Thursday, July 18, 2013

THE BRIDGE: "Calaca" S1E2 (review)

By Matt 'Quori' Armstrong
We start off this week’s episode pretty much where we left off last week.

As you may recall, Charlotte is now a widow after her dying husband confessed on his death bed that he did not love her and wanted a divorce.

She found some unexplained things that when she pressed her ranch-hand Cesar for more information he led her to a house on the ranch she never knew existed and to a door in the basement behind which we find….

Before I say what it was, let’s look at the options.

It’s clearly not a Coldstone Creamery or Starbucks. So wooden pad-locked door in a dingy basement in the middle of nowhere ranch close to the Mexican border leaves us two obvious choices: 1) Hidden torture room for his illicit proclivities or 2) underground Mexican railroad.

…Door opens to a tunnel, so underground railroad it is. I’m not surprised. The new mystery is what was he doing, who was he doing it for, and for how long was he doing it?

Charlotte is clearly not pleased with this and demands that Cesar board it up, he advises against it, she insists. Later on she is visited by an odd lawyer representing his “He who shall not be named” client. It took me until he removed his hat and I saw the distinctive hair to realize it was Lyle Lovett.

He brings her some of his wife’s three bean salad in a covered dish and insists in a fairly creepy way that he late husband was in deep to his client. The underground railroad was payment for said debts/obligations. He infers that her humble beginnings as a waitress would mean she is ill equipped to oppose. Later on Charlotte opts return the container to Mr Creepy Lawyer and dumps its contents on his desk proclaiming THIS is three bean salad. What you gave me is money, which I do not want; then leaves.

Based on Lovett’s portrayal here if he ever looked at Julia this way in their marriage, I now know exactly why they are divorced.

In other news, we see a little of our truly creepy friend Steven Linder is shown burning the woman’s clothes he seemingly kidnapped. Eva Guerra is her name and we learn someone is looking for her from across the border. Now our initial inclination is that Mr Linder is a kidnapper and murderer; however, the *ahem* gentleman who is searching for Ms. Guerra is shown to be psychotic at best and murders Mr Linder’s neighbor. We also discover that creepy Mr Linder works at a homeless shelter…so perhaps he is not the murderous soul we thought him to be. Could he have helped Eva Guerra across the border and given her a new identity to escape her life in Mexico?

There is clearly more here than the writers have let on so far. More to come.

We also get another new set of folks in a group of Mexican nationals hiding in a cattle truck being smuggled across the border to the US. The driver opts to abandon them and one young lady takes a little control of the situation and attempts to lead them towards Houston, TX. Along the way they come across an ominous skull and marker with large jugs of fresh water. Yeah, middle of the desert, border crossing territory, there just happens to be fresh water here?

Our young lass isn’t buying it and insists everyone not drink it and dump it out. The others obviously think she is crazy and guzzle down the agua.

Now, let’s get back to our buddy cop duo Det. Marco Ruiz and the ever charming Det. Sonya Cross. Sonya insists they travel back to Chihuahua, he thinks that’s a bad idea. While examining some evidence of the original Mexican case involving the lower half of the Pilot’s victim (a Juarez teen prostitute), she is told by Ruiz that there was a 23rd victim at this murder scene. It was the brother of a powerful Mexican Drug Cartel leader who paid the Chihuahua Police to expunge any record of his body being there. Why? Because the other Cartel’s would see it as a sign of weakness or some such thing…look, all we need to know is some corruption was going on and the Police didn’t investigate it further. Det. Cross doesn’t like this and she begins to ask questions.

Specifically, she asks a question of Captain Robles (Juan Carlos Cantu) who we KNOW is on the take. Not cool Sonya. Not cool.

Cross and Ruiz question Daniel Frye our annoying reporter more, and leak the story right to him. Its rather amateur if you think about it, and Ruiz has the best comment how Frye is a reporter, they can never be trusted. Now Det. Cross has a side story of how she is feeling certain adult sexual urges so we see her idea of flirting/dating. It essentially involved going to a bar, and asking the first guy who approaches her if he wants to have sex. When she is satisfied she rolls over and goes to sleep…the insinuation that she doesn’t really care if he was satisfied or even done. She is. ‘Nuff said. Actually the matter of fact conversation with Lt Wade (Ted Levine) is quite comical. I like these scenes between them.

Cross and Ruiz revisit the site where they found the judge and discover a small bead. Cross is convinced our killer left it there. We also get a visit from the man who made the actual voice recording. Turns out he is a voice actor and was paid to make that recording 3 years prior! So, some planning has clearly gone into this.

It all ends this week when Frye and Adrianna (his coworker and fellow reporter) get a call from the killer with GPS coordinates. This leads them to not coincidentally the spot where the border crossers all meet their grisly end from what was clearly poisoned water. Our one escapee seems to be picked up by the killer as she is near death as she literally crawls out of the desert.

The clear indicator that the killer is responsible for this mass murder scene is a small bead found at the scene just like the one Det. Cross found earlier that day.

The good, bad, and what to watch for…

The Good: Loving how this is NOT a run of the mill police procedural. I like that we get some answers to questions and new questions to ask, but we are getting extra puzzle pieces each week thus far. Good job series writers not playing the Lost game with us as viewers.

The Bad: This week…nothing! Not unless its permissible to complain that we only get an hour each week. Plot development like this is slow paced. So I would like it to speed up a little bit, but that’s not really a bad thing in my book since they are doing it so well.

The What to watch for: Things are not what they seem here. I doubt that creepy creeper Linder is a killer. It just seems too easy to be the case. There’s more to Lovett’s weird lawyer and that tunnel than we know. Keep an eye on Ruiz and his Captain Robles. Something will come of this as h deepens his investigation, he may begin to cross lines and ask questions that people aren’t going to like. Lastly…Ruiz’s wife is pregnant. She tells Ruiz that they will be fine. Everything will work out. She reiterates - everything will be fine. That’s a death knell in TV. So I suspect things will most certainly NOT be fine.

Just an FYI….Calaca (name of the episode) is Mexican slang for skull. We saw two prominent instances of skulls: one in the tunnel, and one at the mass murder scene.

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