The Killing, Episode 6: What You Have Left

Posted on May 02, 2011

“We’ll get through this.”

You’ll have to forgive us, kittens. With the launch of the new site, we didn’t get to watch this episode a second time, like we normally do before posting our thoughts. If we’re fuzzy on the details, we have no doubt the minions will let us know.

Okay, let’s see if we’ve got this straight. Some guy across the street happens to see Rosie pounding on the door to Bennet’s apartment building the night of her murder. Also, slightly creepy guy with a telescope later sees Bennet and a smaller person carrying what appeared to creepy guy to be a body wrapped up in something. This is all a little too perfect, wouldn’t you say? Especially with seven more episodes to go?

Not that we believe the Ahmeds are suspects for a second. It’s just that they, like characters before them and no doubt characters after them, have been revealed to have hidden contacts, relations, and agendas that cast them in an extremely suspicious light. There’s definitely a classic murder mystery format to the plot, but revealing a new suspect each week – in this case, Bennet’s wife – and peeling back more and more layers -(costume party, late night visit to teacher, running through the park away from her assailant; face it: Rosie got around the last night of her life) it gets further away from a modern police procedural in the L&O mold and more like an Agatha Christie mystery cross-referenced with Twin Peaks. Murder on the Pacific Northwest Express. We’re not saying we’re disappointed; just that this wasn’t the direction we thought the show was going to go in, as it pertained to the murder investigation. We’re still invested in the outcome and wondering what’s going on, but our curiosity at this point has more to do with explaining how the Ahmeds didn’t kill Rosie so the story can move on to the next suspect with a damning secret. We saw Rosie running through the woods away from her assailant, so it doesn’t seem likely Mr. Rear Window saw her body being carried out by the Ahmeds.

We honestly wish we could say our curiosity extends to the Richmond campaign, especially because the three principles in that subplot are doing good work, but really, our investment in this part of the story is faint. This is at least partially fueled by the inconsistencies in Richmond’s character. One week he’s a political mastermind, the next week he’s not just walking into a rhetorical trap on live television; he’s practically setting the bait himself. The way he handled the debate sure puts into question any idea that he’s an adept politician, let alone a viable candidate. In any real world setting, his campaign would be over at this point. But again, we have seven more episodes. Clearly, his story is going to continue. We’re starting to think that the drawn out pace of this series is hampering our enjoyment of it in some ways. We can’t get as invested in the plot twists because we know there are more plot twists coming just because there’s so much story left.

It’s the same thing with Linden and her declarations that she’s leaving, she really means it this time so don’t try and stop her, she’s out of here, on the next flight, hasta la vista, baby. Just stop. Unless they plan on writing her out of the story or having her solve the case from hundreds of miles away, just stop. We know she’s not leaving.

Strangely, even though we said last week it was verging on misery porn, it’s the Larsen family who keep us most invested in the story. Michelle Forbes is simply knife-through-the-chest painful to look at, so great is the grief and shock etched on her face. The scene in the bedroom with the cufflinks was both sad and beautiful in its weighty casualness. And it seems to us that the most interesting parts of the story are going to center around them and their secrets. What’s the deal with Mitch’s sister and Jasper’s father? Obviously there was some sort of past connection there. And why did Stan refuse to shake his hand? What’s this have to do with Stan’s past ties with organized crime?

Maybe we need to let go of the idea that this is a murder mystery, even though it’s structured like one in many ways. Actually, we’ll amend that: it’s not structured like a murder mystery because a murder mystery wouldn’t be throwing out a new suspect every 30 pages in the earliest chapters. Reconsidering it, we think this is a story about a murder and the people it affects which utilizes typical murder mystery tropes (hidden messages, secret rooms, unknown relationships). In other words, it’s a show about a cop torn over her life choices, or about an idealistic politician fighting for what he believes in and crawling through the muck of politics, or its about his brittle lover, or his weaselly campaign manager. It’s a show about a grieving family and how the murder seems to be uprooting a lot of bad stuff in their pasts. It’s probably going to be a show about a teacher and his messy personal life in a week, and then a week after that, it’ll be a show about the asshole rich ex-boyfriend and his asshole father or some other peripheral character who’ll get the spotlight once their secrets come out.

If we sound like we’re complaining, we don’t mean to. We definitely enjoy each episode, even if there are times we squirm with impatience over repetitious aspects. Maybe it’s to the show’s credit that it manages to intrigue us while at the same time puzzling us as to how to approach it.

As for Wild Theory Gulch, we’re a little dry this week. We’ll say this:

* Richmond becomes an odder and harder-to-pin-down character each week, which immediately makes him far more suspicious in our eyes. Discuss.

    • Angel

      I thought this was one of the best episodes so far.

    • http://profiles.google.com/paigemano Paige Mano

      I also get super tired of the “I’m leaving this time, I mean it” thing. I agree–just stop.

    • ShivaDiva

      At this point it’s starting to feel like a yarn that gets passed on with a new chapter on the end each time it’s told. (“And if that’s not enough….” “But wait!”) I’m still enjoying for the most part, but it is beginning to strain credulity. It seems like the story of a group of people with largely unrelated Deep Dark Secrets that, almost coincidentally, happen to all unravel because of a murder that takes place at the right place and time. That can still be interesting, I suppose, but it pushes into a kind of “fable” territory that seems at odds with the gritty, “realistic” tone of the series.

      The vengeful father is pushing things for me. Sure, he’s grieving. But why would he go off the handle on the basis of third-hand gossip from a second-hand source? And I totally agree with your previous comment that the grieving scenes are pushing into exploitation territory. OK, they’re taking it hard. We get it. Maybe now that the funeral is over that will ease a bit. Though I fear it may shift the focus more toward the piling up of coincidences. (The candidate with a Dark Secret was set up to be tied in with the creepy teacher with a Dark Secret, who was spotted with the victim by the creepy peeping-Tom neighbor with a Dark Secret…)

    • http://profiles.google.com/likesilverwillow Erin Kristoff

      Linden’s partner gets more and more confusing each week as well….

    • Anonymous

      There’s pacing and then there’s padding. You know, if this was a manuscript, I’d think it needed some focused editing. I’m sticking with it bc I like the characters enough to want to know how it ends. But, they are going to have to *prove* to me (by showing me some excellent storytelling) that the length of this series was justified.

    • Nadia

      There also seemed to be longer close-up shots of Mitch’s sister this week, definitely moreso than in previous episodes. Thought that was odd.

      I also agree Richmond’s character seems all over the place, and the Linden personal-life story line is just dragging out the obvious…

    • Nadia

      There also seemed to be longer close-up shots of Mitch’s sister this week, definitely moreso than in previous episodes. Thought that was odd.

      I also agree Richmond’s character seems all over the place, and the Linden personal-life story line is just dragging out the obvious…

    • Nadia

      There also seemed to be longer close-up shots of Mitch’s sister this week, definitely moreso than in previous episodes. Thought that was odd.

      I also agree Richmond’s character seems all over the place, and the Linden personal-life story line is just dragging out the obvious…

    • MilaXX

      I thinking more an more that this is a show about secrets. It’s about people not being who you think they are. I don’t know, whatever. for some reason this week managed to suck me back in. Yes I roll my eyes every time Linden swears she’s getting on that plane, but I’m starting to be okay with that. Right now I’m still thinking the weasel-y aide knows who killed Rosie, but I still have no guess as to who that might be.

    • MilaXX

      I thinking more an more that this is a show about secrets. It’s about people not being who you think they are. I don’t know, whatever. for some reason this week managed to suck me back in. Yes I roll my eyes every time Linden swears she’s getting on that plane, but I’m starting to be okay with that. Right now I’m still thinking the weasel-y aide knows who killed Rosie, but I still have no guess as to who that might be.

    • Anonymous

      I think the older brother may know something….he seems to get interesting camera time.

      Wonder if the teacher is actually a dealer/manufacturer ….although I would have to check the latest recipe for whatever the young’uns are taking nowadays.

    • Jzzy55

      I tried hard to stay interested, but last night was … my last night for this show. I kept drifting off to anything else within reach — Sodoku, a book, even a rerun of Family Guy one channel over. When I pick “Giggity giggity” for the 1000th time then you know a show has lost me. The campaign theme, the family grief, nothing held my attention, not even the tasty tidbits about the older woman having been (Linden’s?) social worker and “you almost lost him [Jack]“. Just don’t care.

    • Jzzy55

      I tried hard to stay interested, but last night was … my last night for this show. I kept drifting off to anything else within reach — Sodoku, a book, even a rerun of Family Guy one channel over. When I pick “Giggity giggity” for the 1000th time then you know a show has lost me. The campaign theme, the family grief, nothing held my attention, not even the tasty tidbits about the older woman having been (Linden’s?) social worker and “you almost lost him [Jack]“. Just don’t care.

    • Jzzy55

      I tried hard to stay interested, but last night was … my last night for this show. I kept drifting off to anything else within reach — Sodoku, a book, even a rerun of Family Guy one channel over. When I pick “Giggity giggity” for the 1000th time then you know a show has lost me. The campaign theme, the family grief, nothing held my attention, not even the tasty tidbits about the older woman having been (Linden’s?) social worker and “you almost lost him [Jack]“. Just don’t care.

    • Jzzy55

      I tried hard to stay interested, but last night was … my last night for this show. I kept drifting off to anything else within reach — Sodoku, a book, even a rerun of Family Guy one channel over. When I pick “Giggity giggity” for the 1000th time then you know a show has lost me. The campaign theme, the family grief, nothing held my attention, not even the tasty tidbits about the older woman having been (Linden’s?) social worker and “you almost lost him [Jack]“. Just don’t care.

    • Jzzy55

      I tried hard to stay interested, but last night was … my last night for this show. I kept drifting off to anything else within reach — Sodoku, a book, even a rerun of Family Guy one channel over. When I pick “Giggity giggity” for the 1000th time then you know a show has lost me. The campaign theme, the family grief, nothing held my attention, not even the tasty tidbits about the older woman having been (Linden’s?) social worker and “you almost lost him [Jack]“. Just don’t care.

    • JonnyF8

      Don’t you guys have anything to say about Holder’s shirt/suit combination that he pulled from the trunk of his car or about the tattoo on the back of his neck?

    • Maravonda

      They’ve bored me to tears, finally. I may end up watching more of it, but it will just be because there is nothing else on. I agree with you, though, that the girl’s mother (I will always think of her as MaryAnn of TrueBlood) is one of the best things about the show. Still…it goes on and on, with too many episodes left to take anything they are finding too seriously…

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=12500056 Joseph Lamour

        Everytime I see her my brain screams MAENAD!

    • oldvic

      Quote “We’re starting to think that the drawn out pace of this series is hampering our enjoyment of it in some ways”

      That makes sense. This is almost a word for word retelling of Forbrydelson which resolved in six episodes, not the 12-13+ planned here.

      • Sia

        You’re wrong I’m sure. The Danish show was 20 one hour episodes, each following one day of investigation. The US is actually compressing the material from that show into 13 episodes.

        • http://anokarina.tumblr.com anokarina

          You’re correct, Sia. The Danish original Forbrydelson was 20 episodes. The Killing is different in small and probably very significant ways (the killer is going to be different in The Killing), yet overall, appears thus far to be following generally the same outline as Forbrydelson.

          For all that Forbrydelson was much like a K-drama or telenovela, it was still very well done, and the characters and their motivations made sense. In the context of a sprawling murder mystery, that kind of buy-in is crucial, (and I cannot wait for S2 of Forbrydelson to be aired on BBC).

          With The Killing, it is as though AMC somehow bobbled the thread in the translation. All 20 episodes of Forbrydelson had me utterly engrossed. For The Killing, however, AMC is developing the U.S. characters differently, which is having a major impact.

          Forbrydelson, though serious and well done, struck me as being a bit more pulpy, whereas the U.S. version is so serious as to be completely overbearing. I am actually perfectly okay with the red herrings and bait and switch suspects, which I expected for a murder mystery that is not to be resolved in a single episode but rather over the course of a single season.

          However, while the acting has been superb, the characters in The Killing haven’t convinced me that their reasons for doing things make sense within the contexts of their respective and supposed characters -and that may be the key issue. For example, yes, obviously Linden is going to stay, just like Lund stayed in Forbrydelson, and the handling of it in The Killing has been quite similar with how they dealt with it in Forbrydelson.

          The difference, and it’s a huge one, is in the characterization of Linden vs. Lund. These two characters superficially share a fondness for sweaters and long, silent, “I’m thinking deeply” stares, but AMC has given Linden -and all of the other characters in The Killing, actually -heavy and secret yet wildly obvious crosses to bear.

          In contrast, the characters in Forbrydelson are deep and thoughtful and certainly have secrets, which conveniently makes everyone a suspect, but that’s it. In Forbrydelson, Lund isn’t weighted down with some deep, dark obsession with murdered dead girls. Yes, she can’t walk away, but her drive is to find the killer. Period. Her “partner” isn’t a closet gambler / potential drug abuser. Yes, he has depth and motivations (a wife and children), but the characters in Forbrydelson don’t waste precious minutes dealing with their private burdens.

          It’s a murder mystery, AMC. A little pulpiness is perfectly okay. It is perfectly okay for the leads to be complex, but they don’t need to be so complex they bury the show. The star of a murder mystery isn’t the victim and it’s not the cast of characters left behind in the land of the living by the dead victim. The star of a murder mystery… is the murder mystery.

          /apologies for this very long rant, but I really had such high hopes for this U.S. adaptation

          /if you have the patience for subtitles or understand Danish, I highly recommend Forbrydelson

    • Lynn

      I wonder how closely they are following the original show as it’s starting to feel like I’m watching a show that the writers haven’t even decided who the murderer is, they spent a whole show on the teacher, so it’s obvious it can’t be the teacher. Then what, next week a whole show on someone else? It’s almost like they don’t know where to go with it. Also very weird that there wasn’t a massive amount of funeral turnout, when a teen dies, the whole school would show up, staff and kids. Is each season on this show a different murder, or will this one keep on going next season?

    • BeeBelle

      Watch it, like I do, on DVR and with remote in hand. I now skip over anything to do with Linder’s personal life, most of the Richmond stuff, and some of the family scenes. 30 minutes and done.

    • GenXer

      I’m not bored quite yet, but AMC does need to step back from the “Who Killed Rosie Larsen” tag…all it makes me do is think of Twin Peaks.

    • BBmom

      I think we are going to find out that Gwen is implicated in the death of Richmond’s wife. That’s why the subplot.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think the suspects are red herrings. I think they all figure into the bigger picture somehow. For example, I think Bennet is actually involved in terrorist activities. Remember, they said the fluid he had could also be used to make bombs, and his sister-in-law made the loaded statement that he’s on a different side of the war than she is. I think he was/is planning to bomb something to do with the Mayor’s Waterfront plans and got Rosie and his wife involved. Rosie came by to back out, and he and his wife were trying to destroy evidence. “It’s all about the waterfront” was another loaded quote from the previous episode…and I think everyone ties into its bigger picture storyline – Richmond, the Mayor, Rosie, Bennet, the mob. Follow the money on this show and you’ll see Rosie was murdered for knowing something about it – probably inadvertently.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5DNXU7IG2M55RG3EO35CSNCMWA Libra_Lady_12

        I agree with you that the suspects fit into the bigger picture somehow.

        I could see Bennet Ahmed either being a terrorist himself, but I could more easily see Bennet Ahmed covering up for his wife, who is the actual terrorist. Remember that scene with her sitting in the room, holding a hammer, hiding from police? I get the impression that she’s up to something. I don’t know, but I just have this feeling that she might have some problems with her emotional or mental health. Something just doesn’t seem quite right about her to me. Plus, she acts all sweet around her husband, yet her sister said that she was unhappy in her marriage and that she was crying. I think that she’ll be one to watch. I think that he is a bit shady, and may have been involved in some sort of criminal activity, but probably didn’t kill Rosie. However, I do think that he could be covering for someone (or several people). I also wonder if the woman that the guy saw (I think the telescope guy; could have been the other guy) could have been either a man/boy who was short or disguised as a woman, or else it could have been a woman who wasn’t Mrs. Ahmed. (Gwen or Sterling, maybe?)

        I think that the idea about him bombing the waterfront is fairly plausible–or, alternately, maybe he himself didn’t do it but he’s covering for someone who did (like his wife). I also wonder if someone in the Richmond campaign (Gwen or Jaime maybe) knew about it.

    • Tryptamine

      I’ve become way more interested in the living characters. Yes, they are all flawed and weird and kind of hard to pin down …but that’s what real people are like! And in my experiences with someone dying (most of which were expected deaths from disease or old age), there is always a major mixing up of what existed before, as well as lots of revelations between the people that were in their life. I can’t even imagine how the intensity of that would be ratcheted up for a murder like this one. But I’m starting to consider this the Tolstoyian novel to t.v.’s usual pulp.

    • Rachel Goldstein

      Yes, as someone else mentioned, they’ve dropped some other little bits like the social worker comment or the old colleague of the Hot Dane (Swede?) who came up with some key info about the dad. I’m still into it, but feel a bit of ambivilance, too. My husband thinks it was the senator– he wants to bring Richmond down b/c he isn’t good enough for his daughter. Or maybe he made his official umbrella holder dude do it. At this point, who knows? I certainly hope they stop with the new weekly suspect or weekly side character back story stuff.

    • girliecue

      Could Mitch’s sister been the “old lady” in Jasper’s bed in the first or second episode? And what is the deal with Stan’s helper? He doesn’t creep me out, but he doesn’t seem to fit in quite right either.

    • Misssvelt

      Misery porn? Don’t you mean mourn porn?

    • http://twitter.com/asympt Martha Soukup

      Bennet isn’t a terrorist. His sister-in-law is a wildly useless bigot. Useless, because something IS going on that’s hurting her sister, obviously, but she’s not going to see it because she’s already leapt to the Scary Black Muslim Yargh reaction.

      When I look at Michelle Forbes I see first her Homicide medical examiner character; then Gabriel Byrne’s unhappy wife on In Treatment; then I remember her scary admiral on Battlestar Galactica.

      But I’m actually old enough to remember her on Guiding Light (RIP).

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5DNXU7IG2M55RG3EO35CSNCMWA Libra_Lady_12

        I remember her as Admiral Cain too :-)

      • Demosthenes

        Michelle said she learned more on GL than any acting class. ( i think i read that on imdb)

        She really is one of the best character actors out there. I love her!!

      • Tori

        I too remember her as Sonni on GL – that plot line of her hidden identity after surviving falling off a mountain or something got me through the six months after I decided not to show up at my wedding!

    • Baz

      The part that got me was when the brother went over to help carry the casket. So sad.

    • vmcdanie

      Linden is obviously not leaving and no one watching gives a shit about her fiance so please, enough with the plane tickets, “tonight’s red eye I mean it” speeches, etc. No one cares. That trope is old already. They would have been better off ditching that whole storyline.

      (did anyone recognize Linden’s Mom as the nosy fundamentalist lady from Monster who was Christina Ricci’s landlord/babysitter?)

      I am still enjoying the show enough to burn episodes off my Tivo at a snappy pace. But as you say, any suspect raised this early is obviously not a suspect which takes a lot of the steam out of each new crop of revelations. I wonder if the pacing issues could be resolved by fewer episodes? This is a great TV experiment at any rate. The Larsen family is riveting. The Richmond campaign is still the anchor scraping the bottom in the storyline.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2HEVKQ3PS3MHJSCIACRVFLMQ7A Mysti

      Still think the Senator’s daughter, Richmond’s manager, found out about the pregnancy and killed Rosie. Mom has some secrets that are going to make her look bad coming up, and I’m pretty sure Jasper’s dad brought Rosie’s aunt home that first night–remember we saw her but didn’t see her? JMGuess…

      • Libra_Lady_12

        ? which pregnancy are you referring to? (did I miss something? I remember that Mrs. Ahmed was very obviously pregnant, but I don’t remember any other pregnancy being mentioned)

    • Rroseselavy

      I’m now not entirely convinced that’s Rosie we saw running through the woods in the first episode. This murder seems to have echoes of an earlier murder that had a deep ramifications for our Linden. (The drawing with the fallen log.) Could we have been seeing a flashback to that murder with this scene in the woods? So I wouldn’t rule out that the body seen carried out of Bennet’s house was in fact a dead (or unconscious) Rosie.

    • Ally

      This now feels like the second season of Lost, when the writers realized they would have to drag the thing out for years, and started wasting time with pointless subplots and Dramatic Acting. Except here there’s seven episodes, not seven years, left. (Also that bird logo in Rosie’s film, and the grainy quality of the film itself, are very Dharma Initiative.)

      It all feels like content-free gravitas. I don’t care about The Killing characters’ issues, cause I haven’t been made to care about them yet. The show is so hung up everyone’s secrets, that the characters’ appeal is still a secret, too. I’m not invested in any of them, and the ones I was invested in have disappeared (Sterling) or are all over the place (Richmond). It’s pretty basic that ongoing-plot shows like this have to have episode arcs, and then the overall season arc layered over that. Here there’s just the perpetual and dwindling promise of something interesting to come. Something interesting and of enduring meaning in every episode would be nice.

      The show will probably end up working better on DVD, when viewers can zip through all the time-wasting and eye-rolling bits (bus rides, crying against walls, staring in sweaters, etc.). Btw, someone should make a Don Draper Says What-type youtube video of Linden and Holder exchanging long, vacuous looks. It should be in a The Killing bingo game.

      I wish some network would air the Danish original. @anokarina, it sounds much more well-conceived!

    • Angela Capello

      What was up with Rosie’s aunt and Jasper’s father??

    • don

      We have a houseguest and have been busy, so I haven’t been keeping up with any of the TV we record. Until I saw this post, I had completely forgotten I’d been watching this. Twin Peaks + Agatha Christie describes it well enough, but still holds too much unwarranted promise – if I had any hopes of a dancing midget from Belgium solving this tedious crime, I’d still be interested.