by Alex Greenberger
via The AV Club
Even when “The Killing” is at its very worst, it’s still a gorgeous show. And it seems that “Keylela,” the season’s seventh episode, has pushed the visually stunning nature of this show to new lengths. There’s one great scene where Holder enters the casino and takes a look around. There aren’t any words in it—just some great visual storytelling. We get these really swooping, unsettling tracking shots that show Holder being broody (what else would he be doing though, honestly?) that definitely feel reminiscent of some of David Fincher’s fabulous work on “Zodiac.”
“Keylela” definitely has a cinematic feel to it, which is certainly a good thing, considering the rest of the season has been, to put it bluntly, pretty damn awful. I’m honestly stunned by the fact that the episode was good at all. Believe it or not, “Keylela” actually even has some half-decent writing in it.
Part of the reason “Keylela” was actually one of the better episodes of the series thus far is the fact that it ventures beyond rainy Seattle. “Keylela” brings Holder and Linden back to the Indian reservation on the island where Rosie was spotted shortly before her death. There’s a really great intrigue surrounding the whole island, and the island’s mystique is driven partially by some excellent cinematography. And frankly, the island is interesting–there’s something really unnerving about the setting.
The island contains a pretty awesome band of baddies who ultimately beat Holder to a pulp at the end of the episode. That cliffhanger isn’t necessarily the best thing to happen to this show—let’s face it, Holder will make it out alive—but it’s definitely more captivating than most things occurring this season. Another really great mystery surrounding the island is the strange 10th floor. Sure, it feels like a conceit ripped straight out of “Twin Peaks,” but locked rooms are always interesting. I’m sort of a sucker for that kind of stuff. I’m also a real sucker for the darkness of the island interiors, as I always respect films and shows that use lighting that feels realistic. It works particularly well here in “The Killing”—it creates a terrifically creepy atmosphere.
Unfortunately, the segments of this episode that take place on the mainland aren’t nearly as well-done. I will say I’m very thankful that Child Protective Services came to Linden’s door for once, but I’m not happy with this show’s insistence on having Linden make such stupid decisions as to run away from CPS. For a detective as smart as Linden, one would think she’d know better.
One would also think Stan would know a little better than to let Beau Soleil run amok and somehow manage to miss the fact that both his daughter and sister-in-law were prostituting themselves for it. Finally, Stan kicked Terry out of his house for accidentally exposing Rosie to Beau Soleil. It only took him seven episodes though. Because everything takes way too long on this show.
The Richmond campaign is also unfortunately up and running again (though Richmond himself won’t ever be again—get it?). It still has nothing to do with the main storyline.
“Keylela” seems to be taking “The Killing” in a promising direction for once. Next week finds Linden threatening a federal investigation of the island’s suspicious “sacred burial ground” and Holder’s beating. It also finds her yelling a lot and looking haggard. Basically, “The Killing” may be at a point where it can change in a major way for the better, or it can revert to old problems. The latter is what will likely happen, but hey, only six more episodes until we (finally!) discover Rosie’s killer.
Alex Greenberger is a staff writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.