‘The Killing’ 3.03 Recap: “Welcome Back”

Unfortunately, it looks as if the perpetually downtrodden duo of Linden and Holder will spend much, if not all, of this season of ‘The Killing’ tracking a serial killer. Is this the last gasp of a show that technically already gasped last?

The serial killer angle is too easy for a show that prides itself on being a bleak and introspective downer that occasionally touches on police work. ‘The Killing’ is all about mood and sorrow. The first two seasons we were focused directly on the Larsen family. For better or worse, we spent oodles of time with them watching as Rosie’s death remained an insurmountable roadblock to them living functional lives. Now the show, with its new serial killer motif, seems to lack focus. This has been done before, and even though ‘The Killing’ will likely do it more solemnly than anyone, that doesn’t change the fact that the show is taking the easy way out.

However, Veena Sud and her fellow writers seemed to foresee the day when viewers might point out the inherent ridiculousness of a serial killer-centric story. That’s why the script for this week’s episode goes out of its way to tell us all what this show won’t do. In the police chief’s big speech to his detectives, he makes a point of saying that they won’t receive any cute coded puzzles, heads in boxes, or clever clues to follow. No, this will be straightforward police work from start to finish.

Peter Sarsgaard continues his unyielding creepiness as a bald loony on death row who may (or may not) have killed his wife and cut off her head. If he isn’t a killer, he sure isn’t helping his case any by acting like one every chance he gets. There’s obviously a few marbles rolling around loose up there. Trying to slash your own throat to commit suicide takes a certain type of crazy. (Side note: How did he wind up with that fancy soap with a razorblade hidden in it?)

On the homeless kids front, I still have a hard time accepting the underage prostitution thing. Not because I don’t believe it exists, but because thinking about it makes me feel icky. It doesn’t help that the show’s law enforcement officers seem so blasé about it. Holder and his new partner catch some old perv right before he starts getting what he paid for with a girl that should be taking high school chemistry, and all he says is, “Don’t let me catch you out here again.” I understand that the show doesn’t want to waste time showing arrests that add nothing to the story, but seriously, that’s how we’re going to treat statutory rape?

Finally, in perfect ‘Killing’ fashion, the entire episode revolves around Linden and Holder not communicating. Linden searches for a homeless girl named Bullet. Holder finds the girl named Bullet and doesn’t tell her. Communication at its finest.

Yet, I’m still mildly intrigued by this season. Every time Sunday night rolls around and I’ve spent the weekend playing in the sun with family and friends, there’s nothing better than curling up on the couch to watch ‘The Killing.’ It’s always there to remind you that, yes, your life could be much, much worse.


  1. I’m pretty sure that Holder said “Don’t let me catch you out here again” to the young hooker he let go, not the john. While they didn’t show it, I assumed that he arrested the john.

    Also, I don’t think Sarsgaard tried to slit his own throat or commit suicide. I believe he cut off the tattoo that the annoying prisoner kept harrassing him about. This seems to me to be a ploy to get into the infirmary where he can cause more damage or try to escape. You’re right though that how he got the razor in the soap hasn’t been addressed yet.

    • Nope, he said that to the John…he just said “get outta here” to the young hooker.

      You’re right about Sarsgaard though…he was defacing his tattoo for whatever reason – possibly because the other inmate figured out it was a reminder of his son?

      • I don’t know. As I remember it, the hooker had just gotten out of the car and was starting to walk away when Holder said the line. I can’t believe that he would let the john go. I suppose I’d need to watch the scene again.

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