California Literary Review

The Killing Recap: Keylela (Season 2, Episode 7)

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May 7th, 2012 at 1:00 am

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Stephen Holder in The Killing’s Keylela

Never question his street cred

- Photo by Carole Segal

On tonight’s episode of The Killing, Holder takes offense to Jasper’s comment last week about him being white so he Holders it up. Big Time. From the opening scene in the apartment where he goes on about habanero jelly to the end when he’s getting beaten by casino thugs, Kinnaman really plays up the embarrassing slang/“is he trying to act drunk?” performance that really drags the character down.

Other than that, Keylela is more-or-less what we expect from The Killing- plodding, ineffective, decent ambiance. But we actually do get insight into a group that might be connected to Rosie Larsen’s murder- the Wapi Eagle Casino. Unfortunately, the bad guys overplay their hand to the point where they seem as clumsy as the detectives chasing them.

While characters like security chief Roberta Drays (who was the person watching Holder’s apartment from the last episode) and Chief Nicole Jackson have clearly been hiding something since the first season, they seemed more intimidating when they acted more subtly and professionally. Tonight, they lose their cool, and in doing so, seem amateurish. When you’re dealing with police officers who have already shown their unwillingness to drop the case, the best thing you can probably do is not bring unwanted attention to or evidence upon yourself. Like last season, which was only about a week ago, keep things moving slowly.

 Cheif Nicole Jackson (Claudia Ferri) in The Killing’s Keylela

Chief Jackson from Season 1

- Photo by Carole Segal

Instead, Jackson tells Linden a story about a girl being slain on tribal lands and tells her “anything can happen on this land detective, you’ve been warned.” In the final scene, a gang of casino toughs beat up Holder as Linden listens over the phone. Obviously I don’t expect the Wapi Eagle Casino to have complete psychological profiles on the two detectives, but they should know that violence and blatant threads are probably not the best ways to handle the situation.

But this air of incompetence spreads throughout the episode, if not the series as a whole. One of the police department’s tech guys calls Linden and tells her that even though he’s not supposed to spend any time on the case, he still did some work on it. You’d think that with Rosie Larsen being a high profile murder investigation that led to a politician being shot, other cops would start wondering why they brass decided to drop it. Similarly, this season especially, the show has done a poor job at showing how the press relates to the investigation and how much pressure is being put on the force to solve a crime that would be the top story on Nancy Grace since the news broke. Linden, as usual, is an incompetent mother whose idea of keeping Jack safe is checking him into another hotel, but one with cameras in the hallway. That should ensure his security.

Stan Larsen (Brent Sexton) in The Killing’s Keylela

Stan is bemused by the Richmond campaign’s “offer”

Photo Credit: Carole Segal/AMC

The City Council campaign is also subject to this problem, and Gwen bears the brunt of it in this episode. Tonight, she attempts to get Stan Larsen to endorse Darren Richmond. For starters, would he really be the best person to vouch for Richmond? I know he lost his daughter, but his attack on Bennet Ahmed would probably make some people hesitant about trusting him. Gwen’s scheme was to promise that she’d get the ADA to lessen the charges against him in exchange for his support, even though she knew the ADA would never go for it. I was under the impression that Gwen was supposed to be some political dynamo, but the scene where she attempts to bluff Stan makes her seem like such a novice that it calls into question all the good things we’ve heard about her ability to politic. Kathryn Hahn’s character from Parks and Recreation would destroy her.

Nevertheless, Larsen comes to Richmond’s press conference where he makes an impassioned plea on behalf of his daughter and yells at everybody for forgetting about Rosie and the media for taking advantage of the tragedy to sell papers and get ratings. Even though Larsen saying to the camera “somebody’s going to pay for taking my daughter away!” probably isn’t the wisest thing considering his and Belko’s histories and records, it’s the type of uncouth speech that would make Stan a media sensation and reluctant hero overnight in bad fictional TV land.

Additional Thoughts:
• I was debating whether to include the maid asking Holder if the Larsens liked getting Rosie’s backpack back as a sign of villainous incompetence, but she might be working against the casino so I wanted to hold off.
• I still feel as though Richmond’s storyline is too divorced from the actual investigation, but I’ve accepted that I need to accept it. It’s not the worst subplot this show has ever had, even if it’s still somewhat forced.
• Child Protective Services arrives at the hotel to investigate Jack’s conditions, and one of their problems was that the room was messy. Linden says that she told Jack not to let the maid in, which raises CPS’ eyebrows. Here’s my issue. They’ve been in the hotel for less than one day. Since hotel maids usually only clean in the morning, why would they expect the maid to have tidied up before then?
• I wouldn’t lose sleep if Linden lost Jack.
• Linden’s attempt at “ghost whispering” Rosie makes her realize that Rosie felt trapped because she covered her walls in butterflies. Apparently she studied psychology at Greendale.
• We are now more than half way through this season.

  • Anna

    I love your last additional thought, lmao.

  • Meeya

    Frustration has been building in me about Linden’s treatment of her son — OVERKILL with “I’m driven to solve the case.”

  • Leland_Palmer

    I must give my compliments to you, Brett, your reviews of The Killing have been spot on, and this one is no different. First, this past episode was automatically better than the previous ones because Mitch’s asinine character wasn’t in it, which was very refreshing.

    Plot-wise, this show is incredibly disappointing. Linden’s son seems to simply be there to personify her obsessive personality, which can be done without long, drawn-out scenes of the two of them conversing. Mayoral candidate Darren Richmond’s story, as of right now, has absolutely nothing to do with the investigation. Maybe it will in the end, but it’s as if AMC and Veena Sud are telling viewers, “We know this subplot is incredibly boring right now, but it will mean something later on – trust us.” Sorry AMC and Sud,that technique turns off viewers. The story still has to be compelling. Also, the Indian Casino is becoming remarkably similar to The Black Lodge in Twin Peaks.

    All in all, the season finale is now six episodes away, and the rumor is that AMC will not pick up the show for a second season. So it will be interesting to see if Sud and AMC try to go out roaring after whimpering for nearly 20 consecutive epsiodes, now.

  • Bates

    I think Linden’s son Jack is a good addition to the story. Police, like everyone else have personal lives that can make their jobs much more difficult, and Jack serves that purpose.

    The point that The Killing will not be renewed is understandable. This crime has to be resolved in this season, it can not survive another disappointment like before. And when the crime is solved — another killing?

    The acting, and cinamaphotogry is outstanding. First rate story telling.

  • Arro

    What you seem to be missing is that the series are based on the danish series Forbrydelsen which was 20 60 minute episodes = 20 hrs.

    The killing is 26 episodes which will amount to about 20 hrs with 26 45 minute episodes. (1170 minutes)

    I felt the only mistake so far was to divide it into season 1 and 2, because originally it ran in 20 straight weeks in Denmark.

    The subplots that you argue are non relevant are actually what I like about the show. Just imagine how many dead ends a real non CSI/Criminal minds investigator hits.

  • Anon

    Forbrydelsen was superb throughout and built to unbearable tension in the last 5 episodes. The murder – in the original – of the Holder character happened about 4 episodes from the end. While I expect Holder to live – he’s too popular a character – in the original it finally prompts the replacement lieutenant to grow a pair and take on the evident (or is it apparent ?) political corruption which has been impeding the investigation. Expect the same here. I found this episode one of the better efforts.

  • Leland_Palmer

    Forbrydelsen worked, In my opinion, because the story line was much more coherent and compelling than the killing, and it ran 20 consecutive episodes without breaking them up in to series. I think AMC, which is still a fledgling network, has to learn is that when the time between seasons is an entire year, the cliffhanger ending concept really doesn’t work. A lot can happen in peoples’ lives in a year, and when the next season begins, a lot of people really won’t care anymore. From a business standpoint, a year is simply too long in between seasons, and kills whatever momentum the show had at the end of the previous season.

    ‘The Killing’ did a double whammy as well – not only did it have a cliffhanger ending in the season 1 finale and make viewers wait for an entire year to see what happens, but the season premiere of season 2 (and the entire season, for that matter), is pretty crappy. It seems like the writers and producers are juist filling time with irrelevant and tedious story lines until the season 2 (and most likely series) finale, when they finally reveal who killed Rosie Larsen.

  • Gene

    How does anyone make the argument that this show has not become dull? Set aside whatever ill feelings anyone might have about advertising last year’s finale, the lethargic pace of this show is almost comical. Really, cops every so slowly repeating the same behaviors, chasing unrevealing leads, displaying the exact same acting persona each episode….this show has become a parody of itself. I realize that sounds like a hater’s comment, but I really enjoyed the show last year. I just don’t think it’s interesting the second time around.

  • Anon

    Forbrydelsen – the first series of 20 episodes – ran two seasons on Danish television but with a gap between March the end of episode 10 to September with episode 11. On BBC 4 it ran for 39 straight episodes. Either way far superior to AMC. The Danish story is far more coherent and the acting is in general better. PBS or BBC America should bring the original to the US. I just want the American show over which is too bad.

  • Anon

    Oops should be 20 straight episodes on BBC 4

  • Victor

    The bottom line here is that whatever this show is doing – it ain’t working. They might as well reveal the murderer now, because when they reveal it in the season finale, nobody’s really going to care, and even fewer people will tune in for a season 3 (if there is a season 3).

    This show ranks up there with NBC’s “Whitney” as one of the all-time worst shows on television.

  • Chris

    Some of you reviewers and watchers have the attention span of a gnat.

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