05/18/2024

Some Crim

Track the Untold Stories

Under The Bridge Episode 4 Recap

Under the Bridge Episode 4 Provides Important Context to Reena’s Story

The post Under the Bridge Episode 4 Provides Important Context to Reena’s Story appeared first on Ready Steady Cut.

If you were wondering who killed Reena Virk, then don’t — Episode 4 of Under the Bridge tells you outright, in Reena’s voice: “On November 14, 1997, Kelly Ellard killed me.” Mystery solved.

After Episode 3, we kind of knew this, since Kelly is hiding Reena’s bloody boots in her closet and said ominously to Jo, “I did it for you.” But it’s always nice to have clarity. With that, the Hulu show ceases to be the whodunit it was threatening to become and instead becomes something else entirely — a whydunit, perhaps. “Beautiful British Columbia” proceeds along these lines by opening not just with Reena’s narration but also with flashbacks of her family’s backstory and what led them to Saanich, starting with her grandparents in 1951.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

This episode weaves the flashback sequences in amongst the girls from Seven Oaks visiting Reena’s home for dinner and meeting her parents for the first time. And let me be the first to tell you all — the present-day sequences are utterly tortuous. There’s so much underlying disrespect in the whole thing, from the girls trying on Reena’s favorite saris to snickering at Manjit’s prayer at the dinner table. Even if we didn’t have the knowledge that these girls eventually kill Reena, it’d still be awful.

But we do have that knowledge, and the flashbacks provide additional context for not just how Suman and Manjit met but how their religion has defined the relationship and life in Canada. The flashbacks make the 1997 sequences even harder to watch because we understand how essential these things are to Reena’s family, and see how easily they’re mocked and derided by her so-called “friends”.

Reena and Manjit See Things Entirely Differently

The dinner takes a turn when Manjit very earnestly expresses sympathy for the girls having been “abandoned” and left to fend for themselves, which they don’t take kindly to. And yes, it’s an insensitive thing to express to vulnerable teenage girls who live in a group home, but it’s also well-intentioned. Manjit isn’t trying to offend anyone. He’s being forthright in a culture he still doesn’t entirely understand because it has never quite accepted him for who he is.

But the real tragedy is that Reena can’t see his side of it. She thinks his meddling is ruining her life; that her life is already ruined because it’s different from everyone else’s, despite how hard her family has worked to provide it for her and how, whatever they say, Jo and the other girls would quietly give anything for half of the comforts that Reena has enjoyed.

Why Does Reena Accuse Her Father of Assault?

Under The Bridge Episode 4 | Image via Hulu

But this isn’t what they say to Reena, obviously. Instead, they talk up the “freedom” of the group home. Jo explains how she begged her mother to leave her there, since now nobody tells her what to do. And Reena is compelled by the idea of having that same freedom herself. This is where the accusation against Manjit comes from. Jo suggested it to Reena as a way to get out of the “prison” she lives in.

The horror in Under the Bridge Episode 4 isn’t that Reena falsely accused her father of molesting her, but that in so doing she threw the sacrifices he had made to facilitate her life back in his face. The scenes where she’s compelled to do this are deliberately juxtaposed with flashbacks revealing how Manjit divorced himself from the family faith to become a Jehovah’s Witness, to share Suman’s values and beliefs. He shed his own identity to create a new one for himself with the woman he loved, and in that crucible of devotion, they had a family. This is what Reena is rejecting.

But this only reiterates Reena’s larger point that stories don’t have beginnings or ends. They’re assemblies of individual moments and personal viewpoints. As Reena settles into her new room at Seven Oaks, her father is being driven away in a police car. But her relief is real — she feels she has achieved the freedom she was coveting so much. She doesn’t understand the cost, in the same way that her father didn’t realize how upsetting it might be to remind his dinner guests of their abandonment.

All stories are like this. It just so happens that this one is a tragedy — and an avoidable one at that.

The post Under the Bridge Episode 4 Provides Important Context to Reena’s Story appeared first on Ready Steady Cut.