Man oh man, what an ending. I mean, just wow. I did not think it would go there that quickly, but what can you say that already hasn’t been said? “Breaking Bad” is a masterpiece. What was that? I’m supposed to be talking about “The Bridge?” Are you sure about that? Oh……….. (Critic faces his own mortality for the first time). Don’t worry “Bridge” fans, I’m still here. A subpar episode won’t deter my goal of giving you what you need. You need a review, and I’m the one who can give it (mainly because I’m the only one still watching!). So enough with the jokes and the contemplation of death already, let’s do this. Let’s discuss “ID.”
“ID” was a step back from last weeks “The Beast,” which I thought moved its characters’ stories in new and interesting ways. Up to this episode, “The Bridge” has felt like an FX show with a few too many nagging problems. There were many characters but not enough focus on any in particular to mean anything, clichéd dialogue and storylines, but most of all a lack of something new to say. After this episode, I feel like this a CBS show trying to be an FX show. There are so many familiar trite characters and obvious story beats that feel straight out of a forgettable crime/procedural. Sure, this has a complex story, but if the characters aren’t, what’s the point? Bringing up “Breaking Bad” is a little unfair when it comes to measuring a shows worth, but I’m not disappointed because “The Bridge” is a worse show. I’m disappointed because I truly believe this show has (at this point maybe had) potential and just hasn’t delivered. It’s a show that will past the half-way point next episode, and maybe it will prove me wrong with its second half. But what was wrong with “ID” to make me feel this way? Well, I’m glad you asked.
“ID” begins with Charlotte having sex with her sleazy ex outside on the grass. She shows him the tunnel and while in there, Fausto (aka Mexican crime lord) and his associate show up from behind, dragging the body of Calaca. Fausto gives a nonchalant “good evening, ma’am” which was the best line of the episode and an exciting way to start. We then see Charlotte and her ex, Ray, approach the tough Graciela Rivera (aka Granny Gangster) and that devious lawyer (Twin Peaks guy) about the tunnel. Ray wants to have Charlotte’s role, they agree. We later see Ray call a supplier who’s really a snitch for the FBI. Charlotte’s scenes have always annoyed me because they treated her more as a plot point and less as a fully realized character with her own agency. These scenes were even worse because they involved Ray who we’ve just met. I don’t hate Ray, I mean hey he could become a fun character, but just entering him in in this fashion and acting like were supposed to care that he just got set-up is preposterous. If the audience doesn’t care about Charlotte yet, why Ray?
Speaking of not caring, Gina everybody! I mean, do they seriously think we’ve become emotionally invested in Gina by two episodes. Even if you try to make the case that her death was supposed to unearth Sonya’s past feelings regarding her sister, the storyline still just fails completely. If were supposed to feel Sonya’s pain, make her lose a character we didn’t just meet or make her lose a character because it was her fault. Oh wait, you could say it was her fault because she’s a terrible detective. Her failings with talking to Gina are supposed to highlight her social distance and emotional connection to people, but there’s a fine line between that and making your character look completely unworthy of her job. This storyline seemed like it was ripped from a crime procedural and felt too emotionally manipulative. As Daniel Frye would put it, it sucked “dog balls.”
Marco Ruiz’s storylines were fairly good this episode, mainly because of Demian Bichir’s solid performance. The cop losing his family to the job is a formula we’ve seen before, so hopefully Ruiz’s arc will transform in a more unique way as it progresses. Daniel Frye and Adrianna Perez are still on the case, even after seeing Calcaca’s body hung up with many knives in him. I’m a big fan of both Matthew Lillard and Emily Rios (from Breaking Bad!) and their narrative of trying to find the truth made me realize how much better this show would be if it just followed them as they tried to work this story. I know at that point it’s a completely different show, but we would still have the same social commentary, just without all of the crime clichés. Just seeing the way this show deals with its many characters, giving none of them anything substantial makes me really hungry for a show that fuses plot and character with ease. A show like….. sorry, there I go again.
- Ray thinks the tunnel is a “sex dungeon.” Okay?
- Why do all the suspects’ pictures have the same class photo style background? Was that just me?
- “ID” was directed by Alex Zakrzewski who’s worked on many David Simon shows including “The Wire.” He directed the Season 4 restaurant scene between Howard “Bunny” Colvin and his students in “Know Your Place.”
- I still believe the killer is or at least is connected to Lieutenant Hank Wade. It’s the only character that when revealed would make a big impact. (Hopefully not with da da da! sounds)
“ID” = D+
* I really didn’t like this episode but would love to hear what you think, so sound off in the comments below. Let’s start a conversation; we can’t always be talking about “Breaking Bad.”