AMC has made it abundantly clear that the murder mystery in ‘The Killing’ will indeed be solved this season. After the kerfuffle that last season’s ambiguous finale caused, the network wants to make sure everyone knows that “All will be revealed” this time around.
Honestly, reassuring everyone that the killer will get discovered this season seems like the only way AMC could convince the show’s already perturbed fan base to stick with it. Most people expected an outcome in last season’s finale, because we watch one police procedural after another where every episode resolves a murder. Here’s a show going into its 14th and 15th episodes, all focused around the events of one murder. People don’t like to feel like they’re being strung out. If an audience catches a whiff of filler storylines just for the sake of lengthening the season, they grow restless. That was exactly the reason why the producers of ‘Lost’ had to announce when that show would definitively end. They needed to let fans know a certain timeframe where answers would be available.
That was a big problem with the first season of ‘The Killing’. At some point, people began to disbelieve what was put in front of them. In TV terms, fourteen days seems like a long time to solve a murder. ‘CSI’, ‘Law & Order’, ‘Bones’, ‘Castle’, ‘The Mentalist’, etc. all get that banged out in an hour.
So, when we last left the cast of grief-stricken characters, Belko was just about to assassinate Richmond. This was something I completely forgot about the ending of last season. Not until the helpful “Last time on… “ announcement did I remember that Belko was about to shoot Richmond, because he believed that Richmond was guilty of Rosie’s murder.
That cliffhanger gets resolved quickly. Belko gets up close and personal, Jack Ruby style, and puts one round into Richmond’s gut, severing his spinal cord and leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
Meanwhile, Linden has been sucked right back to Seattle, like it’s a gigantic rainy black hole she can’t escape. How many times has she tried to get on an airplane and leave? If this wasn’t a drama, Linden constantly missing her planes could be a terrific running gag. After hearing that Richmond was shot, and learning that the toll booth photo of him was faked, Linden goes rogue to find out who really killed Rosie – all while trying to tow around her junk-food-addled son. (“But mom, chips are like potatoes.”)
Holder is still up to no good. Bravo on the casting of that character. No one does creepy, wigged-out shiftiness like Joel Kinnaman. One wonders if he has it in him to star in a ‘RoboCop’ reboot, seeing that he’s already been perfectly cast as the shifty-eyed, dirty cop who slinks around in dark corners with mysterious bald men.
All is not what it seems, though.
The day begins with no rain. Can you believe it? Don’t worry, rain-speckled windows along with full-on downpours will come later. I thought that we’d get at least one episode without rain, but no. As a matter of fact, I think I’d miss the rain if it suddenly disappeared. No wonder vampires from ‘Twilight’ live in the Northwest. These people haven’t seen an ounce of direct sunlight for two weeks now.
Frans Bak’s original music is absolutely one of the high points of the show. Establishing shots of Seattle are accompanied by morose, unsettling music that really sets the mood. There are no happy characters in the world of ‘The Killing’, so likewise, there’s no happy music.
Linden has stumbled face-first into what seems to be a giant conspiracy involving the entire police department. With Holder taking orders from a mysterious, trench coat-wearing bald guy, Linden has taken it upon herself to uncover the deviant behavior surrounding her. I thought the constant shots of shifty-eyed police officers staring her down as they drive by was a little much. Are there really that many people involved in this conspiracy? Someone doctored the toll booth photo, but at most there really only needs to be a handful of willing participants. However, right now, Linden is seeing everything through paranoia goggles.
I won’t waste much time talking about Gwen and Jamie, Richmond’s aides, because they literally spent two whole episodes sitting in a hospital waiting room.
With the rain finally back, I was happy to hear something else about that mysterious 8mm home movie of Rosie that as found in the first season. There’s someone else in the video, someone with an anime tattoo on his or her arm, reflected in the mirror. At one point, Linden’s son is reading a manga comic on the motel bed, coincidence? Hmm…
Linden’s sleuthing proves successful and she’s even able to tail the mysterious bald man to an abandoned field and see him meeting with the aide from Mayor Adams’ campaign. But what’s that? Click, click click. A faceless photographer furiously snaps pictures of Linden sitting in her car. This thing just keeps getting deeper and deeper.
The second hour of the season premier features a whole lot of Angry Stan stomping around the Larsen household, yelling at his kids, and getting pissed when he learns that his messed up friend Belko offed himself in the police station.
I wonder where the show is going, though. After finding Rosie’s backpack inexplicably left on his doorstep, Stan freaks out, and rightly so. Who placed that there, and why? Wouldn’t whomever it is want to keep quiet because Richmond is already about to face charges? I’m sure we’ll find out more about this later, but I really hope it makes sense.
I still find myself liking Linden as a character. She’s quiet and brooding, but never lets on what she’s feeling. She has a few bursts of emotion this time around, but her stoic demeanor keeps her interesting, to me at least. Popping nicotine gum, Linden heads to Tacoma in hopes of figuring out why Richmond came back soaking wet the night Rosie was murdered. The answer was, to me, surprising. So, Richmond was suicidal. What do you think being paralyzed is going to do to him? My bets are that Richmond kills himself before the end of this season.
The Larsen boys are going crazy. Reporters are snooping around hoping for a scoop. Stan is afraid for his family’s safety. Linden does her best Deep Throat impression. There’s a new lieutenant in charge who promises to rope Linden in, and Stan finds himself going back to the Mob. Out of all those things, I find what happened with Holder the most fascinating.
All this time, we were led to believe that Holder was in on the whole thing. Now we find out that he’d just been played the whole time. He didn’t know about the conspiracy or cover-up. He’d been used and now finds himself conflicted about how he attained the rank of Detective. I like this turn of events because it means that Holder and Linden can eventually make up (hopefully that happens in the next episode or two) and go on a crusade together to find the killer. While I like Linden, if she’s investigating this whole thing alone the entire time, her constant silence would be deafening. She needs someone to talk to.
I like where the show is going, except that I have no idea why the blood-soaked backpack showed up now. The explanations for people’s actions are believable (although Richmond’s Orpheus history lesson still annoys me to this day). I’m excited to get back into the show.
As of right now, I don’t know who I most suspect of being the murderer. Gil, the enigmatic bald man, has something to do with something, and so does Adams’ aide Benjamin Abani. Does this go all the way back to Adams? Who knows? Could there be an even stranger twist of events as we find out that little brother Denny Larsen, who seems to be getting weirder and weirder, had something to do with it?
Just for fun, we’ll run a poll at the end of each ‘Killing’ recap to see which character you think is the murderer. Below you’ll find a few choices.