kyra: You’re probably asking yourself, faithful readers, why there was no recap last week. The answer is a combination of being busy and not thinking Rio was worthy of its own recap. Simply put, I am watching episode 4 right now and can barely remember what happened in episode 3. There was a shocking moment where the guy gets shot right in front of Frye, but besides that what else is there? An empty showdown between Linder and Sonya/Ruiz. Charlotte being stubbornly defiant about closing the tunnel. The guy who fucked Sonya weirdly showing up hoping for round 2, to which she responds “I can’t have sex at work,” matter-of-factly. She is quickly becoming for me the biggest problem with the show. Her Aspergers doesn’t make her endearing, but rather, annoying. Why does she have to have this character flaw? Why does a main character need to succeed in spite of their limitations? Oddly enough, that’s exactly how Ted Levine (Hank)’s old show Monk worked. However, Monk is a comedy, or at least a dramedy. This is supposed to be a serious exploration of the relations between El Paso and Juarez, and I find myself not enjoying the journey when Sonya Cross is along for the ride. That being said, I’m continuing to watch mainly because I have faith in the writer, the ambitions of the story, and there’s not much else on TV right now (Orange is the New Black is on the backburner for now). Last comment: I think the opening of the show sucks. It’s way too short and the music is garbage. It’s too El Paso and not nearly enough Juarez. It certainly wouldn’t make our fantastic top 10 openings of all time list (shameless plug alert). With that, let’s turn to the 4th episode, which I’m gonna write live-blog style. You can discuss anything you want about Rio in the comments and we’re happy to respond.
Maria of the Desert picks up with the one storyline I left out from my recap: the killer has left the kidnapped girl, Maria, tied up in the desert to die of thirst while the internet watches on in horror. Once again, the killer has political undertones in his work–quite a caring guy for someone who’s killed at least 11 people so far.
Oh that’s right, Ruiz fucked Charlotte! I totally forgot about that. Also, could saying “your father loved you very much,” sound any emptier coming out of her mouth? Considering he wanted to break up before he died, I’m hoping this is an intentional play by the actress and not her trying to actually grieve. Otherwise, her acting is not working.
So we finally meet a binoculars-holding cartel boss: Galvan. He’s a small fellow, but I’m sure carries a big stick. Based on the newspaper clipping it seems that crazy dude tracking Linder works for a cartel, but why they want to kill Linder we don’t know yet.
Ah and now Galvan meets with the woman who has the tunnel into Charlotte’s home. After a friendly alcohol in the eyes maneuver he “negotiates” use of her tunnel.
The classic “this is our investigation!” but the FBI are taking over! Looks like we gotta solve this on our own!
Hmmm interesting, Ruiz gets into a car playing sensual music and I assumed it was Charlotte returning his wallet. Instead, it’s Galvan with money to rescue Maria. As Carlos sees immediately, having cops on high alert is bad for business. Are there really no other strings attached here? I guess we’ll find out.
Linder as a good guy in this scene. He has apparently saved Eva from someone out to kill her. Perhaps the actual serial killer? This is the first real instance where the writers have inserted doubt.
2 quick hits: Marco defending Sonya as not being “short bus” to Frye. These partners are really coming to like each other! And apparently there’s some woman named Lisa who died from Sonya’s past. It moves her to tears–a rare showing of emotion for Sonya.
Sonya figures it out and Maria is saved! However, something’s going down at the drop site.
The guy who knocks out Ruiz is wearing black cowboy boots. A clue! And Gedman’s head. Clearly the killer used texting Frye as a test to see if he would follow orders without telling the cops, and Frye obliged. He ends up only finding the headless body though. Finally, the coup de grace–Gedman is some scumbag who fucked Mexican prostitutes. Obviously he had to go.
Looking back: this episode was fine, but I didn’t feel a real sense of urgency in finding the girl the way Breaking Bad for example built tension in the episode Crawl Space. I did like the nice touch of realism with Ruiz grabbing his balls a couple times after jumping–still feeling the effects of the vasectomy. Sonya shows a little emotion, but her character is pretty uneven for my liking. Linder has some interaction we don’t really understand, and that’s kind of a problem for me through these first four episodes. How much more do we really know now that we didn’t know after the pilot? At this point, aside from the murders, the killer’s point of view is pretty sympathetic. Americans don’t give a shit about dozens of murdered Mexicans, but one doe-eyed blonde girl would have the media in a frenzy. This is his explicit message, and likely Meredith Stiehm’s as well. The Wire was able to broadcast its message through ‘showing, not telling.’ This show clearly needs to work on that.
A little disjointed I know, but hopefully back to regularly scheduled programming next week.