As Linden’s former partner James Skinner speaks to his department about the details of the case, he states that “There is no Hannibal Lecter here” and debunks the point of profiling the killer. He’s saying that, plain and simply, this guy is killing missing young girls that aren’t reported missing. People aren’t looking for them and that’s why he’s targeting them. It’s a dirty, gritty case, and there’s no need to make it anything beyond that.
Through this speech, the producers are saying to us: This isn’t NBC’s Hannibal and it’s not CBS’ Criminal Minds. After the previous seasons’ multi-layered, cryptic yet connected cast and plot, and after last week’s ‘character union’ and ‘character resetting’ episodes, “The Killing” is now trying to define itself for the season to come, as something different than what we’ve seen before.
Well, ok. So what is it? With the case of the seventeen murders (and counting, as the promo states), we’ve got a season long story arc, with some interesting characters, new and old. But so far there’s none of that powerful tension- that dark feeling of impending conflict between characters- like we experienced in the first two seasons. I’m on the edge of my seat not because of suspense, but because I just want the police to talk to the kids, talk to Ray, talk to Ray’s son, and move on to something else. I wish they could all have a GoToMeeting. The separate scenes of the police and homeless kids are not holding my interest enough. However Ray Seward’s scenes are, somewhat ironically since he seems to be somewhat of a “Hannibal” (or Joe Carroll from “The Following”) type.
In “Seventeen,” the series heads down the procedural path. Skinner’s speech seems to be defending this by depicting the case (and episodes to come), as plain and simply ugly, dirty, gritty crime. Fitting of course, for the grey, overcast, ‘real’ tone of the show. So I do give credit for staying the course in this regard, and not trying to Hannibalize or Dexteriorate itself.
But again my main point is that dirty and gritty is just not enough, especially on basic cable. Seasons 1 and 2 were a tough act to follow however this series was given a third season and I expect there to be good reason for that decision to have been made. Hopefully there are still aspirations to match the levels of creative storytelling we’ve seen before.
I do like the building tension between Linden and Holder, as Linden is given an authoritative position on the case. We also see that Holder’s life outside his job is suffering at least somewhat, as he is reminded about ‘V Day’ by his partner. As much as he may bother Holder (and us) with his insensitivities, it is his partner who may have his priorities properly in check.
The scene where the homeless kids go visit the crime scene seems seemed forced. Bullet, the tomboy, can’t stand the older boy (Twitch), yet she is coerced into going with the use of the classic (as in overused) trick of being called ‘chicken.’ It doesn’t make sense that he would go, actually it doesn’t make sense that any of them would go. It seems, rather, that the producers wanted to stage a moment where Bullet and Lyric hold hands in front of the crime scene.
This is still good, quality tv, so far just not as engaging as I’d hope. Rather that mulling over the episodes’ events the next day, like I used to, in this season I find myself, when I do think about “The Killing,” just wondering, “OK, what’s next?”