Bridge and Tunnel Episode 1 recap: Are Jill and Jimmy meant to be?

Bridge and Tunnel Episode 1 - Credit: Myles Aronowitz/Epix
Bridge and Tunnel Episode 1 - Credit: Myles Aronowitz/Epix /

Are you looking for an easy, breezy, low-key series to take your mind off the world and endless pandemic news cycle for a while? If so, then the latest EPIX series Bridge and Tunnel should be perfect for you. Created by Edward Burns, Bridge and Tunnel Episode 1 sets up the story of six recent college grads and their post-college journey in 1980 Long Island and Manhattan.

Bridge and Tunnel Episode 1 opens on Jimmy’s (Sam Vartholomeos) graduation night with him and his ex-girlfriend Jill (Caitlin Stasey) falling back into their old habits by hooking up in a bathroom. Jimmy gets so caught up in having Jill back in his arms that he even leaves his prized camera behind, and that’s the perfect metaphor for the problematic nature of Jimmy and Jill’s relationship.

Throughout the first episode, we find out that no one in Jimmy or Jill’s life is necessarily supportive of the pair potentially getting back together. Sure, they’re both still in love with each other, but as Jill says, their “futures aren’t compatible.” Even Jimmy’s parents worry that by getting in bed with Jill again — literally and figuratively — he could be threatening his future as a photographer for National Geographic, the dream he’s been chasing since he was a kid.

Jill’s best friend Stacey (Isabella Farrell) points out that Jill is a city girl and Jimmy is a nature boy. He has his sights set on Alaska for his photography while Jill is preparing to follow her own dreams of becoming a fashion designer in Manhattan.

Bridge and Tunnel Episode 1
Bridge and Tunnel Episode 1 – Credit: Myles Aronowitz/Epix /

Bridge and Tunnel Episode 1 recap: Jill tries to break things off with Jimmy

Stacey convinces Jill that starting things up again with Jimmy isn’t in her best interests and advises her to cancel their second planned date. But Jill can’t quite bring herself to do it over the phone, so instead, she and Jimmy decide that their old gang should meet up at their favorite neighborhood pub to reminisce on old times.

Stacey, Jill and their friend Tammy (Gigi Zumbado) drive to the tavern together and discuss their evening plans inside the car before entering. Stacey wants Tammy and Jill to keep her from fooling around with her ex, Mikey (Jan Luis Castellanos), since she’s getting serious with a guy in Manhattan now and wants to try being a “good girl.”

But that goes out the window the second Jill points out that now is Tammy’s chance to make a move on Mikey since she’s had a huge crush on him forever. Stacey immediately takes offense since he’s her ex, although Tammy argues it doesn’t really count since it was back in high school and they were very on-and-off. It doesn’t matter because the second Stacey sees Mikey, she’s all over him like no time has passed at all.

Elsewhere the sixth member of the group, Pags (Brian Muller), tries to make a move on Tammy since the other members of their group have coupled up. Tammy isn’t interested. But they get to talking about their futures. Tammy was accepted into Columbia after being waitlisted. Well, Pags was waitlisted at Columbia’s law school too, and hasn’t heard back yet. He assumes the worst.

As for Jill and Jimmy, Jimmy immediately notices that something is off with Jill since their fantastic night together. She’s acting odd toward him and doesn’t seem inclined to spend any more one-on-one time with him. Eventually, Jill admits that she doesn’t think they should start anything up again because their futures aren’t compatible, and she doesn’t want to hurt him again. Oops. Too late for that, Jill!

Jimmy is disappointed because he doesn’t see why they have to think about the future when they can be together until it becomes too hard. Ultimately, Jill, Stacey and Tammy bail early, although not without Stacey kissing Mikey and telling him to call her. Ultimately, the only one out of the guys who has a good night is Mikey since Jimmy has been dumped yet again, and Pags has just realized he might not have gotten accepted to law school.

Bridge and Tunnel Episode 1
Bridge and Tunnel Episode 1 – Credit: Myles Aronowitz/Epix /

Bridge and Tunnel Episode 1 recap: Final thoughts on the premiere

Bridge and Tunnel is a very simple show, and I think that’s why I like it. It’s just a series about six college grads who are back in their old stomping grounds for the weekend for the first time in a long time and the way they naturally resume their old habits and pecking order. I was immediately drawn into the story and character relationships because the core group has nice, easygoing chemistry.

The dialogue and friendships feel real and believable. Plus, I can’t tell you how nice it is to see a show that’s about college kids/young adults for once. As much as I love teen dramas, it really has gotten old seeing oversexualized teenagers being played by adults (I’m looking at you Euphoria/Riverdale) and generally being put into situations that no teen would ever be in. I never understood why more shows wouldn’t just put their characters in college if they wanted to tackle adult content! But, I digress.

Something I really enjoyed about Bridge and Tunnel is the vibe. It’s in the ’80s, which is always a fun era to see explored. Most of the episode consists of friends just hanging out and having natural conversations. I could see how some might find it boring, but I found it earnest and believable.

If the writing or chemistry were off, this show wouldn’t work — but they do, so it’s a fun, short watch. Edward Burns chatted with Variety about how filming this series during the pandemic affected the show’s production. He noted that they had to change several scenes to make them safer, either by basing them on Long Island instead of the city, cutting down on the number of people in the scene or moving it outside.

He said he wanted to “embrace the simple pleasures of a smaller world,” including “sitting on your front stoop with your girlfriend, just talking; sitting on the hood of your car sharing a beer with a friend, grilling in the backyard, family dinners.” And I think that’s really charming and refreshingly grounded! There are so few shows like that now when everything is either extremely melodramatic or genre-heavy.

Next. 6 shows unrenewed due to COVID-19. dark

You can catch the first episode of Bridge and Tunnel right now on EPIX. New episodes drop on Sundays, or you can watch live on the EPIX channel at 9 p.m. ET.