The Killing – Season 3 Episode 5, “Scared and Running” Review

Rating: 5.1

Ray Seward’s intriguing scenes continue to leave many questions open, or at best provide fuzzy answers, about his innocence or his feelings towards his son. It’s possible that even Ray is not sure what those feelings are. The addition of another prisoner gives Ray more ‘material’ for him to share his beliefs and values. We know he is not concerned about forgiveness or God. The scene where the execution team starts to form, and the revelation that the execution is in 2 weeks, build more tension into Ray’s scenes.

That’s the ‘disconnected by design’ storyline, though thankfully there is actually more than a small connection since Linden and Skinner put away Seward, and the crime matches the current victims. The main story? Needs work.

There are of course many benefits within the traditional crime procedural format. At the top of the list is its standalone quality. Anyone can jump in and enjoy 53 minutes or so on the small screen. A longer format crime serial? Stronger character development, the ability to tell a longer, more complex, and sometimes more realistic story. This can be extremely powerful (See ‘Hannibal,’ ‘Dexter,’ or ‘Rectify’). So what happens when a series takes the non-procedural route, but fails to fully maximize the opportunities the long form crime serial provides?

Welcome to Season Three of “The Killing.”

Ray’s storyline is working – his character has me hooked in – not into the series but in the sense that I want to find out more about him. And the series is trying elsewhere. It tries to connect us to potential victims. It tries to depict Linden and Holder’s relationship in different ways. Linden coming over on Valentine’s Day, interrupting Holder and his girlfriend’s evening was successful in being awkward, but only in forced, unrealistic fashion. These are hard working cops focused on the case, but (c’mon already) they have got some common sense, and cell phones, too (next time, give Holder a call first, Linden). It tries to build the complexities of the case when Kallie’s cell phone rings in the room with Joe Mills – haven’t we seen an episode ender like that in a previous season with Linden and Darren Richmond, the same bit but using email? That ‘twist’ made Mills look more guilty, but he’s also already a person of interest, so that was more a mid-episode moment than an episode ender.

“The Killing” has been over-defined as wet, dark, dreary, damp, moist, grey, bleak, etc. That’s fine. Somewhat ironically it gives the series character and helps it stand out. But the story and characters (sans Mr. Sarsgaard, and Amy Seimez also does well as Kallie’s mother) are not grabbing me.

Can we wrap up this case, and then see more of “The Killing” at it’s best? Unfortunately, that’s doubtful since it’s been declared by the producer that this mystery is season-long. Much like those cop-ego-testing scenes where the FBI takes over jurisdiction of a crime, can’t we get Benson, Munch, and maybe Ice-T (whatever his character’s name is) to crossover and wrap this thing up? Wishful thinking I suppose. They’re used to dark stuff but Seattle’s still too wet for them.

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