Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Bridge: “Rakshasa”

Illustration for article titled The Bridge: “Rakshasa”

It says something about a show when a main character is on the verge of death and several characters bite the bullet and I still wasn’t much interested in their fates. While Hank is never shown dead, as Charlotte is, I would mourn his death because I’ve so enjoyed Ted Levine, but I’ve become divested from these characters even as the show has turned inward and become more character-driven. After the bloodbath at Red Ridge, my main thought was, “Finally.” While I had become somewhat frustrated with The Bridge in the last few episodes, “Rakshasa” pointed to an end of the season that I could satisfy said frustrations.

Sonya’s kidnapping by the Chopper, one of these characters that is odd for the sake of being odd that The Bridge has come to use with frequency, felt like a red herring to distract from the violence that was to take place at Red Ridge at the episode’s climax. We as an audience were meant to be so invested in how Marco would eventually come to Sonya’s aid that the idea of Charlotte and Eleanor essentially doing paperwork purposefully felt like a negligible proposition. Sonya has been painted into a strange corner this season. She’s not entirely a damsel in distress because she does not keel at Marco’s feet when he saves her. She holds her convictions even in the face of her own potential death. But the first season of The Bridge did well to make her a woman that did not often need to be saved, while the second has pushed her vulnerabilities involving the men (and there are only men) in her life to a point where she feels constantly in peril.

Her dealings with the Chopper were meant to mirror her sister’s death. She is sexually assaulted while she is unconscious and is set to be buried in the middle of nowhere. I’m interested to see what Sonya’s journey this season amounts to. In the first season, she learned to accept Marco as an ally despite the opposing views on everything from how to do their jobs to social pleasantries. I don’t want to write off Sonya’s arc this season with so many episodes to go, but I have not necessarily seen a definitive point to what she has gone through. In the previous season, her journey was in service of the case but the case is so nebulous at this point her arc does not directly relate. I’m not entirely sure what dating the brother of your sister’s rapist and murderer amounts to just yet. Hopefully something, and I remain cautiously optimistic.

But “Rakshasa” did something that the show had been screaming out for since the second season began: It cut the fat. With compliments to Annabeth Gish, Charlotte Millwright’s character went from a woman discovering her power in season one to a trivial distraction in season two. She no longer served a purpose. It was time for her to die. It may have taken the writers a while to get there but they finally put her out of her misery. The same could be said for Agent McKenzie, who was a fun addition to the cast before he started to spin his wheels. Without his Millwright connection, his character would have been effectively neutered of any power he had against Fausto Galvan, his main target. Fausto, who is already on the run, has crossed the border and killed American federal agents in their own country, putting him further on the defensive.

Fausto’s position will largely play a role in what truly excites me about “Rakshasa.” It sets up the power play between Cerisola and Fausto, the money versus the fist. Fausto knows that it is Cerisola who gave up his location to the Marines, setting in motion the bloody end to Red Ridge. But Cerisola has the power of the CIA, not to mention Eleanor’s knowledge of Fausto’s money, on his side. It’s moments like these that prove there is a truly interesting show at the heart of The Bridge. It just needs to be dug out of a hole sometimes.

Stray observations:

  • Don’t cry for Annabeth Gish. She was cast on Sons of Anarchy back in March.
  • Guillermo Navarro gets his first directing credit for The Bridge. The Pan’s Labyrinth cinematographer happens to be a regular on my other AV Club gig, Hannibal. He’s certainly used to handling gore with grace.
  • It’s a tribute to Daniel and Adriana/Matthew Lillard and Emiy Rios how much I missed their presence in this episode. Yet, I have never seemed to miss Linder or Eva.
  • I guess this means no more Ray either :(.