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!

1 comment:

gdr said...

Dreads... like him a lot as the suspect now. He's mad at Rosie for being a whore, shows her what real s&m is like and ties her up, thinks she's dead, doesn't realize she's still alive, and dumps her in the lake.

Stanley... still my prime suspect. Moving truck hides the stolen car, he wasn't "camping" the whole weekend, he was killing his daughter who was growing up too fast.

Sterling is a player in this but not the murderer... bloody nose in Ep1 tells me she's new to coke/x, possibly first time this weekend with Jasper and/or Kris. Mad at Rosie for whatever reason. I have a GW on Sterling being the one getting the business in the video. Rosie watches Sterling getting F'd by former lover Jasper and friend-since-she-was-3 Kris, gets mad and storms out and heads home for the night to find...

Belko and Aunt Terry. They're banging or something at the house that Rosie wasn't supposed to see. Belko has access to the truck (see Stanley accusation above) and disposes of her. Also works for Stanley banging Aunt Terry.