If there’s one thing we should take from tonight, it’s that The Killing hasn’t planned ahead. Despite trying to pretend that the mystery is intricate, it’s really just making it up as it goes along. While most of us figured that out long ago, one scene tonight made it too obvious to ignore.
In this scene, Linden and Holder (FINALLY) return to Rosie’s (former) school to ask Sterling about the guy with the tattoo. Sterling, who I felt was a grossly underutilized character and storyline during Season 1, knows him, knows that he has a criminal record, and knows that he’s spent some time “standing outside Rosie’s house, staring at her.” She gives this up readily, without any prodding, and volunteers to help further.
This is the type of information that Sterling should have really revealed at the start of the investigation. I’m not saying that having a criminal past automatically makes someone a murderer. I’m just saying it’s the type of data that might assist in solving the crime. Sterling’s obvious uncomfortability when talking about Alexi also forced me to wonder why she didn’t suggest it during the initial days. To be fair, she still seems emotionally shocked from Rosie’s death so that might affect how she speaks, but the only logical reason I can think of for her keeping this secret is that the writers hadn’t thought of it yet.
Having said that, the majority of the episode is on Holder and Linden searching for the tattoo bearer by questioning everyone except Stan Larsen, whose company he presumably works for. They visit Corey Petersen, an FBI mob expert with whom Linden once had a fling; Sterling; and social workers to receive access to his foster child file (it’s cool because it could solve a murder). At the end, we learn that Alexi, a kid from the wrong side of the tracks, is really the son of the guy who Stan killed to escape from the Polish mob. It’s basic police investigative work, nothing particularly interesting or exciting, and, though it could have been condensed, wasn’t terrible.
Nevertheless, all of this information points to the high probability that Alexi Gifford isn’t Rosie Larsen’s killer, even with his angry sketch of her. If this were a show about the sins of the father, as Holder put it, then it would make sense for Alexi to be the murderer. But this is a show about twists and the deviant practices of the rich and powerful. For everything to come down to a family vendetta between blue collar families would make most of the show pointless and take away Holder and Linden’s excuse for going after the conspiracy. And besides, this is only episode 4 of 13. Making the Larsen murder something so simple is an episode 12 or 13 twist.
In other matters, we learn that Linden’s ex-husband Greg is suing her for custody of their son. While I’m sure Greg wasn’t the best father for most of Jack’s life, Linden’s coldness makes her seem to treat Jack as more of a piece of property she wants to keep than a son she needs to protect. I don’t think she deserves to lose custody, but I wouldn’t be against Greg getting some time with him, if only to take Jack away from the show. I do find it interesting that Greg isn’t on AMC’s The Killing site while Monica Krol, Alexi’s birth mother whose first appearance was tonight, is.
On the Larsen home front, the kids are beginning to act up, particularly the oldest son, and they’re fed up with Aunt Terry and the lack of a real mother. In a good scene, Stan shows up at his son’s school and tells him to beat up the biggest kid talking ill about Rosie. I don’t know whether this intentionally or unintentionally paralleled the scene from season 1 where Linden teaches Jack how to shoot a gun, but it worked for me.
Stan also visits Janek, who asks him if it was worth leaving the mob. I never really had an opinion about Janek before this episode, but now I see him as such an over-the-top caricature. His entire “give me your poor, your huddled masses” speech was so poorly written and delivered that it saps any threat from him or his organization. He’s a guy whose mob training came from watching a lot of crime movies. I give him three episodes before he tries to pass off “offer he can’t refuse” as his own.
I still maintain my position from last week about the pointlessness of depressed Darren Richmond (who now wants to drop out of the City Council race) on The Killing. Disconnected for everything else, it feels like an entirely different show where [actual dialogue] Jamie: “What does he care about?” A teary-eyed Gwen: “Being Darren Richmond again!” [/actual dialogue] would fit. And I couldn’t tell if the “Put Me in the Chair” scene was supposed to be funny or not or funny then sad, but I’m going with funny through and through.
Also tonight, the clearly-hiding-something Mayor comes to visit Darren and pledges that he’d support Richmond four years from now (well, from last year) in a mayoral bid. So to all you posters who assumed the Mayor is involved, it’s safe to say that you’re probably right. Now we just have another nine weeks of dawdling before Holder and Linden realize it.
• After some research, I discovered that Sterling’s last episode before this one was A Soundless Echo, episode 4 of the first season. They really dropped the ball on her storyline. Kacey Rohl also played Marin in The Born-Again Identity, the episode of Supernatural that featured Castiel’s return.
• Holder calls sausage “sallsage.”
• Holder calls Petersen a “Tom Waits wannabe.” After the episode ended, I actually rewatched the scene to figure out if the Ray Wise-haired Peterson had ANY Tom Waitsiness about him. I couldn’t figure it out. I guess his voice had a slight rasp to it, but nothing particularly noticeable. He didn’t have the cool attitude or personality of Tom Waits. He didn’t wax poetically about lost loves, loneliness, being better off without a wife, aimless drifters, or the Good Old World. I still can’t understand where Holden got Tom Waits from; he just seemed like your typical TV fed.
• During the scene where they visit Petersen, Holder mockingly puts on the G-Man’s glasses and Linden wordlessly tells him to knock it off. It’s was a nice moment between the two. I don’t need to be completely negative about this show.