by Alex Greenberger
Isn’t it just so rewarding to hear, “Just three episodes until Rosie Larsen’s killer is revealed,” in the preview for the next episode? I don’t know about you, but I heaved a sigh of relief. The second season of “The Killing” (and the first one, too, come to think of it) has, aside from two good episodes, been quite a slog. “72 Hours” didn’t do much to make me think otherwise about this season, although it wasn’t so awful. But let me ask this–Is it even possible for any character on “The Killing” to make a good decision? It seems like that answer will always be “no.”
Yes, you might say that Stan’s reconciliation with his family is a step in the right direction. I have no doubt that Stan has good intentions for all that he does in “72 Hours,” but to me, buying your family a dog isn’t a way of saying, “I’m sorry I made your mom leave home, and I’m sorry that Rosie is still dead.” The dog, though quite cute, is a way of buying back happiness—and it feels pretty wrong of him to do such a thing. Terry, of course, is too blind (and poorly written) to realize this, and the kids, being the kids that they are, are duped into Stan’s plan as well.
It is nice to see Stan finally turning Rosie’s light out, however, at the very end of the episode. That shot is a painfully obvious way of showing Stan’s character change, but still, it feels rewarding after nearly two seasons in which he and Mitch spent most of the time blubbering in her room. There is a mourning sequence in which Stan calls Rosie’s voicemail and apologizes for neglecting to tell her about her parentage, though like the one in “Sayonara, Hiawatha,” it’s heartfelt. Unlike Stan’s final bit in this episode, it’s a lot less obvious and it’s a lot more poignant. But still, I have to wonder, where is his call to Mitch? Last I checked, you can’t replace a matriarch with a dog.
Richmond continues to make poor decisions because he is a politician. “The Killing” has made it very clear that politics is a dirty career field—everyone is really slimy, even the politicians that are likable, as evidenced by Gwen’s orchestration of the cute viral video of Richmond playing basketball. But it’s time the writers stopped beating it over their audience’s head and make the storyline connect already.
Now, finally, I can get to the good part of “72 Hours”—the part involving Linden and Holder. The episode opens with an effective sequence in which it is revealed that Linden was sent to a psychiatric ward because she has been put on suicide watch. Later, we discover that Linden hasn’t eaten or slept in a while, and this isn’t the first time that’s happened—she also did this when she was working on a case involving a murdered mother not too long ago. At this point, it is revealed that the drawing from “Openings” belonged to that dead woman’s son, who was trapped in a closet for a week while his mother’s body rotted.
The parallels to Linden’s life are pretty obvious here—Jack as the boy in the closet, Linden as the mother who wasn’t there for him—but the most interesting part is that Linden falsely convicted the boy’s father to bury the case. And just when a therapist is grilling Linden about why she feels such a connection to the Larsen case, she is released from the ward, and Linden leaves instead of answering her question. It’s aggravating because Linden could have had a psychological breakthrough here, but no, the case is more important. What a shame.
Thankfully, the Larsen case seems to be tying itself up, however. Holder discovers that Ames was burying “Indian bones” on a work site the night of Rosie’s murder. To add to that, we’re left with a tantalizing cliffhanger in which the tenth floor is being purged of evidence. Their one mistake–the security badge that Linden saw last episode is still under a floorboard.
“The Killing” seems to be about unearthing a conspiracy right now, so I have to wonder, who placed the drawing on Linden’s refrigerator? Now that we know it was in her psychiatric file, who had access to it? My guess for the murderer is no longer Stan; I believe it is actually Chief Jackson. She wields enough power to somehow obtain access to it, and she’s pretty creepy. It’s a shot in the dark, but I guess if “The Killing” is making me second guess myself, it’s doing something right.
Alex Greenberger is a staff writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.