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…

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