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Under the Bridge Episode 5 Recap & Review 

Riley Keough leans on a table in Lily Gladstone and Matt Craven in episode 5 of Under the Bridge

Under the Bridge episode 5 turns up the pressure as confessions abound and the heat comes down on those suspected in Reena Virk’s murder.

Creator: Quinn Shephard
Genre: True crime, Drama
Number of episodes: 8
Episode 5 Release Date: May 8, 2024
Where to watch: Hulu

Last week, Under the Bridge was full of shocking revelations that lured us deeper into the hidden worlds of its main characters. Jo (Chloe Guidry, of The Park) and Kelly (Izzy G., of B Positive) revealed themselves as thieves who stole from the Virks, while Reena (Vritika Gupta, of Launchpad) made false accusations against her father to prove to Jo she’s worthy of being a Crip Mafia Cartel member.

Cam (Lily Gladstone, of Killers of the Flower Moon) and Becca (Riley Keough, of Sasquatch Sunset) revealed their relationship as more than just friends, and Kelly confessed to Jo and Dusty (Aiyana Goodfellow, of I Used to Be Famous) that she killed Reena (and took her boots because she knew Jo liked them). Episode 5 unnerves us all by turning up the pressure as fingers are pointed, confessions abound, and the heat comes down on those suspected in Reena Virk’s murder.

Our story continues to unfold in present-day 1997 with bits and pieces of the past woven in. On the day of Reena’s funeral, Kelly tells Jo and Dusty she killed Reena because she knew Reena would’ve called the cops on them for beating her. At the funeral, Cam and Becca decide to work together in securing information from the girls after Cam reveals she knows Reena’s friends put her up to making those false accusations against her father, but she doesn’t have proof. We’re then led into a flashback two months prior to Reena’s disappearance.

It’s a rainy, sleepless night in jail for Manjit and at Seven Oaks for Reena. Jo shows up to Reena’s room with libations, and the teens get drunk and swap stories in what Reena perceives to be a bonding moment, especially when they come up with a gang sign for the Crip Mafia Cartel. Reena’s sees this as confirmation of her acceptance into Jo’s gang, but that’s not all their drunken bonding brings forth: It also reveals the source of Jo’s anger, which is the case with most inherently angry teenagers: trauma.

You see, mean girls aren’t mean just for the fun of it, even though it often seems that way. There’s always a reason, and that reason is usually that someone in their home life is treating or has treated them with the same cruelty. As a result, that treatment imprints an emotional wound on their psyche that, as it grows, infects their actions and reactions towards other people and situations. Sure, they have a choice to choose kindness over cruelty, but when trauma imprints on children at young ages, it can alter brain development and growth, the ability to process information, and it can affect emotional development and regulation. What they experienced as a child becomes embedded in who they become and, as a result, is the only way they know to operate, especially when those emotional wounds are left untreated, as is the case with Jo.

Under the Bridge episode 5 shows us just how deep Jo’s wound runs. It started with her father’s absence, then was made worse by her mother’s decision to choose her boyfriend over her own daughter. The more the boyfriend was around, the more Jo was ignored, and the more she became a target to tease. He’d laugh at and make fun of her—specifically for watching her favorite movies, like Scarface and Goodfellas. The more he teased and bullied, the more she lashed out and the deeper her resentment grew. So, she left. This stands to make sense, then, why, in episode 4, when Manjit got personal and tried connecting with Jo on an emotional level, she clammed up, grew intensely angry, and lashed out. Unbeknownst to Manjit, he was pouring salt into an open wound, and it triggered one hell of a consequential reaction—a reaction Jo would manipulate Reena into doing.

Lily Gladstone and Matt Craven talk to reporters in episode 5 of Under the Bridge
Lily Gladstone and Matt Craven in episode 5 of Under the Bridge (Darko Sikman / Hulu)

The next morning, the girls are in the living room watching tv when Reena enters and flashes the CMC gang sign to Jo in front of Kelly, who gets very territorial and reminds Reena, “I’m Jo’s best friend.” When Reena goes to sit on the couch, Jo blocks her and, with a smirk, says, “CMC only,” then invites Dusty to sit with her and Kelly. Reena is clearly devastated, as she thought they’d bonded the night before and she’d become one of them. They had not, and she had not. Later in her room, we see Reena writing a letter to the Royal Crown confessing to and apologizing for making false abuse allegations against her father. As much as Reena wants Jo to accept her, she’s also starting to realize there might be some truth in what her parents were pointing out about how Jo treats in.

Meanwhile, outside of Reena’s funeral, the media gets wind that her murder is gang-related, and Cam seizes the opportunity to send a message and scare the girls by telling the media what they know: a group of Reena’s friends were involved, Reena was attacked at a shoreline event earlier before she was murdered, and, at this moment, they consider anyone, including those who participated in the shoreline assault, an accessory who will be charged with murder. Sure enough, the pressure intensifies and fills the girls with fear as they panic knowing the heat is getting close to coming down on them.

In a private conversation between Cam and Chief Bentland (Matt Craven, of Justified: City Primeval), we learn Reena accused her dad of tying her to a chair and beating her with a hammer, but she refused to let police examine her for any scars, bruises, or broken bones. Cam believes both Reena’s death and Manjit’s arrest are racial issues, as she was teased and bullied for being different and he was arrested without one shred of physical evidence. This echoes back to the issue of race relations we saw with Reena’s grandparents in episode 4. Ultimately though, the fact there was no physical evidence of assault is what led the Royal Police to expunge these allegations from Manjit’s record, though it’s clear the police think he’s guilty simply because he’s Indian: The officer releasing Manjit after his bail hearing makes the comment he doesn’t “know why  you people do this kind of stuff to your kids”.

As Cam and Chief Bentland remain engaged in this emotionally taut conversation, we finally learn why this case is so important to her: She is a former victim of child abuse and a Seven Oaks resident. While it hasn’t been said outright just yet, Under the Bridge heavily implies Chief Bentland and his family adopted Cam and raised her as one of their own.

Now that Reena’s body has been found and police know who were involved (at least in the beating), students are being questioned about the night under the bridge, and lockers—specifically those belonging to the Crip Mafia Cartel—are being searched. In Kelly’s locker, police find an incriminating drawing of Reena with a cigarette burn between her eyes, but before police can question her, Becca shows up at school and offers the girls an escape route.

To earn their trust back, she hips them to the fact that police are circling all three of them and says she can help them if they let her. While Jo and Dusty believe her, Kelly does not and says they should flee to Mexico but need money first, and she knows just where to get it. So, she has Becca drive them to the Crips clubhouse, where Kelly exposes Becca as a cop lover and throws her to the wolves, so to speak. To prove she’s not a narc, she drops a hit of acid with Warren. The deeper into flight they go, confessions abound as they share crucially intimate secrets.

One thing I must point out here is how above and beyond Rebecca Godfrey went to find out the truth in this case. I feel like she’s going to be the driving force behind the truth coming out, all because of the risks she takes with befriending a known (and cruel) mean girl, as well as an entire group of rebellious, disrespectful teenagers, and in agreeing to work closely with Cam to get as much information as she can out of Jo and her girls. None of what we learn in episode 5 would’ve happened without Becca’s involvement, so it’s important to commend the late author as brave and courageous.

Under the Bridge (Hulu)

While trying to figure out what to do, Kelly tells Dusty and Jo she knows a way they can keep the heat from coming down on them: rat first and point the finger at someone else. So, they do. They each make anonymous phone calls to local police and report seeing Warren Glowatski (Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton, of Euphoria) following Reena the night she walked away from Craigflower Bridge. Troubled, Dusty goes to see her sister and apologizes, begging to move home, but when Dusty’s own niece begs her mother not to let Dusty come back, we learn Dusty was kicked out for holding a knife to her niece’s throat during a fit of rage.

Because Dusty is violating a protection order, Cam shows up to retrieve her and brings her back to the station, where she lets Dusty know that she knows exactly who called in the tips about Warren. “I know you’re lying about Warren following Reena,” Cam tells her. She then warns Dusty of how messy things will become for Warren and for her if she goes through with this witness statement. Dusty wrestles with telling the truth but ultimately recalls her loyalty to Jo and signs a false statement fingering Warren as Reena’s killer.

By the end of episode 5, we’re left unnerved with some pretty major accusations and confessions, as Jo and her gang redirect the heat coming down on them at Warren, as Warren and Becca share crucial secrets, and as Kelly reveals to Jo and Dusty exactly how she killed Reena. Dusty reacts to Kelly’s confession by punching her straight in the face before walking away in an act that signals to Jo and Kelly they can no longer trust her but must make her think otherwise by convincing her they are, in fact, going to Mexico.

Will Dusty return from this road Jo and Kelly are luring her down? Will a sh*tstorm of epic proportions unleash on Warren? Will police find out the truth about Kelly? And will Reena’s parents ever get closure?

Episode 5 of Under the Bridge is now available to watch on Hulu. Future episodes of the series will be released weekly, every Wednesday, for a total of 8 episodes, with the finale airing on May 29. Start your free Hulu trial and come back next Wednesday for our review and recap of episode 6!

Under the Bridge Episode 4 Recap & Review  – Loud And Clear
Under the Bridge episode 4 serves up the biggest shocker so far and exposes what was expunged from Manjit’s criminal record.

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