'The Killing' Recap: A Soundless Echo

Apr 18, 2011 | 8:14am EDT

S1E4: The Killing has us guessing. In its fourth installment, it quickly proved that everybody and anybody can be -- and will be -- a suspect. The show has embraced what it wants to be, and now, it's running with that. "A Soundless Echo" didn't necessarily push the plot forward a tremendous amount, but it investigated characters and the world that we've come to know over the past few weeks. It's a classic case of "the more you know, the less you know," and you know what? It's just awesome.

"That's what you got? Man, you don't know shit." -Kris

We open as Kris is held by the police. After their discovery of last week's horrific video (that they assumed was Rosie getting raped), they pulled Kris in from his meth-addled, skate-filled life to ask him some questions. They show him the tape and he laughs, because, well, that's not Rosie. Apparently, that's her friend Sterling (which is later confirmed by talking to her). It's a terrible circumstance, because as the show develops, we're learning that the relationship between "best friends" Sterling and Rosie is as much of a friendship as it is a competition. From what Sterling says, Rosie was the prettier one, the more charming one; in other words, the one that the guys liked more. So Sterling decides to fix that by making herself a little, well, easier. Unfortunately, her newfound fame (as we learned from the guy who harassed her in the school hallway) is much, much worse than going unnoticed.

I must say though, that despite my willingness to say how awesome The Killing is, we are seeing it fall into a formula. At the end of each episode the show leaves us with a cliffhanger that feels poised to unlock more answers to the mystery, but within the first few minutes of the next episode, it abandons that completely. Granted, the show is only four episodes old, so maybe this is a premature judgment, but if they don't abandon this formulaic approach soon, it will become a very, very big problem in weeks to come.

"[Richmond] doesn't know how to win because he never had to." -Mayor Adams

In Richmond's office this week, we're seeing more developments in the leak situation. We're also learning that Richmond isn't an idiot. As much as he's presented to be clueless, he understands that Gwen probably isn't innocent in this manner. Also, Gwen just seems like someone you can't trust, right? I don't know why, she just seems sleazy. Plus, we learn this week that her father is a senator and, I don't know, that just seems bad as well.

Then again, The Killing does present every character with depth. If someone is painted as evil or seems suspicious, there's a good chance that they're not actually that extreme. For example, look at how the show initially presented Jasper: some spoiled rich kid who spends his days seducing older women, taking ecstasy, and listening to death metal. He's so evil that there's no way he could be the villain, right? So perhaps Gwen has some good in her, and it's just difficult to see through her bullshit. But one thing's for certain, The Killing knows how to make you doubt your instincts, and for a show about a developing murder case, that's exactly what you need.

"Are we done here?" -Mr. Larson

One of the characters we learned about more during "A Soundless Echo" was Mr. Larson, Rosie's father. Apparently, this dude is tied up with some criminal organization in some manner, but we're just not quite sure how. We learn that he bought a house before "all of this happened," but we don't know why that matters or what it does. But what we do know? These are people that he probably shouldn't be involved with (and hey -- because why the hell not -- they could be involved in Rosie's murder).

Also, The Killing has done a tremendous job of showing a family in mourning. What happened to Rosie is undoubtedly sad, but in all of the shuffle of television show plots, it's easy to forget that all of this relates to the fact that a young girl was murdered -- and frankly, that's terrible. The Killing doesn't forget the gravity of what's happened. They spend time with the family. They show her mother crying (and embracing Sterling in the school's hallway -- with a nice, realistic touch of Belle and Sebastian, I should say). It's all just very, very sad, but at the same time very, very necessary. Portraying this part of the family gives us, as the audience, even more reason to hope and encourage the case to be solved. Plus, it makes it real.

"Dear Rosie, You're an old soul in a young person's body." -Bennett's Letter

There's always been something a little strange about Rosie's relationship with her teacher, Bennett. As her teacher, he was quick to defend her and her actions, and at the same time, praise her for her intelligence. Those suspicions of mine were confirmed this week when Linden found his letters to Rosie in her bedroom. We only had the opportunity to see the first and last lines, but regardless, numerous handwritten letters from a teacher to a student speaks to a relationship more than just teacher-student. Whether that's romantic, who knows, but there's something. Combine that with the end of the episode, when Holder follows Sterling's tips to the end of the bus line and a center for the Richmond campaign and finds the "After School Hoops" team picture that includes Bennett and, well, there's something going on there. But like the rest of the things we learn in The Killing -- we'll just have to wait to find out if it means anything.

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