The Bridge “The Beetle” Review (1×09)

5 Sep


The first few minutes of this episode of The Bridge is devoted to a flashback, one that takes us right into the tragedy of the car crash that claimed David Tate’s family. The camera focuses on his tear-drenched, anguished face, and we hear his miserable screams as he watches his family getting pulled out of the car. It’s almost as if we’re in a dream, and we feel his pain. The scene lasts for a few minutes, but lingers for even more than that.

The main plot involves Tate’s kidnapping of Marco’s family, one that anchors a tightly plotted, intense episode. It seems as if the writers have committed to the revenge storyline, which, as I said last week, certainly limits the scope of the show. However, a commenter pointed out that it’s always possible that Tate isn’t ‘The Beast’. I’m dubious that there would be this much misdirection near the end of the season, but who knows? The reason given for his murders, though, is satisfying, as it combines elements of his personal life with the political ramifications of certain actions taken by the police departments.

Anyway, the episode really attempts to humanize Tate, a task done so both by the opening sequence and a scene on a playground. No, the scene in question does not involve Tate yelling “Yaaaaaay!” as he rides down a slide backwards. It involves him pouring out his heart to Alma, and he does so even with the knowledge that he intends to kill her. The pain in his eyes is genuine. Everything he says is true. He’s a desperate, vulnerable man that has been forced to resort to revenge to give him purpose. It’s only fitting that Alma, a vulnerable woman cheated on by her husband, would be so drawn to someone like Tate. They share a common bond of loss, and it gets her into trouble.

Side plots once again involve Linder and Charlotte, both dealing with death in their own ways. They also both look for advice, Linder in the form of a ranch owner and Charlotte in the form of Cesar. They both have to ask if their murder was justified, and they both have to grapple with their moral values.

The character moments in this episode work for me, but yet again, the plot is questionable. For example, take the final scene. How does Tate know when and where Gus is going? The final scene feels contrived, especially as a way to juxtapose with the opening. Tate lost his son, so he’s now going to take Marco’s son.

For the most part, the episode works for me. It contains a very well-constructed central plot with great character development and some questionable plot points, but it’s very enjoyable.

Grade: B+

Other thoughts:

-I guess a tracker, maybe?

-On Charlotte’s plot: I’m glad we got more advancement here, and I’m excited about her team-up with Cesar.

-“MILF? I don’t have children.” Sonya, you are amazing.

-Demian Bichir did great work again. He portrayed a desperate, determined man very well.

-Linder and the ranch guy’s conversation about food and death was one of the weirdest, yet most hilarious, things I’ve seen on television this year.

Credit to FX and The Bridge for all pictures. I own nothing.

2 Responses to “The Bridge “The Beetle” Review (1×09)”

  1. JustMeMike September 5, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    Exactly – how did Hastings/Tate know where Gus would go and in Sonya’s car as well. Wouldn’t he need some fancy equipment to track Gus and his phone?

    Why did Hastings/Tate who was on his guard about a possible stakeout for him, then have a waiter deliver a note with the GPS coordinates. Even if we assume he wanted Ruiz to go the lonely cabin where Alma and the kids were – Hastings/Tate wasn’t there waiting so he could kill them family in front of Ruiz. Since he wasn’t there – why did he send Ruiz and Wade there – maybe to separate Ruiz from Gus? I don’t get that either.

    After the car crash – why didn’t he put a bullet into Sonya. Or even Gus. The fact that he didn’t likely means he wants to have Gus and Ruiz in the same place.

    And circling back to the previous week – we still have the bloodied hand print. I guess that was to make sure that Ruiz would know that he would be dealing with Tate.

    What is the point of the Linder story and who is the rancher anyway…the rancher who also admitted to killing.

    What was the whole point of Ray and his partner who was under duress from the government.. Ray sold the weapons to Graciela, the weapons with the added attachments, got his money and then what? I understand why Graciela might want to kill Charlotte who was against the tunnel, But the whole thing seems far too contrived.

    What about Mendes and Frye?

    I’ve watched this show from the start – and loved it – but in my view – the last two episodes were the weakest.

    • polarbears16 September 5, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

      Yeah, I didn’t understand the whole coordinate stuff either. As for the crash, how did he even know he wasn’t going to kill Gus? He obviously wants him alive, but a car crash results in fatalities more often than not. There’s no way to make sure Sonya dies and Gus lives, and he should’ve checked to see whether Sonya was alive or not.

      There seem to be a lot of unnecessary subplots, you’re absolutely right. I’m holding out hope that they’ll connect later on, but for now, they’re a bit meandering.

      Great comment, yet again. Thanks for your thoughts.

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