Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Killing: Day 9, Undertow

Let’s get right into this, because if I pause I might start to question why I’m still watching the show…

Linden and Holder are listening to the wire on Bennet’s phone with a translator. Bennet and whomever he is talking to are throwing out a lot of incriminating-yet-vague phrases. Enough of them at least to convince Holder and Linden they should go forth with a warrant and pick him up. Holder goes off to find his sympathetic judge, while Linden is off to make sure everything is on the up and up. Of course, we also need Mitch to get involved again, and talk about how Bennet is still out there…to which Linden stupidly suggests it will be over tonight.

Meanwhile back in the states…The mayor is going on the attack, directly answering the allegations of infidelity the Richmond campaign brought up. His press conference is of course on at the Richmond campaign headquarters, where it seems Richmond is having some buyer’s remorse on the whole thing. It’s at this point Linden rolls in and asks for some of the records of Bennet’s appearances with Richmond. At an earlier point in this series, this nice little connection tying of a suspect to another person of power would be something to note. Right now it seems to simply be filler. At least with the outcome of this specific episode. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Thankfully, once the press conference is done, we immediately get an admission of guilt form the mayor, speaking with his shady assistant. Not only does he admit the affair, but he goes one step farther by doubling what he is paying the former intern, and by getting his medical files falsified to show that he couldn’t get a girl pregnant. I guess that’s actually two steps further, but whatever. He’s certainly cunning and graceful under pressure. I wonder if he could commit and cover up a murder.

Holder meets with the judge. Obviously friendly, Holder goes on to get the judge to sign off on the warrant that will allow them to arrest Bennet and search his house I guess. And of course, this wiretap that was completely on the up and up last week is now completely not, due to the fact that Holder is quoting the Patriot Act in order to have gotten the wire on the house. And that is something the judge is not so cool with. We are in Seattle after all. I really hope no one was shocked by the fact that this whole thing fell apart. This whole get-the-warrant-get-the-evidence-now-the-warrant-is-bogus storyline is pretty much a microcosm of how the show is going.

Now technically day 9 (I assume it’s the morning when this happens), Linden and Holder are getting chewed out by their boss who is becoming less like a character and more like a caricature. In fact, if I were down on the boardwalk at the beach, drawing caricatures, and this guy came up, I’d draw him as a road block, holding back the word, “plot.” In a nice show a small support, Linden falls on the sword and takes the blame for the wire, and also gets a nice dig in at her boss before they leave.

Back at Bennet’s place, Amber, probably a slight bit suspicious with all the police interest and weird phone calls her husband takes, finally takes some action and takes Bennet’s phone to see who he’s been talking to. It’s obviously been Mohammed, and I must say, her sudden turn into Nancy Drew territory couldn’t have come at a better time for the detectives.

A new day means a new round of damage control for the Richmond mayoral campaign. Jamie is being his usual slimy self, trying to get in front of the backlash the campaign is feeling. Richmond has slinked back into, “I should be above all this,” going so far as to cavalierly take responsibility for using the dirt, while of course still blaming Jamie. He also makes a big show of how much he cares about the Somali population in Seattle which is nice in theory, but um, really?

Over at the Larsen household, Mitch and Terry are talking about Rosie’s textbooks. Terry is going to go drop them off over at the school since no one is going to need them right now. But Mitch speaks up and says she’ll do it. Hmmm, this seems like a minor thing to think about and not at all some stupid reason to get Mitch over to the school.

Amber, the guilt of complacency suckling on the teet of her unborn baby, decides to do something about it and calls the police department to talk to Linden, but then thinks better/worse of it and hangs up.

And now comes this week’s most absurd, seemingly non sequitor moment of the episode. Belko and Stan are on a moving job, one I guess that didn’t get cancelled, and Stan takes a moment to help a little girl with her bike. It’s a sweet subtle moment, and one that has no business being shown this late in the series. I guess it acts as a counter to the end of the episode, but really it feels out of place and smarmy. We get it. Stan has a tender, caring side. Belko creepily looks on from the back of the moving truck. And when I say creepily, I mean CREEPILY.

Mitch gets to the high school, books in hand, and wait a minute…what’s this? Bennet is there too? But I thought the principal told him to stay away!

Linden and Holder meanwhile are sitting in the police station feeling sorry for themselves that they can’t catch a break in the case (well, Holder is at least, Linden’s expression hasn’t changed since episode 2 so who knows what she’s doing), when they find something that could be a clue in a...book. A school book? I’m really not sure. But why would it be a school book if Mitch was taken them back to the school. It’s a little confusing here, and while obviously not anything significant, it still felt a little sloppy. Regardless, it’s a note that simple says, “Adela, 11:45.” So now we wait for a new character to be introduced…9 episodes into a 13 episode season. At this point, seriously, while I want to know the identity of the killer, I almost hope we don’t find out in season one, so they can at least justify how slow the pace of the show is going. The police have exactly one suspect, and as we’re about to learn, he didn’t do it. At least I don’t think he did.

Back at the high school, Bennet walks into the teacher lounge as though he’s not a murder suspect. Obviously, everyone treats him exactly like a murder suspect and keeps their distance. The principal comes in, confronts Bennet and tries to get him to go home, but Bennet is having none of it.

Look, I get the concept of “innocent until proven guilty,” and the idea of an innocent person wanting to show everyone around him just how innocent he/she is, but this is mildly ludicrous. Forget the fact that the teacher’s union would have to be involved in every facet of this situation, I’m having a hard time believing a teacher like Bennet, who has been set up as a teacher who really “gets” his students, wouldn’t realize going to school would be a bad idea. But it has to play out, so indignantly heads to his classroom, where the students wait about 5 seconds before leaving, and the camera turns to show the board behind him scrawled with the word, “Killer.” Bennet didn’t see that before walking in?

Richmond heads over to the defaced mosque. The swastikas were a nice touch. All eleven hundred of them. Seriously, there were a lot of swastikas. He speaks to the head of the mosque – and…really there’s nothing worth noting here, except possibly the fact that Richmond and the mosque leader know each other. Here’s another connection that I’m guessing will go nowhere.

Holder and Linden are working on trying to track down Mohammed’s phone number, since I guess they have nothing else to go on. If only someone would come and – hey look it’s Amber. Giving them Mohammed’s phone number, which she got off Bennet’s phone. Well isn’t that a great stroke of luck! And if I may, go slightly off track here…I’m not sure the average citizen, with no experience with the police, would be savvy enough to actually get the phone number. I mean, it feels a little too perfect. The cops need the phone number and can’t get it; the wife gives them the actual phone number. Lazy writing?

Then Mitch comes out of nowhere and shoots them! No, we should be so lucky. She does show up, but just to berate them about how Bennet is still out there and Linden told her he wouldn’t be and…man are they going a long way to suggest Mitch is getting fed up with Bennet still being on the street. Almost too much, no?

In a market in Seattle, which looks extremely not like Pike’s Market, which suggests this is certainly not being filmed in Seattle, because Pike’s Market would be a perfect place to film a chase. Anyway, Holder and Linden are looking for Mohammed here in not Pike’s Market. Since they only have a sketch of him and since the place is pretty crowded, it’s not going well until Linden has the great idea to go up a level and call the cell phone number. Long story shot, this results in a chase through the market. It goes on a bit, and seems fairly well done, and just when you think Linden lost him, Holder gets involved and they corner the elusive Mohammed. Knowing he is captures, he immediately begins to pray. Now, perhaps I’m am conditioned by my sociological surroundings, including the pop culture I ingest, and perhaps it’s also slightly xenophobic on some level, but when he started the praying, I thought he had a bomb strapped to him. I like to think that the FBI plot line led me down that road, and I wonder if it was done purposefully or not. To what end, I have no idea, other than another chance to create suspense. But it was strange, and seemed to be slightly out of place, considering what we learn about Mohammed in the next few minutes.

Richmond in a bar somewhere choosing what may have been the worst song selection out of a jukebox I’ve ever heard. Ok. Second worst. I will still rank my selection of Biko (Peter Gabriel) in a crowded Delaware bar as the worst. Oh sure, my friend will try to tell you his selection of Father Christmas (The Kinks) was worse because the bartender skipped it, but that was only because the bar was dead and I think he specifically didn’t want to hear it. My selection brought the place down. Seriously, listen to it – how can it not bring anyone down?

Anyway, the point is, if Richmond, my friend and myself are all in the same place at the same time, you might want to unplug the jukebox.

Richmond’s selection has some personal meaning with his dead wife and Gwen comes into the bar and tells him to tell the voters about his dead wife and what now? How is opening up about his dead wife going to get Richmond more votes? Because it makes him more personable? WHO CARES? This is a campaign. It’s typical. Dirt is found. Dirt is used. Everything is questioned. Talking about his wife might get him a brief bump in the polls, but win the election for him?

At the Larsen household, Mitch cracks a bit and rips into Stan a bit about the teacher and how he couldn’t do anything when he had the chance. Which I think won’t be the case the second time Stan and Bennet meet.

Then we’re treated to the comedy of errors that is the interrogation of Mohammed. While not played for laughs, with a few tweaks here and there, it could have been an awesome Laurel and Hardy bit. Basically, after some back and forth, it all comes out…Mohammed and Bennet were helping a Muslim girl (the same one who was on the missing flyer at the mosque) to run away so she didn’t get her genitals mutilated, and be forced into an arranged marriage, which some traditional Muslims believe in. Now, I realize that Muslims, even devout Muslims can believe in certain beliefs more than others, but to this point, the show has made Mohammed out to be a very devout Muslim. So for him to be so progressive about these traditional beliefs, while noble, don’t necessarily line up with the character that has been created to this point. And that’s why I have suggested the show has done some lazy writing in places.

And now, here comes my favorite suspect back into the picture! Richmond is at Tom Drexler’s loft, asking for 5 million dollars to help aid the Somalis. And…Tom throws a basketball at his head. Oh sure, there’s talk of a stadium and other nonsense, but then it boils down to Tom saying he’ll give him the money if he sinks a basketball shot. If he misses, he has to bow out of the race. And yes, it plays as absurd as it sounds. And yes, we even get the quick commercial break right as Richmond takes the shot. I assume we won’t get to see the swish until later.

Linden and Holder make Mohammed take them to the missing Muslim girl. So hey, look at that, the mosque and Somalis have to be happy with the police now! Anyway, they of course are now back at square one with their original case. And then Linden gets a call…Bennet never came home that night.

The reason why? He’s tied up in a van with Stan and Belko. Looks like Stan took Mitch’s words to heart about not doing anything because for the next five minutes, he and Belko fuck Bennet’s shit up.

And of course as that is going on, Mitch is doing the laundry and found the pink shirt that she falsely ID’ed as Rosie’s. So…um, yeah – my bad. She picks up the phone and I was hoping it was to Linden to basically say as much, but it was to Stan, in hopes of stopping the beating and torturing of what is now looking to be not only an innocent man, but an innocent, pious man who is anti-female circumcision. Oh boy.

We also get a quick shot in the now famous montage shot The Killing ends every show with of Richmond holding Tom’s basketball at a desk. So technically we don’t know whether he made the shot or not, but it’s pretty obvious, right? I can’t imagine at this point in the show Richmond would drop out of the race.

And the last thing we’re left with is the continued beating of Bennet, as Stan continually beats him about the face, while Belko stands off in the near distance, mimicking the beating to a bush, in a strange creepy almost sexual way. And I’ve gotta admit, that act alone pushes him up on my suspect list.

Suspect List

Well, as Stan made his face a big pile of mush, I think we can officially take the teacher off the suspect list. You had a good run Bennet, but go now and have that checked out by a doctor.

Tom Drexler – Admittedly, he’s a long shot at this point, but he certainly has shown he has a short temper and a quest for ambition.

Stan/Mitch – I continue believe neither Stan nor Mitch could have been involved in Rosie’s murder, based on what I’ve now named “The Alone Theory.” Basically, it’s the idea that a guilty person wouldn’t act certain ways when alone or having conversations with other people that may have been involved. Mitch, would not have acted the way she did when she found the pink shirt. And Stan interacting with Bennet seems to show his innocence as well.

Belko – Well, if he doesn’t rocket up to the top of people’s suspects lists based on his Wild at Heart moment during the beating of Bennet, I don’t know what to tell you.

Richmond – There’s enough circumstantial evidence to connect him somewhat loosely to Rosie, so it wouldn’t be completely crazy to reel him into this mess. But still…

So here are at day 9, pretty much back at the beginning, save one new clue – this Adela lead. And while I am enjoying the performances on the show, and looking forward to watching it every Sunday night, I’ve been disappointed in the structure of the show to this point. I mean, there have been so many plot points that have led nowhere so far...Off the top of my head:

  • Stan’s criminal past
  • Terry’s level of discomfort seeing Michael Ames at the memorial
  • Any of the high school kids/friends of Rosie
  • Rosie was found in one of Richmond’s campaign cars
  • Gwen’s senator dad
  • The expensive shoes found with Rosie
  • Tom Drexler’s existence
  • FBI terrorism investigation

All of these things so far seem to be on the periphery of the investigation, and yet we know so little about it all. And with only four episodes to go, it seems like some of it will be completely forgotten. I don’t need everything tied up in a nice bow, but it would be nice to get at least a little more information on some of these things.

Ultimately, I’ve been disappointed with this show after a real strong start. It almost feels as though the writers don’t know where they’re going, which is strange since it’s basically a remake of a Danish show. I’ll certainly continue watching as I’ve invested too much time already, but unless it starts picking up rapidly, I think I’m going to be disappointed.


Anonymous said...

Its filmed in Vancouver. They introduce a new character in every episode, thats taken from the dutch version.

I switched to the Dutch version and have not regretted it. The writing's better, the Lund/Linden character (and her partner) is far more believable as is Troels/Richmond. The mom in both is pretty bad, but the Dutch version is much cleaner, and you can watch it all seamlessly right now and not be writhing with AMC's weak additions. Example the cut off finger of the girl and mosque graffiti or Stan helping the little girl with bike.

Cline said...

Belko's been at the top of my list for a while. Him punching the rock or bush while Stan potentially gave reason for the pluralization of this show's title was the best non-verbal confession I've ever seen. He seemed pretty intent on Stan keeping the house he secretly bought. Wonder if there's something there he needs access to.

One more thread for your list to make an even 10: Rosie's film project that Bennett gave to the police 4 or 5 threads ago. Linden was briefly obsessed with it, then nothing. I still wouldn't be surprised if she recorded something she shouldn't have. Something that could affect a powerful person's big project like the Mayor's Waterfront thingy, Drexler's arena, or the mosque guy's Smilin' Somali Circumcision & Shiatsu Center.

Also, enough with all the fancy camera pans (horizontally behind the speaker's head especially). I think I have Esasky-level Vertigo. And chlamydia.

gdr said...

When 'Father Christmas' is on a jukebox and it's the middle of July, you put your quarter in and play it. The patrons begging the bartender to skip it, and the bartender obeying their wishes was a bit over the top. Therefore, Media PA will always be Everybody's Hometown Minus One.

Honorable Mention... Justify My Love skipping and playing at least a half dozen times before someone changed it, followed five hours later by a 3:00am playing of More Than Words in Denny's.

Cline said...

While we're on the topic...


Goose said...

A. It was February when you played it; B. there were hardly any other patrons aside from us in there. Stop spewing (S.P.E.W.E.Y.!) your revisionist history.

As for the show - it's never good when you can't beat out a decent episode of Law and Order when it comes to a whodunnit. As I said, we're back to square one when it comes to suspects, with a whole lot of potential unanswered questions. It almost seems as though they thought the Lost playbook was the way to go.

Cline said...

Did someone say "time loop"?

Muhammed IS Bennett?

Seattle is purgatory?

OK, that last one is plausible.

gdr said...

Suspect(s) list...
1) Stan/Belko combo. Belko's been far too easy with naming possible suspects from his "lead" at the school. Almost like they're looking for any scapegoat they can get so long as it isn't them. Of course seeing Belko in prison garb for next week doesn't support help me with that. I'm still hanging my hat on the alleged camping trip and the mongo flashlight Rosie's pursuer had, not to mention Stan's mysterious knowledge of heading to the pond when the car was being lifted.
2) Field bet on the classmates (Jasper, Kris, Sterling) (all of whom were conspicuously absent from this weekend's episode)
3) Amber with help from someone (unless the pregnancy is fake)
4) Richmond - as you said he's got a lot of circumstantial evidence trailing him, not to mention the Rosie/Lily/dead flowers connection
5) Terry has access to the house, so throw her in too

Goose said...

I like your field bet, but not only haven't the students been seen in this past episode, they haven't been seen in the past three episodes.

Mayor's assistant? Trying to frame Richmond for the campaign?

Cline said...

What kind of odds would Vegas have on Rosie's little brothers going Bad Seed on her?

gdr said...

I didn't clarify... yes the classmates haven't been in it in a while, but they were finally back at the school and they didn't get any air time.

Open items...
Stan mysteriously knowing to find Rosie at the pond
Ridiculous amount of blood in The Cage, too much for a nose bleed
Kris asking Holder "is that all you got" and "you don't know $hit" after their interrogation
Is Lydon Johnson Rosales' time really up?
AMC says Principal Meyers has an affinity for stilettos, does that play into Rosie's stash of heels?
Sterling talked to the Larsens' cat, Casey Jo, early on. I bet that means something we're all missing

Goose said...

I know you like Stan as the murderer, but I'm pretty sure Stan knew they were at least looking for Rosie over at that park - so while the coincidence is odd that he happened upon the scene, it's still possible it was just a coincidence.

Of course I chose my suspect based on a subtle edit, so I'm just as crazy.

gdr said...

Richmond's deceased wife's tune (Lily, also a flower) mentions a "rose" and hating the rain (it's rained in a scene or two, right?)...

If I should lose you
The stars would fall from the skies
If I should lose you
The leaves would wither and die

The birds in maytime
Would sing a lonely refrain
And I would wander around
Hating the sound of rain

With you beside me
No wind in winter would blow
With you beside me
A rose would bloom in the snow

I gave you my love
But I was living a dream
And living would seem in vain
If I lost you