Most of the episode consists of a race against time, as the cops and the FBI try to find Maria before she dies of being staked to the desert floor. The know-it-all feds, represented by Agents Heller and Gedman, are treating this like a standard ransom situation, even though our local folks know better. The problem is that nobody seems to be coming up with the million-dollar ransom payment. Well, at least not on the U.S. side of the border.
However, Charlotte finally gets the message and agrees to allow the reopening of the tunnel between Mexico and her ranch. No sooner has she done that than someone wants to use it. That someone is none other than Fausto Galvan, the cartel boss Ruiz warned Cross about a couple of weeks ago. Sick of all the cops swarming the border, he intimidates the tunnel's boss into letting him use it to carry a million dollars into the U.S. his own damn self. In private, Galvan presents the cash to Ruiz, who has plenty of reservations about accepting it but realizes that you don't say no to Fausto Galvan. Meanwhile, Charlotte still has a part to play in the story when she returns Ruiz's wallet to the police station, which her stepdaughter knows all about. And now so does Kitty the receptionist.
As for Steven Linder, whatever else he may or may not have done, he clearly didn't kill Eva Guerra. That's because Eva is still alive, and Linder delivers her safely into the hands of a Christian rancher/borderline cult leader. He promises her that the man looking for her will never find her there. But don't worry; even if Linder's not a killer, he's still pretty creepy and weird.
Using Daniel Frye as his conduit per usual, the killer gives instructions on how to deliver the ransom payment, confirming that Agent Gedman will be doing the actual drop. Even with Ruiz riding along, this operation goes quickly sour. Fortunately for Maria, Cross was able to figure out where she is based on a clue from the live video feed, allowing her and Lieutenant Wade to rescue her in time. But Gedman quickly goes off comm and disappears. When Ruiz and the feds move in, Frye discovers what is presumably Gedman's headless body, while Ruiz is attacked, threatened, and knocked unconscious by the killer.
But it could have gone worse, because in addition to sparing Ruiz, the killer leaves Ruiz three gifts: the ransom money, untouched; Gedman's head; and a juicy clue in the form of a cell phone video proving that one of Cristina Fuentes' johns was Gedman himself. That's right; those legs that were found spliced to half of the dead judge on the bridge? Gedman had been between them. Wait a minute -- did this show just get interesting?
After the previouslies (undocumented Mexican woman kidnapped and shown nailed to the desert floor on a live online video feed) and some glamorous aerial shots of El Paso, Lieutenant Wade is storming into the busy police station and demanding of the room at large, "Whose idea was this internet horseshit anyway?" In this context, or just in general? Kitty meets him at the front desk with a cup of coffee and word that the FBI is on the way. "Figured as much," he grumps, heading straight over to where Cross and Ruiz are standing over Tim Cooper's desk, monitoring the Times's live feed of Maria Que-llamo pinned to the desert floor. "It's gone viral, as they say," Cooper informs Wade, which Wade doesn't think sounds good. Just shows you how internet-savvy he's not. Ruiz says that according to his sergeant in Juarez, they're calling the killer the Bridge Butcher. Is that as catchy in Spanish? El Carnicero Puente ? I don't think so.
Cross tattles that Daniel Frye was the one who leaked it. I was kind of wondering how this ended up on the Times website when both of its reporters were holed up across the border as of last night. Wade asks Cooper to trace the source of the webcast with some "computer judo," but Cooper is being stymied by the numerous proxies routing the transmission. Of course we knew the killer wouldn't make an obvious mistake like that anyway. "She's got a day at best," Ruiz says. Wade tells Cooper to put together a search team to make sure it doesn't turn into a "goat rodeo," whatever that means. Good thing the boss is finally there to tell everyone how to proceed, because otherwise it never would have occurred to anyone to start looking for her. He also angrily orders, "Drag Frye's sorry ass in here now!" Cross and Ruiz head out to make it so, I guess because they're Frye's favorite cops or something.
Charlotte drives her Escalade out to a spot on one of her ranch's dirt roads where Cesar has apparently been busy burying Rio, the recently dead horse. "You're going to have to fix that," she says, pointing out a hoof sticking out. On the one hand, how does one guy cut down and bury a horse all by himself without anyone noticing? And on the other, apparently he drags it off somewhere behind his truck and piles dirt on top of it without even bothering to pull off the road. Charlotte doesn't want her stepdaughter Kate to know about this and tells Cesar to make up some story about how they sold Rio. She wonders how nobody heard it happen. "I was sleeping," Cesar says after a pause. Which may be his way of discreetly saying that nobody could have been expected to hear anything over the racket of her sexing up that Mexican police detective last night. She says something about upgrading the whole security system, which Cesar says won't help. "She wants that tunnel opened." "And if I don't?" Charlotte asks. "It won't be a horse next time." After pacing for a moment, Charlotte finally gives in, and Cesar says he'll take care of it. "The less you know, the better." Charlotte seems to accept this, clearly too stressed out to consider the obvious clues that this was an inside job. Et tu, Cesar?