Did anyone else notice the credits at the beginning of this week’s episode of ‘The Killing’? I was surprised to see Jonathan Demme’s name pop up as director. Perhaps that played a part in this being the best episode of the season by far.
After realizing that Demme had directed, I scrambled to his IMDb page to see if he’d directed any other ‘Killing’ episodes. Nope. Just this one, ‘Reckoning’. The episode has some great emotional turns that really represent what makes ‘The Killing’ watchable – and maybe even downright good – every once in a while. A commentor on my last recap pointed out that a show just about Holder and Linden solving crimes would be great. (Thanks, Fab4!) I’m inclined to agree. Buddy cop shows like ‘Law & Order: SVU’ keep going and going for years, even though their leads are cardboard cut-outs of tough cop caricatures. Holder and Linden actually have some substance, something that makes you want to know more about them. It’s just that this season has gotten so obsessed with unraveling a murder mystery that it’s forgotten that its two most interesting characters are languishing away. They’re always in the foreground, but they’ve taken a back seat to the outrageous plotting and the halting stop-start scenes at the prison.
Everything from the joking cigarette fight between Holder and Linden, to Holder breaking down and trying to kiss Linden (I knew their sexual tension would reach a tipping point) is done extremely well here. It’s what I’ve been wanting from the past eight episodes of this new season, but it just hadn’t been there before.
For me, the very best part of this season – and maybe the entire series – is that emotionally tense minute and a half where Linden tries like hell to warn Holder not to open the trunk of the taxi. She knows that Bullet’s body is in there, and she wants to spare him the grisly discovery. It especially hurts when he realizes that he so easily could’ve prevented the whole thing. Sure, everyone says, “It’s not your fault,” but that’s why it’s so tough, right? Because it is. Watching Linden run through the crowds of police and down the stairs reminded me why I keep tuning into this show even though it usually gives me seven episodes of mediocre rain-drenched fluff punctuated by truly poignant and masterful moments.
But I still can’t shake the feeling that I have about the prison guards. The writers are still trying to remind us that those guys exist for more reason than simply being prison guards. Then we get the shot of Frank’s kid walking out of his house in handcuffs because he shot his mom’s boyfriend. Hopefully, that’s all that story was building to. If it was, then it was extremely undercooked in the first place. There has been little reason to care about Frank, his reckless kid or his cheating wife. Still, I can’t help but think that one of those guards will turn out to be the man who killed Seward’s wife.
My prediction is that Linden and Holder find out who killed Seward’s wife right at the moment the trap door opens and Seward’s neck snaps.
Note to AMC: Please have Jonathan Demme direct more episodes of ‘The Killing’.