Friday, April 29, 2011

Awesome camera shot

Sure it rips off The Matrix, but it's still cool looking. I just wish they didn't use Hey Man Nice Shot for the soundtrack.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Killing: Super 8

Here we are at day 5 – and we must be in some other city since it isn’t raining.

Since last week we had the evidence shovel burying the teacher in suspicion dirt, we start with Linden and Holder visiting him at the school and confronting him with the evidence they unearthed. And again, Holder is direct, while Linden is subdued in their questioning. It’s beginning to get slightly tedious.

Bennett hems and haws and has no good answers for the detectives. Rosie came to the community center a couple of times…he went home the night of the murder to work on his new floor…he sent his pregnant wife away so she wasn’t bothered by the fumes…he writes letters to all his special students…no one can support his alibi…I’ll say this: I’m glad they didn’t exonerate him. Right now, based on the evidence, he’s the most likely suspect. I’m sure this means he actually tried to save Rosie, but whatever. The detectives leave, but not before getting a video Rosie put together. Seriously, this is the third video involved in this case, and the teacher has supplied them all! He should be arrested for being creepy if nothing else.

At the Larsen household, we see how grief can affect even the everyday routine, as one of the kids wets his bed, and the other one steals money from his dad to march to the local store and buy milk (because the parents are ignoring their familial duties. Let me say here, I understand that the family’s grief is important to this show, and everyone is doing a bang up job and putting together their Emmy reels, but it’s starting to drag the show down a bit, in my opinion. It slows the investigation down, and there’s only so much sadness I want to focus on. Heck, these scenes are the reason my wife refuses to watch the show.

Speaking of things that aren’t moving the investigation along…look! It’s Gwen and Richmond sleeping together! Apparently the billboards and marketing blitz have helped Richmond, but he needs more. Gwen hatches a plan to get more votes: film a commercial with the Larsens. Um, yeah, I don’t think that’s the greatest idea, it being 5 days after their daughter was horrifically murdered. If these are the kind of ideas you’re paying Gwen for, then maybe you want to go looking for something else. Thankfully Richmond says about as much, but Gwen makes her case, mostly because she’s basking in the post sexual glory and knows she can get this hot shot director to do really cool things and make everything look great and oh my god I fell asleep.

But wait, we’re not done with inconsequential subplots! Richmond meets with Jamie to get some more recon in the mayor’s office and learn who the mole is. There’s this whole booze thing with Jamie, and at first I thought he might be an alcoholic the way they’re playing it. Of course, that might have made it slightly more interesting. Richmond seems to know a lot about the mayor here, offering up tidbits which I guess can be explained simply that because they’re politicians they probably know each other fairly well, but also struck me as a little suspicious. Also, the homosexual undertones (or maybe overtones since they’re beating us over the head with them) involved here are downright strange. I’m not sure who they’re suggesting is gay, or if they’re trying to show that this is how these two talk, but it comes out of left field. I really hope they’re not setting up Jamie as being gay, because I’ve seen that in No Way Out, done much better.

Wait, what’s this? You say a girl has been murdered? Well, let’s find out more about that! Holder and Linden are watching the Rosie’s video, and it looks to be an art class project. I’m certain if I Zaprudered it and went through it frame by frame, it would unveil a host of clues and point to the actual murderer, but hey, I’m just the viewer here. I’m going to let Linden do that. Which she is doing, much to Holder’s chagrin. He likes the teacher for the murder, and is annoyed that they’re going over the video so meticulously. Of course, he also gets a moment to share his Monarch butterfly knowledge with us…which smacks of some poor writing. Look, I get you want to flesh out these characters and give them traits that contradict one another to surprise the audience, but don’t do it in such short order. Don’t make him annoyed to watch the video and then seconds later wax poetically on the migration of Monarch butterflies. Rant off.

Mitch goes out to the grocery store, and gives a go at trying to regain normalcy in her life. She sees someone she knows, but the woman wants nothing to do with her. I understand that everyone needs time and space to grieve in their own way when someone they knows dies, but that woman in the store was a bitch! She snubbed Mitch! It’s one thing to try and avoid the mother, but once some sort of communication has been made, you gotta suck it up and talk. I was hoping Mitch was about to circle around and ram her with her shopping cart, but no, she got stuck in the cereal aisle, remembering what Rosie liked to eat. And then who should happen to wander by but Richmond! Looks like Gwen won out on this decision! And as far as awkward conversations go, this one was done about as well as possible, mostly because Richmond can at least be empathetic to what the Larsens are going through. The blackberries analogy was a nice touch, but then he goes and blows it by saying, “It gets easier.” Something I’m absolutely certain no grieving person wants to hear 5 DAYS AFTER THEIR DAUGHTER DIED! 5 DAYS!

Fiance stops by the precinct to remind Linden about the BBQ she’s obviously going to miss. Quick aside – is it this easy to walk around a police station? I understand he’s engaged to the lead detective on an important case, but everyone there can’t know that. Can I just go hang out at a police station? He alludes to past cases with Linden and how involved she gets in her cases, calling out a specific one that obviously she got obsessed with. And I’m sure this is very realistic and important, but right now I don’t care about the fiancé, Linden going to a barbecue, or Linden going to Sonoma. I wouldn’t mind if it was there to cause a little bit of tension between her and Holder (he wants to be lead, she won’t leave) but the fiancé stuff is getting tired. It does nothing to move the plot along.

Oh good, it’s Jamie and the mayor and a black guy (not the teacher!) hanging around some high falutin private club. This is where I thought it would be interesting if Jamie were an alcoholic, but no…he just can’t hold his liquor.

I think this next scene is where I started to get annoyed with this episode and eventually began questioning where this series was headed. Linden is sitting in her car, outside the police station, making plane reservations to go to the Sonoma BBQ (hopefully they’re refundable). She spots Holder talking to someone in a car and take something. The mysterious man drives away, right past Linden in her car. But, because this is Seattle, it’s raining, and we only get a rough look at him. My initial thought was that it was the senator, only because he looked bald and who else would have the crazy funds or chutzpah to pass along so much cash to a police officer?

Linden then walks into the police station, and thankfully immediately brings up the cash with Holder, and he gives a completely unconvincing that it was made gambling fools exactly no one.

Jamie and the mayor – everyone’s getting drunk, meaning not everyone, just the mayor and Jamie, but not the now suspicious black guy who I guess is the mayor’s aide. Honestly, I have no idea what to take from these scenes with Jamie and the mayor. Homosexuality was brought up before, so that was in play, but doesn’t seem to be the endgame. If it really was just to learn who the mole was, I’m really not sure we had to go to all this trouble. I will say I enjoyed the symbolism of dirty politics that a post vomiting guy shaking hands in the bathroom with a post shit taking guy gave us. So there’s that.

Rosie’s parents are back at creepy funeral director’s place. Fun times! They brought Rosie’s dress, and would we like to see her in it? Look, I have no idea about the inner workings of the funeral industry, and honestly I don’t ever want to know, but still – eww? I can only assume it’s standard procedure to ask the parents if they want to see their daughter in the dress, but really – these are the scenes I don’t really need to think about or want to know about.

Jamie meets with Richmond – and drops this doozy of a bomb on him. The mayor? Not the source of the mole! The audience collectively yawns. But wait – who is the source of the mole? Why it’s Ruth! That union organizer person they needed for support. This is getting more confusing than an episode of Game of Thrones and I’m not sure to what end it is playing in Rosie’s murder. I guess it reintroduces Ruth as a murder suspect down the road, but I can’t take any of the political characters seriously as suspects because there haven’t been too m any connections established between them and the murder, other than the use of the car!

Thankfully, the viewer doesn’t have to witness Rose in her dress…we get the aftermath, which is Stan and Mitch driving along, talking about it, until Stan can take it no more and has to pull over and cry in a gas station bathroom. This scene can obviously be taken two ways: Stan has grief, or Stan has guilt. I continue to believe he’s innocent, based mostly on those possible flash back scenes of the murder. I don’t think Rosie would run from her dad, even if he were the killer. Just a theory, and you probably think otherwise.

Hot shot director time! And when I say hot shot, I mean HOT. This guy probably isn’t too lonely in the bedroom, if you know what I’m saying. And if you don’t, all you have to do is wait about 8 seconds before it’s revealed that Gwen has slept with him. I’m not sure if we’re supposed to think that they’re still sleeping together, or that she’s at least slept with him and Richmond at the same time (not that “same time” perverts/normally thinking men!) or just thatGwen is a slut who will sleep with men to get what she wants. It’s all very unclear. Like a typical Seattle day.

Linden and Holder back at the high school. And fantastic, Holder is hiding something. We know this because Linden doesn’t drop the money thing, and Holder goes into a celibacy/first date spiel that any totally guilty person (not guilty of the murder, because if Holder is the killer I’m going to be just a teeny bit annoyed with this show) would totally do to totally change the subject. Great. Another subplot that most likely has nothing to do with the murder that we’ll have to keep up with. Can’t we just have the creepy Holder that may or may not be a heroin addict pedophile? I miss that Holder. – Fantastic Holder is hiding something.

The detectives are there to see the principal and ask questions about Bennett. This principal is an idiot. Which of course means she probably did it. But she also throws the suspect blanket on the teacher, telling the detectives his wife was a former student of his. Of course, she mentions this almost in passing as the detectives are leaving. I guess because she didn’t think that was an interesting little tidbit about Bennett’s past? And another thing – whoa! Bennet’s got the perfect little racket going.

So now we’re off to interview Bennett’s wife. And…she’s pregnant. Did we know that before? Probably, but still, she’s really pregnant. So, for her to kill a teenaged girl, why, that would be preposterous! Until we find out she’s banging Belko on the side (just kidding – that’s total speculation on my part. I don’t want you to think I’m getting advance screeners for this. Not that I wouldn’t watch them if I did. Absolutely, positive glowing reviews of them, AMC execs if you’re reading!) Linden, in a nice little bit of detectiving, gets the wife to tell them that the note writing thing Bennett employed was less of a one time thing with Rose, and more of a modus operandi. Holder, in a nice bit of horrible detectiving makes the wife probably feel uncomfortable. And I feel it is here I must write a letter to the creators of The Killing:

Dear creators of The Killing,

We get it. Linden and Holder employ different tactics when investigating a case. Linden is very subdued, very professional. Holder is an idiot. That came across nicely in the first few episodes. Even the people who didn’t get it by episode 3 have gotten it by now. You can stop now.



P.S. Please make Holder the heroin addicted pedophile again. That was awesome! And if you have any pull with AMC tell them to bring back Rubicon!

Linden does another one of those, “Hey can I go search the rest of your house illegally why you get more creeped out by my partner?” things she’s now famous for and finds that, while Bennett does appear to have been working on his floors, he also might have a Dexter type abattoir in his house. Also, for whatever reason, she focuses on chemicals she’s found, pausing on “Ammonium Hydroxide, for a reason I can’t even begin to imagine. I wonder if a tox report scene is coming up?

Holder gets a little more direct with the questions and belligerent with his questions, if you can believe it. He will never win that Tactful Policeman of the Year award at this rate. I will give him this though. I too find it a little weird that Bennett’s wife, a former student of his, wouldn’t be at least a little bit jealous that Bennett is a teacher working with his “type” all day.

Back at campaign headquarters, Richmond gets a weird package. It’s from Jamie! And you’re never going to believe who the mole is! It’s…Nathan! Honestly, I had no idea who Nathan was. But apparently, it’s the guy who Richmond asked to run background checks on everyone. Thank goodness we got that cleared up. And thanks director for giving us the security guard fakeout with Gwen. I need those Scary Movie type thrills. Can this mole plot line be over now? Oops, no, I guess not. We need the Ruth confrontation. And here it is – she had a mole in his campaign because she wanted to get more concessions from him. Wait, what? I am so bored by all of this. She does get in a zinger by letting Gwen know she was part of the investigation. Also, is there anyone who doesn’t know Gwen and Richmond are sleeping together? I’m wondering if they blew a lot of the campaign contributions on billboards proclaiming them shacking up. Jesus.

And so the television commercial shoot comes, and it’s not being done by the hot shot director, because…Gwen suddenly has morals? Gwen doesn’t want 2 guys she may currently be sleeping with to know about each other? Gwen is trying to submarine the campaign with shoddy television commercial directing? I have no idea what’s going on, and if it doesn’t come together soon I’m afraid it’s going to hurt the quality of the show.

Thankfully, we get our tox report. Rosie had no drugs in her system, but plenty of Ammonium hydroxide all over her. Wow, is this teacher getting lit up as the suspect, or what? And now we’re given the idea that the killer has probably killed before, introducing the idea that we may have a serial killer on the loose. I knew the Green River Strangler was never caught!

Stanley goes and asks Belko to find out more about who the police are looking at as suspects in the case. This is a turnaround to him earlier suggesting he wanted no part of it. Again, you can look at it two ways: 1. He wants to enact vengeance. 2. He wants to know how close they’re getting to him.

Oh and look at this…the money Holder received is now being put in the mailbox of some unidentified family. His? We have no idea. But what are we to make of this? It doesn’t make sense Holder would keep a secret from Linden, unless he was getting paid off to spy on the investigation, right? He doesn’t seem the type to care what people think about him. So, could someone be keeping tabs on the how the investigation is going through Holder? And when it comes time to find the real suspect, will Holder attempt to throw the case off track? Like, could it be someone involved in the campaign, which is why Holder is so hot to trot on all the other lower end suspects. And seriously, do we need a police corruption angle in all of this?

These are of course just preliminary thoughts. This could all lead back to a heroin addict getting paid off, which would be fine with me.

We’re left with the last shot being the filming of the commercial with Richmond, tightly hugging the teacher in a group shot. So, just in case you didn’t think the teacher could have possibly been more guilty, we get more guilt.

Honestly, I thought this episode was a step backwards, or at least a step sideways. Nothing really got advanced, and more moving pieces were introduced. I understand that this show needs to build for a full 13 episodes, but after last weeks hug plot development, couldn’t we spend a little more time fleshing some of those relationships out? For example, last week, Stanley got a huge wad of cash from some guy from his past (father? Brother? Crazy uncle?). This week, we see Stanley on the phone stressing out assumedly over the roof of the house that he earlier said he was going to sell. These points are jibing well, and it lends itself a little to sloppy writing. I hope it’s not the norm, and I’m still fully invested, it’s just that I see a few crack forming in the foundation, and hope they care just that…cracks. And nothing to worry about.

Suspect List

I can’t keep up. So I’ll just give a few random thoughts. Stanley and Mitch are still playing the grief/guilt card with enough duality to make you wonder if they’re involved...The teacher has a ton of evidence against him, a shaky alibi and connections to the politician to have to still be considered. But within the television show, to have so much heaped upon you so soon, likely means you had nothing to do with it…Belko is back in the picture suddenly, hanging around the periphery and at once remaining aloof yet interested in what’s going on. He definitely could have done something...Richmond always has to be considered a suspect, simply because of how much time we’ve been spending with him…I guess a new suspect this show could be the current mayor’s weird advisor. It wouldn’t be a stretch to create a feasible motive for him…and I don’t even want to think about Rick or Holder being a suspect. That would be way too gimmicky and a total cop out (get it?)

So, what did you think? Let me know your thoughts, theories or concerns…

Beer Week Video

I'm not sure what it has to do with beer, or if it even makes sense (wouldn't you want beer to be represented by something a little better than a guy paying homage to Flashdance?) but the guys in the stuffed animal costumes are sure to make the furries excited...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New HBO Show: Luck

Yes, in the midst of the hype for Game of Thrones, I'm going to turn left and say I'm much more excited for this HBO offering: Luck.

A show about the ins and outs of horse racing, written by David Milch, produced by Michael Mann, and starring the likes of Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte?

Yes, I'm anticipating awsomeness with this one.

Time Lapse Video of the Milky Way and More

It's videos like this one that really start to suggest the things we argue and fight about, the things we deem super important, are simply stupid.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Killing: A Soundless Echo

Well, it’s day 4 of the investigation, and the secrets are starting to fly. Some are being discovered by the cops, and some are just sitting on the periphery, waiting to be found out by the cops. The suspect pool gets bigger – and deeper – and a favorite of mine seems like the perfect candidate for the murder…except I’m thinking he may have peaked to early.

We start in the most logical place you would think to start after last week’s video revelation, in an interrogation room, where the skate rat is going through a form of withdrawal. Detectives Linden and Holder watch him scratch, waiting for the right moment to go in and start the “interview.”
They finally walk in and show him the first video, the one with Rosie being interviewed. She looks pretty, in her pink wig, and they try the psychological approach with the skate rat, but to no avail. He ain’t budging.

By this time, Jasper makes it into the police station, but unlike his friend, he comes loaded with an attorney. Linden goes off to speak with him, while Holder continues with the skate rat, but not before getting reprimanded by his boss to clean up his act a bit.

Linden shows Jasper the second video, the one with the boys having their way with “Rosie.” Only Jasper alludes to a different story, much to the chagrin of his lawyer. I wonder, if lawyers had a more successful time keeping their clients from making outbursts to the police, would less crimes be solved?

The Larsens are moving forward, attempting to plan Rosie’s funeral. And let me just say this right here…Funeral directors are creepy. Mixing the death of a loved one with a monetary amount is obviously a necessity, but has to be extremely difficult to capture the right balance. I don’t think I could do it. And I definitely don’t want my loved ones to have to go through these awkward conversations. I’m leaving explicit instructions to have my body dumped in a river. That or taxidermied.

And here’s our first look at Richmond campaign headquarters – and things aren’t looking good. He’s getting hammered in the polls, and there’s no money to fight back. Gwen suggests a meet and greet with “Tom Drexler,” one of Seattle’s many wealthy guys, but Richmond doesn’t like that idea, some because of his capitalistic philosophies, but mostly because he thinks he’s an asshole.

Holder is trying to get somewhere with skate rat, but not having much luck. In fact, the skate rat asks him if everyone knows Holder has “the itch like me.” And just like that, Holder is thrust back into a sketchy light. Linden interrupts the interview just before it’s about to get juicy, but Holder blows her off. At first I didn’t get what was behind this; I thought Linden simply didn’t like the way Holder was doing things, but it makes much more sense in the next few minutes…

We head off to a blue collar bar where people like Jamie and the current mayor would never be caught dead in, to find Jamie and the current mayor meeting. Ah, it’s because it offers them some privacy. The mayor makes his “I want you on my team” pitch to Jamie. It seems as though Jamie was exactly what Gwen suspected – a guy who just wants to be on the winning team.
Richmond, still disgusted by the thought of having to grovel for money from this Drexler cat, tries hitting up his supporters for more money. Of course, with his smoky/whispery delivery, and form letter opening, I can’t say I’m too shocked he’s getting turned down. He doesn’t quite have the emotional Obama appeal down just yet. Gwen, however, has some other plans…she places a call into a senator.

Ah, now the interview interruption makes sense! Linden is questioning Sterling. It seems it was she, and not Rosie in the video. This I guess is what Jasper told Linden, and what Linden was going to tell Holder when she interrupted. Boy is there egg on his face when he catches up with these two. And you can tell, since he’s using his “Just fucking tell me what I need to know” approach and not his “hey underage cutie, how about telling me stuff” approach. What we learn:

  • The blood in the cage was from a Sterling nosebleed.
  • The sex was seemingly consensual.
  • Sterling paints the picture that Rosie had “changed” in the recent months, and that she was going somewhere after school.

Holder wants to go talk to the Larsens, but Linden’s already got that shit locked down. She tells Holder to go hit the bus routes and find out where Rosie was going. Yeah, I don’t think I’d be thrilled with either task.

Gwen meets with the senator she called, who also happens to be her dad! Who also happens to be Charles Widmore from Lost! Alan Dale, the actor here, apparently has cornered the market and potentially shady older white rich men in power. And could you imagine if The Killing was taking place in the same universe as Lost? It certainly would make for some slightly more intricate murder theories. We’d also probably get a really weak payoff at the end of the series.

Sarah meets with the Larsens at the precinct, and asks about the expensive shoes and lockbox key. The parents seemingly know nothing about Rosie’s possible secret double life. Taking a call, she leaves the room, and the Larsens happen to see the “board” where all the evidence is kept, including graphic pictures of their daughter. Looks like maybe Holder should have spoken with the Larsens.

I do appreciate that we get this Linden stumble here. It shows that she isn’t infallible, and maybe, while she’s obviously a good detective, doesn’t have all the answers. Maybe Holder does have some good input for the case. Of course, knowing Holder, he would have held the interview in the same room with the Evidence Board.

And then we make a quick transition to what seems to be an art gallery opening or something of that nature. Sexy women and men cavorting around an open space, sipping wine in the middle of the day. Exactly what I picture Seattle socialites doing with 90% of their time. I only make note of this because the edit that brought us here started on a mid shot of a random woman/model wearing shoes that, at least to me, look exactly like the high falutin’ shoes Rosie had. Hmmm.

We soon learn this even is being held by the infamous Tom Drexler, which AMC’s website describes as a “wealthy entrepreneur. That’s funny, because I like to describe myself as a poor entrepreneur. Just to give myself some cache. Anyway, there’s a lot of posturing at this event, with the current mayor, Richmond, and Drexler. And it’s all going on inside a basketball analogy. Basketball is becoming more and more frequent, and tying some of the separate plot threads together. The mayor also takes what could be considered a pot shot at Gwen, which only throws more suspicion on her as being the campaign leak. And who are we really kidding, here? As we’ll soon find out, it wasn’t Jamie, and there haven’t been any other characters from Richmond’s campaign even introduced. It’s gotta be her, right?

Holder is mad that he’s riding the bus. Because I mean, there’s no way anything could possibly come from this bus ride.

Linden heads back to Reggie’s boat where she’s jumped by… her fiancé! He apologizes for being a dick on the phone the other night, but still asks a couple probing questions about her situation. And, while I’m sure there will be a bigger payoff in future episodes, right now there doesn’t seem to be a big deal here. I guess she could just quit and walk, but basically she’s being forced by her boss to stay on for an extra week. This plot line just isn’t doing much for me.

The Larsens are at church, trying to finalize the funeral service. And then the priest has to go and open his big mouth and say how Rosie is now with God, and God is looking over everyone. Now, I don’t want to make this a religious debate about the existence of God, but c’mon…remember, it’s only been four days since Rosie’s death. I’m not sure the grieving process has truly ended. And it seems that Mama Larsen feels the same way since she angrily asks where God was for Rosie when she was alive.

Richmond meets with Drexler one on one. Drexler suggests he wants a stadium close to where he lives, but Richmond wants none of it. He says that’s just as big a vanity project as the mayor has cooking with his mall. He sticks to his guns! And lo and behold, Drexler likes his stick-to-itiveness and floats him some much needed cash. Yay?

And now a drive down Suspicion Lane…Daddy Larsen apparently bought a house? It was to be a surprise, but he doesn’t think he can move there, so he plans on selling it. Belko is there, and basically says if Stan says the word, the politician will have an accident. But Stan doesn’t want that, saying, “I don’t do that anymore.” Well, at least now we have some more shady developments brewing.

At high school, Sterling gets harassed by some kid, which…if we go by the timeline, it’s been 4 days since one of their classmates has been murdered. That seems a tad harsh, even for a teenager. Mama Larsen wanders in though and gives Sterling a hug, telling her it’s not her fault. Now, you can take that as a consoling gesture, or you could take it as a subtle admission of guilt. I’ll let you decide for yourself.

Stan is off meeting with an older gentleman with an accent, sitting alone in a restaurant. Uh oh. These types of meetings never lead to happy endings. Anyway, its obvious they have some sort of past relationship, so when Stan asks for money, it’s not just a loan shark type transaction. Again, it’s obvious this is simply an introduction of another plotline (and the introduction of another suspect) but for right now, not much information is offered.

Holder is still riding the bus, stewing in his own anger and filth. About to get off and say fuck to this perceived wild goose chase, the bus drivers change shifts (I’m going to be honest – the way back during the first time he got a negative reply showing the driver Rosie’s picture, I thought, “ there has to be other drivers, right?”) and he strikes gold. The new driver has seen Rosie before. Why does he remember? Because Rosie was white, and we’re in Black Seattle now. And, wait, who’s the only black character to have been introduced so far? Hmmm.

Sarah is offer to the Larsens to research the bedroom after finding her kid’s stash in a pillowcase. And I’m going to be really annoyed if the first police search didn’t unearth secret documents because Rosie put them in a pillow.

Mama Larsen is still at the high school, where Rosie’s teacher finds her, and begins to offer some consoling thoughts about Rosie. Consoling thoughts that start to get a little deep, and personal – at least a lor more personal than a teacher would probably perceive in a student.

Next comes a weird scene between Sarah’s fiancé and Jack. The fiancé had brought up some cakes to try in hopes of locking down a caterer for the wedding, and Sarah’s kid found them and started chowing down. The fiancé comes out, sees the mess, yet instead of lecturing the kid on maybe not, you know shovel someone else’s cake down his throat, he joins him in the gluttony. I’m guessing this is to show that now matter who it is, Sarah pulls away and throws herself into her job until it’s done. Except, her character so far has not shown any type of doggedness or emotional attachment. She’s asked to leave, and been denied. Other than leaving just recently to search out the Rosie’s bedroom, she really hasn’t been immersed in the case. Again, I’m guessing it’s going to be something that rears its head in later episodes.

Sarah of course finds stuff in Rosie’s room (thankfully not in a pillow)…love letters written wistfully and personal, and they sound vaguely familiar. As that’s happening, Holder gets to the end of the line on the bus and finds a community center hosting one of those basketball programs sponsored by the Richmond mayoral campaign. The signs are everywhere…plots are converging…and it’s all coming together. Just like in Space Jam!

Richmond and Jamie meet. Delicious! Richmond knows Jamie wasn’t the leak. And now he’s hatching a plane to make Jamie a mole in the mayor’s campaign. Oh surely just to find out who the leak is in Richmond’s campaign. But, if Lord of the Rings taught us anything, it’s that even good intentions get corrupted with power. Oh, and that elf chicks are totally hot.

Holder is directed to a trophy case to find the person Rosie came to the community center with and it’s, to no one who’s been reading these recaps shock, her high school teacher! Holder finds a trophy case in the community center and hey look who’s there – why it’s the teacher!
Sarah reaches the end of the notes to see if the paramour signed them. Of course he did, he’s a struggling poet who surely thinks one day these letters will be part of a larger exhibition of his writings in some university library somewhere. Of course they’re signed, “Bennet.” As in Bennet Ahmed, her teacher.

The last scene is back at Richmond headquarters at night, as Richmond is looking out the window at a billboard of himself is being put up, his very own personal vanity project.

Suspect List

Bennet – Oh boy did they pile the suspicion on him. So much that I’m assuming he has peaked way too early to be the actual killer. Obviously he’s still in play here, but the way this show dismisses suspects almost as quickly as fingering him, I’m guessing we’re going to learn he was building a church while rescuing a bus of endangered animals (all of them mind you), during Rosie’s murder.

Darren Richmond – Well, the guy is finally getting a little dirt on him, showing off a side that at least has him aware of back room dealings. Whether or not that could translate into murder remains to be seen. And this basketball program he’s been pitching continues to come up in more and more places.

Stanley Larsen – His past coming back to haunt him. And there’s a lot back there! Between his partner bringing up stuff (most assuredly illegal), to the meeting in the restaurant, this guy’s got some skeletons.

Mitch Larsen – She seems to be grieving like any mother would, but there are a few instances here and there that suggest she might know something more about her daughter’s murder. And aren’t we supposed to look at the family first?

Belko Royce – Stanley’s partner has ties to the family and ties to a criminal past. Could Rosie have gotten involved in something that he had to take care of? We don’t know much about him.

Gwen Eaton – I hesitate to add her to the list of suspects, since it seems there’s a lot to lose and not a lot to gain for her to be the murderer, but she is hiding something, so anything is possible at this point.

Tom Drexler – I’m putting him on here for two reasons. One: he was just introduced and I’m willing to bet he will play a bigger role in this, since he seems important. 2: The whole shoe connection. I know it could just be me reading into things, but next week when it’s discovered he had a shoe fetish, you’ll know where you read it. Plus, the basketball connects him.

Senator Eaton – Would Gwen’s dad have Rosie killed to derail Richmond’s campaign because he didn’t like that he was sleeping with his daughter? Did you see what the guy did to Desmond?

Janek Kovarsky – The guy in the restaurant. Not only did he allude to a sketchy past, he’s got a middle eastern accent. That’s pretty much reason enough to convict him right there!

Your thoughts? I liked this episode a lot, because the pieces really started moving and you could start to see how they might fit together. I’m not sure the momentum this episode showed cand be sustained, but if it can, I’m excited about the potential. Now, there is a chance all these connections and shady pasts could slip into the preposterous, but so far I’m on board. As for my pick of the teacher? While it looks great if the show ended next week, I doubt he's the killer now. I'm going to go shift my focus over to this Drexler character, based on my shoe theory. Yeah it's silly, but it's all I've got right now.

Please leave your comments below!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Killing Episode 2: El Diablo

So, the ratings last week for The Killing seem to be good, relatively speaking. That’s a good sign for people like me, who start to watch shows only to have them cancelled mid season (I’m looking at you NBC’s Kidnapped). And after a strong 2 hour premiere, I was interested to see how the show progressed the story about a girl’s murder…

We start right with the councilman’s campaign being ransacked by the press. To no one’s surprise, the news got out just before he got the endorsement he needed.

Then we’re off to the basement of the school, at the alleged murder scene. Detective Holder, in particular, is pleased with himself for figuring the whole thing out. His commander, not so much. Linden is basically forced to stay in Seattle and work the case until the end of the week. I’m not sure how this is legally possible, what with she could just up and leave I’m pretty sure anytime she wants, but um, maybe there’s something more making her a little hesitant to leave? I bet her soon-to-be-husband, doing his best Michael-Biehn-in Tombstone-impression” won’t be happy!

A quick look around the scene by Linden, and she spies a spyhole/gloryhole/Porky’s hole/take-your-pick-hole that would give a voyeur a clear view of the murder. The oblivious principal (and she should be considered a suspect but seems so blind/dumb to everything going on that it would take a huge leap of logic for anyone to believe she was capable of committing murder) quickly points out that the only person that had a key to the secret peep room was the school janitor, Lyndon Johnson Rosales. And just like that, we stumble into a Fletch movie, if it were directed by David Lynch.

Honestly though, I found the name “Lyndon Johnson Morales” a ridiculously hilarious name, sticking out in an otherwise very grounded, serious, horrific episode. Could it be a clue? Symbolism? Could my Middle Eastern relations allegory theory now have more legs and include the U.S.’s involvement in the middle east in the mid 60’s?

At the Larsen household grief affects everyone differently. I hesitate to gloss over these scenes, because they are powerful and well acted, but have no significant bearing on the murder mystery.

Moreso, going to Mr. Johnson Rosales abode in the dank Seattle night feels like traveling through David Fincher’s Seven. Good grief was it creepy. I can’t explain why magic markered apartment addresses are so scary looking, but I do know that I give myself at least a second’s pause before banging on the door adorned with them. But I’m not a Seattle detective trying to solve a murder.

They're let in by who we can assume is LJ’s mother, and while Holder runs some interference, Linden breaks about 8 laws snooping around. I point this out not because I find this deplorable but simply because anyone who’s seen 4 episodes of Law and Order (and I’m guessing even an immigrant’s mother has to have stumbled on at least that many) it’s an obvious ploy. Still Linden gets all the way to LJ’s porn stash (and what a naughty boy he’s been!) to pretty much seal the deal on this murder. Cheerleader butts are prominently displayed on the magazines, and so, he’s gotta be the murderer, right? Wrapped up by episode 2! Now we can…oh wait, there he is jumping out of the shadows and stabbing Linden before jumping out of his 3 story window, completely bypassing the fire escape (seriously – he couldn’t make a run for it? The 3rd story plunge is the best plan he can come up with? He should have taken at least a minute or two while waiting in the shadows to come up with a better plan than “stab at things and then jump out the window.”

We all go to the hospital and with LJ, because he didn’t die, he just really really hurt himself. No way can the detectives talk to him right now! But Holder does have time to check out his alibi, which has him in the drunk tank. Of course that doesn’t really seem to hold up with some of the action coming later…

Linden finally calls Michael Biehn’s doppelganger and gives him the bad news about not flying to Sonoma. He doesn’t take it well. And with no Doc Holliday to try and kill, he just refuses to reciprocate his love for her and angrily hangs up. Life was so much easier in the wild west when you could shoot someone with little repercussion.

Linden on a boat with Reggie, who may be her mother, but also may be some creepy older woman. I have no idea. The AV Club reviewer makes a connection between Linden’s son Halo with the knowledge we have that Jasper (Poor Man’s Rich Pattison) plays as well. I missed it. But I missed my daughter’s 4th birthday, so I’m already considered unreliable.

More Larsen home grief…this time with a voicemail greeting recording, which I can totally believe as being how someone would deal with grief. The show, if nothing else, does gloom very well.

Politician scene alert! Mayor and councilman meet – and the mayor tells Richmond he’ll give him his endorsement in 4 years. Then he goes on about Cicero. And if I was supposed to get something out of the Cicero reference, other than politics can hurt, I missed it.

And now comes the part where I do my damndest to show why my suspect is THE suspect. High school: Dreads the teacher is trying to get through to the students about grief counseling, but no one is paying attention. Frustrated, he confiscates a phone before continuing. Sterling, in apparent emotional distress, runs out of the room, ignoring the pleas of Dreads. Seeing this, Jasper runs after her…yet Dreads has nothing to say on his leaving…HMMMMMM…

LJ seems like he’s going to pull through, but still: no visitors allowed. Luckily, Holder has made some inroads with the nurse on duty and schmoozes her enough to allow Linden to get in to see LJ. In one dramatic scene, LJ gives up Jasper AND some skate punk as being there AND gives us the name for this episode. And people give Lyndon Johnson a bad rap! Of course, this little moment does seem to punch a hole in his alibi. How could he have seen who was there AND been in the drunk tank? I’m not sure if it’s purposeful or just poor writing to move the plot along and quickly eliminate him as a suspect, since his character arc sadly is probably done after this episode. Unless the drunk tank thing is a smoke screen. See why it’s difficult to create a well crafted suspense? Because everything becomes a question or a clue!

Campaign HQ – Blah, blah damage control. Blah blah, Richmond leaves to meet with his “spy?” Not sure how to reference him. I would say leak, but the guy was looking for a leak and that would get confusing. Anyway, he found something. So Jamie and/or Gwen is going to have some explaining to do. We don’t know who yet because obviously there is suspense to be built.

Back at the precinct, the detectives are trying to find out all they can on this skate rat kid. Linden goes back to the video of the school dance the teacher had provided last week (hmmmm, so yeah, I’m just pointing out the fact that the teacher provided the police with a video voluntarily) and figures out why LJ uttered, “El Diablo” to her. Because El Diablo was totally at the dance. Or someone in a devil mask. Holder goes off to find the skate punk while Linden heads to the Larsens to explain exactly how Rosie died.

Campaign HQ: Richmond isn’t going to take it anymore! Talking with his manager/lover, Gwen, he spills the beans on the leak and it’s…Jamie! Well that was neatly wrapped up! I’m sure there’s nothing more to that story. At least I’m sure that’s what Gwen is hoping or preying as she seemed extremely guilty and quick to cast blame everywhere but near her.

Linden explains to the Larsens that Rosie drowned. And that she most likely didn’t suffer. I can’t imagine police having to do this with victims’ families. It has to be one of the hardest things ever. Stanley gets mildly angry; he wants to know why there have been no arrests and questions her questions. Mitch seems more depressed it, taking the news to heart. She breaks a glass before the scene ends, which makes two broken glass things in that house in the span of 2 days. And if that has any symbolism whatsoever, I can’t figure it out. Also, there seems to be a lot of glass breaking at the Larsens. I have no idea what that signifies. Googling “broken glass symbolism” doesn’t provide too much information.

Richmond is off to playing basketball to bump up his profile/bring some attention to one of his campaign promises, and he casually mentions the leak to Jamie, without bringing up the fact that he thinks it’s him. I think he’s trying to gauge his reaction to the news, which doesn’t make too much sense, since he already talked about it with Gwen. If there was any doubt wouldn’t he try to get to the bottom of it first?

Holder is up to his old tricks again, hanging out at the local skate park and smoking the weed Getting what he wants from (of course) a street wise lass, he back to Linden’s car, where presumably they have been staking the scene out. Her look of consternation when he gets in causes him to explain the scent of marijuana on him as “narc weed” a fake product he used to use on busts. Which certainly explains his behavior and actions with the kids. It also knocks him down a few pegs in my book, as it seems he’s still doing things on the up and up. Now, I googled “narc weed” and while I know that is slang, and I know that there is synthetic weed, I couldn’t find any mention of police using fake weed in drug busts. I’m not saying he’s lying about it; I’m just saying his story might have a hole or two in it.

Campaign HQ: Richmond and Gwen confront Wright about being the leak. Wright leaves in a huff, and it wraps up rather nicely. I’m sure that’s the end of the leak at Richmond’s campaign!

Finally the skate rat shows up at the skate park. Linden and Holder confront him, and it goes about as well as you could expect. It seems Holder might have some unresolved anger issues from his past that may or may not occasionally cloud his judgment when dealing with suspects. Or that synthetic weed could be messing with his mind.

Back at Richmond’s campaign headquarters, regain a union endorsement that was blown, Richmond plays dirty. Or at least sleezy. We haven’t talked a lot about his campaign to date; he seems to be the optimistic, left-leaning candidate, thinking about programs for the people and trying to help his constituency, while the incumbent mayor is in bed with developers. I’m not sure how it will play out, but I mention it now to because it does seem to be getting some more prominence in the show, and I can see it becoming more involved as we get deeper into the investigation. There’s also the whole Richmond’s wife’s mysterious death subplot, which is bound to get more attention, but to this point, there’s really been no information about it, other than it possibly could have happened under mysterious circumstances. I foresee a soft, casual, conversation between Linden and Richmond somewhere, probably in a coffee shop about this.

Skate rat, having left the skate park, heads to school to find Jasper, where he promptly, awkwardly punches him in the face. Obviously the two of them are hiding something. Linden and Holder are there to see the whole thing.

Larsen household, we’re still dealing with grief in only the ways we know how. Mitch draws a bath, and either to feel what her daughter went through or end her life herself, submerges herself into the tub in a drowning attempt. And I have to imagine that’s one of the worst ways to go. Yes, I’ve heard there’s a sense of euphoria that overcomes you before you lose consciousness, but up until that point it has to be horrific.

Well, looky here…seems Dreads the Teacher found another clue! And it’s another video! He just happened to find it on the confiscated phone. And of course he gave it to the police! Hmmmm.

The video shows, in some pretty graphic detail, skate rat and Poor Man’s Rich Pattison taking turns “having relations” with Rosie. It’s not 100% clear what’s going on with the video, and whether it’s a rape or not. It’s not a pretty act, and I’m guessing it is at the very least coerced. But I’m not sure what we’re supposed to take away from it, other than the fact that we have two strong suspects for the murder. But the video is harsh and suggests there were lots of things going on in that high school.

And other than us seeing Richmond get the endorsement he needed that’s it for this episode. Next week’s obviously going to focus on the two kids being arrested and the fallout from that.

So let’s take a look at the suspect list…

Bennet Ahmed (Dreads the Teacher) - On the surface, nothing much happened this episode to incriminate him. I still like him for the murder though. He keeps stumbling into evidence for the case – evidence that has nothing to do with him of course.

Darren Richmond – So far, there’s a few things that point the finger at him; one of his campaign cars was involved and his wife mysteriously disappeared.

Gwen Eaton – Don’t know of a motive or any connection, but I think she at least was the leak in the campaign.

Jamie Wright – Smarmy enough, but I don’t see what he gains murdering Rosie. And he seems to do things strictly for personal gain.

Stanley Larsen – Dad always has to be considered, right? It also seemed a pretty strong coincidence that he showed up exactly where the body was found.

Mitch Larsen – Is she going through grief or guilt?

Principal Meyers – I don’t think she’s smart enough to pull something like this off.

Kris Echols (Skate Rat) – Obviously, the prime suspect right now. Which probably means he had nothing to do with it.

Jasper Aames – Another one of the prime suspects. Too easy, I think.

So, what did you think? Comments are welcome!

Monday, April 11, 2011

More tilt-shift awsomeness

Tilt-shift video still hasn't jumped the shark for me. Check out this awesome video of the Jackson Hole ski resort, in miniature perspective...

Aside from the Pink Floyd "Time" mashup being used as the soundtrack, I think this is awesome.

Friday, April 8, 2011

New Beastie Boys Album, film short coming soon

Hot Sauce Committee: Part 2, The Beastie Boys latest album, is coming out May 3rd. Don't ask me about Part 1, the story is too convoluted to get into. You can listen to the single, "Make Some Noise," here.

In addition to the album, they are also releasing a 30 minute film to go along with it, that possibly tells the story of what happened the day after the infamous party from the music video Fight for Your Right to Party. Here's the trailer...

I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't concerned about what's going on in this trailer. Cameos of famous people are always welcome in my book, but this may prove to be the exception to that rule. Obviously it's just a trailer and can't tell the entire story, but I'm worried too much time was spent casting, and not enough time was spent rehearsing. I mean, I cringed even when Elijah Wood limp-wristed the beer can throw.

From what I can gather (and admittedly could be very wrong), the Beastie Boys leave the party and run into their future selves, who are a bunch of pricks. And then...a dance off is involved?

Silly dancing by famous actors has it's place. I'm just not sure if it's here. I hope I'm wrong; I hope this is awesome; and I also hope everyone doesn't simply slobber all over it because it's the Beastie Boys and they have a stellar track record of producing and creating cool things. There is no bigger fan than I when it comes to the Beastie Boys; I believe I can confidently say that. I was one of the four people that picked up Paul's Boutique the day it came out (red cassette represent). There's no revisionist Beastie Boy history with me, nor did I fall off the bandwagon in the late 80s and climb back on with Check Your Head. I was there at the beginning. The cookie crumbs were making me itch in the 80s and scratched them the entire time. So maybe I'm just adding too much expectation to everything they do.

But it's not a great mystery or secret that concepts can be better than the execution. I'm just really hoping that's not the case here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Upright Citizens Brigade Movie: High Road

A mostly improvised movie about weed and the people who love it, the following trailer is UCB's latest endeavor called High Road...

I'm not sure what to think. I like the concept of Upright Citizens Brigade, and improv in general, but this...looks a little amateurish. The trailer is cut poorly and gives off the vibe of a sketch that runs too long. I like some of the people involved, and hope it's funny, but I don't have high hopes.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Killing: A recap of AMC's newest show

“This is a terrible show to watch.”

- My wife, 45 minutes into The Killing

And I can’t say I blame her for her reaction. Each of us brings our own unique experiences to the shows we watch, and for our own opinions based on that. And her experience, as a mother with two daughters, watching grieving parents identify their dead daughter in a morgue is not her idea of “Sunday night fun time television viewing.”

Now, to be fair, The Killing is not supposed to be Sunday night fun time television viewing.” I guess it can be considered “Sunday night serious time television viewing,” because AMC obviously wants us all to watch the show, but aside from one or two scenes, this is not a show you’re going to sit back and relax with.

The Killing is based on a Danish show, possibly of the same name, most likely in Danish, however. I don’t want to investigate too much, because I don’t want to inadvertently stumble upon a spoiler. Feel free to wiki it yourself should you get the incredible urge.

As you may or may not know I have had an inconsistent history with AMC shows. I don’t watch Breaking Bad; I saw the first season of Mad Men and liked it but didn’t love it; The Walking Dead hit the ground running, stumbled on the gravel of the mid season took forever to dust itself off and kinda jog-limped to the end; and Rubicon, the best of the bunch got cancelled because AMC is dumb.

But regardless of my feelings about any/all of those shows, I appreciate the risks AMC is currently taking with their shows, and the quality that is ultimately being produced. Therefore, it was an easy decision to at least give The Killing a shot. And so I decided (hastily of course, nothing on this blog is done with any kind of plan or thoughtfulness) that I would recap the show as it unraveled. I warn you that the following gets heavy into spoilers (for the current episode) and if you haven’t watched it and plan to, you should stop reading here…

We start out following a woman jogging through a blue tinted forest, who kinda/sorta looks like my wife, if my wife had grown up in Scandinavia. The grey-blue, dull metal at first invokes a dreamlike state, but then we remember it’s set in Seattle, and everything is thusly explained. Jogging woman finds an animal carcass; possibly a dog, or a pig? Maybe a chupacabra? Let me set the record straight early – my powers of observation are easily affected by an incredibly short attention span. Anyway, it didn’t seem to have to do with anything else in the show, which probably means it’s extremely important. A Sherlock Holmes, I shall never be.

Anyway, after staring at this carcass and then out into the distance like she was in a Sigur Ros video, she gets a call and is asked to report somewhere. And if the previews haven’t already clued everyone in (I think a great sociological experiment/college thesis would be to see whether there’s anyone who has ever decided to watch a television show completely devoid of any prior knowledge of it in this information age) she is a detective, in Seattle. So, cutting her lovely, dreary animal-corpse run short, she is off to the docks and what appears to be a crime scene. Except – FOOLED! it’s a going away celebration, as our female detective is moving away. But wait – how can the lead detective of a brand new show leave in the first episode?

(This is one of my minor gripes with the show – and I’m hoping one that will be addressed in later episodes, but the whole, “I’m leaving – this is my last day, no I’m not taking this case,” subplot felt out of place. The many times delayed her leaving behind didn’t entirely work, and this was just in the first two episodes. Again, maybe it pays off later, but right now, I wish she was just an experienced cop who was trying to solve a murder.)

So now we’re treated to some familial backstory for the detective, who now has a name: Sarah Linden. Because The Killing has some direct and indirect Twin Peaks vibes, I have to assume everything is a clue, so I checked the anagrams for “Sarah Linden:”

Anal Hinders

Handles Rain

Handles Iran

Though I guess it’s possible the show is an allegory for the strife in the middle east, I’m not sure what any of this means.

Sarah’s family life seems pretty ordinary in these oh so liberal-baby-hating times: biological father is out of the picture (probably the killer); boyfriend/fiancé is getting her to move (probably the killer); teenaged son hates her (and who is probably the killer).

Sarah’s work life seems to be a yang to her familial yin; a boss who likes her and obviously doesn’t want her to leave. Packing up her office she bumps into her replacement, who is packing in. Joel Kinnaman, we learn is transferring from vice, lethargic in body language and most likely a heroin addict. After all, this is Seattle, and if there’s one thing I know about Seattle, it’s that everyone who isn’t already a heroin addict, will soon be one. I assume it’s just growing on heroin trees out there. He has a cool tattoo, a cooler boom box for his office (obviously it’s his vintage homage to the 80s) and the coolest of quiet, sullen attitudes.

The awkwardness of their meeting is interrupted by a call: Something weird has been found in the marshes. Or bogs. Does the Pacific Northwest have bogs?

Police have uncovered a bloody sweater and a credit card. Why isn’t this some tweaker’s blood-stained sweater Joel theorizes? Because Sarah knows better, and it was dry cleaned What drug addict dry cleans their sweaters? She’s good, everyone! Probably why her boss continues to shuffle her retirement papers around his desk instead of sending them in so she could actually leave!

The credit card leads the detectives to the Larsen family, and while no body has been found yet, c’mon – they seem to be eking it out a little bit. I mean, it’s in the title right there, right? If they wanted to develop a little suspense, they would have called it The Missing. Not to mention the stylized flashbacks to a young girl being chased by a flashlight beam through the woods that I’ve conveniently forgotten about until now.

We’re introduced to Stanley Larsen walking through a Moslem owned…mini mart? Drug store? Seriously I have no idea. He’s there to pick up pig carcasses, and I have no clue what this scene is about unless it’s cementing my middle east war allegory theory, in which case I totally called it!

Stanley heads home to fix a dishwaher, or sink. It doesn’t matter because eventually he maw’s his wife’s rack. Of course, she’s played by Michelle Forbes, one of my personal favorites from Homicide and Kalifornia, so the only disappointments I have with the suggested sex scene between the two here is that it’s 1.) only suggested, and 2.) she wears those stupid long sweaters that every woman seems to have. Seriously women, what do oversized sweaters provide other than frumpability and extra fabric to wipe away errant pizza mishaps?

Abrupt new character alert! Billy Campbell is introduced as a congressman running for mayor, replete with the “sleeping with his campaign manager cliché AND having another campaign manager who is a total smarmy dick, making Will Patton from No Way Out look like a…well ok, he doesn’t outsmarm Will Patton, but who could? cliché.

The detectives show up at the Larsen household presumably seconds after Stanley leaves (and in a weird aside – were his co-workers just hanging outside in the truck while he was getting his Gabriel Byrne’s leg* cleaned off?) to start asking a couple questions…general questions about stuff…nothing specific, until Sarah sees the pink bike in the garage and assumes the worst.

Still in the missing person stage of the case, we head to high school, and immediately start establishing the stereotypes: the tough, gruff principal, the all-knowing teacher who cares (a little too much?), and best friend who knows something but won’t tell the big bad adults what’s really going on.

Back at the Larsen household, the questions get a little more pointed, and Joel is quickly endearing himself to me, mostly because for a cop, he isn’t acting like a cop. He’s acting like a guy playing at being a cop. And that’s a compliment, in case you misconstrued it.

A scheduled political shindig at the school, (I’m really not sure, maybe some sort of assembly) ties the congressman storyline directly into the missing person story, which is good, since now we can at least be focused on one thing.

(So far, the councilman/political plot feels a little heavy-handed. A politician wrapped up in a murder investigation almost always has terrible implications for the politician. I don’t see this being any different.)

Larsen and Joel head to the school, where they question Rosie’s teacher. Joel, feeling out the teacher (or is he?) starts talking about how hot high school girls are. If this show gives us nothing else, the not-so-great-with-people-and-mildly/possibly-pedophilic-druggie detective character is a pretty good consolation prize.

But we have one more stereotype to fill before the break, and that’s the rich, “poor man’s” Robert Pattison boyfriend character, and the tease that Rosie might be in his bed. Again, something (the title of the series, the fact that this is the first episode and if it were her there would be no more episodes) tells me it’s not her. But we still don’t get to see her face, so maybe…?

More detective backstory! My wife’s Norwegian doppleganger interacts with her moody, brooding son. Boring. Sometimes, I wish they would simply put a title card up that said, “Mother/son relationship is complicated.” At least then they would have saved money on not having this marina set shot setup.

Back at the Larsen household, we meet Rosie’s 2 younger brothers, and another woman who might be a sister of one of the Larsen parents. Or Stanley is living the dream in an open relationship!

More fretting about Rosie, more searching the Seattle highlands for a body…Joel and Sarah go back and forth on the fruitlessness of the search when something may or may not be found. Alas, it’s just a creepy looking doll. I think if you look on its back it says “foreshadowing.”

Heading over to the councilman’s office, Will Patton Wannabe wants to turn the potential missing girl tragedy into a push for the mayorship. But Golden Boy Billy Campbell will not be persuaded. His heart is pure. For this episode, at least.

Stanley does some sleuthing of his own and deduces Rosie is probably at rich man, poor man’s Pattison’s pad (You’re welcome). His “discovery” of this finds it’s way back to the police department and the call of the search, while Stanley (hmmm…maybe not the greatest course of action) heads over to beat up on rich kids who hate shirts.

Gets there, gets all gruff, rich kid gets off put, and we finally get to see the brunette in the bed is not Rosie.


Back to the marshes! No body…no body…no body…and then Sarah figures it out, much to Joel’s chagrin. Boy, if it really were my wife, I’d never hear the end of this one…

A lake is dredged and a car is found. Wait, a car? The chase flashbacks showed no sign of a car…just a demonic flashlight. In a coincidence(?), Stanley shows up at exactly the same time the trunk of the car is opened to reveal the body. I know I didn’t give this section a lot of time, but it’s nicely done, if a little too perfect. The guy playing Stanley (Brent Sexton) does a great job conveying the rage/grief the scene demands. In fact, everyone in the scene plays it well, which is why my wife (the real one) will never watch another second of the show. Apparently a family falling apart due to losing a child isn’t as entertaining as House Hunters International.

In a weird, or dare I say, convenient, twist, the car that the body was found in was one of the cars from the councilman’s campaign. Not being into politics, I wouldn’t know this, but do politicians running for mayor of a city have a fleet of cars at their disposal?

And then we get to the morgue scene, which is the one that officially shut my wife down and out from the show, and I for one can’t blame her. It’s raw, brutal, and real, and something you never would wish anyone to have to witness.

Armed with the information that it was a councilman’s campaign car, the detectives head over to chat with him. While Sarah attempts a subtle question asking strategy, Joel, takes the “you’re already guilty in my eyes, asshole” approach. That’s pretty much the only information we get out of this scene; everything else is shallow water type stuff. Unless we need more proof that the councilman feels bad and wants to do the right thing. Oh, ad maybe that there’s something in the councilman’s past regarding his family. But I have to assume everyone involved in this will “have a past.” Oh ok, we get one more thing – it seems the councilman might have some suspicions that someone in his campaign could have had something to do with all this.

Then we get more Joel and Sarah bickering about how the case should be handled. Oh and Sarah, for whatever reason, is still in Seattle and not in San Francisco, where she was moving to…

Day 2

The Rock and Vin Diesel fucking start fucking stuff up on the roads – and…sorry that was a Fast/Furious commercial.

The detectives show up at the school to talk to Rosie’s friend and rich man/poor man’s Richard Pattison. Joel talks to the friend (Sterling) and tries to establish the timeline of Rosie’s last appearance at the high school dance.

Sarah interviews RMPMRP and gets the usual, standoffish, snide attitude you can imagine before his dad struts in and starts hemming and hawing about shit before going off on his son. So that’s how it is in their family!

Back at the precinct, Sarah goes over the case while Joel tries to pick up her son, who happens to be in her office. You think I’m joking until you start thinking about the subtext of the algebra monologue, and then you start feeling a little creeped out. Joel’s paradoxical attitude is just what this show needs to keep it from veering into boring, Law and Order territory. Of course, he hasn’t had his Death of a Salesman moment, but we’re getting there…

Damage control for the campaign…I’m brushing over a lot of the inner workings of how the campaign and how the police need to keep everything quiet and the campaign doesn’t want to and blah blah blah if you’re not watching and didn’t see it already, you really shouldn’t be reading this. If we take stuff away it’s the councilman is playing a dangerous game with information, and my Norwegian wife is sneaky smart/knows her way around a murder investigation. Perhaps she had a high profile murder case before?

More family grieving, which I’m also glossing over, not because it isn’t important or well acted, (in fact it’s incredibly poignant and well acted) but because it’s my least favorite scenes to deal with.

We come back from break to walk a local neighborhood with the councilman and Mr. Smarmy, which…yeah I have no idea what the purpose of this scene is. Will Patton Wannabe doesn’t need any other Will Patton Wannabe moments to sell us.

More grieving…

And then we get the scene of the councilman looking to get more information about his staff, including his two campaign managers, which only make us wonder what he thinks happened, and what he knows that could cast doubt on them…

Now comes the creepiest (which is saying a lot for a show about a murder investigation) scene to date, and it of course involves Joel. Sarah and Joel, at the high school still trying to collect information get ready to part ways; Sarah off to California, Joel to take the case over fully. We eventually find him…casually watching girl’s soccer team practice at the high school catching the eyes of two of what I can only hope is two of the team’s skankier players. They wander over, fake getting high off of HIS marijuana joint and dance around a possibility of the best/worst threesome in the history of network television. He ultimately turns down the idea after one of the girls suggests a place they could go and not be seen called The Cage.

So it was all a ploy (maybe) to find out where the high school kids go that the adults don’t know about. And that’s where we find the crime scene.

And wouldn’t you know it – Sarah decides to stay on just a little longer and see where the case leads…

Initial thoughts…

There is a lot of dedicated to recognizing and showing the family lives of the principal characters. I can only imagine this will continue to be explored and figure heavily into the outcome of the investigation.

The acting is splendid. It’s probably what carries it past a standard police procedural. I liked these first two episodes, but I wonder how long they can sustain this quality. Twin Peaks had a great initial run before running out of steam (and ideas), so did Murder One (a criminally underappreciated show that was about 10 years ahead of its time). These shows often keep introducing stranger and wackier characters/subplots/whatever to keep the momentum going, to the detriment of the central, main plot. We’ll see how The Killing handles this.

Let’s look at the list of potential main suspects from the first 2 episodes …

Stanley Larsen (dad)

Mitch Larsen (mom)

Darren Richmond (councilman running for mayor)

Gwen Eaton (campaign advisor)

Eric Ladin (campaign manager)

Belko Royce (Stanley’s moving co worker)

Terry Marek (Mitch’s sister – I guess Stanley doesn’t have an open relationship then)

Bennet Ahmed (teacher)

Jasper Ames (rich boyfriend who hates shirts)

Right now? I’m going to go with the teacher. 3 reasons.

  1. He was quick to catch Sterling in her lie. I understand that a teacher might have that intuition, but still if he were involved, he definitely would know she was lying.
  2. He is quick to offer the video showing Rosie at the dance; again possibly to ease the line of questioning the detective is using with Sterling, but again, it may help his alibi too.
  3. If the crime scene is in the school, he would definitely know about it

When he's completely exonerated you can get in my face. But until then, I'm standing by my stupid theory.

So, I’m definitely intrigued by the show and will continue to watch. It started off with raw emotion and hopefully it can carry it throughout the run of the series. Hopefully Sarah’s leaving is handled deftly, and hopefully the show doesn’t turn into a weekly introduction of more and more characters.

Your thoughts? Please leave a comment. But also please try to keep spoilers out of there. As I said, this show is based on a Danish show and while there will be differences, I'd rather not turn this into a comparison about the two shows. I'm sure there are plenty of other places on the web to do that.

* You will have to download the latest version of the Popcorn Trick podcast to get the reference. Look at me, I'm cross promoting!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Personal Writing: A Historical Perspective

Cleaning out my office (ok, really just shuffling papers from one pile to another pile), I stumbled across a pad of paper with some brief writings I did about 15 years ago. And since I found it mildly interesting, I figured I would share it with you. Don't worry, it really isn't that long...

Television Pitches

I think these were from an old email chain with some of my friends about 15 years ago. Back when we would sit at our jobs, and actively try to avoid our work and keep our sanity. Well, figuratively speaking, since one you read this, I'm guessing you'll be questioning mine.

Pitch 1:
Two old men who sit on their porch all day, complain about how it was better in the old days, and sip lemonade, and then realize the porch is really a time machine. Each week they decide to travel back in time to fix things, but always make things worse.

(I would like to point out that this idea was written 15 years before Hot Tub Time Machine came out...Just saying)

Pitch 2:
Joe and Louise are in love, but Louise dies in a horrible accident. However, because their love is so strong, Louise is given the chance to return to Earth, as a wolverine. Watch how these two overcome their problems to rekindle the passion they once had.

(You'd think these were written by a 12 year old, but no, I was in my twenties)

Pitch 3:
Randy is a logger. One day in the mill, he falls into a vat of wood pulp, swallowing a great deal. Barely surviving the ordeal, he loses his job and becomes an assistant park ranger in Yosemite Park. There he learns his accident has given him the ability to communicate with trees. When he learns the trees plan a hostile takeover of the world, he joins them to wage an epic battle.

(I'd like to point out this was written 15 years before The Happening. Actually, maybe I wouldn't like to point that out.)

Pitch 4:
Max is a crack hacker and he's only 14. One day he hacks into a top secret AI lab. Before he can get out, his computer zaps Max, bringing him into a mystical world underwater. Max realizes he can breathe underwater and assumes command a kingdom of sea horses.

(I'm anxiously awaiting AMC to pick this one up)

And then here's the next page of the pad...

Top 10 Worst Jobs

10. Parachute tester
9. Amish electrician
8. Bullet proof vest tester
7. Insurance coverage salesman for kamikaze pilots

And that's it...I guess insurance coverage salesman for kamikaze pilots couldn't be topped. Though I still think amish electrician is funny.

New HBO Special: Talking Funny

Louis CK. Jerry Seinfeld. Chris Rock. Ricky Gervais. Together in one room, talking about being funny.

Yeah, I think I'll check this one out.