by Guest Author Kelly Trembley
Brace yourself for this one. I would call this one of the most graphic, disturbing episodes in television history, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating.
What a strange turn for The Killing to make after last week’s action-filled circus of violence. Just when you thought you had this show figured out, it thumbs it’s nose at you and does what it pleases.
And in this case, it is pleased to lock us in death row, staring at the clock, straining to find some shred of evidence that could stop the inevitable. Ray Seward looks into a box of rings and correctly identifies his wife’s wedding ring, right down to the scatch on the inside, but because the Jewelry shop is out of business, it is not enough. Can you hear Ray’s labored breathing? Can you almost smell the sweat?
At one point Ray is verbally sparing with Linden, and Linden says to him, “It’s not me who’s on the clock.”
Our hearts are straining, pulling for this apparently innocent man to escape an unjust execution. And then out of nowhere Ray’s son Aiden confesses to Linden that it was his father Ray who was the killer. It seems almost unfair to make us care so much about someone, and then smash that emotion so bluntly and unexpectedly.
Not that there is anything in Ray’s character that would make us care about him. He admitted to beating his wife in front of his son, to putting a man’s eye out, and to smashing a man’s jaw so badly that he had to drink out of a straw the rest of his life. “Maximum security is a family tradition,” he said, pointing out that his father and his grandfather both spent their lives there.
Still, despite being a total loser, he is still a human being. And that baseline humanity drives Linden to make every effort to have Ray see his son one last time. When the cruel jailer Becker manages to prevent a face to face meeting, Linden takes Ray’s son outside so they can see each other through the window.
How ironic it is that Becker can’t bring himself to put the hood on Ray’s head. It’s left to Henderson, a decent man, to do the dirty work.
When Ray dangles in the air with the noose around his neck, we have to listen to his horrible, gurgling death. Only Linden shows a reaction.
The rest of us recoil in horror, and hope to one day forget that sound.