Tonight’s episode of The Killing manages a decent blend of the investigative, the emotional, and, to a lesser extent, the political. It’s a feat the show has been trying to pull off since its first season, and one that it rarely manages to accomplish. I’m not saying that the series played every chord perfectly in Sayonara, Hiawatha, but it did it better than in most previous installments.
The Killing tries to be about three different angles of the same story- the Larsen dealing with the death of Rosie, the investigation into her murder, and the Richmond campaign. For this concept to work, the show needs to give equal, or at least comparable, weight to all three elements. (And I’m just mentioning those three since they are the ones that have lasted throughout the entire series. I still think the show made a mistake by dropping many of its other branches, such as the impact on the school/Rosie’s friends.) While the series spends time on the Larsens and Richmond, you usually get the sense that these storylines don’t carry the same importance as Linden and Holder. But tonight, all three elements felt as though they had value.
The increased presence of the other characters served the additional function of giving the detectives’ scenes more poignancy because they weren’t just an excuse for Linden and Holder to stand around brooding. Their moments regularly moved the story forward, and their rebel attitudes work better for them as rogue investigators than as actual cops. Even their return to the casino this week was a better sequence than their original investigation from two days ago. And this time I’m pretty sure Holder was pretending to be drunk, as opposed to me thinking he was presenting to be drunk when instead he was just Holdering.
However, their attempt to involve Richmond in their investigation came across as kind of sloppy and even stupid. Tonight, they ask him to use his influence with Chief Jackson to get them back into the casino. Even if Richmond did have significant pull with her, which I doubt since she still hasn’t backed his campaign, her lackies beat up one of the two detectives on their property two days ago, which led to a massive manhunt on their closely guarded premises as well as significant fall-out that should be yet to come. Not to mention that one of them isn’t even a cop anymore.
Regardless, Richmond agrees to try to help them. During a meeting with Chief Jackson where he proposes the building of a Native American museum, Richmond asks her for permission, but Chief Jackson refuses. He stops the meeting and wheels out, thus (presumably) losing her support. I don’t know if the intent of the show is to show the collapse of a campaign following a tragedy, but the Richmond campaign has seemed incredibly poorly run throughout the season.
Richmond tries to maintain his integrity, but Jamie tells him he can’t run a clean campaign if he wants to win. I’m pretty sure the “clean campaign” argument was not just covered last season but blew up in Richmond’s face. Gwen continues to flounder in her position when she tries to blackmail Mayor Adams by telling him that she will tell her father that he had sex with her when she was 14. Believing that this will cost him her father’s support during his run for Congress during the next cycle, Adams lets Gwen know that her father knew and that this tactic was pathetic.
On the emotional side, we don’t just get the sadness of the surviving members of the Larsen clan but acknowledgment that Rosie was a real person and not just a corpse we’re supposed to believe our characters care about. Stan continues to be overwhelmed as his eldest is suspended from school after killing baby birds. Although I understand the complaints about this show overdoing the mourning angle, Brent Sexton has done a good job over the past couple of episodes, and his anger, frustration, and desperation to be a good father despite being alone has made him a stand out among the cast. The scenes he had with his sons in this episode overpowered Linden’s tears as she cried into Jack’s coat realizing she no longer has him to haul around anymore. (Though, to be fair, Enos also played it well.)
Mitch Larsen returns to the series and meets with Rosie’s biological father, David Rainer, who surprisingly isn’t a character we’ve met before under a different name. He’s just an average guy who met with Rosie and was impressed with her zest for life. He is unaware that she died, and I’m left to wonder how big the Rosie Larsen scandal actually is. Even if “dead teenager found in the trunk of a campaign car” wouldn’t make national news, “assassination attempt on politician related to the murder of a teenage girl” almost certainly would. This is the age of the Internet and 24/7 fear mongering cable news, and the Rosie Larsen case has to do with the mysterious death of a young white girl.
Through various channels, we learn that Rosie was planning to leave Seattle the night she died but witnessed something involving Michael Ames that lead to her death. On the mysterious 10th floor of the casino, she went onto a balcony to look out at the city one last time. Following Rosie’s path, Linden notices a key card stuck between the floorboards in the still under-construction 10th floor. As she tries to grab it, she’s knocked unconscious. Based on Show Law, no one will care or do anything because the attack occurred on Native American soil.
• Carlson telling Holder that he’s risking his career by remaining as Linden’s partner seemed like a weird comment. Can he be the partner of someone who isn’t a cop (i.e. has turned in their badge)?
• Wouldn’t a better question from Carlson be, “when did you get out of the hospital?” or “shouldn’t you be on leave?” If he’s trying to prevent Holder from getting back on the case, which he transferred to “County” so you know it will never get solved, play up the “you were beaten and left for dead yesterday” angle.
• Does Carlson have any idea that practically everything he does makes him seem more suspicious? He is almost as bad at being a boss/evil figure as Linden and Holder are at being cops.
• Holder’s “Ain’t no party without no trim” actually made me laugh.
• I could be imagining things, but I thought I saw Gwen’s picture on the key card.
• At the end of the episode, we see Holder’s ground level perspective of the entire hotel from the outside, and the room where Linden is sneaking around lights up. Holder tells Linden to turn off her flashlight, but she lets him know it isn’t on. Could a flashlight produce that much light? And even if it could, why weren’t any lights on in the room when we cut back to it? Unless the two rooms (the one Holder was looking at and the one Linden was in) were two different ones.