”.
Last week The Bridge opened with a tense, well-paced pilot that set the tone for what was sure to become an addicting crime sage. This week they confused the hell out of me. New characters were introduced, more storylines added, and pretty much nothing explained. But let’s rundown what we did learn.
The mysterious locked door didn’t contain a second family, but rather a tunnel linking Texas to Mexico. Was Charlotte’s late husband simply a good Samaritan, smuggling in illegals in the hopes they could create a better life in the land of opportunity or was he a desperate, greedy man who found out that human trafficking is practically recession proof? Given how creepy his “partner” Monty P. Flagman (Lyle Lovett) was and the fact it’s looking increasingly likely that prostitution figures prominently into the larger case, I’ll go with the later. One thing for certain, Charlotte wants no part of it. Unfortunately, she probably doesn’t get a choice.
Speaking of the larger case at hand, our mismatched detectives made little headway this week. They discovered that Christina Fuentes, the Mexican half of their spliced body, had been dumped along with 22 members of Fausto Galvan’s cartel. Well, actually it was 23 bodies including Galvan’s brother Rafa, but any mention of him was scrubbed from the police report. Are the police working with Galvan? It’s unclear, but it’s pretty obvious that the police of Juarez have more to worry about than not filing their paperwork on time, like having their families executed in front of them if they don’t ignore critical evidence.
But the time to ignore evidence is over and Ruiz ventured to the seedier side of the city to learn that Christina was working as a prostitute at the time of her disappearance. And suddenly the link to the cartel is making more and more sense.
What’s not making sense is that Cross and Ruiz also learned that the message left by the killer on Daniel Frye’s “bomb” was recorded three years ago by a voice over actor. Clearly the killer has already spent way more time planning this than the detectives realize. But, later in the episode the killer called up Frye again and, using the same voice, gave him some coordinates to check out. Did he have the actor record multiple scripts and if so, why didn’t the actor mention that when he came forward?
But, back to those coordinates. This episode introduced us to a group of Mexicans struggling to get across the border. After being conned by their driver the group took off on foot to find their way across. After days of walking across the desert the group came upon an alter with a calaca (a decorative skeleton commonly associated with The Day of the Dead in Mexico and with death here in the states and hey, the title of the episode!). They immediately took it as a sign of a miracle and drained the cartons of water left there. Unfortunately, the calaca had a lot more to do with American culture than Mexican and they all dropped dead, save one smart lady who instantly understood what was going on and was left to crawl along waiting for a kind stranger to find her along the side of the road. But if this show has taught me anything it’s that strangers are never kind.
In fact, I would bet money that the cowboy boots seen approaching the sole survivor belong to Steven Linder (Thomas M. Wright), the serial killer suspect. This week the evidence towards him being the killer mounted when it looked like he was burning the dismembered remains of Eva Guerra and took an instant, creepy interest in a new resident at the homeless shelter he works at. I still think he’s a red herring simply meant to distract, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a creepy killer in his own right, I suppose. Although I kind of hope not because an even creepier guy has taken an interest in Eva Guerra and is intent on tracking Steven down even if that means killing his nosy neighbors in the process.
But what links all this together? Nothing really, save for some silver beads. Like most serial killers in pop culture this killer has a signature: a single silver bead. The first was found at the Judge Gates crime scene and the second at the coordinates given to Frye which also happened to be where the illegals drank their poison. So this is a killer who feels the discrepancy between murders in El Paso and Juarez is unforgivable, killed a judge who was tough on immigration, and then also killed a group of immigrants before they could make it across the border? Just what is his point? Besides confusing the hell out of me, of course.
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