Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Killing: Day 10

Day 10 (or technically the end of Day 9, unless you want to squabble over what time the teacher was beat up) starts on the body of Bennet, left out in the rain, but still alive…barely. Stan did a number on him. He must have been an effective enforcer in the Seattle mob. Also, the Seattle mob? It almost sounds cute!

Anyway, Stan comes home, and Mitch shows him the pink shirt. Again I suggest that if the shirt was what sent Stan over the edge to turn back to his mob roots and beat up Bennet, then he and Mitch aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer. I guess we could have inferred that from the barely successful moving company they run and the repeated hiring of Belko, but still…it just goes to show you that while Stan may have been a good enforcer for the mob, he probably wasn’t going to climb that organization’s career ladder too quickly.

Over at the police station, things aren’t going much better for our detectives. Briefing the chief, Linden and Holder admit that Bennet was the wrong angle to play, and that they’re pretty much back at square one. As is the audience. I mean seriously, we obviously have our theories about who killed Rosie, but nothing has been revealed yet to point us in the direction of a suspect. And I think that’s what has been the most frustrating part of this series. The creators spent so much time giving us the Red herring Bennet, and no time on pursuing (or laying groundwork) for another suspect, and here we are with only 3 and-a-half episodes to go.

The detectives hear about Bennet, and Linden is beating herself up pretty bad over the whole thing; Holder not so much. And I liked this scene because it’s another piece in the evolution of the Linden/Holder relationship. I know I’ve harped on this show a bunch, but one thing I think it has done well is developed these two detectives in a real way. It’s not sickeningly sweet; it’s not horrendously over the top; it’s closer to real.

After a spell at the home, Stan turns himself in. I guess an argument could be made that he is still Rosie’s killer, but it would be tough. This pretty much shows he can’t live guilt of beating up an innocent person, so I have to imagine he wouldn’t be able to function to well if he were his daughter’s murderer.

Linden goes and visits Richmond, presumably at his apartment, which looks incredible. No seriously, Trump is probably envious of this bachelor pad. I guess we finally know what Gwen sees in him. As Richmond opens the door, we see him playing with a basketball, which I guess is the subtle way the director chose to let us know he sank the shot from last week’s episode? In a pseudo apology, she tells him not only is Bennet is innocent, which Richmond pompously says he knew all along (maybe because he killed Rosie?) but also that Bennet is in the hospital because yeah, he got beat up. Richmond stays pompous to the end of course. I guess he can be since he’s 5 million dollars richer.

But wait, we still need to be hit over the head one more time before we can REALLY start feeling bad for Linden. As she heads back to the boat, Regi is there, waiting, tattling on Jack for drinking a little beer and calling Regi a lesbo. At first, Linden is upset and tells Regi Jack is gonna get it, but when Regi starts shining the light on how Linden might have a little something to do with the behavior, she pulls up anchor, gruffly wakes Jack up and heads to a motel. Honestly, probably not the smartest thing to do, but also I would have totally done the same thing. Linden’s got a lot of pressures on her right now, and while her priorities are definitely out of whack, at that moment, I can definitely understand her actions. Now, is a motel a great place for Jack right now? Yeah, probably not.

Richmond, Jamie and Gwen see a golden opportunity in this Bennet situation. They quickly move forward to take advantage of it by cancelling the attack ads they had running, and starting to create the candidate of integrity. A great plan, and I can’t see anything being able to railroad Richmond now!

Linden is at the precinct and she and Holder go back to square one and start going over the evidence they have, all over again. Wow – actual detective work! Trying to tie up some of the more preposterous theories, they go about eliminating the mob connection one.

Linden is off to see Stan at county (I’ve always wanted to say that). She asks about the mob history. He’s not exactly forthcoming, but he also doesn’t give her a reason to think this was mob related. Is he just clamming so as not to be considered a rat, or is he telling the truth. God, I hope it’s the truth so we don’t have 3 episodes of taking down the Seattle mob.

Holder goes to have a little chap with Belko, and let’s just say Belko is not the world’s greatest liar. In fact, on a list of liars, he would be really close to the bottom.

At Stan’s arraignment, he wants to plead guilty, but his lawyer won’t let him. I guess this is a good time to bring up the fact that it would certainly be interesting if Bennet does turn out to be the murderer. We could feel good knowing Stan didn’t beat up an innocent guy (because really, isn’t Stan the most sympathetic character in this whole show? Even Rosie’s brothers are annoying), and it would probably be the one twist that could save a little of the integrity of the series.

Linden talks to a cabbie that picked Rosie up from Bennet’s place the night of the murder and dropped her off back at the Larsen’s place. Linden and Holder watch the cab video and see that yes indeed, she was dropped off at home. Holder suddenly has a Sherlock Holmesian moment and deduces that someone was at the Larsen household when she was dropped off. Seriously, it was as preposterous as Cooper seeing a reflection in the eye of Laura Palmer to deduce she was murdered or whatever in the beginning of Twin Peaks. I’m not necessarily complaining about either of these moments either; I’m just saying both moments were slightly implausible. Whatever, at least Holder is showing off some detective skills other than picking up 16 year old chicks. Remember that? Back when he was pervy and seedy and awesome?

Terry has the difficult moment of telling the annoying Larsen brothers about their father and explaining why he’s in jail. Thankfully the moment is interrupted by Larsen and Holder stopping by. Holder again goes to talk to Belko, while Linden sidles up to Terry to try and find out who could have been at the Larsen household on the night of the murder. Terry can’t get the words out fast enough to make Belko out to be Charles Manson. Meanwhile, Belko wilts even more under the Holder questioning. And only because the symbolism is heavy in this episode, the whole time Holder is questioning Belko, he’s holding a basketball. I’m not sure what the basketball is supposed to represent in this show, so I’ll just choose it’s supposed to pick Tom Drexler and his stadium, because he’s my favorite suspect. Still. Oh sure, like you have a better one based on something the show has offered? I don’t believe you.

Belko’s alibi for the night of the murder is that he was at his mom’s house, which leads to the best scene of the series so far. Yes, Belko’s mom is a caricature of a character – a 70 year old, lingerie-wearing slut who immediately hits on Holder. But, and maybe I’m naïve, or giving this show a lot of leash, but in the moment of the show, she helped create a creepy atmosphere and it somehow worked. And she went a long way toward showing why Belko is the way he is. Sure, Belko is a weirdo, but a sympathetic one at that, having had to live with his mom. Still, they find a bunch of marbles (don’t know the significance) and a bunch of pictures of the Larsens (definitely understand the significance of those) on the ceiling. Notice I said, “pictures of the Larsens,” and not “pictures of Rosie.”

Linden and Holder get into the box with Belko, and here’s another instance of actual police work That’s like three times in this single episode!. They break him down fairly quickly and he tells a story about how much he loves the Larsens; how he often sat at the Larsen’s kitchen table when they weren’t around; how Rosie came home that night when he was there; how he heard Rosie talking to “Adela.” It’s a legitimate story and something I’m not sure Belko could concoct. Quick aside: I thoroughly enjoyed Linden describing Belko’s mom as, “She’s a different sort of person, isn’t she?”

Meanwhile, Gwen and Jamie are watching a girl named Valerie (seriously, they went to great lengths to make sure we got her name) go through video of Richmond shaking hands…specifically with Rosie. This would not be good for the campaign if it ever got out there. Valerie helpfully reminds us all about how her body was found in one of Richmond’s campaign cars and what a crazy coincidence it is that he almost seemed to know her! And just like that, we’ve tied Richmond into the investigation. Which I guess is good, since there has to be at least a slight reason as to why the show has been so involved with the campaign. I just hope he doesn’t turn out to be the murderer. There has been no suggestion he’s been involved in this at all, up until this point. You know what, one more scene with Valerie, and I’m going to suspect her. She probably did it because Rosie called her “Val” one too many times!

Mitch is trying to help run the moving business and she gets a call from the bank about the secret house Stan bought and now she knows and oh no and who cares about the secret house unless that’s where Stan murdered Rosie. Seriously, the existence of this house is the only reason I still have a thread-bare thought still that Stan could have murdered Rosie. We have to assume there’s something about the house that’s involved since it’s been continually brought up, right? So who wants to bet it’s the murder scene?

Holder and Linden, now with the mob theory and the Belko angle (presumably) over, are now trying to track down the “Adela” angle. I only bring it up because yet again there is a basketball in this scene – Holder is playing with a miniature basketball as they’re talking.

Linden finally heads back to home, or more specifically the awesome motel where she left he budding alcoholic son all alone for the entire day. Mom of the year! And look who’s here – Rick. You remember Rick, her fiancé. Or, maybe I should say, ex-fiance. Rick hints that Linden may have been in a psychiatric hospital over a previous case, and gives her an ultimatum: fly back to Oakland with him tonight or… Linden of course picks the “or…” and Rick leaves, hopefully tying up this part of the story. Until he comes back and is the murderer.

Next morning (day 11?), Linden is up early and out running by the sound, where she happens upon a ferry schedule. A ferry schedule for a ferry named Adela. This kicks off the now famous montage scene that ends every episode. We see Stan in prison wistfully looking out the window, Mitch going over the books of the moving company, and Linden on the Adela, heading to an Indian casino which just so happens to share a logo with the thing on the keychain that was found with Rosie.

While I made some jokes about this episode, I thought it was a good one, and moved the plot along. I only wished it happened during day 5 and not day 10. The whole FBI plot line, and Bennet red herring took entirely too long and ultimate went nowhere. Worse, it led the viewer nowhere and now it feels as though we’re starting all over again. So, while the show feels like it’s finally hit its stride, there are only three episodes left. And when you think about it, we only have two leads – the keychain/casino evidence, and Richmond on video shaking Rosie’s hand. Why we had to wait until day 10 to get these revelations, I don’t understand.

Hopefully, the show keeps the momentum going for these last 3 episodes. If it does, I think I’ll be happy overall. But if it stumbles, I can’t imagine I would ever check in for a second season of this show. I enjoy the actors (Linden is especially attractive in her thick yet form hugging sweaters, but I’m biased) and while Holder has dipped a little after the first two episodes, I feel he’s still the best character of the show. I hope the creators have found their direction and stay the course.

Suspect List

Belko – I don’t think he’s capable of getting away with the murder of Rosie, but this episode certainly shined the crazy light on him. I wouldn’t be shocked if it turned out to be him. Not thrilled, but not necessarily surprised.

Stan – I’d like to put him to rest as a suspect. His actions in this episode suggest he knows right from wrong and will deal with the consequences appropriately. Still, this secret house has come back into the picture for some reason.

Terry – Hey, it’s possible. Did Rosie find out she loves Stan more than just a brother-in-law? Will there be any payoff to her and Mr. Aames?

Richmond – A man running for mayor on the concept of integrity almost always has a skeleton in his closet ready to fall out and destroy his credibility. Or maybe it will be a simple video clip.

And now for my Tom Drexler theory…

Why would Drexler kill Rosie? I have no idea. But I’m still holding onto that notion. Look, we know Rosie was found with expensive shoes. I’m going to assume she got them at the casino. If you didn’t know, there are many boutique type stores at casinos, a perfect place for people to throw some of their newly earned money at expensive, frivolous items. So, what if Rosie met Drexler at the casino and they hit it off. At least enough to enjoy a drink or two. But maybe not enough for Drexler’s liking. And I bet Drexler is the type that doesn’t hear no very often. But why would Drexler be at the casino at the first place? Well, as the show’s resident rich person, it would make sense that one of his investments was to help an Indian tribe bring a casino to the Seattle area. And if this basketball imagery that continues to come up throughout the series doesn’t at least moderately involve Drexler, I’ll be moderately surprised.

Having said all that, I hope you enjoy Valerie being your killer.

World Record Car Jump

First, the video evidence...

Couple of notes...

I casually heard about this here and there before this weekend, but didn't put much effort into learning more about it. So when I say the video evidence looks extremely fake, my ignorance could be shining through. It may have been on every television news broadcast and spoken about ad nauseum. I've been in a whiskey sour haze for the past 3 days, so please bear with me. That said...

Doesn't this look completely fake? They couldn't have one single long take of the jump?

Why did they blank out the face of the driver? Is he on the run? Do we have another Fugitive type situation going on here? And if we do, isn't the bigger question why didn't they retire the franchise after the one with Wesley Snipes?

I enjoyed the Hot Wheels look of everything; I definitely set up jumps like this with my Hot Wheels cars. So bravo for the nostalgic trip to my childhood.

Circular Saw Slingshot

Just what we need...a German guy developing new types of weapons!

Friday, May 27, 2011

New Between Two Ferns

A new Between Two Ferns, this time with Will Ferrell...

I've been on record as saying I don't think Between Two Ferns has "jumped the shark," yet, but with this latest installment I might have to rethink that. I happen to enjoy both Zack and Will, but here I'm not sure they work well together. They're too much alike, and this whole series has been based on the idea that we're not entirely sure the "guest" is completely in on the bit. But with Will Ferrell, you immediately know he's in on it because of his attire. After that, they try a few things that seemingly go nowhere. The Jon Hamm cameo is brief, and not funny enough to throw the sketch into the weird territory so many of the previous ones go. I think Jon Hamm should have trashed the set to find his keys, but that's just me.

However, I will say that the chair breaking made me laugh. Both times.

TIme Lapse of the Heavens

Pretty much if you time lapse something, I'm going to put it up. But if this doesn't make you question your existence in the universe, then you might be an angel yourself.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What do you Shazam?

In these informational times we all live in, it is rare I am without a device that tells me everything I need to know about the music I listen to. Whether it is an ipod, computer, satellite radio, the notion that I can not get an instantaneous answer to whatever I'm listening to is quite antiquated. Radio? Does that still exist? Is Rush Limbaugh spinning discs and hawking the top 40 yet?

However, there are times when I find myself in a weird continuum where I am not with my ipod (usually weeping in a corner) nor with any satellite radio device (occasionally I am forced to take horse and buggies to places) and am a slave to audio only output. And in those rare occasions, an even rarer occasion happens; I hear something that I enjoy.

(Let it be said right now, this happenstance is not a result of me being some sort of music snob. Far from it. I enjoy many different genres of music. And I actively enjoy seeking out new types of music. No, this is more an indictment of modern radio and television and the choices they make when they literally have an infinite number of choices available to them (because music is constantly being created, even as we speak), they still choose to go with the latest Katy Perry song or Journey's Don't Stop Believing. (Please don't take this as an indictment on Journey's Don't Stop Believing either; I happen to unironically enjoy that song, much to my hipster friends' chagrin. It's just that perhaps it's time to retire it? I mean, I'm not even suggesting we leave the Journey catalog; Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin' is an excellent song that could sell many a bottle of shampoo, no?) It's actually quite maddening, and if I were a musician of any sort, I might throw my hands up in despair.

Now, up until a few years ago when some stray tune tickled my fancy, I had to live with the fact that I may never learn the identity of the singer/band that created it. But then someone came along and created Shazam, an app for our so called "smart" phones. Simply hold the phone up so it can create an "audio fingerprint" and match it against a database of songs presumably numbering in the hundreds - and possibly more. Seriously, I have been rebuffed exactly once in 30 times I've used it or so, and while I wish I could tell you what the song was, that would defeat the purpose of the service, this blog post, and, to a much lesser extent, my existence.

But it has helped me out of a jam (if you can consider not immediately knowing a song you suddenly hear somewhere a "jam") here and there when listening to a radio, a commercial, or sometimes even a bumper for a radio program (ex: The Ron and Fez show). And it also shows exactly what can be done with technology, if that's something that makes you feel good in your nether region.

Anyway, I've amassed quite a few songs in my Shazam list (I'm really not sure what to call it) and decided why not share them with you? Perhaps one or two will make you smile and tap your toe against the leg of your desk in the soul crushing job you're currently enslaved at. I will tell you this, none of the selections are downtrodden; on the contrary...it seems when I don't know the identity of a song and want to know it I choose uptempo jingles!

Please also note - in the case of a few of these I Shazamed them simply to learn the artist OR the song title - I knew one but not the other. For example, I am reasonably comfortable with my knowledge to be able to pick out Prince singing. However, as you will see, I don't know his entire catalog...

A couple of other notes before sending you to the playlist...

Yes, it's true. I can't identify an Arcade Fire song immediately. They never clicked for me. If you feel this is a slight against the universe, please use the comments section to tell me what songs to listen to. And don't just say entire albums. I did some work for you, the reciprocity of that would be nice.

Yup, I was the last one to get on the Adele bandwagon.

Nope, never heard the Misfits before this. Now I'm sure some of you will find that disgusting.

Same goes for Roxy Music.

Don't just skip over the Grateful Dead song. I didn't with Roxy Music and look where I am now.

To take a listen to just what the hell I've been talking about it, please click here. I apologize for sending you away, but Grooveshark is not cooperating with their embedded player right now.

The Big Papa song was for this fine theatrical trailer:

Happy birthday Levon Helm!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Volcano Video

The Icelandic volcano Grimsvotn erupted a few days ago...check out this video of it.

SLow motion makes everything more dramatic, no?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Killing: Day 9, Undertow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suspect List

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 23, 2011

You will never watch Star Wars the same way again

When the "sequel" prequels to the original Star Wars trilogy came out, it was popular for many fans of the original movies to say, "George Lucas raped my childhood." A bit harsh, and who are we to question the artist/creator of something.

But this...this will rape your love of Star Wars...

Airport Time Lapse

Put this on a loop and you might find yourself burning 6 hours of your day...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New JJ Abrams show: Alcatraz

Of course I'll watch it, but begrudgingly. First of all, this trailer gives away waaaaay too much. Second of all, I felt exhausted after it finished. Not because it's particularly exciting, but because I thought about all the time I spent with the last JJ Abrams show I watched. And Hurley showing up in this one didn't exactly make me feel good either...

Unrelated: I always thought Sam Neil would make a great devil in one of those "end of the world" movies.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Killing: Day 8, Stonewalled

Day 8

I preface this recap by saying that a comment on last week's suggested the identity of the killer based on some internet sleuthing. While the commenter didn't know if it was 100% legit, the reasoning was sound, and so I deleted the comment. I know AMC has said their version of the sow will be different from the Danish original. How different, I'm not sure. I do not know if that means it will be a different killer. I will say, I'm will continue writing these and offering my theories as if I didn't read it.

We start off on images of things you would most likely find in a teen girl’s bedroom, and I wonder – are we flashing back? Are we about to head into the Black Lodge? No, it might actually be considered weirder, as we find ourselves in the meat locker where we last saw Holder and Linden and the FBI. Well, there goes my slaughtered pigs theory. Apparently, the FBI have been looking at this Mohamed guy as “a person of interest” in a terrorism sting. Of course, with the meat locker set up less like a terrorist hideout and more like the set of To Catch a Predator, maybe they’ll rethink things.

Thankfully, Linden and Holder, once established as detectives and not terrorist sympathizers, come are let go, and we see that their trespassing has the entire FBI and Seattle police force outside. If I may take a moment here – for all the complaining the FBI will be doing about how their case may now be compromised, I really think there may have been a better way to handle this. Remember, Linden and Holder simply broke into this place, seemingly unobserved by this Mohamed. And it’s almost certain that the FBI had the place under surveillance – but they couldn’t just send the guys in, take Holder and Linden down (even though wouldn’t they let two people they didn’t know go in and see where they led them in case they were part of the terrorist cell?) get their credentials and let them on their way without the huge police presence outside?

I realize one you begin applying logic to a storyline, it’s a slippery slope down into unveiling how illogical shows can be, but seriously, this isn’t a Monday night NBC offering; this is AMC, and we hold that network to a higher standard.

But I digress…

Linden and Holder’s boss meets them out in the alley, and he’s none too pleased with his detectives.

Linden makes a Goren leap (see last week’s recap for explanation) about a t-shirt on the bed in the meat locker being Rosie’s. I mean obviously it’s possible, buy simply focus on the shirt? You’ve just stumbled on a girl’s bedroom set up in a meat locker…that’s not bizarre enough?

Linden heads back to her boat. Or Reggie’s boat. Let’s just all agree not to care who’s boat it is. She calls the tech at the station and asks for the Rosie Larsen case files, telling a small lie in the process, so she can work on them at night. So now we’re starting to at least see some of her obsession, and not just hearing other characters talk about it. We are then “treated” to a phone call to Rick, her fiancé, (I feel I need to clarify who Rick is every time I mention him since I frequently have to check AMC’s website to remind myself of his name and reason for being on the show), but he doesn’t pick up. Some woman named Emmy does, and it’s clear she’s not a fan of Linden. And it’s also clear that Rick is either having or going to have an affair with her to give Linden the out she needs. Hopefully that scene happens on the phone…off screen…in last week’s episode.

At the Larsen household. Stan is trying to get things back to normal and having a rough go at it. So much so he spreads horseradish on the sandwiches he’s making for the boys. Rather than salvage it with a nice lean roast beef, he gets angry frustrated. Also, did you see the size of the jar of horseradish? I know it had to be similar to a jar of peanut butter or mayonnaise, but you could have bathed in that tub!

Anyway, this is all set up so that we can see Mitch accidentally almost kill her two kids by leaving them in the running car in the garage because she is still caught up in Rosie’s murder. A little melodramatic, to say the least. Thankfully, the kids are fine, as Terry finds them and opens the garage door. And I realize something major needed to happen to lead to what Stand does later, but this seemed a tad melodramatic and severe. In fact, my wife, who hasn’t watched any of The Killing other than 20 minutes of the first episode, was in the room for this scene, before angrily stomping off and heading to bed. I’m guessing she thinks I just lay on the couch and watch murder porn all day.

Things aren’t looking good at Richmond’s campaign headquarters either. With the loss of the All-star program, Adams seemingly has Richmond on the ropes, and the press is now all over the now possible terrorist connections with Bennet. But Richmond comes in bright eyed, bushy tailed and ready to fight back – to a point. He’s ready to go after Adams when it comes to policy, but when it comes to character, he wants to remain on the up and up. All this scene was missing was Jamie and Gwen propped up on Richmond’s shoulders whispering into his ears.

The next morning, Linden heads into the police station to go and get debriefed by the FBI, and sees Holder meeting with his mystery man, getting what we can assume is another wad of cash. And while I realize it would have been absurd for Holder to be getting paid off to keep an eye on the investigation from some shady character, it would have been a billion times more exciting than where this plot string ends. Regardless of that, Linden walks in to see the FBI ransacking her office, and taking all her case files on the Larsen case. Then her boss thrusts today’s newspaper in her face with the crime photos from the investigation splashed all over the cover, suggesting there’s a leak. And who has access to these photos? Why, only Linden, the techs and Holder! I will say it was nice to see even though she obviously has suspicions, she doesn’t throw Holder under the bus as being the leak to the boss, which she clearly believes. Well, at least she won’t have to deal with Holder in the debriefing, as the boss bizarrely kicks him out, saying only the primary detective will get the debriefing. This would be an understandable action, except for the conversation that follows shortly after that we’ll get to in a bit.

Bennet, on his way to school, gets the call from the principal to not come to school. And while I hate the principal character because she seems like such a dullard simply there to move the plot along, I also think, even if this has come down from the Richmond campaign, this idea sounds like a good one. A “person of interest” in a murder and with connections to a possible terrorist is probably not suitable to teach a high school class. Bennet though, is still angered by this perceived slight.

And now, onto the briefing…Blah blah terrorism. Blah blah passports. Blah blah women not Caucasian. I assume the FBI/terrorism link will be followed through a little bit, but this inter-departmental bickering is boring and ultimately leads nowhere.

And next comes what I have labeled, “The weirdest scene on The Killing ever, and that includes having a little girl’s room in a meat locker”

Jamie and Tom are hanging out at what appears to be an underground, illegal bare-knuckled fight club. Two bare-chested men grope one another in a chain-linked, fenced-in boxing ring in some warehouse. Jamie’s trying to get Tom Drexler to fund more of Richmond’s campaign. But Drexler is having none of his BS political yammerings. Instead of cutting him a check, he gives Jamie some much needed dirt on the current mayor. When Jamie asks Tom why he never went public with it, he replies hilariously with, “Even I have scruples.” Hilarious because he’s at an illegal gay romp disguised as an illegal fighting club. Honestly, I have no idea what we’re to take away from this scene. We’ve been given hints through the episodes about Jamie’s possible homosexuality, and I immediately thought the dirt might have been going down that avenue at first, because seriously, this was a weird scene. Caligula didn’t throw as weird a curveball than The Killing did here.

And regarding Tom – while I have half-jokingly listed him as my prime suspect, and his lack of screen time is spitting in that theory’s face, why is he involved here? There has to be something to be taken out of this scene. But I just can’t figure out its significance. So I’m assuming it points to Tom’s guilt and I’ll leave it at that.

Linden and Holder meet up after the debriefing. Both seem to have a legitimate beef here (well, Linden’s is a little weaker, but I can see why she might be mad at Holder for not disclosing a little more), and take it out on each other. Holder is rightfully annoyed he’s getting shut out, especially since technically he’s supposed to be the lead (Linden is supposed to be gone!).

Linden rolls out, after giving Holder a verbal beatdown, only to run into Mitch Larsen, who’s upset about the crime scene photos. The confrontation leaves Linden speechless.

Richmond HQ. You know, I think I’ve come to peace with the fact that The Killing is simply gong with two storylines: the murder of a teenaged girl, and an insider’s look at running a mayoral campaign for a mid-level city. Yes, I understand that the murder has sent ripples through the campaign and they have had to deal with that, but not in a major way. Remember when the body was found in a car registered to the campaign? Yeah, me neither. Anyway, this discussion is all about how Jamie has the goods on Mayor Adams, but it’s character stuff, and not policy stuff. And to everyone’s (ok, not everyone – just Gwen at this point) Richmond is considering using it!

Linden is off the rails. I find it funny that had this be the first episode we totally would have thought this was something Holder would do. She pulls the ol’ “hey, I just need to see some evidence, and it’s totally ok and authorized” trick on the FBI agent overseeing the evidence. But he isn’t buying it. Not at all. In fact, he’s so completely not buying Linden’s obviously made up story that he’s going to leave his post and get his supervisor to check things out and…ooops. Linden gets what she wants (a picture of the shirt she pegged as Rosie’s after seeing it in a weird, staged meat locker girl’s room) and rolls out of there before the FBI agent (and other FBI agents who are just standing around) can stop her. You know, like grab her arm or something!

The Benet household is chilly at best. He comes home and tells his wife that he’s been suspended. But apparently some time has gone by since the principal called him, because his wife asks where he was then, if not at work. And he has no real explanation, other than to yell at her. So, just in case there wasn’t enough evidence to make him the red herring of the show, they are now giving him unexplained periods of time for us to ponder about.

Linden heads over to the Larsens to ask Mitch about the t-shirt. Mitch takes a look at the grainy picture on the 2 inch screen of Linden’s camera for about a second and dives into a story about how, yes, it was Rosie’s shirt. A pink shirt that has “GRAND CANYON” written on it. Sure, that’s good enough for me. Case closed!

The one interesting thing Mitch brings up in her story is something to the effect that she thought Rosie “had lost it” (the shirt) which we could take to mean that the shirt was missing before Rosie was. Of course since we’re supposed to believe the shirt has been identified as Rosie’s off a grainy, digital picture, I might be reading a little too into this.

Based on the extremely circumstantial shirt identifying Linden got from Mitch, she heads off to get her boss to get the shirt back from the FBI and run some tests on it. But the boss is having none of it; in fact he tells Linden to drop it entirely. But he doesn’t stop there. He asks how Holder is coming along, since she was supposed to be training him. She brings up her concerns about Holder, to which the boss suggests maybe she should be moving on to that California sunshine.

Now, I have two problems with this…

1. This is the same guy that demanded she stick around with this case. So this dogged pursuit she is showing is his fault.

2. If he didn’t really want her around anymore, why was he so quick to keep Holder out of the debriefing? If Holder is going to be taking over the case, shouldn’t he be kept abreast of all these developments?

It’s these minor questions, and slight inconsistencies that keep The Killing from being a great show. I can look past some of the more convoluted plot points, or at least have some faith that they will all be tied up in the future, but when they have established characters performing uncharacteristically, it chips away at the realism.

If there was ever a more appropriate time for Randy Macho Man Savage to come along with his “snap into a Slim Jim” shtick, I haven’t seen it. Calling Rick again (really?) and getting no response, she’s about to light a cigarette (I will admit I haven’t been keeping track if she smoked before in this series to see if she’s going back to a vice because she’s stressed, or she’s been smoking the whole time) she notices Holder heading off with his mystery man and she decides to follow them.

At the Larsen household, Terry breaks down and tells Stan she found the kids in the car earlier that day.

Linden follows Holder to some weird back alley place, a beat up looking building, and gets out and walks down the stairs to see Holder standing at a podium in front of a bunch of people. And since the audience was tipped off to this a couple episodes ago, it’s not really a surprise that Holder is an addict or that the mystery man is his sponsor to us. But I sure bet Linden feels bad. Not bad enough to spy on his “anonymous” meeting, but still. And while I the scene is powerful (including the story about Holder hitting bottom), I feel slightly cheated that he’s not just a prick with a bad attitude. A prick with a drug problem is too sympathetic.

Richmond stops in at the parole hearing for the drunk driver that killed his wife. Keeping with tonight’s theme about forgiveness and who can give it and who can’t, he listens to her ask for it, but wanders into a bathroom and smashes a mirror instead. This sudden, burst of violence kinda comes out of nowhere and is mildly surprising. I wonder if it’s enough to suggest he would turn violent suddenly if, say, a teenaged girl didn’t give him his way?

Back at campaign headquarters, good cop Gwen and bad cop Jamie are arguing about the dirt they have on Adams and whether or not they should use it. Gwen is sure Richmond won’t go for it. Jamie suggests he can get it out there, but Gwen is having none of it. Just when the argument is about to meet a crescendo Richmond calls and says to run it! Our golden boy politician is getting his hands dirty! I wonder what other activities he’s gotten his hands dirty in?

Jack is the crime photo leak! Since Linden had the pictures sent to her computer, Jack saw them and sent them to all his friends. And while I know there is trouble between the two, his cavalier attitude about it seems a little disingenuous. I certainly believe he would send the pictures out to his friends – that’s believable. But his lack of feeling when his mom suggests how it made the family of the victim feel. Was startling. You almost have to be a sociopath to not feel sympathetic when given that scenario.

Speaking of weird feelings and actions… it’s not much better over at the Larsens. First, Mitch comes in talking about how the police are close to arresting Bennet, which, yeah I didn’t get that at all during the two times Linden has spoke with Mitch today. But she soon forgets what she was saying when she realizes that Stan has boxed up all of Rosie’s stuff. And yeah, Mitch isn’t thrilled with this decision. They turn on each other, each accusing the other of screwing up; Stan because he let her stay home instead of going camping with them, Mitch because she’s too strict. And, if I may interject here…while I certainly understand where Stan is coming from, and he’s reacting to the boys in the garage incident, Mitch is correct in pointing out that it’s only been a week since Rosie was murdered. Everyone grieves differently, and cleaning out her room probably wasn’t the right move.

So at last we find out the dirt Richmond has on Mayor Adams as we all watch the local news run with the story: the mayor once slept with an intern and paid for an apartment for her. Obviously a scandal, but this was the story Tom was sitting on, and the one his scruples wouldn’t allow him to use? It’s practically a rite of passage for a politician these days. On a scale of 1-10, I rank this scandal a “lame.”

Richmond watches the news as the former intern poorly handles the media’s eye, and I’m thinking he’s going to realize he made a mistake with this, or at least feel he’s gone too far. I can almost see the meeting between him and the intern.

Linden heads back to the docks and Reggie’s boat with Jack, and runs into Holder. It’s a cool scene that recognizes when two people who don’t know each other dance around important issues. Holder then gets down to more important business and mentions he legally tapped Bennet’s phone. Seriously, he goes into so much detail about how he spoke with the judge and did this all on the up and up that it’s almost certain to completely fall apart when they have something.

We’re left with a brief snippet of Bennet on the phone talking to someone about passports and that the police don’t know what’s going on. And while that’s great to be getting yet more possible evidence on Bennet, it also leads to one or my major gripes about the show. There has been a lot of time investing into Bennet. Way back when he was first listed as a suspect, it was almost a joke to say he was the murderer, since there was still so many more episodes to fill. But now here we are on day 8, of what I believe is a 13 day run, and the police have no other suspects. In fact, the show has focused more on Bennet, but wrapped him up in a much bigger case, involving the FBI and terrorism. Yes, this mysterious “Mohammed” is definitely a suspect, but we haven’t even seen him. It seems that there are many pieces that have been introduced, but only in one direction. And while I still don’t believe Bennet murdered Rosie, we are no closer to knowing who did. There are no clues or foreshadowing to suggest it was anyone else, and we only have five days to go.

So, while I enjoyed Stonewalled, and thought it was a step up after the previous two weeks, I can’t say I think it’s helping the overall series. Unless they just run with this terrorism angle to the end, and Bennet/Mohammed were the killers, the reveal of the real murderer is going to be rushed, and possibly a little convoluted.

Suspect List

Honestly, other than Mohamed and Bennet, and possibly Bennet's wife, there has been no evidence for anyone else. A few allusions here and there (with Richmond in particular), but that's it.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. What are yours? Let me know in the comments, but please refrain from spoiler discussion.

Saturday Night Live: What's Up With That?

I'm a fan of Saturday Night Live's What's Up With That sketch, and I won't apologize. Yes, it's a one note joke, that is beaten over the audience's head again and again. Yes, it hasn't given us anything interesting in awhile (save Ernest Bornine). And yes, I know I'm in the minority. But whatever - if you don't laugh when Jason Sudeikis jumps into frame every time and starts dancing uncontrollably in a red track suit, then I don't know what to tell you.

All that said, that's not the reason I'm sharing the most recent version of the sketch. I just wanted to point out that I'm 67% sure Paul Simon is transforming into a beagle.

If he's not used in a reimagining of The Shaggy D.A., then Disney is being run by morons. Well, bigger morons than everyone thinks is running it now.

Mesmerizing Pendulum Video

Sure there is a science behind the swinging of a pendulum, but forget it right now, and just become hypnotized by this crazy video...

(From Kottke)

More Time Lapse Goodness

It's possible I posted this before, but it's worth a second look. Once again, if this doesn't truly show how insignificant you are, more power to you.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Killing: Day 7 - Vengeance

Day 7

So here we are, at the end of day 6 and falling into day 7, and seriously I don’t think this case is any closer to being solved than after day 1. In fact, you could argue we’re farther away from knowing the identity of Rosie’s murderer, especially with the final scene’s revelation.

But there’s stuff to talk about before we get there…

Stan and Bennet are still in the car, and by this time Bennet at least knows he isn’t just getting dropped off at home. Nor are they heading to Pike’s Market. Pulling up to the docks, it seems as though Stan is wrestling with what to do with his new found knowledge that Bennet is a person of interest in his daughter’s murder.

Meanwhile, the detectives are doing everything they can to make sure their suspect remains alive. Linden heads over to Bennet’s place and gets his wife to open up and keep trying to call Bennet, while Holder, and his usual awkwardness is at the memorial service, stumbling through questions and pissing everyone off. I think the Holder character is played very well, especially in this scene; he’s obviously not very good or tactful when questioning people, but also shows he has a knack/ability for ferreting out people who are hiding something. His poor interaction with Mitch is balanced nicely with his accusing interaction with Belko. So at least there’s a reason he was promoted to homicide.

Stan and Bennet get out of the car. Bennet stumbles through his proclamation of innocence in the pouring rain. Whether Stan believes him because he thought he was being genuine, believes him because Stan’s the actual murderer, doesn’t believe him but also doesn’t want to kill him and revert back to his former ways, is never really clear. Probably because then the rest of the show would be deemed irrelevant.

Linden gets inside Bennet and Amber’s house and softly interviews Amber about the events on the night of the murder. Here’s what we learn:

· Amber is jealous of Bennet’s students.

· Amber is not allowed to life heavy things because of her pregnancy. So it probably wasn’t her lifting the “body” that night.

· There’s a third person that has a key to the house; Mohammed! Not the prophet. A friend of Bennet’s from down at the mosque. And Mohammed doesn’t seem like a friendly guy.

Before Amber can admit she murdered Rosie, Bennet comes in, soaked to the bone and with a chip on his shoulder. He’s not thrilled that the police have put their cross hairs on him, and tells Linden she now has to go through his lawyer. And I always wonder when people say things like this – does he really have a lawyer? A trial lawyer that he can call upon to be his spokesperson? I don’t currently have a lawyer. If the police came and accused me of a crime, and I said, “You’ll have to speak to my lawyer,” all they would have to do is say, “Fine, what’s his/her name?” and my bluff would be called. Which leads me to my next point…should we read in to the fact that Bennet has a lawyer, or did I not get a lot of sleep last night and am simply grasping at straws? Anyway, Linden leaves with no further comment, but with a copy of the Quran that had been sitting on the table…complete with an address to the mosque.

And now, finally Linden is off to Sonoma leaving the case in the “capable” hands of Holder. Or at least she’s off to the airport to miss her flight – a red herring of such inconsequential proportions, no one cares. Jack speaks for all of us when he off handedly suggests his mom owes him 15 million dollars.

Stan and Mitch in bed, talking about everything and nothing, casually falling into the deep embrace of sex, before their son can throw cold water on the situation with a bad dream. Who hasn’t been in that situation? Of course, the suggestion of sex here, is the suggestion that the family is attempting to move on. The interruption of it obviously means they aren’t going to do so easily.

And here’s our first look at the stuff no one really cares about in this show…Campaign HQ! And it looks like there needs to be some damage control. Richmond is, for whatever reason, on his high horse. Gwen and Jamie want to distance themselves from Bennet, but Richmond refuses to convict an innocent man. I understand that there are people in the world like Richmond, and that his idealistic views on things need a mouthpiece. But then why does he give up his principles when it comes to ensuring the Union leader’s husband will get the contract he needs, and with allowing Jamie to be a mole in the mayor’s cabinet? Why is he selectively idealistic?

Gwen seems to have forgiven him because we are going to get some hot booty campaign HQ action. Seriously, this tryst began with Jamie about 15 feet down the hall. Let’s hope he didn’t forget a pen. Just before we can get hot and heavy though, the television cuts to the incumbent mayor’s latest commercial highlighting Richmond’s and Bennet’s closeness.

What’s this…Mitch’s grandparents? Out of the blue. I didn’t see them at the memorial service…were they still going through Ellis Island? An extra in a Mel Brooks movie isn’t as much of a stereotype as these 2 are! They stay in scene long enough to throw Terry under the bus, as well as every ethnicity that you can categorize with a color. Nice!

Jamie and Gwen bicker like children. I only bring this scene up because it reintroduces my favorite suspect Tom Drexler back into the mix, as much as mentioning his name twice can do that. Oh and we also get an opened envelope from a women’s correctional institution.

Linden and Reggie are sitting on Reggie’s boat, lamenting about missing the plane, what happened in Linden’s past, Jack (that’s Linden’s kid for all of you who don’t care) and what’s been happening in the present. Good lord…can we drop this stuff? I know it’s going to end up that Reggie killed Rosie to keep Linden from moving because she knows about her past. And if that’s the case, I’m cancelling my free subscription to AMC.

Linden is guilty enough to take Jack to some paintball party or something. I realize that most people will think Linden gives Jack advice based on him getting shot pretty quickly in paintball, but I think it’s because she witnessed Jack’s unironic use of an exploding fist bump with some other high schooler. I was happy to see Linden took her son off to the side and slyly showed him how to fire up all his friends. I wish my mom was a cop so she could show me awesome cop things!

I think the Linden/Holder phone call was my favorite moment from the show. Holder, oblivious to the fact that Linden missed the plane, is absolutely loving his freedom, being the lead on the case, even if the warrant fell through, and the chief believes there’s no evidence anywhere. So Holder is completely comfortable acting like an ass, because he thinks Linden is 1000 miles away, instead of probably 4. Which makes it completely awesome when Linden then shows up at the precinct. Fantastic. I definitely enjoy the Holder/Linden dynamic, because I can imagine police partnerships (especially in the beginning stages) go more like this than the buddy/buddy gook we’ve been sold.

Leaving that dynamic, we go back to Richmond, who’s so depressed he listening to what I can only assume is Seattle’s one right wing radio station. Ha ha, just kidding. He’s gotta be picking up some feed from Montana, right? Hey Richmond – invest in some SiriusXM and get your Phish on or whatever you want to hear! Richmond listening to racist radio. Seriously if he got XM he could be jamming out to just about anything. Getting out of the car he stops in and starts filling in his backstory about how the killer of his wife was a drunk driver and now she’s up for parole and did we know any of this before? I have no idea, I’ve literally been bored to temporary amnesia by all of this. Anyway, if it was a simple drunk driver, I don’t see how it can play into Rosie’s disappearance, unless it was the husband of the woman who did it, swore vengeance against Richmond for…well whatever, and tried to destroy his campaign by murdering the girl who was having an affair with the teacher who is an important cog in the program that Richmond is basing his mayoral campaign on. Oh sure, laugh now, but when the real motive comes out, I bet it’s just as convoluted.

I’m really starting to think Mitch’s parents are in prime position to get a spin-off sit-com deal. The Racists who Moved Next Door. What? Like you couldn’t see Martin Moll in something like that!

Stan with the kids and the kite. I call this out because I thought it was mildly interesting how Stan emphatically said a man took her. Not that it isn’t a broad jump to say “man” there, considering he could still think Bennet did it. But it could also mean he did it, if you read a little into it. And it seems I’m reading a little too much into everything.

Mitch confronts Belko about Bennet and how much Bennet knows and we get a MacBeth side of her here. Which I would argue goes a little way to prove her innocence. I understand that both Mitch and Stan have to still remain suspects in our eyes, but their behaviors looking to seek vengeance for their daughter betrays that suspicion a bit, no? And why does Belko always seem to be about 8 inches away from beating someone up. Seriously, he offers it every chance he can get, but physically speaking – is he imposing? Stan – definitely. That guy is ready to scrap. But Belko just seems like the Igor sidekick so far. Unless that’s maybe his motivation…to show Stan that he too can be violent? Or maybe he already has been with a certain, now corpse and wants to throw everyone off his scent?

Linden and Holder head off to the mosque to chase down the newly introduced Mohammed. Linden respectfully takes off her shoes upon entering; I’ll let you guess Holder’s actions on that matter. Anyhoo, a member of the mosque greets them rather icily and to no one’s surprise is not so forthcoming with any information on the whereabouts of this “Mohamed.” And yes, I get it. If I may for a moment, wander blindly into some overarching commentary on American race relations…

I realize that a cliché exists because it’s simply an example of what happens in the world in a majority basis. So when the Muslim coolly interacts with the police, and asks what they are doing about a missing child from their neighborhood, it’s supposed to show that Caucasian problems are taking precedent. And that’s a bad thing. I get that. But wouldn’t it have been refreshing to see the Muslim take a helpful approach? Wouldn’t that message of positivity shown more? The whole scene felt very “ripped from the headlines” Law & Orderish, and I was hoping The Killer would go above and beyond. I’m not saying race isn’t an important part of the show, but there are other ways to show that, no?

Thanks, please join us next week, where we tackle childhood obesity.

After getting rebuffed, Linden starts putting her shoes back on and…wait a minute! There’s a note in there! And it’s an address! As soon as Holder casually discards the other missing girl’s missing poster they are going to track it down! (I may joke, but this was a pretty cool scene; I rewound to see if the note passing was caught on camera and it was! It appeared to be a woman who came out of the mosque at one point.

Jamie and Gwen have been looking for Richmond…his all-star program is about to be defunded by the city council. And who’s behind it? Why that sneaky, no-good mayor and his…aiehg gihv[-rw u…I’m sorry, that was me banging on my keyboard because I don’t care.

Meanwhile, over at Chez Larsen, Stan is trying to rekindle the flame that got distinguished the night before, while Mitch only has eyes for Bennet…dead! I’m guessing here, but her grief will not be alleviated by nookie; she wants revenge.

And now, at the 57th minute of the show, we finally get something interesting and new. Holder and Linden have been attempting to track down Mohammed’s place, but since “106 R” is kind of a weird apartment number, they’re having some difficulty. Obviously Holder is done with this frivolous search, which means Linden is about to make a Goren leap* and find something.

* The Goren Leap was coined by my wife, after I forced her to watch every episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent (my favorite in the Law & Order series, and yes, I know I’m in the minority on that one) and she noticed that every episode had Goren (brilliantly played by Vincent D’Nonofrio. Yes, even the fat years) made some ridiculously wild, yet 100% correct assumption based off a hair or a look someone gave him.

Linden tracks down 106 R, which looks less like an apartment door, and more like a door to a place where Satanists would go. But alas, it’s locked, and while Linden does go over proper police procedure, citing the lack of probable cause they have, Holder is all about not playing by the rules. And let’s be honest – Linden’s protests were half-hearted at best.

Inside, we’re treated to a spooky, white tiled hall that leads up to what I guess I would call a meat packing plant or factory. It had a bone saw and a conveyor belt of hooks. I assume the directors of the next Saw movie were furiously taking notes on this location. Spooky doesn’t do it justice. And as Linden continues to look around, Holder, who has already established that he hates locks, finds another one to bust – this one on a meat locker.

And while all that is going on, we cut over to Mitch, who is casually sitting outside Bennet’s house, plotting his death, and the city council is voting down Richmond’s all-star program, all because he wouldn’t throw a guy bus. I assume Bennet’s completely innocent here (except for maybe being a creepy student stalker) and that will somehow revitalize Richmond’s campaign and make him win, but I’m really too bored to be bothered to even see that through.

Holder finally gets wise and stops using his foot and starts using a meat hook to break the lock. I guess shooting it wouldn’t have been the greatest idea, but then Holder has few great ideas, so why not? The lock comes off, and the detectives head inside to find…

Well, we don’t know. But it stops them in their tracks. And that’s when the FBI shows up. Seriously, you’d think I was kidding, because 90% of my short stories end with the line, “And that’s when the FBI shows up!” but that’s exactly what happens. Holder and Linden get taken down, and presumably arrested, which I bet means a lot of red tape and stern warnings not to leave the state of Washington for any place named Sonoma. We also should take a moment here to remember way back in episode one, when we were introduced to Stand and Belko, that they were called upon to get some pig carcasses out of a Muslim owned something. I honestly don’t know if it was a drug store or restaurant or something else. If anyone does know, please drop a note in the comments. Anyway, the point is, I’m going to guess that Holder and Linden stumbled onto those pig carcasses. Certainly a shock for two detectives searching for an elusive Muslim, but nothing so shocking as to spin us into new territory with this show. And I’m really not sure which way I want the show to go. Yes, this could now dive deep into a terrorist cell investigation, and there are many connections to be made, but so far, Rosie has not been tied to anything like that other than with Bennet, who may or may not be a martyr in training (I doubt it, since he has a kid on the way) and that connection feels weak at best. So while the FBI coming in out of nowhere feels a tad schlocky, I’ll stick with it for now and see where it leads.

But are we also supposed to believe that the person who gave them the address is an undercover FBI agent? Because that doesn’t ring too true. Aren’t these policing organizations very territorial? It doesn’t seem like an agent would send the local police to a place the FBI had under surveillance. And if not, then who is the person who gave them the information?

And also…who’s laughing now about my analogy about this show being a U.S./Middle Eastern relations analogy I made back on day one?

Suspect List

Mohammed – The new guy we haven’t even met yet. They’ve suggested he looks down on women; maybe he killed her because Bennet IS a martyr/suicide bomber but was getting too cozy with her? But then what of his wife? This theory I just came up with is preposterous. Pretend you didn’t read it.

Bennet – He has to be involved a little, no? Nothing so far has exonerated him and new connections keep tying him to Rosie.

Stan/Mitch – Still not buying either of them being involved. Their moments during times of aloneness don’t allow for it.

Belko - There's something going on with him. I just don't know if he had the wherewithal to pull it off.

Amber (Bennet’s wife) – We have confirmation of her being pregnant, but also that she’s jealous of her husband. She’s still in the mix.

Anyone else? Have any new theories? You guys are gonna owe me a beer when it turns out to be Tom Drexler!

As always, tell me what you thought in the comments below…

Small Business Commercials

It seems we now have some video evidence of what Osama Bin Laden was doing in the 90s...he was a computer repairman!

Friday, May 6, 2011

TIme Lapse Cityscapes

This thing is awesome. I think the only thing I would add is labels for the different cities.

And if the last minute or so doesn't make you feel insignificant, then it's possible you're the actual creator of the universe. And if you are, I just want to say thanks for stopping by the blog.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Killing: Day 6: What You Have Left

Day 6

After last week’s slow, boring episode, I was ready for the series to get back on the horse, introduce some new stuff I could sink my teeth into and get me excited for the case all over again.

And while I think this week’s episode, What You Have Left definitely got us back on track, I can’t help but feel there’s still something missing. It’s certainly taking a long time creating the suspect list. In earlier recaps, I’ve gone into why I don’t think Stan is the murderer, and tonight’s episode offers more evidence of that. I refuse to believe anyone on the police force (or their fiancés) could be involved, because that would destroy all credibility for the show. And the rest of the players, aside from Richmond and Bennett, haven’t had nearly enough attention paid to them to make me invested in their motives yet. So I feel the show is still in a weird holding pattern. And yes, I realize it’s only day 6 of a murder investigation, but I live in the Law and Order generation, where an investigation and trial are finished in an hour. Throw me a bone!

Day 6 starts with at the funeral, as we see the director cleaning up Rosie. I got enough of this watching 6 Feet Under so I try to fast forward, before realizing I’m watching this live. Of course, since we now know it’s funeral time we’ll have to go check in on…

The Larsens are getting ready for the horrible day ahead of them. They bicker, and act awkwardly with one another, and while I understand that one of them could be the killer, it still feels as though this family is dealing with genuine grief, and not hiding a murder. But I also know that most murders are family related, and who am I to argue with statistics I think I heard once?

After last week’s report by the coroner that a “pro” might have been behind this, it looks as though Linden is going through some missing persons reports. Which gives us a chance to also catch up with…Reggie? Seriously, can anyone just brazenly walk into this police station? Reggie goes ahead and fills in some back story for Linden, hinting again that her upbringing wasn’t the greatest, she’s gotten too involved in cases before, and that she almost “lost him before.” I assume Reggie means Jack, and I assume we’ll find more out later, but can I pause here for a second? While I know if a show does well enough it will get picked up for a second season, I’ve always wondered about The Killing. Will it get a second season? Will it involve the same characters? Will it be just another murder investigation? I’m not sure what I want to happen right now, because I’m concentrating on this murder investigation. But are conversations like this one an attempt to fill in the larger picture for a season 2? If so, I guess it’s ok. But if not, I really don’t care about Linden’s back story. She has offered nothing to suggest she is anything other than a dedicated police officer. Everything else has been stuff brought up by Reggie and her stupid fiancé Rick. In fact, we get dragged into the whole Sonoma plot line at the end of this scene, with Linden betting Jack “15 million dollars” that they’re getting on a plane tonight to go to Sonoma. And since by the end of the episode Linden is in the middle of a police chase, I’m going to assume she loses.

Holder, after being told he should dress the part of a detective, steals one of Glen Frey’s 80s outfits and shows up at the station. And gets called on it. Seriously, what’s a drug addict-pedophile supposed to do? Regardless, both Linden and Holder like the teacher for the murder and want to get a search warrant, but their commander says, whoa – not so fast. I guess you two forgot about the Constitution and it’s pesky laws! Circumstantial evidence isn’t enough – they have to go get something that more directly ties Bennett to the murder.

After visiting with the Larsens again to make sure they’re still getting their black garb on, we get our first Richmond sighting of the night, and he’s trying to apologize to Gwen. And I’ll say Gwen’s demeanor is…icy at best. But before he can bat his eye at her one more time, the school principal shows up out of nowhere. And while I think she’s stupid and an idiot and a peripheral character at best, she does keep popping up in the unlikeliest of places, for no reason other than to remind the viewer she exists. Hmmm…

Anyway, she (eagerly?) tips Richmond off about Bennett being prime suspect #1 for the police. And that don’t sit well with Richmond at all. She then goes on to awkwardly suggest she and Richmond can help each other in the future, but Richmond is too far gone about Bennett to even care. Methinks Richmond and Bennett are a lot closer than we have seen so far. I mean even moreso than hugging at the end of a now very poorly timed political ad.

Have you ever wondered what it was cops did when they were told to “canvass a neighborhood?” Wonder no more! Linden and Holder are trying to piece the storyline of Rosie’s death together and get some witnesses. Just as Linden starts asking Bennett’s downstairs neighbor some questions, Holder calls her over because he has a witness that saw a woman/girl go into Bennett’s place Friday night. And if the episode ended there, I would have bet anyone Holder paid this guy off for the information so they could get a search warrant that much easier. That I was wrong about that kinda made me feel the writers missed a pretty good opportunity to go in a cool direction with Holder. Not that he’s a bad cop, but that he’s one that takes shortcuts. It’s not like that would have been coming out of left field.

Hey, things have to be moved no matter what, and Stan and Belko are movers, so these huge metal containers – they get moved. From one spot in the moving store(?) to another. And Stan doesn’t need Belko’s help! The only thing I took from this is that Stan is strong and could move a body easily if he needed to. Oh, and that Belko made contact with his “buddy” at school. What kind of person has a buddy at a high school? Oh, and how would this “buddy” at the high school know about the police investigation? Belk certainly seems to know things…

Unrelated: Is it in poor taste to say I find women in funeral attire attractive? Michelle Forbes is bringing the heat dressed in black!

Bennett and his wife, talk about…things. Is it just me, or could this conversation have multiple meanings? But still…they’re so cute together! Linden and Holder arrive to break it up though and ask a few more questions, including one about Rosie stopping by last Friday night. So it seems Holder’s witness was telling the truth! I would have lost money on that one. Bennett starts off just a little shaky (Oh yeah! Rosie did drop by the night she was murdered. How did I forget that?) but gets real assertive when they ask to search his house. He obviously has TNT on his cable channel lineup. Linden and Holder leave empty handed, and take it out on each other.

Back at campaign headquarters, things aren’t going too well. The TV spot is the big bone of contention here, with Jamie correctly pointing out that Richmond is nothing more “Dead girl in a trunk!” to the voting public. Richmond is getting stupid with his holier than thou approach of proclaiming everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and Bennett hasn’t even been arrested yet, but still…seriously? Even though what he says is right – he’s still posing with a guy who may have killed someone. I’m pretty sure anyone with a little common sense would see that the ad shouldn’t be aired. What if the next day he confesses? That ad lives on forever. Unless, Richmond knows he’s innocent, which would mean…hmmmmm.

Holder is in a car with a bald gentleman, talking about being two people at once and other psycho-mumbo jumbo. Is it his sponsor? It sure seems like it, as this scene was preceded by one where Holder watches a drug deal go down. So yeah, maybe he’s got the itch, but trying to keep it in check. Of course, if we remember back to last week, he was seen in a car with someone, but he left it with a huge pile of cash. Something a sponsor probably wouldn’t be involved in. So yeah, I have no idea if the two meetings are related, and who this person is. I do know that the sponsor knows about Stan, and tells Holder he used to be a heavy for the mob. And he totally knows his way around a dead body.

Funeral moment – one where one of Rosie’s brothers asks and then gets to be a pallbearer. Which, yeah, it’s amazingly sad. Again, these scenes are well done and heart wrenching, and stuff I could do without, simply because it only makes me sad as well.

And here’s where things start to get confusing. Based on the eyewitnesses and other evidence, Holder and Linden are piecing together the timeline. What we know right now: Bennett was at the dance until past 11; his wife was out of town, and witnesses have Rosie showing up and being let in the house at around 10.

Holder interviews Amber’s sister, who she went to visit that weekend, and we learn that Amber got there very late – after 1 AM. And that’s preposterous, since Amber is pregnant, and it’s scientific fact pregnant women don’t stay up past 8:30. Wife’s sister also maybe a teeny tiny bit doesn’t care much about Bennett, but that might just be because he’s black and she’s really pro white power.

Why hello there Richmond and Senator Eaton, meeting together to discuss political strategy. Senator Eaton is an imposing fellow, and yet Richmond holds his ground. I mean, the senator is basically telling Richmond to do what he has to do to get elected, and Richmond won’t hear of it, which I mean, c’mon. I get squeaky clean politicians, but as we’ve seen, Richmond isn’t exactly squeaky clean. He made the backroom deal to get union support and used his right hand man to get inside the incumbent’s campaign!

Cemetery. Sad. Poetic things said. A bug is squashed. I’m sure there’s some sort of symbolism to be gleaned out of this, but…

Debate time! Well, pre-debate time right now. Richmond thinks Gwen sent her daddy to do her bidding but psyche! It was Jamie. I’m not sure I understand why Richmond keeps Jamie around if he’s just going to ignore his advice. I mean, we all know Jamie offers. He’s a political shark, ready to do anything to win. He doesn’t really make that a secret.

Memorial service: At first, I didn’t remember who the guy giving his condolences was (I’m sorry, the Phillies were playing and I needed divert some attention that way), but then realized it was Michael Ames, better known as Jasper the rich kid’s dad. Welcome back into the picture Mr. Ames. He’s appropriately somber, until Terry makes her presence known to him, which causes Mr. Ames to frown. Or possibly glare. Whatever the appropriate description is, it wasn’t anything good, and it sends Terry off to go get stoned and listen to some Neko Case. Yeesh. Regardless, Belko then gets the call from his “buddy,” who confirms the whole teacher as the suspect. Which doesn’t bode well for the teacher, since he just happens to be at the memorial service. We need George Clooney to navigate these waters! Or possibly the captain who replaced George Clooney since George Clooney kinda basically led his crew to their deaths.

Linden is back in the neighborhood, and uncovers a peeping tom, or is at least told about a peeping tom. After a lot of inconsequential talk, he confirms that Bennett was home and was carrying a body with someone else, “a smaller person, possibly a woman.” Linden and Holder then speculate that Bennett’s wife did the deed and then he helped he clean up the mess. Let’s go confront her.

We see Linden and Holder banging on the door as the wife is sitting in the dark with a hammer. Now, I don’t know about you, but seeing anyone sitting alone in a dark house desperately clutching a hammer is a tiny bit creepy to me.

Linden and Holder leave and try to finalize their theory. Holder chooses now to casually mention Stan’s background to Linden, who pieces everything together. Unfortunately, she’s just a little late as back at the memorial service, Stan offers to give the teacher a rid home. If I had to guess, they’re heading out into the woods!

The mayoral debate goes exactly how you’d imagine it would if you thought Richmond was an idiot. He brings up his plan to decrease gang activity, and the mayor brings up his relationship with Bennett, a person of interest with the police. Afterwards, it’s pretty apparent no one thought his strategy would be that good. It seems like the only thing that could save Richmond now is if he uncovered evidence that the mayor had something to do with Rosie’s murder. Hmmmm…

Linden and Holder get to the memorial service, but slightly later than they wanted to, as Stan and the teacher left. Linden heads off after them (though I’m not 100% sure she knows where they’re going) while a stewardess in the airport is most likely opening up 2 seats for standby passengers to Sonoma.

Suspect List

Good lord – people come on and off this thing like a case of herpes…

Stan – I’m not buying it. Why would he be involved with the teacher if he was the murderer? Wouldn’t he be trying to help the police get him? Unless…he’s going to kill him as a kind of alibi to throw the scent off him? But that’s awfully convoluted and Machiavellian for a mover to come up with.

Bennett – So, did he do it? Help with it? There are a lot of pieces stacked against him. It’s getting harder to suggest he didn’t have at least something to do with it, since it’s been confirmed that she was at his place the night of her murder.

Amber (Bennett’s wife) – She’s been acting a little weird. And her timeline on Friday night is a little skewed. But she’s also pregnant, and we all know what that does to women!

Terry (Mitch’s sister) – She comes roaring back into the picture, and shows off her unstable side. Maybe she’s pregnant! Or a murderer.

Richmond – A case can be made that he did it, or that he and the teacher did it. It’s a flimsy case, but it’s not a completely impossible one.

Belko – He certainly has the loner type vibe that most television killers have. He was close to Rosie and seems to have a sordid past.

Michael Ames - He enters the picture based on his reaction to seeing Terry. Did he have something to do with Rosie? Did Terry see something bad? Did Rosie see something bad between Terry and Ames?

So, what did you think of the show? Who did it? Talk about it in the comments!