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Under the Bridge: Episodes 1 & 2 Review

Lily Gladstone wears her detective uniform and listens to someone in episodes 1 and 2 of Under the Bridge

In episodes 1 and 2, Under the Bridge explores a grisly true-crime tale of a shocking teen murder that made international headlines and rattled the world.

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

Under the Bridge is Hulu’s latest limited series that true crime fans won’t soon forget. Not only does it involve a shocking murder, but it also involves the one thing all young girls fear: mean girls—moreover, being the target of mean girls. They tease, bully, embarrass, and humiliate, and their behavior produces effects that often spiral out of control and, in some cases, end in horror, which is what we’re dealing with here.

Under the Bridge explores the true story behind a shocking teen murder that made international headlines and rattled the world, and continues to haunt area residents to this day. Premiere episodes 1 and 2 waste no time with a set-up and instead drop us right into the action of this grisly tale, which is rooted in horror and wonder, innocence and beauty, and violence and sin. “Young girls are supposed to be protected,” we are told, “not be protected from.”

Based on late author Rebecca Godfrey’s book of the same name, Under the Bridge tells the truth behind the disappearance, and subsequent murder, of 14-year-old Reena Virk (Vritika Gupta, of Launchpad) in Saanich, British Columbia, Canada on the island of Victoria. It’s the kind of place Godfrey describes as having a storybook-quality weirdness to it, the kind of place that only seems strange once you’ve lived there, left, and then returned to … eerie. And that’s the exact tone of everything about this series from setting to music to cinematography.

In episode 1, we are introduced to Rebecca ‘Becca’ Godfrey (Riley Keough, of Daisy Jones and the Six) as she returns to her childhood home in Victoria because she’s working on a book about the misunderstood girls of the area—specifically those of a girls’ foster home called Seven Oaks. It’s clear Becca doesn’t want to be there at all; Victoria holds too many painful personal memories for her. But after learning about Reena’s disappearance and getting a clear impression that some of the Seven Oaks girls know more than they’re letting on, Becca’s curiosity is peaked, and she can’t help but stick to find out the truth.

We’re also introduced to other key players, like Saanich police officer and detective on Reena’s case Cam Bentland (Lily Gladstone, of Killers of the Flower Moon), Reena’s family, and mean girl Josephine ‘Jo” Bell (Chloe Guidry, of The Park) and her gang of followers, aka the Crip Mafia Cartel, Kelly Ellard (Izzy G., of The Highwaymen), Dusty Pace (Aiyana Goodfellow, of Invasion), Laila Zahran (Arta Negahban), Maya Longette (Maya Da Costa, of The Healing Powers of Dude), and Warren Glowatski (Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton, of The Umbrella Academy).

Vritika Gupta sits on a log in front of the shool bus as Reena in episodes 1 and 2 of Under the Bridge
Vritika Gupta is Reena in episodes 1 and 2 of Under the Bridge (Bettina Strauss / Hulu)

Episode 1 also gives us the events that occurred on the day Reena went missing, which was also her birthday. In Reena’s family, their culture does not celebrate birthdays; that’s considered Pagan. So, when Reena goes to Seven Oaks to try and celebrate with Jo and her group with a CD Reena’s uncle secretly gifted to her, Jo calls Reena out for jumping on her bed, embarrasses and humiliates her in front of the very group Reena longed to be accepted by, then ostracizes her from any of their activities.

Reena, hurt and angry, lashes out by stealing Jo’s “little black book” and calling everyone in it and spreading rumors about Jo.  When Jo hears of this, she lures Reena to the very party she ostracized her from just so the Crip Mafia Cartel can jump her in retaliation. And they did. They chased her to under Craigflower Bridge where Jo extinguished a lit cigarette between Reena’s eyebrows before she and her group, whom the media dubbed the Shoreline Six, beat the ever-loving crap out of her and set her hair on fire.

Episode 2 shifts and gives us more insight into who Det. Bentland is. As it turns out, she and Godfrey not only know each other but also have a history together spanning back to when they were children. Bentland was a resident of Seven Oaks, and she was close friends not just with Becca but also with Becca’s family and late brother Gabe. Gladstone seems a perfect choice to play Bentland, bringing the same intrigue and quiet toughness to her character as she did in Killers of the Flower Moon. There’s something about Gladstone and it all lies in her eyes.

Episode 2 also gives us a peek into Reena’s home life and the way her family operates. Just as secrets swarm around what happened to Reena and by whom, they also swarm around what her family is hiding, which might have something to do with how Reena behaves when home around them. One thing’s for sure by the end of this episode: Everyone has secrets, and what you think you know actually couldn’t be any further from the truth.

While Under the Bridge’s premiere episodes successfully present us with the harsh realities behind what happened to Reena, they also leave us with just as many questions and prove to us there’s much more to this mystery than meets the eye.

Episodes 1 & 2 of Under the Bridge will be available to watch on Hulu on April 17, 2024. New 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 read the true story of Reena Virk’s murder and our review and recap of episode 3!

Under the Bridge Episode 3 Recap & Review  – Loud And Clear Reviews
Under the Bridge episode 3 leads us into the hidden worlds of those involved in Reena Virk’s death, and of those investigating it.

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