Sometimes, not killing a teenage girl just isn't worth the trouble.
There's been some chatter out there about the apparent failure of The Killing to really bring together all of its plot threads together as a gestalt. For weeks, it seemed that Darren Richmond and his campaign were taking place in a whole other world, and that his concerns had nothing to do with the rest of the story, no matter how many times Gwen Eaton emphatically declares that their association with Rosie's death is affecting their poll numbers. We never really felt that that was the case before last week.
This week, and probably from here on out, Richmond becomes integral to the story of how one death can create ripples that affect various sectors of life. The key to the connection is Bennet Ahmed, Rosie Larsen's English teacher, who also happens to be the cheif suspect in her death. Ahemd has been working for Richmond's afterschool program, and that tenuous connection alone has put a real dent into his campaigning, especially with the Mayor Adams' campaign working overtime to turn Ahmed into a Willie Horton figure in the minds of Seattle's voting public (the fact that he's Muslim as well as black makes it easier for political talk radio to...do what political talk radio does). All this goes on while Richmond learns that the woman who killed his wife is about to get paroled, which gets him thinking about the concepts of justice, punishment, and forgiveness.
Richmond isn't so quick to denounce Ahmed, since he hasn't been charged with anything yet, but he seems to be the only one. The city council votes to shut down the afterschool program, which is bad for Richmond, but Ahmed's problems are just starting. He's now being called a murderer by Adams and probably the entire population of Seattle, particularly Stan and Mitch. Stan has Ahmed all to himself at the end of last week's episode, but decides at the last second not to do anything to him, remembering that he doesn't want to go back to being the gangster thug he used to be. Mitch has decided to pick up that slack for him. As the episode goes on, Stan becomes more and more subdued while Mitch, egged on by the appearance of her comically Eastern European (and totally racist) parents, starts to take on some of the smoldering intensity that was Stan's trademark for much of the series so far. Belko extends the offer to "take out" Ahmed to Mitch, now that Stan has come to his senses, and we even see her camped out in front of the Ahmed house at the end of the episode. With Stan refocusing on the family he has left, Mitch is more and more lost at sea.
Somewhere in all this, Ahmed is actually starting to look less guilty. Some plausible explanations for some of the evidence that pointed to him and his wife are offered (except for the big one: why did he lie about getting his floors sanded?), but none of that seems to matter to anyone, except for maybe Sarah Linden (who, shockingly, misses another flight to Sonoma) and Eric "everybody hatin' on the po-po" Holder. They've found another lead, which leads them to a mosque, where they get the whole "police care more about a missing white girl than a missing black girl" thing thrown at them (in a much more well-reasoned and articulate manner than that, though). Still, they receive an address, which turns out to be a storage unit that houses...the next end-of-episode twist. Linden and Holder's relationship up to this point were always tense, but it seems like she outright hates Holder, or is at least taking out her frustrations on him. She feels like her job is keeping her trapped in her old life, and that she can't move onto the one she wants. On top of that, she has Reggie accusing her of deliberately avoiding her fiance and becoming as obsessed with Rosie Larsen as she apparently was with a past victim, which led to her nearly losing custody. This tidbit has come up before, as has Stan's criminal past, but with the exception of some new info on how Richmond's wife died, "Vengeance" pulled back a little on the backstory dumping its been engaged in lately. Instead, it left the audience in the present in order to take stock of the big picture, now that it's starting to form. Although it dragged a bit in parts, and it's still pretty uneven overall (in ways that are being addressed, in all fairness), The Killing needed an episode like this one.
Written or Contributed by: Royal Nonesuch