There’s no shame if you spent half of this week’s episode of The Killing averting your eyes from the TV screen and willing the action to jump to the next scene. After all, with Holder unearthing a cache of child pornography, Reddick continuing to revoltingly eat with his mouth open and our maybe-not-guilty-but-possibly-sociopathic death-row inmate finding a razor-blade wedged into his bar of soap, you knew it wasn’t going to be all sunshine and spring flowers.
(I know, I know…The Killing‘s set-design team is contractually prohibited from showing sunshine or spring flowers. But let me quit digressin’ and get to the recap…)
JUST THE FACTS, MA’AM | The action picks up where we left off last week, with the cops arriving at the shallow grave/former retention pond that Linden discovered and counting 17 bodies — all teenage girls (with a few as young as 12 or 13) with their heads almost or completely decapitated. The coroner surmises that the slayings took place in a six-month period (due to the conditions inside the red medical/institutional bags in which they were wrapped). And if that’s not enough to make you squeamish, Mr. Coroner also reveals that, “We’ve got a few broken fingers, some missing entirely,” and animals weren’t to blame. (Unless Bambi or Thumper has learned how to use a saw.) Yep, it’s looking more and more like the killing spree is related to Linden’s old case — the one for which Ray Seward is currently sitting on death row.
OFFICE POLITICS | Goodbye, ferry-boat security, hello detective work! Yep, after a few paperwork formalities, Linden is back on the job, but there’s simmering tension everywhere, starting with Holder arriving at the body-dump site and wondering why she didn’t call him first. “It’s a crime scene. I called the cops,” she responds blankly. “Looks like you found the Seward file,” he retorts. Oh snap! Later, Linden quietly slips into Skinner’s pow-wow with the bulk of Seattle PD, where he’s telling everyone that ”good, solid police work” will be the key to cracking the case, and not to expect some cinematic twist like a head arriving at the station in a box. (Won’t there be egg on his face if the killer takes a page out of the Se7en playbook!) Linden, though, bristles when Skinner tells his crew that an ”anonymous tip” led to the dump site. He later tells her to work the current case, and not to go digging into the one they presumably solved three years ago. And then there’s Holder’s new partner Reddick, dropping intel into our favorite detective’s ear about how ”Skinner and your old lady” hooked up back in the day. Oh, and if that’s not enough intrigue, Linden casually mentions to her former lover about how his wife warned her off after she visited their house last week. He’s all, “Say what now?” And she’s all, “Oh yeah, she knows about us. Deal, dude.” (Yeah, I paraphrased that last part. And wow, his wife must be great at poker.)
THE KIDS ARE NOT ALL RIGHT | Oh these Seattle teen runaways break my heart every time they’re on screen, especially poor Bullet, washing herself up in a public restroom, her torso and shoulders unspeakably bruised from last week’s rape, but her spirit as flinty as ever. Holder tracks down her down for more information on her missing pal Kallie, and she tells him she thinks Kallie might be held captive in Goldie’s apartment (while neglecting to mention the miserable bastard raped her). They go and bust the creep’s place, but instead of finding Kallie, they stumble upon multiple screens playing child pornography. As Linden notes during Holder and Reddick’s interrogation — the details of which only make us hate Goldie more than we already do — they’ve got him on possession and intent to distribute. But Skinner wants the dirtbag released, in case he can be tailed and leads them to a live Kallie, or at least her body. No luck: Bullet bangs on Holder’s vehicle during the stakeout — he was supposed to lock up Goldie, not let her get painted as a snitch — and he winds up making an obscene gesture at the cops out the window. But the episode closes with police personnel identifying Kallie in one of Goldie’s tapes, the sad-eyed girl submitting to truly awful questions like ”What’s your favorite subject?” and “Are you a virgin?” What Holder and Linden — reunited for a minute, and it feels so good — will do with the new information remains to be seen, but as far as endings go, this was a harrowing way to transition from the weekend into the work week, no?
(In other news, Linden goes to see Kallie’s mom — not that that haggard she-beast seems to care much — and one of Lyric’s friends hilariously describes Holder as ”some Eminem wannabe with a molester stache.” Poor Lyric is still trying to get her half-out-of-it boyfriend to let her come to LA with him. And the kids end the episode at the dump site — even though how they can afford flashlights remains another potential mystery, eh?)
OBSESSIONS PERCOLATE | Uh-oh, Linden’s barely back on the job and already, she’s visiting Adrian Seward at the playground, asking about his latest version of the sketch that’s haunted her for three years running. “You added a factory. Why?” But the kid doesn’t have any answers; all he wants to do is see his dad. Meanwhile, Holder’s partner is asking him if he’s made Valentine’s Day reservations, but the now-dashing detective doesn’t even seem aware of the holiday — and ends the episode back at the precinct while Reddick’s at home getting beauty sleep. (“Me, I’m already beautiful, so…”) Methinks there’s going to be trouble on the relationship front, though part of me wants to believe he’ll achieve a better work-life balance than Linden.
THE FIRST CUT IS THE CREEPIEST | I’m still not sure who provided Seward with that razor blade, but watching him transfer it into his mouth from the confines of that awful “cage shower” cast a palpable sense of dread over the entire hour. Prison guard Becker seems to be the object of his intended malice, and Seward almost lures him into a confrontation by recounting how he’d gouged out an eye of Becker’s cousin at his previous prison (“six pounds of pressure can rip an ear off, but an eye takes dedication”). When Becker notes how someday, somehow, Seward’s son will probably end up with his own fate at the hands of prison guards (nature? nurture? terrible, terrible luck?) a switch flips, and by the end of the episode Seward turns the blade on himself, leaving him in a self-created bouillabaisse. (Thank heavens for murky nighttime lighting, but it’s all still pretty ghastly, no? I seriously had to avert my gaze into my hands and whimper to my hubby, “Tell me when it’s over.)
What did you think of The Killing’s latest hour? What burning questions will keep you up tonight? Sound off below!
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