(Apologies for getting this up so late. I was traveling Sunday night and only just got a chance to watch this...)
You’ve got to be kidding me! After the charge the series got from last week’s episode, I thought The Killing finally settled into a good groove and despite some inconsistency found in earlier episodes, we’d have a strong push toward the finish line.
And then we woke up to day 11.
Let’s just get into it before I decide not to write anything about it. I’ll share my personal thoughts at the end. And I apologize in advance if you feel I’m blowing through some of the stuff that happens, but…
We of course start where we left off last week more or less, with Linden at the casino, walking through the dregs of society that would be gambling at such an early morning hour. And before you accuse the show of exaggerating the type of character that would be gambling at that hour by showing someone with an oxygen canister on the floor, let me tell you – that is no exaggeration. I’ve seen plenty of oxygen tanks in a casino. In fact, I’d suggest that perhaps the producers of The Killing didn’t go far enough.
Linden wanders through the casino and you can see the possibilities this new lead suggests in her expression. Finally, a big break in this case! All she has to do now is simply get a couple of warrants for the security cameras and she’ll be able to fill in more of Rosie’s timeline and…
Not so fast, says the manager of the casino. Apparently, the Indians who run this casino aren’t so keen to be involved in a murder investigation. And while I can understand that to a degree, it does seem a little strange that they get very standoffish very quickly. Linden is asking for some standard things, and the responses she gets back could be construed as withholding information. Perhaps.
Frustrated with the lack of cooperation, Linden is escorted off the premises of the casino. Frustrated with this current roadblock, she eyes an ATM and gets an idea. She might not be able to get the casino’s camera footage, but the ATM security footage is a different story.
Holder shows up and Linden gives him the lowdown on her plan. Getting the warrant could take upwards of 24 hours, and it seems like Linden is going to wait right at the entrance of the casino, much to Holder’s chagrin. Because, see, Holder has some other business to take care of. He wants to head off to his niece and nephews school parade, as he is trying to get his life back together after the drug problem and good grief! This is episode 11? This is important because…? Look, I understand back stories to characters are important and good to establish, but I’m not sure there’s enough time here to make the audience care. The audience you have cares about the murder at this point. I doubt there are going to be any new people that are going to pick this series up.
Waiting for the warrant, Linden gets a new call – Jack didn’t show up for school. Ok, great. I guess I’m the patsy here because I thought once Regi left the picture and Linden and Jack moved into the hotel, that would be the resolution of that plot line. And I was wrong. So, so horribly wrong. And I feel bad. Because now we have to spend an entire episode tracking Jack down and forgetting about Rosie.
Linden and Holder go back to the motel to find Jack, only Jack isn’t there, but his cell phone is. So Linden obviously goes into detective more in an attempt to find her son. Holder begrudgingly follows along, at least at first. We’ll see as we move down this path how he changes, and how the relationship between him and Linden changes. You can either follow, or fast forward to the last two minutes if you only care about the Rosie Larsen murder. And I certainly won’t judge you.
They head to Reggie’s boat and not only is Jack gone, but Regi’s boat is gone. And really, who can blame her? Linden gets a call from another mother and long story short learns about The Tunnel – a popular place for kids to go when they cut class. And obviously Holder knows about it. So off the two go.
They get there, and no one is there, so they wait. Eventually, a group of kids come down. By this point, I’m begging Jack is one of them so that we can get back to the issue of dead Rosie Larsen, but no such luck. Heading back to the car, Linden finally opens up a bit after Holder’s continued questioning about Regi and we finally learn the secret we’ve all been dying to know – the truth about the relationship between Regi and Linden. They’re not mother and daughter, Regi is Linden’s social worker!
It’s possible that there are viewers out there that want to know the history of these characters, and get some insight about why they act the way they do. I’ll admit, as a Lost fan, I cared more about the secrets of the island and what was going on, and less about the character interactions. So I may be the wrong person to look to when watching this episode, but seriously, all of this is really really boring.
Linden and Holder go onto do way more police work in the next hour than they have for the entire run of Rosie’s investigation. And I get this is personal, but still. It’s a little jarring. They head off to get some food, where we now start to get deeper into Holder’s back story. His current outlook, which goes against his immediate appearance and personality, still rings true. For the character, at least.
Linden calls in an APB on her son.
They head back to the hotel, as it is now about the time that school is letting out. Still no Jack though.
Holder cancels his plans to head to his niece and nephew’s school parade in order to stay with Linden. It’s touching, emotional and real. I have such conflicting thoughts about this specific episode, because it really does a lot with the characters, while doing absolutely nothing for the rest of the show. This episode opens up a lot of avenues, from the slow realization from Linden that she doesn’t want Jack to grow up to become someone like Holder, to her other slow realization that she’s more fucked up than Holder. Not to mention the fact that police work can seriously fuck up the lives of many different people.
Linden directs the two of them to some places that ultimately are not places that Jack might be, but more are places where she can feel some pity for herself. And while that may sound negative, I think it’s exactly what her character needs – a chance to slow down and realize her lifestyle and dedication are not the best things for her son or the people that are close to her. Whether we’re supposed to take any of that out of this episode I have no idea, and I’m not sure if this is trying to set up a second season of this show or not. (And yes, I know I’m glossing over the fight between Holder and Linden, but it’s just another vehicle to show that Holder has his act together (at least a little more than Linden) and Linden doesn’t want to face that.
Sitting at an old playground, they hear over the radio that a child’s body that fits the description of Jack has been found. So off they go, assuming the worst. Again, I’m not sure if I would have been happy or sad if the body had been Jack’s. I guess sad, because that would have been too much of a wrench for the show to handle so late into the season. I mean there’s no way Linden would have been able to continue on with the case after the death of her son. On the other hand, it would have brought all of this oddball plot to a quick resolution, and we also would have gotten Holder leading the investigation so…
Linden and Holder head back to the motel and find Jack. Reunited, Holder is now left to pick up the pieces of his actions (or non actions) of the day with his family. Fingering his AA chip, I wonder if we’re supposed to think he’s headed back to the drugs. Thankfully (hopefully) we can shrug this particular scene off as a simple reminder that drugs always sing the siren song to addicts, as he gets a call that the ATM camera footage warrant came back.
Linden and Jack are back in the motel, and Linden is calmly going over the day’s events for him and asks him where he was. Jack explains his actions. He was with his dad. I wrote that line way before he admitted this. And I’m not saying that as bragging, I say it because it was the only logical outcome.
Holder is back at the station combing through the ATM footage, and he finds Rosie on it, all dolled up. If I take anything away from this episode it will be that the show still hasn’t eliminated Tom Drexler as a suspect. It certainly hasn’t advanced him either, and I’m hanging by a thread, but that thread is still tied to something.
As I said earlier, I felt very conflicted by this episode. While it did nothing to advance the plot, I did feel it did a lot to develop the characters of Linden and Holder. If only it had happened during day three, and not day eleven, and I feel it would have worked unbelievably well. But to have it show up so late in the series is going to turn viewers off – no matter how strong an episode it is. It’s weird, the show started off as a simple police procedural that focused on the case, to the detriment of the characters. To pull this 180 so late in the season flies in the face of what producers/writers/directors tried so hard to establish in the beginning. And that’s too bad, since I thought the writing of this episode was extremely strong, and it felt very real and human.
Anyway, I’m not bothering with a suspect list, so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.