By Alexeem Boyle
[Ystyn and I will be swapping shows week-to-week for the upcoming episodes of The Killing and Game of Thrones. Check out his review for “A Golden Crown” here.]
At this stage, there’s little to say about The Killing other than it makes for dull and increasingly preposterous television, leaving the viewer starved for character development and plot momentum. And some sunshine. I can’t recall a show that has started with such potential, vision and confidence imploding so spectacularly in nine episodes. When watching this week’s “Undertow,” I experienced a reaction similar to that of the recent House finale—frustration, despair and ‘they-can’t-really-be-going-there?!’ bemusement.
After wasting (our) time with Bennet, Linden and Holder have finally tracked down the mysterious Muhammed, only to learn that he and Bennet aren’t terrorists but rather a couple of do-gooders trying to protect the twelve-year-old Aisha from female circumcision. This revelation is meant to horrify as we watch Stan and Belko severely beat Bennet, but the scene is amusing because we’re being smacked in the face with “Bennet’s not just innocent, he’s a really great guy,” and because Belko attacks a rock. This, after Mitch finds Rosie’s shirt she had previously identified as missing—the same shirt that linked Rosie to the meat processing plant—and tries to call and stop Stan, who (surprise, surprise) doesn’t answer. Prior to being kidnapped, Bennet returns to work and finds he isn’t wanted by staff or students. After Richmond’s dirty tactics failed to get results, he goes running to Tom Drexler, seeking a five million dollar donation to clean up the recently vandalised Green Lake Mosque.
I came into The Killing assuming that Linden was a decent detective. Sure, most of the evidence and revelations pertaining to the Rosie Larsen case seem to have come about because she’s really lucky-like the mysterious letter writer or Bennet’s wife revealing Muhammed’s cell number (in 2011, a phone company needs 24 hours to track down his number? Really?)- but surely, if Linden is our lead character and her boss keeps demanding she remains to solve the case, she must know what she’s doing, right? For all her contemplative staring and gum-chewing (which becomes more irritating every week), Linden has yet to prove her worth, and she continues to make the kind of silly mistakes we’re used to seeing from ’the rookie cop’ in any crime procedural. Not only has Linden broken into the FBI evidence van (in full view of agents nonetheless), she and Holder don’t bother with warrants, Linden reveals details of the investigation to Mitch and remains connected after calling Muhammed- to identify him in a crowded marketplace- and proceeds to walk slowly towards him, not bothering to conceal what she is doing long enough to arrest Muhammed. Unsurprisingly, he spots her and bolts. Linden’s lack of professionalism would be fine if she didn’t go about chastising Holder’s techniques and espousing her merits to her supervisor.
Notes of confusion/annoyance (aka “am I missing something?”):
- I groaned when Mitch first appeared- turns out, she’s incredibly irritating- and her taunting Stan (“That man killed our child and you let him go!”) only made it worse. Is she hoping to be a single parent?
- Bennet unexpectedly returns to the school, to find “Killer” written across his whiteboard. The seated students seem surprised when he walks in, so why would that be on the board? Assuming a temp teacher has been taking his classes, why would anybody try to send that message without warning he was coming back? And if somebody had written it when he was absent, wouldn’t a staff member have removed it?
- A five million dollar shot? For a moment I thought Tom Drexler was incredibly stupid with his money, but then I remembered he’s still little more than an arrogant, cashed-up caricature. Still, this scene provided one of the few laughs of the series- the cutaway as the basketball flies towards the hoop was both cheesy and predictable.
-I assumed Belko was beating the rock because a) he’s a little unstable and b) he might be setting himself up to take the fall for Stan. Maybe he’s feeling a little guilty and by protecting Stan is attempting to atone?
- Since when does anti-Muslim graffiti feature Swastikas? I understand that these attacks and the response of staff and students to Bennet’s return is all about prejudice, bigotry and gossip- what screams “BAD!” more than allusions to Nazi Germany?- but all I can say to these clumsy, laughable attempts at deeper meaning is “Yeah, I know. And?”