S1E10: Studying The Killing week-to-week has been a fascinating experience because, in 10 short weeks, the show has grown from one of the most interesting and compelling shows on television — as we argued that you should consider it — to, well, just a big ol’ hot mess. I can’t pinpoint the exact time, but there was a moment this season where I found myself doing a double take as I watched. Like, this is happening? I thought I was watching an innovative, cerebral serialized drama about the murder of an innocent young girl, yet what I watched felt like a bad, stretched-out version of Bones or CSI or any of the other countless cop dramas out there. I also wondered if the show really is as bad as I feel right now, or if I’m letting my feelings of betrayal persuade me a little too much, but then I watch another episode and it’s an episode like “I’ll Let You Know When I Get There” and, well, yep. I don’t think I’m wrong.
“Stan Larsen just turned himself in.” -Linden
After last week’s beat down of Bennet, Stan confesses. And once it’s known that Bennet is pretty much innocent, each member of the cast — except for maybe Holder — is upset. Linden feels like a terrible cop. Stan feels like a monster (so much that he just openly confesses to being “guilty” in the courtroom). And Darren is saddened (but not before he goes on the offensive and blames Mayor Adams and pretty much calls him a giant douche). And, well, that’s that. Wash your hands because the Bennet plot has pretty much tied itself up, and damn, that was a very, very long (and slightly racist) journey that the writers took us on, no? This is episode 10 in a 13-episode season, after all, and now we’re pretty much just back to square one.
“I like their house.” -Belko
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I didn’t want the writers to misguide us because, obviously, where the hell would the drama come from if it was just a simple case? But, the Bennet plot felt SO far-fetched that it just never was believable. Let’s think about it. If you’re investigating a murder, aren’t you going to interview the more immediate family members and friends first? I mean, why the hell did we wait so long to sit down with Belko — the weird, shifty-eyed “friend” of the Larsens — when he should’ve been the first interview? Then boom, once you interview him, there’s suddenly a lead that’s actually believable. What I mean is that following a potential terrorist-related subplot just doesn’t seem to gel with the whole approach of the rest of the show, so it just gets in the way and doesn’t add anything to the story telling. Maybe if the writers had Linden interview Belko first and he led them on a wild goose chase and ended up being the murderer, hey, maybe that would’ve worked? I don’t really know for sure, but I know what doesn’t work is having extremely dramatic twists and turns in nearly every scene — which is what The Killing did for pretty much it’s first 10 episodes.
“I’m not gonna end up in a hospital again watching you stare at a blank wall.” -Rick
This episode attempted to show the impact that the Rosie Larsen case has had on Linden, and, well, it’s pretty much the same impact the show’s hinted at all season without revealing any other details. It’s not that I don’t think Linden has a believable struggle (because I do — and I also think it’s one of the more (potentially) interesting arcs to be fleshed out), the writers have just had a tough time showing us that struggle. Look at Rick. He’s not a character, but simply, a device. He has no depth and just happens to show up whenever we need to be reminded that, oh yeah, Linden does have depth. I understand that his role in the show is minimal, but seriously, the only side we ever see of him is when he tries to convince Linden to go to Sacramento. We don’t know anything about his personal life, his history, etc. How are we supposed to care about his feelings? Or even Linden’s feelings toward him? The same goes for Jack. The Killing spent so much time creating this silly, dumb terrorist/racist plot that it forgot to flesh out its most important parts — and now, the payoff is suffering.