‘The Killing’ 2.03 Recap: “Nobody’s Happy”

Down, down, down we go into a hole of depression punctuated by the infinite Seattle rain. Terry summed up the mood on ‘The Killing’ with one line: “Nobody’s happy.” Indeed.

Holder isn’t taking his patsy role well at all. Finding out that he wasn’t actually suited for the job of detective and discovering that he’d been nothing more than a conspiracy bitch, he quickly spirals quickly out of control. Soon, he contemplates taking drugs again, gets even more depressed about his non-relationship with his nephew, and has some less-than-sexy front-seat loving with a hussy from the local Narcotics Anonymous meeting. Sex under an overpass in a crappy car will make you reexamine your life, that’s for sure. Unless you’re Holder – it simply makes him wander into traffic.

One also wonders if Holder does any actual police work, or if he just uses his undercover police car to drive back and forth between NA meetings and his dealer’s trailer.

We finally get to see what Mitch has been up to in this episode, which makes me realize that I don’t care much for her selfish “Leave me alone, I’m grieving” attitude. Yes, she just had a daughter murdered a couple weeks ago, but does that give her license to screw traveling salesmen in scummy motels?

Honestly, I don’t have a clue as to how Linden pieces together Holder’s activities from the last two episodes. But it’s key to getting them back together into the most depressive detective duo ever imagined. Now they can hunt down the manga-tattooed man with dead eyes and frowns.

I don’t know what I think about this huge conspiracy that seems to be weaving around Linden and Holder. When ‘The Killing’ first started up, it seemed like we were going to delve into a single murder and the effects it has on the people involved. Now, with the conspiracy looming, it’s like ‘The Killing’ is treading where so many other shows have gone before. We’ve seen hundreds of conspiracies play out on television. One of the reasons why a conspiracy is such a television-friendly storytelling device is that the writers can keep adding layers upon layers without revealing much of anything. Sure, they leave you with a cliffhanger here and there, but the real meat of the matter is buried so deeply that it often makes little sense when the writers try to dig it back out. All of this gets me to wondering if the whole conspiracy angle was a planned route from the very first episode, or if the show simply traveled that way when the writers and producers reconvened to brainstorm for the second season.

I guess there are two ways to approach this show. You can be incensed about the scarcity of answers, or you can approach it like I’m trying to (which I admit is extremely difficult). I’ve about given up on the whole “Who did it, I just gotta know!” way of watching the show, and am instead trying to treat Rosie’s murder as the world’s biggest MacGuffin. Maybe Rosie’s murder is simply a way in which we could be thrust into the lives of these varied characters. Admittedly, this way of watching would’ve been much better if applied to the first season of the show, since the second season is fully onboard the conspiracy train.

I just don’t know. I feel like I lose interest in another storyline after each episode. I’ve long stopped caring about what Mitch does or which sleazy salesman she invites to her hotel room. I’ve grown tired of the thinly-veiled Guy Love that Jamie has for Richmond. Gwen has become an afterthought. (Now it appears that she’s jetting away to D.C., having fulfilled whatever role her character was supposed to fulfill.)

I’m still in with Stan and finding out about his Russian Mafia days, simply because I love how stereotypical that whole setup is. It’s hard not to laugh whenever Stan saunters into Janek’s empty restaurant, as Janek sits in the shadows and speaks cryptically like all mob bosses should. Holder’s increasing craziness is still somewhat interesting, but I’ve had enough of his grimacing. Linden still manages to be the most stimulating character on the show. Beneath all the squinting and turtlenecks lies a layered character, who holds enough back to make her methods and thinking mysteriously frustrating at times.

The writers make sure to leave us on a cliffhanger. Holder and Linden are now back to being the Odd Couple. Manga Tattoo Man works for Janek, that much is certain. Janek was running Beau Soleil, and obviously didn’t want Stan finding out about it. Now, it seems, Janek jumps ahead in the list of growing suspects.

Last week, our poll showed an overwhemling support for Rosie’s murderer being someone we haven’t met yet. That could be true if Manga Tattoo Man had anything to do with her death.

Who Do You Think Killed Rosie?

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[Note: Because the season premiere was technically comprised of two back-to-back episodes, this week marks episode #2.03, even though the season’s only in its second week.]


  1. Mike

    This sounds so dreary. Who wants to watch something so depressing on a Sunday night before the work week starts up again?

  2. Mike Attebery

    All the people you mentioned add touches of style and skill that make their productions feel less dense and “sloggy.”

    • JM

      That’s true, but the medium of television doesn’t allow every script to reach the 112th draft, or every shot to be shot 67 times.

      Even great television has a raw, hackjob quality.

      The other possibility is that the showrunner, Veena Cabreros-Sud, is a woman and a canadian and a hindu. Perhaps her dramatic sensibility doesn’t match yours?

  3. Mike Attebery

    Gimme a break. Sex, nationality, and religion have no bearing on whether a detective show is well written and orchestrated. Your comments seem like a string of cheap shots strung together using cultural landmines for cover.

    • JM

      I understand you self-publish novels…?

      As a writer, you don’t think your personal history affects your choice of writer heroes, and thus your style?

      Culture doesn’t alter craft?

      I wasn’t calling her canadian as an insult. It’s just another flavor. If ‘The Killing’ was written by Steven Moffat, wouldn’t his britishness affect the sensibility of the show?

    • JM

      ‘The West Wing,’ in it’s plotting and dialogue, always felt a little fast and loose. ‘Seinfeld’ had it. I meant it in the sense of master carpenters, framing up a house with velocity.

  4. I’m currently leaning toward Jamie as the killer. We’ve seen that he has rage issues when it comes to people he perceives as a threat to Richmond.

    Manga Tattoo Man seems like an obvious red herring (probably a kid Rosie’s age that she was in a secret relationship with). And for as much as viewers give the show grief, I don’t think the writers are stupid enough to have the killer be someone they’ll introduce at the last minute. It has to be someone we already know.