California Literary Review

The Killing Recap: Numb (Season 2, Episode 3)

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April 9th, 2012 at 2:50 am

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Brent Sexton as Stanley Larsen in The Killing

Photo credit: Carole Segal/AMC

Having used last week’s two-part season premiere to work through some feelings, I am now ready to move on with The Killing rather than keep latching onto my issues from last year. Unfortunately, this week’s episode was not nearly as good or compelling as last week’s two episodes. Like I said then, the show is good at establishing an ambiance, but it lacks substance. Numb continued to prove that by sapping most of the forward momentum of the previous two episodes and returning the show to its general, plodding demeanor. I have no problem with a series moving at its own pace, and I once again must mention how much I loved Rubicon, but The Killing offers little to balance its padding-friendly pacing of “this is the week that X happens. No more, no less.”

As we enter day 16 of the investigation, Linden is continuing to pick up threads from last year. She’s still futilely demanding access to the Indian (Native American) casino’s cameras. She gets a warrant to search the headquarters of Beau Soleil, but the place burns down, leaving no evidence behind, not even computers. Later, after someone else goes through camera footage from nearby buildings, she discovers that a Larsen company van was being driven near Beau Soleil by the guy with the Ogi Jun tattoo whom she is convinced is the key to Rosie Larsen’s murder. Which means that he is not the key to Rosie Larsen’s murder.

Lt. Oakes, Linden and Holder’s former boss, tells her to stop digging into the case in a half-hearted way that sold the futility of their jobs, but would fail to dissuade even the most cowardly person to give up on the quest. This scene also had the weird result of taking away the power of the conspiracy, and I’m actually torn about it. On the one hand, I appreciated the realism that a “victim” of the conspiracy is tired and only wants his pension, having spent his career having his soul crushed. But because we don’t know much about the conspiracy, basing our impressions around Oakes’ reaction makes it seem less scary. Many people at the end of their careers are tired and only want their pensions, even without being under the thumb of puppet masters. And Linden’s chronic dourness inspires neither passion or vengeance when it comes to discovering more about or crushing Rainville’s overlords.
Joel Kinnaman as Stephen Holder in The Killing

Photo credit: Carole Segal/AMC

On the Holder front, he is depressed over losing his partner and realizing that he’s a patsy, so he turns to Narcotics Anonymous before (possibly) returning to drugs. After Linden gets an emergency call that Holder’s acting crazy, she drives to where he is (pacing on a traffic median), tells him to stop it (“Come on! Get out of here! Before I leave you here!”), and he does so. They then retrieve the real Rosie Larsen bloody backpack from Holder’s car. It’s nice that we didn’t have to wait much longer for Holder and Linden to decide to work together again, but this change in attitude still seemed kind of rushed. I’d like to believe that the impact of this schism will affect the rest of the series and their relationship, but Linden never liked Holder in the first place. Acting annoyed and distrustful of his presence was her general demeanor for most of last year. Then again, acting annoyed and distrustful about everything is her general demeanor.

Mitch Larsen returns tonight, and she’s taking a private trip up the Pacific Northwest where she stays in hotels and sleeps with random strangers. It’s a continuation of Mitch Larsen Is Depressed from last year, but Forbes sells despondency well, even if it is a tad redundant. Stanley Larsen is angry at the police for the series of events that led to the death of Belko, and for keeping the truth about how his daughter died to him. He gets the information from the Polish mob, which has regained an interest in using Stanley for their own devices, and they attempt to lure him back into the fold by providing information and letting him know they know where his family lives. Moreover, these crime lords play a role with Beau Soleil, as the escort service’s files were being erased from a computer at Janek’s restaurant. Terry continues to play the mom role.

Mayoral Candidate Darren Richmond (Billy Campbell) in The Killing

A non-hospital bed bound Darren Richmond

Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels/AMC

Meanwhile, Richmond is still paralyzed from the attempt on his life, and in this episode, he mourns over losing the use of and feelings in his legs. This storyline puzzles me because it forces me to ponder the point of this show. The core of The Killing is the investigation into Rosie Larsen’s murder, even if her death seems to be getting overshadowed. Nevertheless, although she was found in a Richmond campaign car, Richmond himself (presumably) no longer serves a purpose to the story. Holder and Linden are investigating the crime. The Larsens are her family. The Polish mob has something to do with Beau Soleil, which has something to do with the mystery of who Rosie Larsen was.

But Richmond himself no longer has that connection. Being a victim of vigilante justice related to the Larsen case is not the same as being connected to the actual Larsen murder. It would be like following Amber Ahmed into this season. If this show had a wider scope or was more about the city and its citizens, then I could understand following his story. However, this show’s concentration is very narrow and does not suit the unrelated, personal story of Richmond’s paralysis. If the show needed representatives for the Richmond campaign car thread, there’s Gwen and Jamie, both of whom are still hiding things that could be directly related to the case and are connected to power players in the city’s political world. While those two get scenes on their own, they are not as prevalent as Richmond himself. Maybe we are supposed to care about Richmond as a character outside of the murder, but him flirting with a nurse or dealing with being a paraplegic does not cut it.

Additional Thoughts:

• The Holder Line of the Night- to his nephew: “Slayin’ them ladies with your mad ladies’ skills?” I would count this as a joke, except he usually talks like that.
• Jack knew where the tattoo came from. I called it last week. It comes from a Manga comic book, and I hope the show doesn’t go Seduction of the Innocent on us.
• Apparently, Rainville PD’s cameras produce clearer pictures the more you zoom in.
• Linden: “I can’t open the attachment.” Tech Guy: “Click on the button that says download attachment.” That was actually part of tonight’s episode. Tune in next week when Linden mistakes her CD drive for a cup holder and uses her mouse as a foot pedal.

  • Louise Burkart

    Who is the women that looks like Mitch Larson and why is she following Mitch?

    Ogi Jun tattoo guy is seen in the end driving quickly past the garage where Stanley Larson’s sits, meaning he talked with Mr. Larson?

    Possibility of Richmond still in the series – he walks, he wins the election and saves the day. It’s a stretch, but it is better than his character just hanging on for no reason.

    Oh, please don’t let Jack be getting in this somehow. Geeze that WOULD stink.

  • Nick

    Awesome recap of last night. Excellent point about the need for Richmond’s character to remain in the show.

    I am worried that this entire season is smoke and mirrors until the finale. Through 3 hours of season 2, there has been nothing new discovered in the case except for the van and tattoo, which came in the last segment of the third hour.

    BTW, I also loved Rubicon.

  • Marcus

    Completely disagree with Richmond’s character not being significant. We’ve already invested into him and we can’t dismiss the idea that Rosie got killed by either a Richmond alias or enemy. He obviously got killed in one of Richmond’s campaign’s car so he’s a strong part of this piece. Why his campaign’s car? Lets also not forget that Rosie drowned in this car while she was in the trunk. Richmond also brought the escort by the lake and asked her if she knew wondered what it would be like to drown? Although Richmond didn’t murder Rosie directly this is still a major coincidence. Rosie may have very well been killed due to politics to either protect someone close to Richmond, Richmond himself, or his competitors.

    We don’t know what Rosie was involved with yet completely or who it was with. Richmond did meet her while campaigning. He still hasn’t spoken of that. He was very numb to the idea of Rosie passing and has acted this entire time like he’s never met her. Maybe he doesn’t remember or maybe he does. Richmond’s associates still can’t be dismissed as suspects as well so saying there’s no point to having him in the story in my view is out of place. I think he plays a very big role. Also since we don’t KNOW how much of a role he plays to just assume he plays no role is out of place as well. Just an opinion … to each their own.

  • Chris

    Lets not forget Mr. Mayor. He is the only guy who HASN’T been a suspect yet. Gil meets with the mayor’s advisor on the side of some far out road to rip him a new one after Linden follows him. Why? I thik Rosie saw something (maybe with her Super 8 camera) that the mayor and/or mob didn’t want her to see. Mayor says, “Lets set my rival up”. Bada Bing…Bada Boom…add corrupt cops and simmer for 2 seasons.

  • JFR

    I agree with Chris, the mayor certainly has the motive and all the police connections (traffic cam videos, etc) to frame Richmond.

  • Little_Man_in_the_Red_Suit

    After I saw the season 2 premiere of “The Killing,” I said, “Wow, they can’t possibly make an episode that sucked worse than that one.” Well, I was humbly proven wrong last night because last night’s episode, “Numb” sucked even worse. To boot, it also didn’t make sense.

    We find out that the Polish mob will be the next red herring. Mitch ends up at some roach motel, gets drunk, and hooks up with a stranger. Please let me know exactly how leaving your husband and sleeping around is a way to grieve the death of your child? Don’t most families pull together after a tragedy like that? Holder is so depressed about the apparent corruption in the department and Linden not returning his calls that he relapses and contemplates suicide.

    Linden is shown a lot, but doesn’t really do anything to progress the story. Richmond is slowly accepting the fact that he is paralyzed. Unless he’s still part of the investigation, who cares?

    Also, AMC announced that the murder would be solved in the season finale, which brings up two questions: 1) Why bother watching the show between now and the season finale? and 2) After Rosie Larsen’s murder is solved, will the show still have enough remnants to keep going, or will it die like Twin Peaks did after it revealed Rosie Larsen’s – er – Laura Palmer’s murderer?

  • Little_Man_in_the_Red_Suit

    One more thing, and this isn’t a spoiler because all the episodes of Twin Peaks are on Netflix: Stan Larsen is the killer. HE suffers from multiple personality disorder, and his evil personality flipped out when he found out that Rosie was working for the hooker service.

    That makes sense, in my opinion. Who else could have left the pink knapsack in front of the door? What did the Polish mob boss mean when he told Stan, “You should be the one to take care of your daughter’s killer.”

    Also, the police coverup is happening because the city’s politically powerful people don’t want the public to know that most of them go to the Black Lodge – er – the Native American Casino for some gambling and teenage hootchie.

  • Brett Harrison Davinger

    Little Man-

    I mentioned in the premiere’s review that Twin Peaks had more going for it than Laura Palmer’s murder. It had an entire universe full of characters and mysteries that were interesting apart from the investigation. The Killing only has the investigation.

    Also, I wouldn’t consider the Casino like The Black Lodge. It’s like One Eyed Jacks. The casino/brothel-of-high-school-girls that existed outside of the Pacific Northwest law enforcement’s jurisdiction. I would say that maybe one of Rosie’s friends could tie a cherry stem into a knot in her mouth, but the show (and the police) has seemingly forgotten about them.

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