Under the Bridge Episode 5 (“When the Heat Comes Down”) Recap and Ending Explained: Created by Quinn Shephard, “Under the Bridge” is an eight-part Hulu limited series based on Rebecca Godfrey’s 2004 true crime book of the same name. In the last episode, “Beautiful British Columbia,” the investigation of Reena Virk’s vicious murder took a back seat as it deftly explored the story of the Virk family. In a parallel narrative, the 4th episode also showcased the disastrous visit of Kelly and Josephine to the Virk household. It all escalated to push Reena Virk to say an atrocious lie, believing she’d free herself from the repressive family dynamics and gain friendship at Seven Oaks. 

In “Under the Bridge,” episode 5, “When the Heat Comes Down,” Reena Virk’s murder inquiry takes center stage. Saanich police officer Cam Bentland (Lily Gladstone) firmly believes Kelly is the guilty party. She tries to rattle the cage to divide the teenagers and get a confession. Meanwhile, Rebecca Godfrey (Riley Keough) goes on her own journey to find out what happened to Reena on the night of November 14, 1997. She gets acquainted with Warren G (Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton), who reminds Rebecca of her late brother, Gabe. But he makes a teary-eyed confession about that fateful night, which unsettles Rebecca. 

Now, let’s see in detail what happened in “Under the Bridge” episode 5, “When the Heat Comes Down.” Spoilers Ahead.

Under the Bridge Episode 5 “When the Heat Comes Down” Recap: 

Finding Reena’s shoes at Kelly’s place

“Under the Bridge” episode 5, “When the Heat Comes Down,” opens with Kelly Ellard (Izzy G) picking up Reena’s (Vritika Gupta) shoes after drowning her. Then, it cuts to Kelly’s wardrobe, where she has stashed those shoes. In the 3rd episode “Blood Oath,” Josephine (Chloe Guidry) and Dusty (Aiyana Goodfellow) found Reena’s shoes in Kelly’s wardrobe, and Kelly, addressing Josephine, coldly says, “I did it for you.” At this point, it becomes clear that Kelly is a nutcase with zero empathy. Dusty, who was Reena’s only friend, is visibly distressed. But Kelly nonchalantly says that she has done a favor to all of them by killing Reena. 

Kelly believes if she hadn’t silenced Reena, she would have gone to the cops and made it a big issue. Whatever Kelly’s logic behind the killing, the simple truth is she doesn’t consider Reena as a human being. However, beyond this truth, there are also a few other unsettling truths in this case that are hard to swallow, which will hopefully be explored later in the series. Joe and Kelly force the omerta code on Dusty. When Kelly offers Reena’s shoes to Joe, she doesn’t accept, saying it’s not her size. 

What does Cam and Rebecca discuss about the case?

Cam arrives at the church to attend Reena Virk’s funeral service. She sees that Rebecca is also present. After the service, Reena’s uncle Raj (Anoop Desai) introduces Rebecca to Manjit (Ezra Faroque Khan) and Suman Virk (Archie Panjabi). He says Rebecca is trying to write a book on Reena. When Suman inquires what Rebecca is going to write about Reena, the author says she wants people to remember Reena for who she is rather than for what happened to her. Furthermore, Rebecca seeks Suman’s help to understand Reena better. But Suman bluntly says she didn’t understand her daughter. 

Later, Cam and Rebecca meet to discuss the case. Cam confirms that whatever Raj said to Rebecca about the Manjit case (episode 3) is true. The girls – Kelly and Joe – misled Reena into giving a complaint against her dad, which made the state place Reena in foster care and also led to Manjit’s humiliating arrest. Rebecca says she needs to gain Joe’s trust to learn who is behind Reena’s murder. When Cam feels that’s impossible, Rebecca cites how Perry Smith told a lot of things he never told his investigators to Truman Capote. Subsequently, Rebecca advises Cam to address the media. 

Why does Cam addresses the ‘race’ motive?

While the sheriff and Cam’s adoptive father, Roy (Matt Craven), don’t want to offer anything to the media, Rebecca thinks speaking to the media might spook Reena’s killers and make them do something reckless. Cam also asks Rebecca to keep talking with the girls. The media people question Roy if race is a reason for Reena’s murder. Roy smugly states they are a peace-loving multi-ethnic community, and race is never a problem. But Cam speaks her mind and mentions that evidence suggests race could be a factor. Then, Cam openly says that they believe a group of Reena’s peers were involved in her attack and murder. Cam mentions the incident under the bridge to the press. She says anyone who participated in Reena’s attack is an accessory in Reena’s murder. 

Cam’s attempt to rattle the cage seems to be working pretty well as Joe, Dusty, and Warren watch it with trepidation. But Kelly, as usual, watches this with apathy, like the deranged person she is. While driving back to the station, Roy asks why Cam talked about the race motive to the media. First, Cam speaks of the cigarette burns on Reena’s forehead, which is a result of someone not seeing Reena as human. Then, Cam is disturbed to learn the institutionalized racism behind Manjit’s arrest. Cam says the officer who investigated Reena’s claim of her dad’s physical abuse didn’t find any proof of bruises in Reena. Cam believes Manjit was arrested and booked because he is not white. 

What do the police find in Kelly’s school locker?

However, Roy defends the system. He says the officers in child protection services have seen a lot of gruesome things. Roy recalls how Cam was found covered with bruises, and she eventually got into a good home. The sheriff proclaims they are the good guys. The episode also shows bits and pieces from the recent past, i.e., Reena’s stay at Seven Oaks after Manjit’s arrest. Reena forms a bond of sorts with Joe. But Reena also feels terrible about the lie. Reena wonders what Joe felt when she made up things about her mom’s boyfriend. Joe says she never made up things. It all happened to her, and Joe wishes, one day, like a movie gangster, she kills that guy. 

After Cam’s press meet, things get chaotic at the school. Media people hound Joe and Dusty as they enter the school. There’s a heavy police presence on the premises. Students’ bags and lockers are checked. The police confiscate a notebook from Kelly’s locker. In the notebook, Cam sees a racist drawing of Reena with cigarette burns on her forehead. Kelly, Joe, and Dusty also see Cam looking at the notebook. The girls immediately leave the school through a backdoor, where they come across Rebecca. 

Under the Bridge Episode 5 "When the Heat Comes Down" Recap
A still from “Under the Bridge” Episode 5 “When the Heat Comes Down”

Suman stands by her husband Manjit Virk

Rebecca says Cam is after them. Therefore, if the girls need help getting away from this, they need to talk with Rebecca. The author takes them to a diner and slyly attempts to get a confession. Kelly and Joe are so lost in the cuckooland that they believe by escaping to Mexico, they can avoid the punishment. Rebecca plays their game and promises to get a ticket for the ferry tomorrow morning after celebrating her dad’s birthday. She also asks if the girls have any evidence that might incriminate them in Reena’s murder. At this point, it’s evident to Kelly that Rebecca isn’t genuinely trying to help them. Kelly asks Rebecca for some money. When there isn’t enough money, Kelly asks Rebecca to drive them to a place where they can get cash. 

At the Virk household, Manjit watches a news report talking about Reena’s sexual abuse allegation against her father. Subsequently, Manjit recalls the nightmare he went through a couple of months earlier. Manjit was released on bail after spending a few days in jail. But not before he was subjected to a cop’s racist remark and a tough court hearing. Suman vouches for Manit, and the judge asks Manjit not to have any contact with his daughter, Reena. If Manjit stays at his home after the bail, Reena will have to stay at the foster care home. Suman’s mom nudges Suman to choose Reena over Manjit. But Suman stands firm and says she believes in her husband. Though Joe befriends Reena while they are alone at Seven Oaks, under Kelly’s presence, Joe, as usual, ignores Reena. Kelly vehemently refuses to accept Reena as a member of their group. 

Does Reena understand her mistake?

In the present, the girls take Rebecca to the abandoned shipyard, where the boys’ gang, Crips, hang out. It seems Kelly has deliberately brought Rebecca to the place in order to get away from her. They leave her with the gangster wannabe boys, who think Rebecca is a cop. But Warren speaks for Rebecca, and to prove she is not a cop, Rebecca takes a pill from the boys. After leaving the place, Kelly thinks they need to divert the police’s attention to someone else, at least until they escape to Mexico. Hence, someone calls the police and names Warren as the sole perpetrator. Rebecca is unable to drive back home after taking the pill. The drug-induced high literally makes her see Warren as her late brother Gabe. Warren suggests Rebecca stay there a bit until the drug’s effects wear off. 

In the recent past, Reena walks to her home to get some clothes. But only Manjit is present at the house. The father is actually afraid to let his daughter in. Manjit says he is not allowed any contact with her, and he worries Reena might say more lies to the authorities. But when Reena walks away from the home, Manjit discreetly opens the front door and places some of Reena’s clothes. Finally, understanding how much she has hurt her dad and family, Reena writes to the Crown, acknowledging her lies against her father. 

Under the Bridge Episode 5 “When the Heat Comes Down” Ending Explained:

What Dusty says to Reena?

Dusty visits Reena in her room. The black girl apologizes for the way they treat her and says she is only part of their group (CMC) because they need her as a bouncer. Otherwise, Joe and Kelly’s group primarily includes white girls. Dusty also gives Reena her mom’s earrings, which were among Joe’s belongings. Subsequently, Reena suggests they can be friends and have their own group. In the present, after learning about Kelly’s Mexico plan, Dusty thinks of visiting her mom one last time. 

Dusty implores her mom to take her back. In the past, Dusty tried to hurt her step-sister, which is the reason for her stay at Seven Oaks. Now, Dusty assures her mom she will be helpful. But nothing can change the mom’s mind, as she has already called the cops on Dusty. There’s a protection order in place, so Cam comes to take Dusty back to Seven Oaks. As the drug gradually wears off, Rebecca talks to Warren about her brother, who died in a drowning incident. She still harbors guilt for the incident, believing she could have done something to stop it. Warren also makes a confession and cryptically starts by saying he saw what happened to Reena. It seems Rebecca has found her Perry Smith for the book. 

What did Warren see on the night of Reena’s murder?

Cam takes Dusty to the station and questions her about the call she made today to the police. In the tape, Dusty says Warren told her that he is going to kill Reena Virk. To Cam, it’s apparent that Kelly and Joe made Dusty make the call. But Dusty maintains her silence and believes that ratting out on her so-called friends is the worst offense. Cam tries applying some pressure on Dusty to force a confession. But the girl stands firm and writes down that Warren killed Reena. Meanwhile, Warren confesses that Kelly followed and attacked Reena the second time. He was with Kelly, although he did nothing to stop her, and also became an accessory to Reena’s murder. 

“Under the Bridge,” episode 5, “When the Heat Comes Down,” ends with Kelly smoking and bragging to Joe about how she killed Reena. Dusty overhears this. She gets furious and smacks the demented Kelly. When Dusty leaves, Joe tells Kelly they might have to ‘do something’ about Dusty before she goes to the cops. Then, Kelly and Joe ask Dusty to pack up for their trip to Mexico. Though Kelly and Joe think of themselves as super smart, it looks like they will soon get caught by their own foolishness. Moreover, it’d be intriguing to see how Rebecca’s profound empathy for Warren obstructs her ability to approach Reena’s murder investigation objectively. 

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Under the Bridge Episode 5 “When the Heat Comes Down” Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
Under the Bridge Episode 5 Cast: Lily Gladstone, Riley Keough, Vritika Gupta, Archie Panjabi, Izzy G, Ezra Faroque Khan, Chloe Guidry, Aiyana Goodfellow, and Javon Walton

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