Monday, May 16, 2011

The Killing: Day 8, Stonewalled

Day 8

I preface this recap by saying that a comment on last week's suggested the identity of the killer based on some internet sleuthing. While the commenter didn't know if it was 100% legit, the reasoning was sound, and so I deleted the comment. I know AMC has said their version of the sow will be different from the Danish original. How different, I'm not sure. I do not know if that means it will be a different killer. I will say, I'm will continue writing these and offering my theories as if I didn't read it.

We start off on images of things you would most likely find in a teen girl’s bedroom, and I wonder – are we flashing back? Are we about to head into the Black Lodge? No, it might actually be considered weirder, as we find ourselves in the meat locker where we last saw Holder and Linden and the FBI. Well, there goes my slaughtered pigs theory. Apparently, the FBI have been looking at this Mohamed guy as “a person of interest” in a terrorism sting. Of course, with the meat locker set up less like a terrorist hideout and more like the set of To Catch a Predator, maybe they’ll rethink things.

Thankfully, Linden and Holder, once established as detectives and not terrorist sympathizers, come are let go, and we see that their trespassing has the entire FBI and Seattle police force outside. If I may take a moment here – for all the complaining the FBI will be doing about how their case may now be compromised, I really think there may have been a better way to handle this. Remember, Linden and Holder simply broke into this place, seemingly unobserved by this Mohamed. And it’s almost certain that the FBI had the place under surveillance – but they couldn’t just send the guys in, take Holder and Linden down (even though wouldn’t they let two people they didn’t know go in and see where they led them in case they were part of the terrorist cell?) get their credentials and let them on their way without the huge police presence outside?

I realize one you begin applying logic to a storyline, it’s a slippery slope down into unveiling how illogical shows can be, but seriously, this isn’t a Monday night NBC offering; this is AMC, and we hold that network to a higher standard.

But I digress…

Linden and Holder’s boss meets them out in the alley, and he’s none too pleased with his detectives.

Linden makes a Goren leap (see last week’s recap for explanation) about a t-shirt on the bed in the meat locker being Rosie’s. I mean obviously it’s possible, buy simply focus on the shirt? You’ve just stumbled on a girl’s bedroom set up in a meat locker…that’s not bizarre enough?

Linden heads back to her boat. Or Reggie’s boat. Let’s just all agree not to care who’s boat it is. She calls the tech at the station and asks for the Rosie Larsen case files, telling a small lie in the process, so she can work on them at night. So now we’re starting to at least see some of her obsession, and not just hearing other characters talk about it. We are then “treated” to a phone call to Rick, her fiancĂ©, (I feel I need to clarify who Rick is every time I mention him since I frequently have to check AMC’s website to remind myself of his name and reason for being on the show), but he doesn’t pick up. Some woman named Emmy does, and it’s clear she’s not a fan of Linden. And it’s also clear that Rick is either having or going to have an affair with her to give Linden the out she needs. Hopefully that scene happens on the phone…off screen…in last week’s episode.

At the Larsen household. Stan is trying to get things back to normal and having a rough go at it. So much so he spreads horseradish on the sandwiches he’s making for the boys. Rather than salvage it with a nice lean roast beef, he gets angry frustrated. Also, did you see the size of the jar of horseradish? I know it had to be similar to a jar of peanut butter or mayonnaise, but you could have bathed in that tub!

Anyway, this is all set up so that we can see Mitch accidentally almost kill her two kids by leaving them in the running car in the garage because she is still caught up in Rosie’s murder. A little melodramatic, to say the least. Thankfully, the kids are fine, as Terry finds them and opens the garage door. And I realize something major needed to happen to lead to what Stand does later, but this seemed a tad melodramatic and severe. In fact, my wife, who hasn’t watched any of The Killing other than 20 minutes of the first episode, was in the room for this scene, before angrily stomping off and heading to bed. I’m guessing she thinks I just lay on the couch and watch murder porn all day.

Things aren’t looking good at Richmond’s campaign headquarters either. With the loss of the All-star program, Adams seemingly has Richmond on the ropes, and the press is now all over the now possible terrorist connections with Bennet. But Richmond comes in bright eyed, bushy tailed and ready to fight back – to a point. He’s ready to go after Adams when it comes to policy, but when it comes to character, he wants to remain on the up and up. All this scene was missing was Jamie and Gwen propped up on Richmond’s shoulders whispering into his ears.

The next morning, Linden heads into the police station to go and get debriefed by the FBI, and sees Holder meeting with his mystery man, getting what we can assume is another wad of cash. And while I realize it would have been absurd for Holder to be getting paid off to keep an eye on the investigation from some shady character, it would have been a billion times more exciting than where this plot string ends. Regardless of that, Linden walks in to see the FBI ransacking her office, and taking all her case files on the Larsen case. Then her boss thrusts today’s newspaper in her face with the crime photos from the investigation splashed all over the cover, suggesting there’s a leak. And who has access to these photos? Why, only Linden, the techs and Holder! I will say it was nice to see even though she obviously has suspicions, she doesn’t throw Holder under the bus as being the leak to the boss, which she clearly believes. Well, at least she won’t have to deal with Holder in the debriefing, as the boss bizarrely kicks him out, saying only the primary detective will get the debriefing. This would be an understandable action, except for the conversation that follows shortly after that we’ll get to in a bit.

Bennet, on his way to school, gets the call from the principal to not come to school. And while I hate the principal character because she seems like such a dullard simply there to move the plot along, I also think, even if this has come down from the Richmond campaign, this idea sounds like a good one. A “person of interest” in a murder and with connections to a possible terrorist is probably not suitable to teach a high school class. Bennet though, is still angered by this perceived slight.

And now, onto the briefing…Blah blah terrorism. Blah blah passports. Blah blah women not Caucasian. I assume the FBI/terrorism link will be followed through a little bit, but this inter-departmental bickering is boring and ultimately leads nowhere.

And next comes what I have labeled, “The weirdest scene on The Killing ever, and that includes having a little girl’s room in a meat locker”

Jamie and Tom are hanging out at what appears to be an underground, illegal bare-knuckled fight club. Two bare-chested men grope one another in a chain-linked, fenced-in boxing ring in some warehouse. Jamie’s trying to get Tom Drexler to fund more of Richmond’s campaign. But Drexler is having none of his BS political yammerings. Instead of cutting him a check, he gives Jamie some much needed dirt on the current mayor. When Jamie asks Tom why he never went public with it, he replies hilariously with, “Even I have scruples.” Hilarious because he’s at an illegal gay romp disguised as an illegal fighting club. Honestly, I have no idea what we’re to take away from this scene. We’ve been given hints through the episodes about Jamie’s possible homosexuality, and I immediately thought the dirt might have been going down that avenue at first, because seriously, this was a weird scene. Caligula didn’t throw as weird a curveball than The Killing did here.

And regarding Tom – while I have half-jokingly listed him as my prime suspect, and his lack of screen time is spitting in that theory’s face, why is he involved here? There has to be something to be taken out of this scene. But I just can’t figure out its significance. So I’m assuming it points to Tom’s guilt and I’ll leave it at that.

Linden and Holder meet up after the debriefing. Both seem to have a legitimate beef here (well, Linden’s is a little weaker, but I can see why she might be mad at Holder for not disclosing a little more), and take it out on each other. Holder is rightfully annoyed he’s getting shut out, especially since technically he’s supposed to be the lead (Linden is supposed to be gone!).

Linden rolls out, after giving Holder a verbal beatdown, only to run into Mitch Larsen, who’s upset about the crime scene photos. The confrontation leaves Linden speechless.

Richmond HQ. You know, I think I’ve come to peace with the fact that The Killing is simply gong with two storylines: the murder of a teenaged girl, and an insider’s look at running a mayoral campaign for a mid-level city. Yes, I understand that the murder has sent ripples through the campaign and they have had to deal with that, but not in a major way. Remember when the body was found in a car registered to the campaign? Yeah, me neither. Anyway, this discussion is all about how Jamie has the goods on Mayor Adams, but it’s character stuff, and not policy stuff. And to everyone’s (ok, not everyone – just Gwen at this point) Richmond is considering using it!

Linden is off the rails. I find it funny that had this be the first episode we totally would have thought this was something Holder would do. She pulls the ol’ “hey, I just need to see some evidence, and it’s totally ok and authorized” trick on the FBI agent overseeing the evidence. But he isn’t buying it. Not at all. In fact, he’s so completely not buying Linden’s obviously made up story that he’s going to leave his post and get his supervisor to check things out and…ooops. Linden gets what she wants (a picture of the shirt she pegged as Rosie’s after seeing it in a weird, staged meat locker girl’s room) and rolls out of there before the FBI agent (and other FBI agents who are just standing around) can stop her. You know, like grab her arm or something!

The Benet household is chilly at best. He comes home and tells his wife that he’s been suspended. But apparently some time has gone by since the principal called him, because his wife asks where he was then, if not at work. And he has no real explanation, other than to yell at her. So, just in case there wasn’t enough evidence to make him the red herring of the show, they are now giving him unexplained periods of time for us to ponder about.

Linden heads over to the Larsens to ask Mitch about the t-shirt. Mitch takes a look at the grainy picture on the 2 inch screen of Linden’s camera for about a second and dives into a story about how, yes, it was Rosie’s shirt. A pink shirt that has “GRAND CANYON” written on it. Sure, that’s good enough for me. Case closed!

The one interesting thing Mitch brings up in her story is something to the effect that she thought Rosie “had lost it” (the shirt) which we could take to mean that the shirt was missing before Rosie was. Of course since we’re supposed to believe the shirt has been identified as Rosie’s off a grainy, digital picture, I might be reading a little too into this.

Based on the extremely circumstantial shirt identifying Linden got from Mitch, she heads off to get her boss to get the shirt back from the FBI and run some tests on it. But the boss is having none of it; in fact he tells Linden to drop it entirely. But he doesn’t stop there. He asks how Holder is coming along, since she was supposed to be training him. She brings up her concerns about Holder, to which the boss suggests maybe she should be moving on to that California sunshine.

Now, I have two problems with this…

1. This is the same guy that demanded she stick around with this case. So this dogged pursuit she is showing is his fault.

2. If he didn’t really want her around anymore, why was he so quick to keep Holder out of the debriefing? If Holder is going to be taking over the case, shouldn’t he be kept abreast of all these developments?

It’s these minor questions, and slight inconsistencies that keep The Killing from being a great show. I can look past some of the more convoluted plot points, or at least have some faith that they will all be tied up in the future, but when they have established characters performing uncharacteristically, it chips away at the realism.

If there was ever a more appropriate time for Randy Macho Man Savage to come along with his “snap into a Slim Jim” shtick, I haven’t seen it. Calling Rick again (really?) and getting no response, she’s about to light a cigarette (I will admit I haven’t been keeping track if she smoked before in this series to see if she’s going back to a vice because she’s stressed, or she’s been smoking the whole time) she notices Holder heading off with his mystery man and she decides to follow them.

At the Larsen household, Terry breaks down and tells Stan she found the kids in the car earlier that day.

Linden follows Holder to some weird back alley place, a beat up looking building, and gets out and walks down the stairs to see Holder standing at a podium in front of a bunch of people. And since the audience was tipped off to this a couple episodes ago, it’s not really a surprise that Holder is an addict or that the mystery man is his sponsor to us. But I sure bet Linden feels bad. Not bad enough to spy on his “anonymous” meeting, but still. And while I the scene is powerful (including the story about Holder hitting bottom), I feel slightly cheated that he’s not just a prick with a bad attitude. A prick with a drug problem is too sympathetic.

Richmond stops in at the parole hearing for the drunk driver that killed his wife. Keeping with tonight’s theme about forgiveness and who can give it and who can’t, he listens to her ask for it, but wanders into a bathroom and smashes a mirror instead. This sudden, burst of violence kinda comes out of nowhere and is mildly surprising. I wonder if it’s enough to suggest he would turn violent suddenly if, say, a teenaged girl didn’t give him his way?

Back at campaign headquarters, good cop Gwen and bad cop Jamie are arguing about the dirt they have on Adams and whether or not they should use it. Gwen is sure Richmond won’t go for it. Jamie suggests he can get it out there, but Gwen is having none of it. Just when the argument is about to meet a crescendo Richmond calls and says to run it! Our golden boy politician is getting his hands dirty! I wonder what other activities he’s gotten his hands dirty in?

Jack is the crime photo leak! Since Linden had the pictures sent to her computer, Jack saw them and sent them to all his friends. And while I know there is trouble between the two, his cavalier attitude about it seems a little disingenuous. I certainly believe he would send the pictures out to his friends – that’s believable. But his lack of feeling when his mom suggests how it made the family of the victim feel. Was startling. You almost have to be a sociopath to not feel sympathetic when given that scenario.

Speaking of weird feelings and actions… it’s not much better over at the Larsens. First, Mitch comes in talking about how the police are close to arresting Bennet, which, yeah I didn’t get that at all during the two times Linden has spoke with Mitch today. But she soon forgets what she was saying when she realizes that Stan has boxed up all of Rosie’s stuff. And yeah, Mitch isn’t thrilled with this decision. They turn on each other, each accusing the other of screwing up; Stan because he let her stay home instead of going camping with them, Mitch because she’s too strict. And, if I may interject here…while I certainly understand where Stan is coming from, and he’s reacting to the boys in the garage incident, Mitch is correct in pointing out that it’s only been a week since Rosie was murdered. Everyone grieves differently, and cleaning out her room probably wasn’t the right move.

So at last we find out the dirt Richmond has on Mayor Adams as we all watch the local news run with the story: the mayor once slept with an intern and paid for an apartment for her. Obviously a scandal, but this was the story Tom was sitting on, and the one his scruples wouldn’t allow him to use? It’s practically a rite of passage for a politician these days. On a scale of 1-10, I rank this scandal a “lame.”

Richmond watches the news as the former intern poorly handles the media’s eye, and I’m thinking he’s going to realize he made a mistake with this, or at least feel he’s gone too far. I can almost see the meeting between him and the intern.

Linden heads back to the docks and Reggie’s boat with Jack, and runs into Holder. It’s a cool scene that recognizes when two people who don’t know each other dance around important issues. Holder then gets down to more important business and mentions he legally tapped Bennet’s phone. Seriously, he goes into so much detail about how he spoke with the judge and did this all on the up and up that it’s almost certain to completely fall apart when they have something.

We’re left with a brief snippet of Bennet on the phone talking to someone about passports and that the police don’t know what’s going on. And while that’s great to be getting yet more possible evidence on Bennet, it also leads to one or my major gripes about the show. There has been a lot of time investing into Bennet. Way back when he was first listed as a suspect, it was almost a joke to say he was the murderer, since there was still so many more episodes to fill. But now here we are on day 8, of what I believe is a 13 day run, and the police have no other suspects. In fact, the show has focused more on Bennet, but wrapped him up in a much bigger case, involving the FBI and terrorism. Yes, this mysterious “Mohammed” is definitely a suspect, but we haven’t even seen him. It seems that there are many pieces that have been introduced, but only in one direction. And while I still don’t believe Bennet murdered Rosie, we are no closer to knowing who did. There are no clues or foreshadowing to suggest it was anyone else, and we only have five days to go.

So, while I enjoyed Stonewalled, and thought it was a step up after the previous two weeks, I can’t say I think it’s helping the overall series. Unless they just run with this terrorism angle to the end, and Bennet/Mohammed were the killers, the reveal of the real murderer is going to be rushed, and possibly a little convoluted.

Suspect List

Honestly, other than Mohamed and Bennet, and possibly Bennet's wife, there has been no evidence for anyone else. A few allusions here and there (with Richmond in particular), but that's it.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. What are yours? Let me know in the comments, but please refrain from spoiler discussion.


gdr said...

Agreed, not much moving on the suspect list. I was hoping the new school week would get us back to Jasper/Kris/Sterling, but Bennett's suspension and terrorism link is preventing that.

Terrorists or smuggling girls to/from Somalia? What's up with that? Rosie introduced to this, the guys lied to her about the extent of what they were doing, she tried to get out but knew too much and had top be taken care of?

Mohammed/Bennett double team murder? Stan/Belko double team murder? Richmond certainly showing a violent side so he stays in the mix as well, especially since I'm still buying the whole Lily dead wife / Rosie dead girl / flowers are a bad gift because they die thing.

Anonymous said...

Apologize for last week's supposed spoiler, but there's a frustration with AMC's "killer tracker". has a good comparison of the two versions (the dutch one is a lot better) without spoiling the fun.


Goose said...

No problem - I just didn't want people coming here who want to stay completely pure to stumble upon it.

Anonymous said...

We are Dane, not Dutch. Two different countries. Dane's are from Denmark, Dutch are from Holland. Thank you! :)

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