In this week’s ‘The Killing’ coverage, we have a co-review from Dave Warren and Spunky, one of our guest contributors. Rating is the average from both reviewers![Spunky]
The first scene of this episode was extremely tense. Mark has a knife at Linden’s throat and takes her gun and phone. Decides to put the knife away and use the gun yet he does not get her radio and within a few minutes of the abduction we find that the entire police department can listen in to the conversation in the car. Linden asks for a cigarette..no way. Linden is totally his captive and ironically does not know that the police are listening. Mark reveals more of himself as they drive along, and we begin to realize that he probably is not the killer. As Linden tells of losing her son, Mark shows genuine sympathy and a conflicted attitude. Linden’s again asks for a cigarette….way. Some of the very best character development was done by these characters in the car. By the time the two were at the pier, we really felt for them. Of course, the audience always is rooting for Linden, but by the time the scene was over, we had a greatly changed view of Mike/Mark.
The plot of this abduction had a few holes…come on…would the helicopters really run out of fuel? Would Linden not mention her location at any point? Yet, these were minor, in comparison to the excellent character development in the car. When Linden leaned over while sitting on the pier and put her head on Mark’s shoulder, that was great TV.[Dave]
Yelling ‘Yaay, Prison,’ is not my normal reaction to a wide shot of a correctional facility, however that was my response during this episode since I know that we’re now in Ray Seward territory.
I was worried when it seemed the story was going to need Ray to somehow transform into a more cooperative and helpful character, even considering Peter Sarsgaard’s talent. How was this maniac who smashed the Chaplain’s head, has no interest in his son, and no interest in any new developments that could prove his innocence, going to end up helping Linden find the killer? Well, they pulled it off. Sarsgaard delivered a performance, that was, above, all things, exceptionally human. Seward’s fear and his instinct for survival dominated his scenes, first, when he desperately pleaded to his lawyer, and then during his panic attack. Seeing the two ‘enemies,’ Seward and the guard Becker, close up, face to face, with no prison bars between them was very powerful. For the first time they were working towards a common goal- calming down Seward. It is impressive how deeply developed the characters of Seward, Becker, the other guard Henderson, and even Becker’s wife have become. In the style of all Killing seasons, this is Story B, and the continued success of these scenes, as well as the connection to the main story, are really what’s kept this season watchable.[Spunky]
Throughout the season one of the weaknesses of The Killing is the character of Bullet. She has not made a positive impression for many reasons. Like all the Seattle Street young people, she is alone, unwanted and damaged, as described by Pastor Mike/Mark. Yet Bullet has had a prep school education and has money to buy drugs. She began looking for Callie, one of the few unselfish things she has done in the series, but when Callie disappeared, she tried to hook up with Lyric. We felt no sympathy for Bullet when Lyric so callously brushed her off. The reason for that lack of sympathy is that the audience really doesn’t get to know Bullet’s background. She is just one of the many street people in the series who are lumped together. There are too many of them and though Bullet has a larger role, we really don’t know much about her except that she likes to act tough. In the first series of The Killing, Holder and Linden were looking for one victim whom the audience felt it knew very well. We knew the family, Rose’s friends, her teachers…a thorough background which made the audience feel for the characters. In this series we don’t have much background in order to connect with these many victims. The one character with depth is Ray and we do feel for him.[Dave]
Linden and Holder’s relationship got a lot of scene time. It is tricky – and I commend the writers for successfully doing so – to show a deepening relationship between two characters that are so socially inept. However, though sometimes Holder shows his charm, the two are not the most likable characters, and so much screen time dedicated to them, for example, in this scene’s episode where Holder brought Linden takeout, was somewhat draining. Relative to Linden’s world, it was a big deal for her to give the case folder over to Holder, even for just one night. But overall the scene felt a bit long, and a little too similar to the many scenes we’ve already seen between these two.
Though, due to the playout of the subplot as well as excellent acting, their earlier encounter on the pier was hugely emotional and effective. Solid acting is not a concern for The Killing, and neither will be, I am guessing, the ‘big story.’ ‘Try’ was a step in the right direction, since the overall story did move forward, and, unlike most episodes this season, there were no scenes that totally killed the episode’s momentum. Let’s hope, going into the final stretch, that things keep moving, connections kick in in a surprising way, and we all remember this (likely) final season as something that was worth watching.