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The Killing Recap: Ghosts of the Past (Season 2, Episode 5)

The Killing Recap: Ghosts of the Past (Season 2, Episode 5) 1

Movies & TV

The Killing Recap: Ghosts of the Past (Season 2, Episode 5)

A recap/review of The Killing: Ghosts of the Past (Season 2, Episode 5)

Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) in The Killing Season 2, Episode 5 Ghosts of the Past-

Sarah Linden stares some more

Photo Credit: Carole Segal/AMC

If you missed tonight’s episode of The Killing, you missed…pretty much nothing. Well maybe two things of “note” happened. First, Stan kisses Terry after discovering that he actually, shockingly, might go to jail for 3 to 5 years after beating up Bennet Ahmed (who is doing just fine) last season. But the second, to paraphrase Skyler White, is a doozy, so hold onto your hats. Stan Larsen might not be Rosie’s biological father. Yes. The show that tries so desperately to pretend to have depth and realism throws one of the biggest soap opera twists of all into the mix, because it is clearly not confident enough to succeed on character alone.

Everything else is pretty much what we’ve seen before from this show. Linden and Holder do amateur detective work that they still manage to bungle. After arresting Alexi, they learn that they only have eight hours to interrogate him because he was asleep when they brought him in. For a moment, I thought this episode was going to turn into a take on the classic Homicide: Life on the Street episode “Three Men And Adena,” where it would concentrate exclusively on Holder and Linden interrogating Alexi for the remainder of the running time. Instead, it’s the same basic (basic as in typical for this show and basic as in it’s TV Cop 101) good cop/bad cop Linden/Holder scenario, and it only takes up a small percentage of the episode. But we do get our ‘the lawyer comes at the exact moment the suspect is about to talk’ moment. However, the kid does end up calling on Holder and Linden to tell them the Larsen father twist. Also, Alexi is actually Rosie’s really close friend whom she called in fear for her life on the night that she died. As expected, he is probably NOT the killer.

In Linden’s personal life, as usual, her kid takes second place to her work. Even as Jack suffers from a severe illness, she barely cares. When Linden eventually returns home, she sees her ex-husband watching over Jack so she calls the cops on him. I’ve complained about this before, but it’s really hard to side with Linden in this situation. Not because “[she] care[s] more about that dead girl than [she] do[es her] own son!,” but because she really doesn’t seem to care about Jack regardless. I get no warmth, understanding, or compassion from her towards him, which makes Jack come across more like something she uses against her ex than someone she loves. And, to be completely honest, I don’t see her as particularly interested in the Rosie Larsen case either. Then again, I’ve always thought that Linden lacks the obsessiveness I think they want us to think the character has.

Mitch Larsen (Michelle Forbes) in The Killing Season 2

Mitch Larsen in happier times.

Photo Credit: Carole Segal/AMC

In the land of the Larsens, we finally see Mitch again, and she’s befriending the teenage runaway who kind of looks like Rosie. You can tell that she’s a bad girl because she has piercings AND a colored streak in her hair. Mitch tries to understand Rosie through her, but this proves futile. Nevertheless, the two of them had decent chemistry, and Michelle Forbes brought a humanity to the scenes they shared that is missing in pretty much the rest of the show. Of all the actors on the show (and most of them are, admittedly, good performers, even if they are brought down by lacklustre material), Forbes is the one that best captures the ‘tragedy of a dead child’ angle of the show.

Back In Rainville, Stan goes to the police station to rat out his former mob friends since he now feels threatened by them. But Linden, ever the super cop, doesn’t care enough to listen to him and tells him to leave. I already mentioned the kiss and the possible prison time, so there isn’t much to add to this storyline. To the best of my recollection, I don’t think we see the two sons.

Finally, Richmond continues to be upset over the loss of the use of his legs. He has a horror movie-style nightmare of Belko coming to kill him, pisses himself, and cries. But when Jamie figures out Mayor Adams was the one who planted the photo implicating him, Richmond regains his strength and wants to “destroy him.” I guess that’s a third major development, but since it feels so divorced from everything else, it’s hard to count.

Additional Thoughts:

• “Three Men and Adena” aired in March 1993. I can’t believe it’s almost 20 years old.
• Those tattoos on Alexi look very fake.
• Alexi’s “drive” command to Holder. I’m not saying the show can’t play around with its format or have fun with genre styles, but for the type of show The Killing is, it seemed more like it tried to force suspense before an act break just because it couldn’t think of anything else to do.
• The massive conspiracy angle of this season certainly died down. I mean, apparently now Jamie’s the lead investigator on it.



  1. mqdv

    April 25, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Here’s the show in a nutshell: everyone’s a suspect, until they’re not, Linden broods, then Linden ruins their lives, then Linden broods, then it rains.

    And what’s with the white black guy (Jessie from Breaking Bad) character?

  2. RobNYC

    April 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm


    Well, AMC already f—-d up Teh walking Dead by firing the guy who made it worth watching: EP Frank Darabont. Darabont was fired because he wanted a bigger budget and a more interesting story line (go figure). I agree, however, that TWD is a far better show than The Killing. I just hope that the story in TWD becomes more interesting than what we saw in season 2, barring the finale.

    Anyway, AMC, like most networks, looks at the big picture rather than at one individual asset (show). Therefore, the shows that do well pay for the shows that don’t do so well. TWD and Mad Men are the biggest money makers for AMC, and money from them are used to pay for the failures that Chuck Collier enthusiastically approved of (Comic Men, Hell on Wheels, etc.). That’s why you see Chuck making moves that cause viewers everywhere to scratch their heads.

  3. lafemmeflaneuse

    April 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I was a massive fan of the first season, but whether or not it pulls a Twin Peaks, it’s actually based on a Danish series. They’ve already killed off their equivalent of the Danish killer, which was less good decision making than absolutely necessary.

    All that aside, I don’t have the usual fan complaints such as the barrage of red herrings this series has inflicted on its viewers episode after episode. The second season is what – trying to develop the characters further? If that is AMC’s excuse than why are they ruining their primary character aka Linden? I no longer care about her character at all because 1) She doesn’t really seem to give a crap about her son, 2) Her obsession to solve the case is completely undermined by her inability to be a decent homicide detective, and 3) Jack’s father, which I’m not quite sure why Linden is so opposed to is there when Jack has a fever, Linden is not, and then she calls the cops?

    Way to go AMC on ruining what could have been a great show because at one point Linden and Holder were worth watching every minute they were on the screen. I’d increase the budget for The Walking Dead asap before you ruin that too and Mad Men, which I still can’t figure out why everyone is so enamoured with burns itself out.

    I haven’t seen a network f*ck with a show to their own detriment since Fox f*cked up Arrested Development.

  4. TeeMick

    April 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    It’s ridiculous, isn’t it? It must have been the darkened atmosphere that sucked me into thinking this show was serious last season. I saw in Linden a new-fangled Scully without the X-files angle – all serious and detective-y. The character would have been better served had the writers given us only snippets of her personal life. She has become the epitome of the ‘working woman’ model that ‘they’ tried to pawn off on us in days of yore: career minded with no time for a man, neglecting all around her while wearing mannish clothes. Linden doesn’t need to have her act together completely (the ideal ‘supermom’ is almost as bad a stereotype) but, for the love of Pete…

    Then, there’s Mitch and her equally broken sister. And Rosie Larsen, the good girl with secrets. Isn’t one of the producers or writers or whatever a woman? How about you stop giving viewers this mishmash of stereotypes (don’t get me started on the men) and thread a good mystery which is what you promised?

  5. RobNYC

    April 23, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Several weeks ago, AMC President Chuck Collier was quoted as saying that the only thing AMC should have done differently with “The Killing” was to manage viewers’ expectations for the show.

    That, however, could be an impossible balancing act. The only way that you have a chance to keep viewers is by giving them the expectation tha Roise Larsen’s murder is going to be solved, or that a major clue will be found in the next episode.

    However, if you keep doing this to viewers every single
    episode, you’re going to lose views in droves.

    That being said, this series is like the first three Star Wars movies: All we wanted to see was Darth Vader and Obi-Wan fight. We didn’t really care about the first two films.

    last night’s episode was really more of the same old s–t that we have been sitting through just to get to who killed Rosie Larsen. Linden and Holder get a suspect (the tattoed teenage boy who is part of the Polish mob and was Rosie’s confidante). They interrogate him. He didn’t do it, but he likely knows who did. Of course, he doesn’t reveal it, because that would mean the end of the season (and the show, quite frankly).

    From there, the story line is like a helium balloon that’s drifting aimlessly in the air.

    What does Det. Linden’s son add to the story, other than that his well being seems to be a distraction to the story?

    Why did it take five episodes to reveal Former Mayoral candidate Richman’s paralysis and the fact that his new mission in life is to get back at Mayor Adams? What does this have to do with the story? That plot line could have been told in, at most, two episodes.

    Mitch continues to hang out in the roach motel. Why? That’s anybody’s guess. She tries to befriend a teenage hooker in order to better understand Rosie. Touching, but again, this has nothing to do with the story.

    Finally, we learn that Rosie is not Stan Larsen’s blood daughter. We don’t quite know what this means, but mark my words: if Stan Larsen turns out to be the killer, then AMC will really have a fan riot on its hands. That ending would confirm that this show truly is a knock-off of Twin Peaks.

    May the rest of the season be mercifully short.

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