Rosie Larsen was killed by her Aunt Terri.
A ludicrous (yet admirably bold) assertion, amirite? Truth be told, we’re not going to stand by it as a deduction, but with the not-so-revealing reveal that Belko is a world-class creep who is frighteningly obsessed with Rosie and her family (and suffering from Norman Batesism, i.e., stereotypical TV “crazy person” markers like bedwetting and a sexual mother), we can add him to the list that includes Bennet, the teacher who had an (at the very least) inappropriately close relationship with her, and those two douchebags at school (whose names we can’t be bothered to look up), who shot a fake video making her look like a drunken slut (not even considering that what it really looked like was a rape), and we see that there’s a pattern of really creepy men in Rosie’s life, none of whom killed her, no matter how creepy their obsessions got. So, using the reasoning that the killer must be the exact opposite of all the red herrings thrown our way, the killer must be a loving female instead of an obsessed, creepy male. Who does that leave, since Mitch doesn’t seem likely? Terri. You have to admit she’s been acting increasingly odd with each appearance. And she sure managed to point the finger at Belko (without actually pointing it) as soon as the cops started asking questions.
But Richmond is looking weirder and weirder with each episode too, and they have yet to present any real reason why we’re spending so damn much time on this character and the people in his orbit. The story, such as it is, slows down considerably every time Billy Campbell’s hangdog face lopes its way through a scene. If we really want to make a prediction, the best we can say is all our Nancy Drew instincts are telling us it’s either Terri or Darren Richmond who’s the killer. We won’t bank on it, though. At the rate they’re going with the wild tangents, we’re expecting aliens to enter the story briefly, serve as a distraction, and then fly off, revealing the real killer.
As for the story this week, we pretty much got confirmation that everything having to do with Bennet was a massive red herring and had pretty much nothing to do with the murder. The minute these two bumbling (and not in the loveable way) detectives decided to mount an actual investigation based on actual leads, the story started moving again. Granted, we have to buy the jaw-droppingly stupid coincidence of the two t-shirts and that’s probably a bridge too far for us. In fact, it felt like a bit of an insult; a Scooby Doo-esque twist that immediately felt nonsensical and threw the entire rest of the story into doubt. We simply don’t trust that the writers of this mystery are acting in good faith by throwing so many red herrings at the audience and all but winking at them when they’re revealed to be dead ends. Whoops! That’s NOT Rosie’s shirt, which means all of this is pointless! Gotcha!
Part of the reason the audience is so easily misled by red herrings is because the two cops involved in the case are almost comically bad at their jobs, which could be an interesting angle except we don’t think it was the writers’ intention to make Linden and Holder look so painfully inept. There’s been too much focus on their personal shit, which is, frankly, not as riveting as the writers seem to think. A cop with relationship issues and a cop with substance abuse issues stopped being original somewhere around the Starsky & Hutch era. We should be invested in the fact that Linden is clearly losing her grip but it’s just so hard to care because we can’t help thinking everyone would be better off if she wasn’t on the case at all.
And now we’re supposed to wonder about Richmond and that Lewinsky-esque encounter with Rosie in the crowd. And we do wonder; mainly because he’s always been suspicious. But to be perfectly honest, they could start throwing heavy hints that one of her adorable little brothers killed her and we’d just shrug and say “We’ll see.” They’ve violated the rules of murder mysteries by veering wildly off one too many times and while we’re in it to the end to see how it wraps, we’re quite a bit less engaged than we were weeks ago when the show first started. We can’t recall a show blowing its initial goodwill so quickly before.
[Picture credit: AMC TV]