California Literary Review

The Killing Recap: Sayonara, Hiawatha (Season 2, Episode 9)

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May 21st, 2012 at 3:49 am

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 Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) in The Killing

All tuckered out. Right as rain in less than a day.

Photo Credit: Carole Segal/AMC

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.

 Gwen Eaton (Kristen Lehman), Darren Richmond (Billy Campbell) and Jamie Wright (Eric Ladin) in The Killing

How Not To Run A Campaign…

Photo Credit: Carole Segal/AMC

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.

 Mitch Larsen (Michelle Forbes) in The Killing

The uncharacteristically depressed and conflicted Mitch Larsen

Photo Credit: Carole Segal/AMC

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.

Additional Thoughts:

• 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.

  • rocky

    The scene at the school was way too heavy handed and overdone. This filmmaker knows nothing about the use of subtlety.

    There were some good scenes, and in general, the episode was an improvement as they try to wind this mess up. It would have made an excellent 30 minute episode. But Veena’s approach is sort of like the old saying about wet dreams.

    Thankfully, Breaking Bad will be coming along soon to make us forget this show ever existed.

  • newyorker

    “I could be imagining things, but I thought I saw Gwen’s picture on the key card.”

    Um yah you are imagining it. There was a graphic of the cityscape on it but no photos.

  • JohnnyO

    Disclaimer; skip the first paragraph if you only want The Killing.

    I’m a long time fan of AMC and though the network has changed drastically they do rival premium channels for some of the best television I’ve scene, and for a small network that can’t be easy. That said, it would be hard to convince me why rubicon got cancelled and the killing was worth saving. Easy answer is that the network ambitiously put too much on its plate and suddenly had hit shows requiring a lot more money to keep going, and I’m glad they went with it. Breaking Bad has consistently kept me guessing, on my toes, surprised, and ultimately happy to have watched it. Still, canceling one slow burn show to do another even more slooooow show is kinda surprising, especially with Veena Sud. I never could watch a minute of her other shows. Not even falling asleep.

    Brett, I have definitely enjoyed your recap/reviews, not only because most of the time I agree with you but you do point out some pretty glaringly bad tv moments that has pretty much defined the killing. Tell me if I’m wrong but the obvious stuff in this show get hammered into the viewers head, the first season was all red herrings yes, after the first few no one was surprised, and then now Richmond is paralyzed, wait… focus on that for waaaaaaay too long, because the viewer cares about that creep. Also, the mothers in the show are all portrayed to be bad characters, name one that isn’t, we got Mitch, Larsen, Jasper’s “Mom”, all either into it for money, their job, or Mitch, maybe she just likes to lie and cry, has she done anything else? I forgot that mob kid’s mom, that menthol smoking bag o bones! (Thank you holder). The truth is I want to know what people think of the show, SPOILER ALERT. (maybe)

    The last episode was supposed to involve another murder but apparently that isn’t the case anymore. “Terry” Rosie’s aunt recently had an interview and told reporters that the final episode had changed because of too much footage and they had decided to cut that part out. Ahem, death bell! Viewership has been way down, no surprise to me, but I can’t help it, I watched 13 hours of ads and the slowest burn, I need to know, cause its definitely different from the original, (which everyone has said is great, if you can do subtitles).

  • JohnnyO

    Rocky I forgot to say that yeah there is no subtlety here, I remember looking at promos of this show saying something like it will be a different type of show, my dad was a homicide detective and he agreed with that promo,he said, “it’s different alright, like Harry Potter.”

  • Victor

    As usual Brett, your review is right on the money. This was a surprisingly decent episode, as it went back to what it did in season 1-it stuck to the main story line. The only thing that knotted up my stomach was when they reintroducedAlso, as far as God goes, and despite contrary belief, AA does not engage in the “theist vs. Atheist” debate. In order to do step 2, I first had to make an admission in step 1, which was, “I can’t get sober by myself.” god knows I tried. In fact, if you wrote a book that chronicled my last few years of drinking, you could probably call it “The Dumbass’s Way to Get Sober,” and a big picture of my drunken face would be on the cover.

    The point is, that something bigger than me had to help me stop. That’s it. Mitch. Her character has been irrelevant, and quite frankly non believable, since episode 1 (therefore, I wouldn’t be surprised if she turned out to be the killer).

    One thing I still don’t get is Linden’s status. I thought she turned in her badge, so why is she still working the case? Can’t she be arrested for doing so? I’m no cop, but I thought the police usually don’t allow civilians to examine crime scenes?

    Anyway, I think that makes it only four more episodes to go? AMC took a bet on a pretty risky premise for a show-one murder. I will say that they took a good shot at it. Not sure if AMC has officially pulled the plug yet, but I’m pretty sure it has.

  • Jen

    If they pull the plug, can we campaign to get Holder his own show?

  • Chris

    Victor how could Mitch be the killer when she and Stan were gone for the weekend when Rosie was killed?

    Anyway I’ve read through all these recaps and again I don’t understand why watch it then write, bash or post bad things about it? You must secretly like it or you wouldn’t watch it or it must be some kind of trend to dislike it.

    It isn’t perfect but neither was everyone’s darling 24 which was quite a snore-fest and was worse than reading a Stephen King novel.

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