California Literary Review

The Killing Recap: Off The Reservation (Season 2, Episode 8)

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May 14th, 2012 at 2:24 am

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Maid (Q?orianka Kilchner) and Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) in The Killing

The maid and Holder from last week.

Photo Credit: Carole Segal/AMC

Tonight, The Killing managed a good episode. Not a “good for this show” episode or a “good, but…” episode, but a worthwhile hour of television. Is it enough to forgive the show for its many mistakes? No. The Killing needs to be consistently good for the next five episodes to begin to fully re-evaluate the series and whether it deserves renewal, but for tonight, The Killing pulls one off. Also surprising is that it was directed by Veena Sud, the showrunner who bears the brunt of the blame for most of the series’ faults.

Admittedly, there is little forward momentum on solving the case tonight. All we find out is that the maid from last week found Rosie’s backpack on the casino grounds and dropped it off at the Larsen’s residence to give them closure/aid in the investigation. It’s the type of reveal that makes you wonder whether the show planned this all along, and it was just playing with the audience’s expectations by performing the drop using moodiness, fear, and score to mislead us. If so, it shows that the series actually does have a sense of humor, albeit one it rarely employs. However, the maid doesn’t seem like the type to go off the reservation (no pun intended) on such a dangerous mission. We also learn that Rosie has a key to the 10th floor of the casino that could literally be the key to solving her death and that she worked as a maid, not a prostitute.

But what makes Off The Reservation work is a combination of suspense and actors’ moments. The opening sequence where Linden finds out that Lieutenant Carlson calls off the investigation into Holder’s disappearance because he doesn’t believe her (or because he’s on someone’s dime) leading to her threatening to bring in internal affairs leading to an actual search by the Seattle PD is very well-done, similar to the discovery of Rosie’s body in the first episode. Later, Carlson telling Linden to turn in her badge seemed like a long overdue moment. Unsurprisingly, Linden decides to go rogue. In subsequent episodes, I hope we see who is now assigned to the Larsen case, since I imagine there would be some fallout if the police department completely stopped investigating a case that only yesterday made headlines due to the Richmond press conference.

Perhaps most amazingly is that Linden finally sends Jack away to live with his father in Chicago. I assume by father she means Rick (Callum Keith Rennie) from last season, but I can’t remember if she ever considered Rick Jack’s father. After all, they weren’t married, which was brought up in this episode. And I thought he lived in Sonoma (also brought up in this episode) and not Chicago. Maybe the plane stopped in Chicago before going to Sonoma. I doubt she sent him to Greg. Nevertheless, the scene where she puts Jack onto the plane was well played by Enos. I finally got the sense that she truly cared for her son as a son and not as a possession. (Don’t take this to mean that I want Jack to return.)

Stan Larsen (Brent Sexton) in The Killing

Stan in a very un-Stan like outfit

Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels/AMC

Stan Larsen has to deal with fallout from his statement at the press conference as he’s inundated with phone calls and tips. Although this storyline only takes up a small percentage of what happens on screen, Brent Sexton does a terrific job with his mini-arc. There’s a childish hopefulness in him when he shows up to Linden with a list of tips, and seeing him slowly lose this excitement while trying to maintain a façade is a high point of the season. More than that, the non-comic diner scene where Stan meets with a psychic is one of the best scenes in the show’s history.

Finally, we’re back with Richmond. The Stan Larsen-enhanced press conference cost him several points. People still want to know where he was on the night of Rosie Larsen’s murder, and his lack of answers is further turning the public against him. Unless I missed it, the line from last week’s trailer where Richmond says he was with Gwen was not in this episode. However, Off the Reservation marks the return of last year’s favorite almost-storyline The Waterfront Project, which apparently is not just the most important thing in the election but also probably the most important thing in the mystery of who killed Rosie Larsen. And those developers would have gotten away with it too…

Additional Thoughts:

• After Holder’s kidnapping, Linden puts Jack at Holder’s apartment promising him it would be safe. Aside from the fact that no one should trust her when she says a place is safe, wouldn’t the apartment of a guy who has been kidnapped by people with vast resources be especially unsafe?

• The revelation that Rosie was a maid and not a prostitute is disappointing. Like I said a couple of weeks ago after Jasper’s “virgin” comment, I wonder if they’re backing down on Rosie’s scandalous behavior due to some Puritanical mindset that requires them to sap her of her naughtiness in order to make her death tragic. The excuse that she had to dress adult in order to clean rooms is unconvincing.

• I realize that Holder healed superfast, but so did Richmond. I guess if they’re going to do a day per episode, you just have to accept superhealing.

• With Jack gone, does that mean the entire custody plotline is going to be dropped? I wouldn’t mind, but that doesn’t make it any less of a waste.

  • John

    Not a bad review but there are a few things that didn’t make any sense. First, why would Linden send her son, Jack, to Chicago as just a stop between Washington and Sonoma(Completely on the opposite said of the country) to Rick. Why do you doubt she sent him to his REAL father? It would ease the tension between Linden and her ex-husband. It would be harder to believe that she would send him to Rick after all that she put Rick through with the canceling of the wedding and leaving him out to dry in Sonoma. Second, Rosie WASN’T dressing up to clean rooms. Yes, she was a maid, but if you actually listened you would have heard the girl say that the Chief mad them work the floor in the casino sometimes and that’s when she had to dress up.

  • Joanna

    Agreed– clearly she was sending him to his biological father who has been asking to look after him for the last few episodes…. And not her own ex-b/f with whom Jack had very little connection at the time (and presumably none now). Seems like an odd piece of putting two and two together and getting 5! Concurring also with the maid/waitress thing….you got that wrong too, I’m afraid.

  • Brett Harrison Davinger

    The “dressing up to clean rooms” was meant to be a comical exaggeration.

    As for the father thing, I admit that you’re probably right. I didn’t know that she came to peace with Greg considering how ridiculously angry she’s been with him over the series, and the still unknown what he did to rouse this ire.

    Additionally, I didn’t know/remember he lived in Chicago. As for why the plane would go from Chicago to Sonoma, a) I didn’t know for sure if Rick lived in Sonoma (ie, was Sonoma their family home and when they didn’t have a family, he decided to retreat back to where he originally came from?) and b) I’ve seen plane trips that take people really far from their destination during lay-overs. Though never that far admittedly.

    Regardless, thanks for the clarifications.

  • Mark Towers

    Your whole point on the puritanical aspect is silly. I think the whole point of making the audience think she was a working girl was to put you down the path of the seedier world that job is associated with such as degenerate drug users, degenerate mafia types that Stan used to work for, general degenerates like Belko was … it’s just all a big red herring like the show has every week.

    I’m still a fan of this show particularly for the great acting but I’ll admit I want to dance around my living room every time there’s an episode without Mitch so I was especially pleased last night. Much like some other shows that come to mind that were great throughout and had disappointing endings (Sopranos, Murder One, etc.) I have a feeling that’s where we are going to end up here. Really, any ending besides one where Darren really DID kill Rosie would probably disappoint me at this point. This shows needs to have that “NO WAY- I CANT BELIEVE IT WAS HIM/HER” factor to really bail it out as the great show it started out to be. The only people in that group are Darren and Stan. Still, it’s got me hooked for the final 5 shows though. This season has been much better than I thought it would be.

  • Manfromanotherplace

    Stan Larsen is the killer. The hotel/casino is frequented by some of the most powerful men in town, including the current Mayor, and most likely, Stan Larsen. Rosie found Stan there on the night she died, and Stan went ballistic because she threatened to tell Mitch. Now, Stan has mentally distanced himself from the incident to the point in which he almost sees the killer as someone other than himself.

    Anyway, I didn’t watch last night’s episode due to the fact that I don’t like to be bored to tears. I guess that makes it only five episodes before this show is finally put out of its wretched misery. Can’t be soon enough, if you ask me. Chuck Collier should just admit that this show was a mistake and move on.

  • Jen

    I am still holding on to this show, and I don’t dislike like so many others. Every recap seems to “hate” this show. Why are you watching it then? And reading and writing recaps.

    That being said…I think the last two episodes were the best so far. Finally some things happened that would actually have happened a week ago (in the shows timeline, Sunday night was day 21), have happened. Linden finally did something right as Jack’s mother and sent him to his dad. And she lost her badge after all the insubordination. I only had to suspend belief three times: 1) Darren is already out of the hospital? 2) Holder is out of the hospital too? 3) How did Holder get to the gate? Do police officers get special security passes? I understood why Linden was there, she is Jack’s mother and since he is an unaccompianed minor (?) she gets to take him to the gate.

    The scene with Stan and the psychic was heart breaking. I didn’t see that one coming.

  • Jen

    Oh and one more thing, I keep wondering if Linden is actually Jack’s mother? Did she adopt him? Save him from foster care?

  • Manfromanotherplace

    Actually, I didn’t watch it on Sunday night. I was very hopeful for this show because season one was very good, and I was rooting for it to do what Twin Peaks couldn’t, and that was to oput together two compelling seasons based on one murder mystery. It didn’t. But just to respond to Jen, AMC really insults the view when an entire year has passed between seasons and it flashes at the beginning of every episode, “Day 20-something.” Seriously, by doing that AMC isn’t even acknowledging the fact that viewers had to wait a year for a show whose episodes are supposed to build off each other. Instead, it is telling viewers that our temporal chronometers are off.

  • Mike

    Is the Indian maid who tips off Linden the same actress (Q’orianka Kilchers) who played Pocahontas in that dreary movie about Jamestown 25 pounds ago?

  • Jen

    @Manfromanotherplace: I am not sure I understand your comment about the days? Would you rather they didn’t tell us what day of the investigation we are on? Were you thinking they should have wrapped it up in one season (22 episodes)? I don’t feel insulted. If anything, it is a reminder that only 3 weeks have passed since Rosie’s murder, not a full year (since there was a year between seasons). Many times I have seen recappers misunderstand the timeline. Not to say that it is realistic. Gwen got a job, flew to DC, started her new job, and flew back, all within a matter of 2 days. And Darren’s healing time was very quick. Sorry you aren’t enjoying the season…

  • Chris

    Rosie being a maid and not a prostitute makes more sense. If she had been a prostitute no one would even care she died. It would remind me of the movie Unforgiven. Who cares that whore got cut? I sure didn’t.

    But her being a maid means she seen a lot of things going on that she probably shouldn’t have, especially in a place such as that.

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