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A View to THE KILLING: "I'll Let You Know When I Get There"

Written by Royal Nonesuch on Monday, May 30 2011 and posted in Reviews

It appears this investigation, and by extension this show, is getting back on track.

A View to THE KILLING missed a couple of weeks. Look, a weekly column isn't always as easy as it looks, so let's just keep it at that and move on, ok?

In a television program about homicide detectives, however the investigation goes, so goes the show. That isn't always the best thing, as exhibited by the eighth and ninth episodes of The Killing, which were not covered by this space (and seriously, we'd appreciate it if you quit bringing that up). In those episodes, Detectives Linden and Holder convinced themselves that Bennet Ahmed, Rosie Larsen's English teacher, was guilty of killing Rosie, and they single-mindedly tried to prove his guilt and arrest him. ep10-sarah-linden

Not that they didn't have some cause. After all, Rosie did show up at his house the night she was killed, and he was spotted by a nosy neighbor ferrying a little girl away from his house. As Holder notes in "I'll Let You Know When I Get There," Ahmed lied about almost everything he was up to that night (even to his own wife). As it turns out, though, there was an explanation for everything. Ahmed was trying to get a girl from his mosque (the same one the Imam of said mosque chastized the detectives over for not looking for) out of the country and away from her abusive parents. So it turns out Bennet Ahmed didn't kidnap a girl for nefarious purposes, but benevolent ones. Never mind the fact that he could have investigated all the legal avenues available in such an instance.

In any case, the detectives were really determined to nail Ahmed to the wall, which probably makes sense, but after so much time given to him, and all the plot tangents taken (including a possible terrorism connection because, hey, why not throw the kitchen sink in there?), it all seems less like we've been taken in by a thriling red herring and more like a colossal waste of time. The eighth and especially the ninth episodes of The Killing marked the low point of the series so far, and not even Agnieska Holland could pull it out of the hole it dug itself into (although Holland was able to use one of Seattle's best known locations, the Pike Place Market, for a thrilling chase scene in "Stonewalled"). At the end of it all, Bennet Ahmed is found to be innocent of the crime. Unfortunately for him, that exoneration came a bit too late, as Stan Larsen, who was trying to keep himself from falling into the deep end, gives in to his lesser angels and gives Bennet a harsh beatdown, with sidekick Belko looking on (and excitedly punching a rock, thus giving us some insight into his mental state).

ep10-bennet-ahmedAnd that's where things pick up this week with "I'll Let You Know When I Get There." With Ahmed cleared of the crime and lying near death in a hospital bed, Linden and Holder decide to do what maybe they should have done earlier: look at all possible theories. They knew about Stan Larsen's organized crime past, but they never really followed up on it. If they did, maybe Ahmed wouldn't be in a coma, and they wouldn't have to talk to Stan while he's in jail (and maybe Belko wouldn't be so twitchy). Granted, if they really felt like the evidence pointed to Ahmed then that's one thing, but they certainly could have traced Rosie's steps earlier. They would have known that yes, Rosie really did stop off at Ahmed's place just to drop off a book that night, and went back home before going out again. With cops like these, it's a wonder any crimes ever get solved in Seattle.

Still, Linden and Holder do get their act together and decide to look into the organized crime connection, but don't find much other than the need to take a further look at Belko, who apparently hangs around with the Larsens so much because their family life seems idyllic to him. Whereas Belko once came off as Stan's unwavering confidant, now he's exposed as the creepy weirdo who spent his formative years with the town slut for a mom (whom he still lives with, and who might still be totally easy).

Through Belko, The Killing finally gets to try its hand at that old cop show standby, the interrogation scene. This one isn't all too bad. It's a device that was perfected by Homicide: Life on the Street and rendered overwrought in Law & Order: SVU and other shows, like show creator Veena Sud's previous show, Cold Case; but "I'll Let You Know..." has produced a respectable entry. We find out that Belko was in the Larsen's home when Rosie came home that night, but didn't do anything untoward before she went right back out. The one lead they get out of him, Adela (a name which has come up before), leads Linden to an island off the coast of Seattle. That island happens to contain a casino. Here come those Twin Peaks comparisons again.

ep10-gwen-eaton-jamie-wright-darren-richmondWhile all this is going on, we get to check in on Darren Richmond's campaign, whether we want to or not. After a couple of episodes worth of particularly dire storytelling, Richmond is now mobilized anew when Bennet is exonerated. Richmond never believed Ahmed was guilty, and he wastes no time making sure all of Seattle knows it. One wonders if his would-be constituency is as pissed about their investment in his being guilty as we the audience do. In any case, it's one step forward, one step back for this campaign, as a new wrinkle develops. A campaign staffer stumbles upon footage of Darren briefly shaking hands with Rosie. Sure it was a campaign stop, and as Gwen notes, he probably shakes a hundred hands per day without knowing who they belong to, but if there's one thing The Killing likes doing, it's bringing up all kinds of new plot points. It's the follow-through that seems to lack.

Before getting swallowed whole by the Ahmed diversion, which ended up leading nowhere, The Killing was a compelling enough detective show that reached beyond the usual and tried to tell more of a big picture story. With "I'll Tell You..." it's good to see the show get back to what made it work earlier. The problem is, we're now only three episodes from the end of the season. One wonders if the show's creators felt like they just didn't have enough story for one season, thus a month of Ahmed, since this episode could (or should) have happened a month ago.

Written or Contributed by: Royal Nonesuch

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About the Author - Royal Nonesuch

As Senior Media Correspondent (which may be a made-up title), Royal Nonesuch tends to spearhead a lot of film and television content on The Outhouse. He's still a very active participant in the comic book section of the site, though. Nonesuch writes reviews of film, television, and comics, and conducts interviews for the site as well.  You can reach out to him on Twitter or with Email.


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