The Bridge continues to masterfully weave different, seemingly unrelated, storylines together this week with the episode “Maria of the Desert.” We pick up with Charlotte, who is overseeing her ranch hand bury Rio, the dead horse from the last episode. Obviously anxious about this new turn of events, she tells him to re-open the tunnel and if anyone asks, they sold Rio. Her luck holds up, as her step-daughter found Marco’s wallet in their house – could this be part of the reason that her husband’s dying words to her were ‘I want a divorce’?
Steven, with his impressive sideburns, shoos a rattlesnake from the road and it’s revealed that he has someone in the back of his car, hidden under a blanket. He pulls his car up to a ranch and it turns out the mystery woman is Eva Guerra, who – admit it – we all thought he killed. He’s brought her to a subjectively better place, where she’ll be safe from Hector. It’s sad to see that she is surprised he only asks for a kiss in repayment for smuggling her from Mexico and Hector.
Elsewhere, we finally put a face to the name Fausto Galvan when we meet him as one of his lackeys brings him bad news. Hector, the man we saw kill Steven’s neighbor, works for Fausto and may bring added attention to their business. Also, their drug shipments have been intercepted multiple times while trying to get them across the border and they’ve lost close to 3,000 kilos. Not to mention Maria being out in the desert brings out extra police scrutiny around the border for the cartel boss. Fausto finds the woman who runs the tunnel from Mexico to Charlotte’s property and they do a little bit of verbal sparring. She must be a big deal somehow, having her own lackey – whom Fausto quickly dispatches of by throwing nail polish remover into his eyes – and her own tunnel, but she does not seem as formidable of an opponent as Fausto. He, ultimately, uses her tunnel to cross the border with his lackey dragging a suitcase behind them.
At the El Paso station, the FBI has come in and taken over the investigation because of the national attention the live feed of Maria is bringing in, but they are bungling things royally. Instead of taking the money from the businessmen, they’re waiting on official funds and time is running out. As things begin to get tense, Marco gets a call and proceeds outside to meet Fausto in an SUV. They drive him around the block and give him a suitcase with a million dollars inside, wanting to help the Mexican woman because the FBI obviously isn’t going to help her in time. Reluctantly, he takes the suitcase back into the station and names one of Fausto’s prop businesses as the source.
There is a little bit of backlash, but not enough to keep the Feds from accepting the money and arranging the drop with Frye’s help – he is the chosen messenger after all. A stakeout is planned and Ralph Gedman, one of the FBI agents on the case, is tasked with going into the bar with the money. While that’s being set in motion, Sonya is watching the live feed again and notices a shadow come in and out of frame. She immediately recognizes it as a pumpjack for oil and alerts her boss, Hank, to the revelation. They tear off in his truck to search areas they know contain pumpjacks. With everyone away, Charlotte does the dumbest thing I think I’ve ever seen a woman who had a one night stand do – she comes to the station to hand deliver Marco his wallet. Can’t she call him? Is it a desperate ploy to see him again? Shouldn’t she NOT be broadcasting her involvement with Marco in any way beyond professionally?
Maria is found by Sonya, Hank, and Cooper before the sun can bake her to a crisp. They free her without acknowledging the cameras and live feed they had to have been on. Leaving Cooper to watch over Maria and wait for the ambulance to arrive on scene, Sonya and Hank go on to the bar where the money exchange is occurring. When FBI Agent Gedman arrives, he already looks nervous and skittish. The bartender hands him a cellphone and tells him someone left a message for him. Gedman watches the message, removes his earpiece and appears to leave the bar. His lack of answering the other agents alerts them to a problem, so they all go sweeping into the bar. The bartender tells them he doesn’t know what the message said or who left it; he found the envelope with instructions on the bar and figured it to be a practical joke.
Everyone fans out to find him, including Marco, who goes into a warehouse alone – the best of ideas. When he’s ambushed and knocked to the ground by the serial killer, he pleads with him that he has a family and the killer spares his life, only to kick him in the vasectomy and knock him out. When Sonya finds Marco, she is immediately concerned for his safety and I thought that was a nice touch for someone who is usually so straight-laced and by the books. It was nice to see her concern for her unconventional partner of sorts.
Next to Marco, they find the suitcase full of – what we can assume is all – the money and a trash bag containing the head of FBI Agent Gedman. Inside the bag, there is the cellphone that the bartender gave Gedman. Hank plays it and we see a drunk Gedman shirtless with a barely clothed Mexican woman, what must be the blackmail the killer used against him.
The Bridge is four episodes into its first season run and has started to really carve out a niche for itself. I like the way that the characters flit in and out of importance depending on what story we are focused on. If we’re looking at Steven’s story, Eva and Hector become important players. If we’re looking to Charlotte, the mysterious tunnel woman, her step-daughter, her ranch hand (and I predict soon Marco) become important. Looking at the serial killer, Sonya and Marco are the most important, with Frye becoming more and more so as the killer uses him as a mouthpiece. I personally can’t wait to see who or what revelations we get next week.