The Ending of ‘Under the Bridge’ Episode 4 Is Haunting

under the bridge
The Ending of ‘Under the Bridge’ E4 Is HauntingDarko Sikman

Episode 4 of Under the Bridge begins with an epilogue from Reena Virk. “On November 14, 1997, Kelly Ellard killed me,” she says. For those who aren’t familiar with Virk’s true story, this might come as a surprise revelation. Before we get to that (and sort out Warren Glowatski’s involvement), Reena emphasizes the importance of understanding her life in its totality. “Stories have no end and no beginning,” she says. “We always get a piece plucked from the whole.”

Well, not this time, folks. Episode 4 jumps between 1951, 1979, and 1997 to reveal how the Virks wound up in Canada—and, more important, how their environment shaped Reena’s fate. Let’s begin, shall we?

We’re first introduced to Reena’s grandparents, who immigrated to Canada from India in 1951. “They thought this beautiful place would fulfill their dreams,” Reena narrates. For a while, it did. The young couple arrived in Canada with bright eyes and open minds. The neighborhood they settled in was suburban, lush, and filled with young families. Unfortunately, none of their neighbors were interested in mingling. One hateful resident even spray-painted “Go home” on their garage. The community ostracizes the couple until a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses show up (wearing traditional Indian garb) and encourage them to join their church.

Cut to 1997. Now it’s Reena who struggles to fit in. One night, Josephine, Kelly, and Dusty stop by for dinner. The girls are—as we all could’ve guessed—catty and insensitive. They spend the evening giggling at her family’s customs. Reena’s mother, Suman, is instantly skeptical of their intentions. “Every day she’s more like them,” she tells Manjit. He reminds her that once, not so long ago, they also defied their parents’ expectations.

At this point, we jolt back to 1979—when Manjit and Suman first met. Manjit travels to Canada to visit his sister and runs into Suman at a party. Her parents have been trying to set her up with a Jehovah’s Witness, but Manjit steps in, sensing her discomfort. Suman’s parents aren’t pleased. Under the Bridge delivers a few more flashbacks between 1979 and 1997, but we’ll save you the confusion and sum it up: Manjit and Suman escape the party and go for a walk, which becomes their very first date. Soon after, they fall in love, and Manjit asks her parents for their blessing to be together.

Sounds nice, right? Nope. Suman’s mom suggests he’s only interested in her daughter for citizenship, which effectively ends their relationship. Later on, Manjit shaves his beard—it’s a big deal—and converts to their religion as a symbol of his commitment to Suman. It works (!). They live happily ever after…until a group of teenagers ruin everything. Where have we seen this before?

Now that you’re up to speed, let’s return to 1997. It’s September, just two months before Reena’s death, and the Virks are still struggling to connect with her friends at dinner. While they eat homemade pizza, Manjit asks the girls about their backgrounds. First, he questions Dusty. How did she end up at the Seven Oaks foster home? “My sister used to take care of me,” Dusty says, “but I did some stupid stuff and she kicked me out.” That solves that. As for Josephine? Well, before he can ask any questions, Manjit drones on about how unfair it is that she doesn’t have a family. For what it’s worth, he offers his support, but Josephine takes offense to his pity. She storms out—and Reena follows suit.

under the bridge
Manjit is confronted by the police.Darko Sikman

That evening, Suman realizes her earrings are gone and Reena notices her bird, Smooch, is missing. Suman accuses the girls of theft. Surely they stole them. She and Manjit try to make Reena understand that Josephine, Kelly, and Dusty aren’t real friends, but it’s no use. Reena wails, “Well, at least they let me hang out with them. No one else does.” The poor girl never stood a chance.

Later on, Reena shows up to Seven Oaks to tell the girls that—per her parents’ instructions— they can’t be friends anymore. She asks for her belongings back, too, but Kelly denies taking them. “Why would I want those ugly earrings and your dumb fucking bird?” she says. Meanwhile, Josephine likens Reena’s perfectly lovely home to a concentration camp. “Honestly, I feel sorry for you,” she says. “Compared to your insane house, I’m living in paradise over here.” Remember, Seven Oaks is a poorly staffed home for troubled youth. These are essentially free-range children, but to Reena, that sounds like pure bliss. Josephine can sense that she wants in and decides to test her loyalty. “If you’re really that miserable, I do know a way you can get out there. You’re going to have to be a gangster.”

So how does she do it? By accusing her father of sexual abuse. (Yes, really.) The episode ends with the police confronting Manjit; Reena accused him of molestation. While he’s hauled off in handcuffs, Reena enters her new digs at Seven Oaks. It’s only downhill from here, folks.

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