Apparently local politicians are total perverts. Who knew?
It seems almost fitting for The Killing that one episode from the end of its first season the cops seem to have more suspects in Rosie Larsen's murder than they ever had before. It just felt like there were times when the show just didn't quite know what it wanted to be, and therefore tried to do everything. It's about how one murder can have ripple effects on a community, right? Or is it a spotlight on how hellish it can be to be a young person these days? Is it about the nation's drug problem, or about how the sins of the past can come back to bite you in the ass? Is it about how terrorism is bad, but racism is also bad? Is it about how the lives of cops are so difficult, or about how modern urban politics are such a cesspool? Or is The Killing about all of these things, and yet none of them at once?
While touching upon all of the above themes, The Killing experienced moments of wheel-spinning and Going-Nowhere Syndrome. Thus, in the penultimate episode of the season, there are still all-new surprises and revelations coming up. Now, it's not a bad thing to keep us guessing, of course, but the red mark that continues to hang over the show is the fact that the cops could have gotten here sooner had they done their due diligence earlier. It just seems like poor time management in the plot breakdown stage. There's a lot going on in The Killing, but the greatest frustration comes from the fact that it doesn't quite juggle all of its balls as efficiently as it could have. Maybe what it's really about is that sometimes cops, even TV cops, don't do the right things at the right times, and that's why they don't always catch the killer right away.
Still, the show can do interesting things when it's doing things well. It's still shot and cut well, and the acting is usually very good (Brent Sexton III kills it in the scene where still-incarcerated Stan is talking to his court-appointed shrink – his facial expression at the end of the scene are so effective, and seem to indicate a return to his dark past coming down the pike). It's in the writing that things don't always live up to their potential. Take, for example this week's issue du jour: prostitution. Rosie may have something to do with it. Was she an underage hooker? She was depositing hundreds of dollars into a bank account using the ATM's at that casino, and she was apparently checking out an escort service website in the days before her murder. Again, that's the type of thing these detectives could have found out earlier, and if they did they would have known that good ol' joint-smoking Star Wars fan Crazy Aunt Terry was actually working for the escort service. When they confront her about this, she puts them on the path of a john who gets rough with the ladies. Initially, this brings us to Tom Drexler, the absurdly rich basketball-loving creep who happens to be a donor to the Richmond campaign. He fits the description of a guy who was carted out of the casino for punching a prostitute. Also, he comes right out and tells Jamie that he patronizes the Beau Soleil escort agency, championing how "discreet" their girls are. But he apparently isn't the mysterious Orpheus, the man who freaks out one girl so badly that she can't even talk about her incident with him, and insists on witness protection should she testify. So who is Orpheus?
That's right, it's mayoral candidate Darren Richmond. Of course it is. Apparently, he's got a thing for high class escorts (and really, what politician doesn't?). So is this the connection to the rest of the show? Is this why we've been following the campaign storyline? Sure, Rosie's body was found in the trunk of a campaign car, but that was easily explained away. The car was stolen from them before she was killed. Since then, outside of Bennet Ahmed (and really, the less said about that story arc the better), there seemed like no reason to to keep spending time with Darren Richmond. Maybe he's the killer. He's the new suspect number one now, though. They tend to get exonerated on this show, but next week is the season finale, so... who knows? By the way, it's hilarious that Richmond is all but assured victory in the mayoral race because incumbent Mayor Adams' big project, the revitalized waterfront property, is rendered a non-starter when a human skeleton is found underground there. Also, this waterfront property is apparently located on the same island as the Indian casino. "Nothing beats dead Indians," laughs Jamie. "Didn't you see Poltergeist?"
Another plot element that needs to be resolved (unless the show creators are really planning for that second season, which so far hasn't been announced) is Stan's former life intruding into his current one. Stan borrows money from his old mob boss, and now he's calling Stan at home. This leads to a jailhouse confrontation between Stan and Mitch Larsen. "I'm here because you pushed me here," exclaims Stan. "The only reason I'm in here and you're out there is because I had the balls to admit what I did." He has a point. Stan only went after Ahmed (who must still be in a coma, since we haven't seen him or heard about his condition since the episode after the beatdown) because he saw Mitch break down and admonished him with her "he killed our daughter and you let him go" stuff. But is there more to it than that? How involved was Mitch in the crime family back then? More importantly, will there be enough room next week for all these questions to be answered sufficiently?
Written or Contributed by: Royal Nonesuch