by Alex Greenberger
With the fourth episode of the second season of “The Killing,” entitled “Ogi Jun,” I’m pleased to say the show looks like it’s finally going somewhere. It would seem that we may have finally gotten a lead in the quest for Rosie’s killer. The title of this episode refers to the name of the anime character in the tattoo that Linden and Holder discovered in Rosie’s home movie, and the pair of detectives have linked the tattoo to an Alexi Giffords, a broody teenager who has a predilection for anime and remarkable running abilities, as he was able to outrun Holder when the two finally met face-to-face in the slums of Seattle. Perhaps Holder should stop smoking, as his gruff voice may finally become easier to understand and Aleksey may not have gotten away if he had the lung power to actually run a little faster. Regardless, the show finally seems to be cutting to the chase.
There’s just one problem–that’s about the only positive thing I could say for “Ogi Jun,” which includes about 42 minutes of filler. Barely anything happens in this astoundingly protracted installment, but then again, I don’t expect much to happen in every episode. I’ll recognize what this show aims to be—it seems that Sud wants “The Killing” to be more about the characters than the crime, much the way “The Walking Dead” is more about the protagonists than the zombies. And that is fine, because I can enjoy a character drama every once in a while, but when the character development fails to do anything for me, it seems to just be a waste.
The show’s weakest storyline has always been the one involving the Richmond campaign. “Ogi Jun” seems to be the greatest example yet of why that storyline has little to nothing to do with the main narrative of this show. For all of this episode, we get Richmond sitting in bed, being paralyzed, being brutish in light of his inability to move, and most importantly, being broody. Because, yes, everyone is broody on this show, and I will drill that point as many times as this show forces it upon me in every single episode. Richmond has decided to cancel his campaign, although whether or not that will actually happen remains questionable, as the campaign now rests in the hands of Jamie, and their relationship has become terse, to say the least. So yes, very little happened there.
There should be no surprise here when I say that very little happened with Stan as well. Basically, Stan discovered that his own mob covered up Rosie’s connection with Beau Soleil and proceeded to get angry. Does that really make sense, though, that Stan is angrier about his mob having a connection to Rosie’s death than he is about Rosie being a prostitute? No, it really doesn’t add up, but then again, neither does Stan’s lesson to his son, a lesson that reads as more of a poor morality play than necessary character development.
In short, “The Killing” fails to create a set of characters that I find are believable or worth caring about in “Ogi Jun.” And it really is possible to make dislikeable characters that are worth watching on a weekly basis. “The Wire” did it. “Breaking Bad” does it. “Girls” is currently doing it. So why can’t “The Killing?” Why can’t “The Killing” transcend noir stereotypes with characters that actually matter, and have realistic feelings, and actually do things that mean something? The answer–it could, but the writing on “The Killing” is just so sloppy that unless the show gets a midseason revitalization a la “The Walking Dead,” this show’s a goner.
Alex Greenberger is a staff writer. Email him at email@example.com.