‘The Killing’ Recap: Vengeance

Sarah Linden, The KillingS1E7: So, when does too much become too much? The Killing’s latest installment — entitled “Vengeance” — is raising that question. Last night’s introduction to the radical Muslim subplot seems, well, questionable at best. In the series’ short life, which right now sits at seven episodes (and seven days in the show’s time), the cops have come across pretty much every single type of cliche “bad guy.” Seriously, we’ve got the Polish Mob, the drug-addicted skate punk, the teacher, the politician, and now this week: radical Muslim extremists. (Oh, and the silly political crap that comes with that. Emergency council meeting? Um, okay?) It’s not that I’m specifically opposed to investigating as many suspects as possible, it just seems a little ridiculous that they’re introducing a whole new angle nearly every week, especially since the show is operating in “real-time.” I will credit them to sticking to one major suspect over a few episodes, but honestly, in a season that only will be 12 episodes long (well, technically 13 but the first week ran two episodes together), shouldn’t the second half of the season start to narrow the scope of the plot, not widen it? Or if it widens it, not nearly to this absurd of a level? Add in some boring character conflicts and The Killing is just sprawling out of control.

“You owe me 50 million dollars.” -Jack

And, hey, whaddaya know, Linden missed her flight again. I don’t know, maybe this is just me being insensitive, but I don’t feel too invested in Linden’s “commitment issues,” as Holder puts it. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because we never really got to know her husband-to-be, or we are yet to know what happened before the Larsen murder investigation that almost cost her custody of Jack, but regardless, it just seems kind of… blah. Maybe it’s because I know there’s no real chance she’s going to abandon the case (because, uh, that’s the whole basis of the show), so when we have to go through this whole “should I stay or should I go” act, it’s just annoying. Perhaps once her past is illuminated more, I’ll find myself actually caring when she runs through the airport, but until then, I’m just going to stick with being annoying.

“There’s this room where he took Rosie — in the basement.” -Belko

Anyway, so at the end of last week’s terrific episode, we ended with Mr. Polish Mob-past, Stan Larsen, driving Bennett through the rainy (surprise!) night to his assumed death. But “Vengeance” began and immediately abandoned the idea that Stan would take, er, vengeance. After talking for a moment, it becomes clear that a.) Bennett is probably innocent and b.) Stan doesn’t want to kill anyone because he’s changed his life around since he worked for the Polish Mob. So, he brings the understandably spooked Bennett home. However, Mitch is curious about Stan. She asks him about it and Stan says that when he married her, he made a commitment to become a better man. But there’s something going on with Mitch (and by the way, I must say that one of The Killing’s strongest points is Michelle Forbes’ wonderful ability to play a grieving mother). She eventually demands that Belko say who told him at the school that Bennett did it. Belko reveals a nonspecific source, who we know is wrong, but Mitch (I think) believes him and the episode ends with her watching Bennett’s house from a car on the street. Apparently, Mitch might want to do what her husband decided not to.

Oh, and by the way, let me just say right now that, um, isn’t it fairly obvious that Belko is the real killer? He’s just been hanging around the Larsen house, piping in his opinions here and there, making claims that we know are wrong. He’s been in enough scenes so we know who he is, but not enough to think of him immediately when we think of the killer. Plus, he’s kind of a creepy dude.

“Have you heard about this case?” -Man at the mosque

When Linden was investigating Bennett’s wife, Amber, at the beginning of the episode, another suspect was revealed: Bennett’s teacher of the Koran, a man named Muhammad. Linden does some sneaky detective work while interviewing Amber, peaking at the address inside of the Koran, and she and Holder head there after their boss revokes their warrant because of a lack of evidence. When they arrive, they meet a man who doesn’t introduce himself, but for some reason, I’m kind of assuming is Muhammad. After this man-I’m-assuming-is-Muhammad dismisses them (and tells them that they’re also looking for a missing girl, but the cops aren’t helping because, assumedly, this missing girl is not white), Linden finds a piece of paper inside of her shoe with an address scribbled on it. They head there and break into the back, and just before we can see what Linden is staring at (with some horror in her face, by the way), the FBI busts in behind her, slamming both Holder and Linden to the floor.

“He’s trying to screw you and he’s using every dick in the council.” -Jamie

On the other end of all of this, there’s the politics. This episode featured more bitching between Richmond and his colleagues, who argue that Richmond should ask for Bennett’s resignation. Richmond doesn’t want to, because the program that he and Bennett have created is working very well in the community, and Bennett is innocent and not even arrested yet, but the opposition is running ad-campaigns that criticize Richmond’s decision-making so, understandably, they want to do something about that. Beyond that, though, Darren gets a parole notification in the mail and we learn that it was a drunk driver who killed his previous wife. He goes to deal with that part of his life, and while he’s away, the council calls an impromptu “emergency” meeting regarding the Bennett situation and when Darren returns, he’s confronted with it — and it goes very poorly, as the council votes to suspect the program. It’s unfortunate for Richmond and his campaign, and it’s looking more and more unlikely that they’ll be able to dig themselves out of the hole that the murder put them in, but regardless, the whole thing seems slightly ridiculous to me. The council really votes to shut down this program simply because this guy is a suspect? Maybe The Killing is trying to comment on the current political climate — and just how delicate Muslim-related issues are — but, c’mon. Really? This just seems absurd. Then again, perhaps I’m just naive and politics actually occur in this manner and if that is the case, well, again, I just say: really?