California Literary Review

The Killing Recap: Openings (Season 2, Episode 6)

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April 30th, 2012 at 1:34 am

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Terry (Jamie Anne Allman) in The Killing Openings

Terry, desperate to prove that she and Michael Ames belong together forever.

Photo Credit: Carole Segal/AMC

On tonight’s episode of The Killing, our intrepid heroes actually begin to inch forward on their investigation into Rosie Larsen’s murder right as the conspiracy angle picks up again. These elements combine to create one of this season’s better efforts. It’s not so much that Openings is entertaining as that it is that it feels like a more professionally made, cohesive episode. Why, Holder and Linden actually come across as adequate crime solvers, not just a bored/pissy detective with her perpetually out-of-the-loop sidekick.

Among the work they get done tonight include trying to get evidence from the casino, getting Rosie’s phone records and learning that she tried to blackmail Super Muckety-Muck Michael Ames, questioning Jasper Ames, questioning Terry about her affair with Michael, questioning Jasper’s mother about her husband’s affairs, and trying to get Michael’s phone records. It’s a busy day for them, and one where they actually follow a trail rather than obsessing over one insignificant point for days on end. Jasper, who looks like a low rent version of Kyle Gallner, has such an over-the-top angst that it’s kind of amusing, and I think intentionally so. Though they do hit a pothole when their boss tells them to stop looking into Michael and the casino… because telling Holder and Linden to drop the case worked so well the last time.

At the end, Linden sees a drawing of trees magnetted to the refrigerator in her motel room. She asks Jack, who is completely over and doesn’t even mention his illness from yesterday, if it’s his … because Jack totally seems like the type to hang up an art class drawing on the fridge. But he says no, which makes her realize that someone broke into their place. They decide to bunk with Holder, who readily accepts them into his surprisingly nice apartment. As the episode ends, Holder and Jack are play wrestling as a person shrouded in darkness, wearing black gloves, and smoking a cigarette (we need to fit in all the evil clichés) watches them from his car below. That final moment, which is played too melodramatically to be truly affecting, is further hindered by the ridiculousness of Holder/Jack play wrestling. It’s the type of thing The Simpsons does when it wants to show how stupid and boorish Bart and Homer are, and Jack doesn’t have the excuse of being 10.

Barclay Hope as Michael Ames

Michael Ames, the type of guy who’d have a backyard lawn chess set complete with human players.

In Mitch’s storyline, the runaway, who is named Tina, returns, and Mitch continues acting as a surrogate mother for her. I personally thought that this storyline worked well enough a couple episodes back and didn’t need to be revisited. Although I understood that it was meant to give some closure to Mitch and Rosie, even if Tina steals all of Mitch’s money at the end, I still think that it was better (and more powerful) as a one shot appearance. However, by rifling through Mitch’s stuff, she finds (and empties) a box of personal items that contains a letter written by Mitch to someone named David Ranier confirming his parentage of Rosie when she was two months pregnant. Presumably, Rosie contacted David Ranier so the question is… who on the show IS David Ranier? Odds are, The Killing is not going to bring a new guy into the fold to play this big a role at this point in the investigation/series. David Ranier…D.R…he shares the same initials as Darren Richmond. It is so obvious that I wouldn’t put it past The Killing to think that it’s fiendishly clever.

Stan doesn’t have much to do tonight. However, Linden, with her wonderful bedside manner, blindsides him with the “Rosie’s not your biological daughter” information. But he’s knows, and he seems at peace with it.

Darren Richmond (he has the same initials as David Ranier!) conducts his first TV interview since the shooting and explains his decision to stay in the race by telling Jamie’s story about his grandfather, much to Jamie’s impish delight. Gwen realizes that he’s going to need help separating himself from the murder accusations, so she asks for her job back. As expected, he gives it to her. How many times have high level people in the campaign jumped off of the U.S.S. Richmond only to jump back on?

Additional Thoughts:

• I liked the Gary Condit exchange as Gwen and her other political friends watched the interview.

• I didn’t think seeing the casino owner going to an event held by Michael was as shocking as the show made it out to be. They’re both business leaders in the same general region.

• I do know that we’ve seen the kitchen of the Lindens’ motel room in previous episodes, but tonight it struck me just how extensive it is. Would that type of motel have those accommodations? Same with the laundry room at where Mitch was staying at.

• One thing I found curious was how Jasper revealed to the detectives that Rosie’s a virgin. Ignoring the fact that just because she didn’t sleep with him doesn’t mean she’s a virgin, I have to wonder what the point would be in making her a virgin. Doe it play into some sort of puritanical mindset that her death is more tragic because she didn’t sacrifice her womanly virtue?

  • rocky

    Well done, Brett. The thing that struck me, and made the show more watchable, was that someone finally decided to light the sets. I’m so accustomed to every thing happening in the dark on this show. The DR link sounds plausible to me.

  • Alfred_NY

    Last night’s episode was more the same from “The Killing.” The show presented seemingly disconnected story lines that are neither compelling nor interesting. At one point my wife started shouting at the TV, “We don’t care about Mitch and the teenage hooker! This has nothing to do with the story!!!”

    Speaking of the story, very little progress is made on that front as well. One intersting thing, however, is that in the short preview for next week’s episode, they show Darren Richmond’s character meeting with Stan Larsen. That could very well be the most interesting plot development (at the very least, it will be the only tedious side plot that the show will follow through on).

    I guess that the only thing that can be salvaged from this show is the performance of Joel Kinnaman (Det. Holder) whose character is actually well-written and well played. Mireille Enos also puts forth a very good performance as the obssessive Det. Linden. Quite frankly, however, their talents as actors can only go so far to cover-up the uncreative, tedious and downright lazy writing.

    Overall, I’m not at all surprised by the fact that AMC has yet to renew this show, and unless something extraordinary happens to reel in more viewers in the next three epsiodes, it most likely will not be picked up for another season. Too many angry or turned off viewers, and too many irrelevant plot twists in which the writers and producers might have originally thought were clever. It seems as if the producers and writers are just trying to fill in time until the show’s inevitable demise, the season/series finale.

  • VJK

    I admire AMC’s efforts to air cutting edge shows such as “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead.” Both are exceptionally good dramas. This strategy, of course, does have its risks. Once in a while you’re going to get an experiment that simply fails, as is the case with “The Killing.” On the plus side, the show has some great acting. Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman are terrific as mis-matched partners whose differences end up complimenting each other.

    I admire the boldness of the idea – trying to do what the much more surreal show, Twin Peaks, failed to do, and that is to focus on murder investigation for more than one season, without the show getting stale and frustrating viewers. It’s beena good try, and this show definitely has had some very good moments, but I’m afraid that the experiment has failed. It seems like Sud and AMC really overestimated the difficulty of having a show that has told essentially the same story in virtually every episode for a season-and-a-half now. It also seems like even the writers don’t really know what to do with the story anymore, and as a result, viewers have gotten bored with the many disconnected subplots that the show features (the campaign, Darren Richmond’s struggles, Mitch fleeing her family to mourn Rosie’s death, Linden’s struggles to raise her son, etc.)

    Anyway, it seems like this show is headed for, what I hope is a mericful end at the season 2 finale. Enos’ and Kinnaman’s careers can take off from here – they’ve earned it. Billy Campbell once again has shown that he is a versatile actor who just needs some better roles (the character he played in “Enough” was downright cartoonish, although he wasn’t to blame for that).

    Veena Sud, well, I’m sure she will come up with better material for a better show down the road. AMC can simply say “Hey, we tried. Great television does come with some roadbumps along the way…”

  • MaryMar

    I think the aunt, Terry, is the killer. She’s been a bit off from the beginning. She’s always been jealous of Mitch’s family, and now she’s settled in as “mom.” She also has this fatal attraction type thing with Jasper’s dad, who supposedly received the text from Rosie’s phone. She thought they were having an affair, just like the cops did.

  • Face Detective

    MaryMar!!!!! Good guessing. Terry could totally be the killer. I think it’ll go a lot deeper and involve land rights and all that jazz but Terry’s for sure involved.

  • Jimmy

    I think the letter to David Ranier was written by her mom Mitch but never sent, that’s how Rosie found out about her father.

  • Kelsey

    So…first of all you make some valid observations but you also missed several relevant points. a) Linden didn’t ask Jack if he’d drawn the picture because she already knows that the picture was drawn by the son of a woman whose murder Linden has solved in the past. She asked if HE put it up because she had left it sitting out the night before when she was going through those papers. That is why she was SO spooked about the concept of someone being in their apartment because whoever it was knew the symbolism and importance of that picture to her
    b) Rosie being a virgin wasn’t the point of “oh look a virgin got murdered” that whole dialogue was intended to help substantiate why she was spending so much time with Jasper if it wasn’t to be in a relationship or be physical with him. This was used as justification to the viewer that Jasper may be her brother.
    c) Does no one think it’s wierd that Jasper suddenly confesses to sending that text message. It doesn’t seem very realistic when we know that Jasper’s dad was at the casino the same time as Rosie was the night she was murdered. In addition, we know that Rosie had been making cash deposits and it has now come out that she wasn’t prostituting so where was she coming up with the money? Maybe Ames was paying her off but decided enough was enough?? We’ve already seen in the past his ability to manipulate Jasper. This could be another prime example.
    d) I do think that Terry could be involved. We know she was all set to leave town with Ames and he canceled. Seeing how crazy she is about him it is reasonable to assume she knew he was going to be at the Casino, crazy-stalker followed him there, saw him meeting up with Rosie (not for sex but got the wrong idea), bashed Rosie in the head (there was head damage originally) and then Ames freaked out and left taking the ferry back alone, leaving Terry to tie her up and clean up her mess.

    I guess we’ll just have to see. If AMC doesn’t decide to renew the show, which personally I think they should keep it going, I hope they will at least give it a proper conclusion instead of just cancelling it.

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