‘The Killing’ has a great concept for a crime series. Though not completely groundbreaking, the series will be remembered for its style of season-long mystery unraveling. But I see a missed opportunity here, where the series really could have done something really different in this 3rd season.
“Eminent Domain” features some great performances, again of course by Peter Sarsgaard, Enos, Kinnaman, and Amy Seimetz (Kallie’s mom). Enos had a great scene with her boss and former lover Skinner (Elias Koteas), where she got extremely upset and then, seconds later, tried to convince him to take her side by getting in his face and being strangely serious, quiet, and intimate. Her plan didn’t work, though.
Despite Skinner’s announcement earlier in the season that ‘this isn’t Hannibal Lecter’ and that they won’t be profiling him, they continue to build the killer’s character as a mysterious and strangely motivated (he says he wants to ‘save’ them) man. Holder takes a crack at his motivations by ‘going Galileo’ (changing the perspective from the victims’ to the killer’s).
Since Holder seems to be fairly sensitive and now has strong values, I didn’t think it was in character for him to be putting up with his partner Reddick’s jokes about the live girl they found. Holder doesn’t seem to care to be accepted by his partner, so why does he laugh when he calls the girl ‘4/5 of a hand job?’
Ray’s character appears to becoming a bit more ‘human,’ evolving from the chaplan-blooding Ray from the premiere to the Ray that wants to see his father and is frustrated rather than indifferent when Linden tells him the new details of the case she’s discovered. This helps viewers to want ‘justice’ for Ray, since there is now a glimmer of normalcy in his behavior. The line that made me the most curious this episode was when Ray’s father said, “I’m proud of you for doing your time and keeping your mouth shut.”
There was also a connection made between Bullet and Kallie as well as between Bullet and Lyric. These two scenes had very little impact. I do feel for Kallie’s mom even though she was initially completely idiotic. Bullet, on the other hand, is still too ‘punkish,’ and without knowing more about her it’s hard to get too invested in that character. If she and Lyric can spend time together and if that brings them some happiness in their bleak lives, then that’s great.. but please make the time devoted to these characters worth our while!
Ending the episode with the suggestion that Pastor Mike is the shepherd with his flock worked as a typical show closer, but much like Joe Mills, he’s got to be at least a person of interest already for Linden and Holder (and any viewer who even remotely pays attention) So is his arrival back from dinner, with the knowledge that the girl left the hospital, supposed to surprise us, and/or implicate him? That moment felt more like a therapist saying “Ok, we’ve made a little progress, but that’s all the time we have today.” End of session.
The series’ 2 cases to date feature similar victims (young girls) and similar themes such as Linden’s tendency to get too invested and obsessed, Holden trying to keep Linden in line when she deals with coworkers and others, and police fighting against the beaucratic department heads. Why Season 3 has such similarities, in a series where there is already such a consistent dark & damp tone, is anyone’s guess.
The ‘television event’ has emerged as the latest strategy for one-season dramas (regardless if the intent is to produce additional seasons), such as the current ‘Under The Dome’ and the to-be-highly promoted ‘24’ reboot in 2014. Season 3 had every opportunity to take on this ‘event’ perspective, and bring us something that doesn’t involve a missing or murdered teenage girl. In ‘Eminent Domain,’ it has become very clear that Veena and company are not willing to stray too far from the formula that [arguably] worked in the past. So despite some excellent new characters, a new crime, and some growth from Linden and Holder, the series now just seems like an extended, extended, director’s cut of a long crime procedural. It’s not that there’s no end in sight, it just seems very, very far away. They’ve succeeded in capturing some of what worked in the previous seasons, but the series also suffers because that’s all they’ve done so far.