The Killing – Season 1 recap + 1×06

But first! a quick (as possible) recap of the first five episodes of The Killing:

The pilot opens and it is Monday morning but 18 year-old Rosie Larsen is missing. At the end of the first episode we find out she is dead: Surprise! I’m being facetious, of course. We know she’s dead going into a series entitled The Killing, however, watching a family go from completely oblivious to pretty worried to nervous-breakdown while awaiting the utter devastation of what we/they know is to come — and for an entire hour! — can be quite the powerful trick, particularly when the acting and the characters are keeping you engaged (and they were). The thing is, her family and friends are not the only lives nearing the looming iceberg-of-no-return here. If anything, our titanic heroine is actually Detective Sarah Linden (Mirielle Enos of Big Love) whose impending retirement from the police force for the valleys of Sonoma and into the arms of her fiance, Rick (Callum Keith Rennie of Battlestar Gallactica), is stopped dead in its tracks and looking less and less likely by the hour of this drama. And by that I really mean hour.

The most clever thing the show’s got going for it is its use of the passage of time. In LOSTian fashion, each hour-long episode represents a day since the disappearance, and death, of Rosie Larsen. The sense of time passing is palpable and adds some marvelous tension to the already numerous conflicts of the drama.

WHAT WE KNOW: Rosie was found dead inside the trunk of a car sunken in a remote lake outside of town, and the car was registered to the campaign to elect Councilman Darren Richmond (the ageless Billy Campbell of Once and Again) for Mayor.  The audience, for one reason or another, is quite privy to the inner workings of this campaign throughout the series and we are rooting for Richmond because the incumbent is an asshole and Richmond is a nice guy who lost his wife under circumstances unknown… but he’s also hiding a secret of some kind and hoping it won’t get out. The last time Rosie was seen was on Friday night at the high school Halloween dance. No one even knew she was missing until Monday afternoon because she was suppose to have spent the rest of the weekend with her best friend Sterling while her family was on a camping trip. Rosie never made it to Sterling’s and she did not tell her where she would be, either. A bloody cardigan was discovered in a field near the lake where her body would later be found, and this lead the detectives to Rosie and her parents.

A few red herrings later, we find out that Sterling had sex with Rosie’s ex-boyfriend and his drug addicted best friend in the high school basement after the dance. It was taped on one of their smart phones and the pervy janitor caught it all live and in living color from a hole in the wall, as well. The cops thought it was Rosie on tape but alas, it was not.

The latest development has been the news of Rosie’s secret trips into the inner-city where she supposedly volunteered at a center at which one of her professors coached the community basketball team. The team is sponsored by none other than… you guessed it: The campaign to elect Darren Richmond for Mayor. Now the professor, Bennett, is young, good looking, married to one of his former student’s who is now pregnant, and wrote Rosie letters which, while technically innocent, seem too secret and personal to be so. Bennett claims he was home remodeling his unborn child’s nursery with the contractors all of that weekend, and that he sent his wife out of town so the fumes wouldn’t affect her or the baby. Turns out that Bennett actually canceled the contractors and that, in that unfinished nursery, he has the same kind of turpentine that was used to clean off Rosie’s body from any DNA evidence when they found her.

What’s my theory? While Bennett sounds convincing, and I wouldn’t doubt if they had an affair, its a bit too obvious. The whole political campaign must certainly be linked somehow considering how many characters are involved in the show and the campaign car and the basketball team, but I don’t know if killing an innocent girl could be worth winning the election, per say. Not in the manner in which she was killed anyway. Did she know something that one of the campaign goonies didn’t want let out? If so it was more so personal than political, if you ask me. So, while this is a very longshot, I want the killer to be Rick, Detective Linden’s boyfriend who is urging her to get on the next plane to Sonoma and drop the case. Nothing actually points to this other than it would be a cool twist that loving her wasn’t the only reason he wanted to pull her away from the case, and also I’m half kidding.

OTHER FACTOIDS:

  • Rosie has two little brother’s and an aunt (her mother’s younger sister)
  • Rosie’s father used to be some sort of Polish mob hit-man back in the day
  • Rosie’s mother is totally shell-shocked
  • Darren Richmond is having an affair with his campaign manager (whose father is a Senator)
  • The other detective on the case, Holder, just transferred out of the Vice squad and appears to have a drug problem himself
  • Detective Linden has a younger son named Jack who is also moving to Sonoma with her

_________________________
EPISODE 6 – THE FACTS:

This past Sunday we found Detective Linden and Detective Holder looking for more on Bennett, Rosie’s teacher, considering their discovery that he lied to them and the contractors never even made it to his house at all. They begin by questioning Bennett’s neighbors hoping that they recall some event from that past Friday night. One man recalls seeing Rosie knocking on Bennett’s door at around 10PM that night until she was finally let in. Linden confronts Bennett about this and he suddenly remembers that she came by to drop off a book she had borrowed from him. Right. He can’t even remember the title. Either way he refuses to let the detectives in without a warrant.

As they leave, Linden reveals her suspicion that Bennett is lying about having seen Rosie at his apartment at all that night. She believes someone else let Rosie in and that Bennett is covering for that person. His wife? Indeed, Linden is right, because a time stamp on a video from the dance shows that Bennett was still there at 10:20PM so he couldn’t have been the one to open the door for Rosie at 10PM.

Linden and partner then have a talk with Bennett’s peeping tom neighbor who reveals that he saw Bennett and a smaller figure (a woman?) carrying out what appeared to be a body rolled up in something and putting it in the trunk of a black car.

Meanwhile, at Rosie’s funeral. Rosie’s father has just discovered that the police’s prime suspect for Rosie’s death is Bennett, and he offers the teacher a ride home in the rain. At the same time, Linden learns of Rosie’s father’s past with the mob and tries to intercept the two at the funeral, but it is too late.

___________

THE THEORIES:

All signs point to Bennett’s pregnant wife having found out about Rosie’s affair, having killed her, and then Bennett coming home and helping his wife cover it up. Linden says this to be the most likely scenario herself, but since we’ve got another six episodes left we know something that she doesn’t: that’s not what happened. I mean, not unless this turns to Law and Order and we spend six episodes prosecuting then. To be honest there aren’t very many other options left nor anyone that looks even mildly appetizing to point the finger at right now. The series has spent three episodes focusing all its energy on Bennett and throwing in Darren Richmond’s problems with his campaign now that its become linked to Rosie’s murder. Still, nothing about the campaign looks particularly fishy.

Truly, the most interesting bit about this episode was Rosie’s aunt’s breakdown post-funeral. First, she gets giddishly nervous when Rosie’s ex-boyfriend’s father (who??) pays his respects to Rosie’s parents at the wake. His reaction to her is to shun her completely and almost uncomfortably at her enthusiasm, at which point she looks deflated. Then, over a music montage at the episode’s end we see her in Rosie’s room sobbing as she plays her records. We’ve learned very little about her character thus far so I’m hoping this leads somewhere because I liked it.

THE BAD STUFF:

A few things here were too convenient for my taste, like how exactly Linden surmised that Bennett was not the one that opened the door for Rosie. His expression was clearly one of shock when approached by the detectives but Linden also appeared to sense confusion from him enough to make this leap. Her partner did not and neither did the audience which puts her wisdom ahead of our own but I still don’t know why she’s so much better at this than the rest of us. In typical AMC fashion its an understated and somewhat slow-moving drama but I feel pretty in the dark about her past aside from a few quips regarding a past case she had also involving a missing girl and nothing more.

Also, the peeping tom saw a body being rolled out in the middle of the night and didn’t tell anybody? He’s a homebody and a tad odd but come on now! Linden doesn’t make a big deal out of him just speaking up about it now either, which was actually what bugged me even more.

Finally, I was a bit irked as well at the convenience of Linden being informed of Rosie’s father’s sinister past just at the moment when that sinister past finally rears its ugly head at the funeral.

THE GOOD STUFF:

All of these contrivances aside, I’m still intrigued by these characters and by the mystery of it all. It’s a big cast and each character handles Rosie’s death in a much different way which is a testament to the writers’ diversity in conceptualizing varying emotions and motives for the same event depending on each character’s internal conflicts and relationship with Rosie. The acting, particularly from Mirielle Enos and from Michelle Forbes (who plays Rosie’s mother) are fantastic in that they don’t need to say much for the audience to understand them.

CONCLUSION:

The Killing is not the best show on TV and certainly not the best show on AMC even, but its definitely worth a watch considering our other options. Plus, we needed a decent serial mystery again! I know I didn’t sell it so well, and I wouldn’t unless it totally deserved it, but I promise its a strong show with plenty of potential. I’ll be back next week with some more theorizing.

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One Comment

  1. Time
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hey, do you come back now?
    Mad Men etc., yay!

One Trackback

  1. […] Like, they need to tone down the sunshine.  I keep going back to the first season of The Killing and why that was such a better show right off the bat. The most significant reason I can come up […]

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