The 4th episode of the Killing, “Head Shots,” is the slowest one yet in terms of story development. Events such as the suspect Goldie driving to the crime scene for an impromptu press conference, Twitch getting [we think] sexually assaulted in a car then beat up later by a rival gang, and the discovery of the secret room where the videos of the girls were made really didn’t pull me in, for a couple of reasons.
First, they are seemingly non-related, or only somewhat related to the big story – the seventeen victims. Sure, finding the secret room is a fine discovery, and will give Linden, Holder, and Holder’s partner more to work with, but as far as engaging us, it didn’t really do much, and it was no surprise that the motel worker was a part the videotaping ‘project.’
Additionally, most characters in this seasons’ story are just not popping – and many are not likeable. I think there is intent on the part of the writers for us to care more about Bullet, and maybe even Twitch, than we actually do. I don’t want them murdered but have a hard time worrying about them, since they are both jerky in their own ways. Goldie is a horrible person, a rapist scumbag, but we don’t think he’s connected to the main case so I don’t really care what’s going on with him. His stunt to deliver a press release was actually kind of a neat trick to pull, and I was surprised that there was more stakeout and mundane car chase shown than his speech at the crime scene.
Ray Seward is the main draw of Season 3 so far. Whether he is guilty and how he is involved with the main investigation is very compelling, especially as we get to know him more from the various prison scenes. In this episode, we know that he is an expert manipulator and also that there is some good in him. He thinks he’s lost, does not believe in hope (or worse, faith), and seems to have given up. Or so we are led to believe. His character is so complex that we know better than to think he isn’t planning to do something next, possibly something to Becker, the main guard. There is great tension growing between those two.
The only real development with the investigation in this episode was the revelation (in the final seconds) that Joe Mills, one of the suspects connected to the girls, is dating Callie’s mom. This is interesting, but not terribly surprising in the context of all the characters. Surely some of these people are going to be connected to each other at some point.
“HeadShots” still keeps “The Killing” in the quality zone, almost entirely due to Linden, Holder, and Seward’s scenes. Other scenes, in particular the ones with the kids, are too disconnected to the main story to be engaging. I’m not sure if we are supposed to be happy that Twitch got beat up, or sad because he can’t run off to L.A. Nor am I at all interested that the girl Bullet likes is attracted to Twitch and not her.
I’m sure that the overall story in Season 3 is a good one, however many may not stick around to see it if the pacing moves they way it did in “Head Shots.” And hopefully we’ll start to see some more connections between characters in this series’ large cast.