The Killing “Beau Soleil”

Posted on June 13, 2011

Let’s just, for shits and giggles, run down the history of the greatest mayoral campaign in the history of the United States, the legendary matchup between Seattle city councilman Darren Richmond and incumbent Seattle mayor, Lesley Adams. They’ll be talking about this one for decades. Since it was a highly unusual election that consisted entirely of wild accusations hurled back and forth between the two candidates, and no actual campaigning, as far as we can tell, this recounting of the tale will be fairly short:

“Dead girl in your car! It’s over, buddy!”
“Pregnant intern lover! Kiss your ass goodbye, Mr. Mayor!”
“Friend of terrorists!”
“Defiler of Native American burial grounds!”

And… scene.

It’s official. While the show remains impressively moody and occasionally haunting (if very, very moist), the plot consists of nothing but the most ludicrous and unlikely of twists, one right after another. Here we are, at the penultimate hour of the story, the point where a good mystery starts tying the various strands together, when an escort service frequented by at least two of the main characters and employing at least two others, just pops into the story with no earlier indications of its existence at all. Oh sure, we thought Aunt Terri was likely a stripper or something and we even entertained the notion that she was some sort of escort, but to have pretty much the entire investigation come down at the end to this without any warning, especially when there were apparently so many roads leading to it, is just plain silly. Nevermind the weirdness of them checking Rosie’s internet history twelve days into the investigation or how the managed to recognize Terri from her legs alone.

And then, how do we go from there to finding out the identity of the never-before-even-been-hinted-at “Orpheus?” Well! Linden takes a page from her Girl Detective’s Handbook and totally sends a secret accusatory note to “Orpheus” in the hopes that he will…respond to her email … by giving her his full name and address? That last part of the plan is a bit fuzzy. BUT. It’s very important that someone sit at her computer staring at her monitor all night and informing her of what happens while she pays a visit to soon-to-be-mayor Darren Richmond for … some undefined reason. And then! Darren leaves the room so Linden can hear the very loud email alerts he gets in his oddly integrated email setup that has his mayoral campaign emails coming in alongside his hooker-hiring ones! Again and again the ding of doom sounds and the boney finger of justice points to Councilman Richmond! Shocking twist!

Whatever. Here we go: Richmond hires dark-haired escorts who remind him of his wife and instead of sleeping with them, talks to them about his occasional suicidal feelings, such as fantasizing about drowning. Jamie killed Rosie because she either was one of these girls or knew something about Richmond’s big bag of issues. There’s just no way Darren’s the killer. We’re looking at one final red herring in a show that was nothing but them. Maybe our prediction is off, but Darren as the killer is way too easy, especially since AMC is breathlessly informing us that the last 5 minutes of the finale will have all America shrieking with fear and shock. Or something. Can you tell we’re uninvested? Silly, silly show. Even when the performances are great, we’re stuck  suffering through the kind of plot twists you’d see on General Hospital.

Oh, and one final complaint: What a shame that Michelle Forbes’ fantastic performance in the early episodes of the season is such a distant memory in the face of the nasty bitch her character has become.

[Photo Credit: AMCTV]

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  • Anonymous

    They didn’t recognize her from her legs but from her purple leather jacket, which is distinctive. Can’t believe the fashion bloggers missed that, you GUYS.

    You certainly condense everything that’s wrong with the show beautifully, but I liked this episode a lot. I have Drexler for the killer, but Jamie is a serviceable choice (as is Gwen).

    • nadia johnson

      Yes, it was the jacket that led them to Terri. And the reason Linden when to Richmond’s apartment was to question him about Drexler. But yes TLo, brilliant job breaking down the forced and loony sequence of events in this episode…

    • Lattis

      The leather jacket may be distinctive, but it’s not like someone else . . . say Rosie . . . could have borrowed it. That just made me groan. 

      Have you guys ever played that game where you write the beginning of a story, fold the paper so only the last line shows and pass it to the person on your left and continue the story based on that last line . . . fold the paper so only the last line shows and pass it to the person to your left . . . etc. Anyway, voila! After a few rounds of that, you have the script for The Killing.

  • MilaXX

    I’m watching to the end, but honestly? I could give a rat’s patooey who killed Rosie. None of it even remotely makes sense.

  • Anonymous

    I finally got around to watching last week’s episode, which was pretty good as you mentioned.  Too bad now we’re back to pulling rabbits out of a hat.  Episodes like this are why I lost faith in this show in the first place.  Whodunnits only work if the audience has enough information to play along and try to piece together the clues.  Revelations out of left field, combined with the piling on of increasingly more ludicrous twists and turns, make for a WTF final episode.  I have decided I will actually be entertained by how out-there it’s going to be next week!

    The actors are still very watchable, for the most part.  Shame.

  • I just get annoyed by the overly simple emails that people use on TV shows., or something?  In real life you know it would’ve been like OrpheusGuy69.

  • Anonymous

    I re-watched an episode of Twin Peaks recently and while The Killing is not supposed to be as “out there” as that show, the strange plot twists certainly remind me of it. Especially the hooker/brothel stuff. So while this show is more depressing and entertains in a different way, perhaps the crazy twists are a nod to another crazy “killing” show of yester-year?

    • Anonymous

      You’re right.  They’re definitely cribbing heavily from the Twin Peaks playbook.  The whole One-Eyed Jack’s thing… they just moved the casino from Canada to a reservation so there are still territorial issues.  And now the “Richmond is guilty” red herring, just like how they were getting ready to charge Benjamin Horn on Twin Peaks up until the very last second.  

      The problem is, a lot of those elements worked because TP was *supposed* to be wacky.  These elements don’t work very well in a show that’s supposedly so Gravely Serious.

      • Anonymous

        Ah yes — but if they really pay homage to TP — the last five minutes of next week’s episode will have a dancing little person speaking backwards…

        • Anonymous

          God, I hope. 

  • Could the writers have picked a more obvious internet handle?  As soon as they said “Orpheus” I knew it was Richmond.  Orpheus’s main claim to fame is being a really bummed out widower.  There wasn’t even a shred of suspense in waiting for the reveal.

  • Anonymous

    Michelle Forbes was in this? Michelle Admiral Cain Forbes?  And they’re wasting her on anything other than a monstrous, predatory lioness of a character?

    Now I’m all the more grateful that you’ve written these summaries: I wasn’t willing to commit to another television show unless it was an utter winner (between Game of Thrones, Damages, Breaking Bad and Walking Dead I’m already spending more time in front of the television than I need to be). And in the wake of The Event and (sigh) FlashForward, I wasn’t willing to believe this one was a winner until it’d settled into its mid-season groove. 

    Which turned out to be more like a confused hobble.

    But I get what’s going on here, and it does smack a little of the Flashforward (*) problem: throwing a hundred interesting ideas at the viewer, coming up with a hundred fascinating scenes (the email bit mentioned above) and ignoring the fact that they make little sense and in any case go nowhere.  Frustrating to the point of being unwatchable, and I’m glad I didn’t end up watching good talent try to make something of it. 

    (*) Alright, I’ll grant that it probably lacks Flashforward’s other problem: a famously unlikable asshole lead. Goddamn. 

  • I stopped watching three weeks ago, I just read your updates to see what happened.  Sad too, thought it was going to be a strong show after the first two episodes.

  • Anonymous

    I still think auntie knows more than she is telling. Did she send Rosie on this gig in her place? 

  • Joshau Norton

    Blurk!! More nonsense from the Larsons this week. It’s amazing to me that in a show where a teenager is brutally murdered, the writers have, over the course of twelve episodes, made me almost hate the two people who loved her most. We’ve spent so much time with the Larsons and it turns out most of it was just as big a time waster as the Bennet Ahmed story. Right about now, the only way to redeem this even partially is if Mitch gets hit by a bus in episode 13.

    And it’s 2011, people. Can we please get the internet at least partially right on a crime show? The whole going to the knock-off shoe place with the “Where’s the server?”. Hi-larious. I’m sure you guys have your internet server sitting right next to your kitchen table. And of course Richmond has his super-secret, “ho” mail account going into the same mailbox as his campaign e-mails. And e-mail shows up the instant it’s sent.

    Anyway, I seriously doubt Richmond is the killer. As you say, he’s the final red herring before we get to the finale. In fact, Rosie’s killer isn’t connected to the sudden “social introduction” website at all.

  • I said weeks ago that it was Jamie.  To my husband, that is, not to you guys.  Anywho, you’re exactly right about the rest of your statements.  It’s a whole lotta nothin’ but we’re sticking with it until the end.  I’m pissed that they ruined what started out to be a pretty keen show.

  • Kimberly Southern-Weber

    Well, the use of the Neko Case song “Hold On” makes a lot more sense now…probably one of the best “end-of-show montages” they’ve done and in retrospect there’s a lot more meaning now behind Auntie Terri’s collapse in Rosie’s room after the funeral. 

    Also, it’s just a great song. 

  • Anonymous

    I guess the show can’t do more than glance at private life and job in the same episode, but I found myself concerned throughout about Linden’s son: who is with him and what is he doing as she’s out late at night? You think Linden is talking to Little Man, but no, that is dropped.  Now her dead-beat husband is here –yet another (non)romantic interest (like her now ex-fiancee) plucked from Battlestar Gallactica:  Tahmoh Penikett (last in Dollhouse). I sure wish Penikett, so memorable in Battlestar, would get a decent role somewhere. Plus the undercover vice cop is also from Battlestar. 

     I agree that there are late rabbits being pulled out here, but the illicit/pseudo familial public/private crossings of categories and plot have been a consistent undercurrent operating from early on: high school party to site of rape that is/is not rape (with janitor/adult peeping in), teacher marrying almost still a student, senator’s daughter and mayoral candidate’s campaign manager/lover,  terrorist to Indian tribe, bad mother intuitive detective who is herself a social work case, etc etc  Holder’s “date,” is date first, then someone he pays, and then a Beau Soleil girl. I think these seedy half-surfacing transactions are somehow where the energy of the show has gone. 

  • vmcdanie

     To be fair:

    “how the managed to recognize Terri from her legs alone.”

    They recognized her jacket. No one else in Seattle has a leather jacket you see.

    HAHA, I’m defending a plot twist in The Killing. Isn’t that hilarious?

    Ok, there was lots that was silly (“I know what you did.” Hi Linden. I read a lot of YA novels in my girlhood too) but still, maybe my expectations are lowered and/or I really just want this show to be good but this would have been a good episode like 6 weeks ago, no?

    Here’s what I fear I already know: everything has been so random that the last 5 minutes will NOT have all of America talking. Rosie’s killer could turn out to be the Green River Killer. It would almost be surprising if it turned out to be Belko now. Hey, we’re all expecting the Richmond Campaign. Or maybe Rosie was a drug mule or a cult member. It makes as much sense as this 11th hour hooker revelation. So fucking random this show.

    And for the love of God–the man was a lame red herring but can we at least know if Bennett survived that beating? Discarded like yesterday’s female genital mutilation McGuffin.

    • Totally agree about Bennett, one minute he is clinging to life and integral to the plot, the next it’s like the character never even existed..out of simple courtesy to the viewers it would seem to make good writing sense to at least inform us how he is doing “oh hey Linden i heard the teacher is out of intensive care”…..he obviously lived or Stan’s charges would have been upped to murder but still….

      • vmcdanie

        WERE Stan’s charges upped though? Did they even say?

    • Patricia Biswanger

      And don’t forget that his wife was due to deliver their baby any day now.  She’s disappeared from the story too.

      • vmcdanie

        I know, I was thinking that too.  I was like, “Cmon writers. At least let us see how his wife took it. Since you’ve introduced us and we’ve hung out a while now, at least have the courtesy to do a two minute follow-up.”

  • What a disappointment this show has turned out to be. My only hope is that it’s a springboard for hot Joel Kinnaman’s Anglophone career. 

    • vmcdanie

      Joel Kinnaman IS hot. And, slightly distressing, the seedier he looks, the hotter he gets.

  • Elizabeta Héderváry

    Have to say that I was happy to see Tahmoh Penikett in this one! Helo, Leoben, Cain, *and* Baltar’s house. This re-imagined Battlestar Galactica fan is pretty happy with that :-).

    I actually have been enjoying the show from week to week. I like that I haven’t been able to really figure out who actually could have done it. For me, that’s been the fun. When the red herrings come up, my thinking is, “OK, that person is eliminated, but who’s left?”. I don’t have a lot of the same problems with the show that T.Lo seem to have (no offense to them or anything). I don’t mind the slow pacing, and I think that this episode cleaned up a few leftover details (like the shoes). Not my #1 all-time favorite show, but one that I enjoy watching. Also, I’m just as interested in *why* Rosie was killed as I am in who killed her, perhaps even more so. And Joel Kinnamon is so much fun to watch week after week; Holder is a great character–by far my favorite on the show–and he portrays him so well.

  • Anna Cesa

    Apparently they just renewed The Killing for a second season.  For a show with so much potential, I really hope they spend a lot of time learning from their mistakes this season and correcting them…and replacing as many writers as necessary.

    Michelle Forbes’ character may have turned into a nasty bitch, but I feel like I absolutely have understood her, every step of the way.  I hope the final episode brings some kind of resolution for Mitch.

  • I’m going to attempt to be devil’s advocate here. Which is going to be difficult, because I agree with everything everyone has said, lol. Could it be that maybe… they’re not showing the debates or campaigning because they don’t have to do with her murder? Even though, ostensibly, you could eke a comment about something having to do with Rosie or the billionaire or something in a public setting. (See, this is really hard to do. LOL)

    Could it also be, that it has become less about her murder, and more about the ripples her murder caused? Although, simply put, I don’t think one hour (or five minutes of all-summer-shock) is going to tie everything together and make you go ohh….my….GOD unless they have the writer of The Usual Suspects or Se7en on staff.

    Bottom line… I really hope I’m actually shocked.

  • I’m so annoyed at this show reeling me in at the start, only to make me hate it by the end. It’s so disappointingly cheesy and thinks it’s far smarter than it actually is. “Orpheus” (Richmond) mourning his dead wife “Eurydice” is so wracked by guilt he murders young hookers right?! Wrong. I really hope they don’t think that we believe it’s him. Like TLo, my moneys on Jamie. 

  • Anonymous

    Linden went there to see if he knew anything about the seedy campaign funder, so it wasn’t so crazy that she was there. But,I agree, the plot is getting ridiculous. It’s laughable at this point how much they use the dark and the rain. Linden sitting at the computer in a pitch black room, Richmond’s computer, dark room. Hot detective at phonebooth, cue torrential rain. Also ridiculous, she just lost her son for a few days, and now she’s running back around at nite, and not a mention of the son, either leave him in or out of the plot, who cares? Too much time spent on boring plotlines. Are they running commercials that it’s a big shock? I thought it would be Richmond’s girlfriend, trying to cover his tracks, but it looks like he just hired them for weird company. The creeper with the pool? Too obvoius, so is Richmond’s assistant, who from the mayor’s office would have seen those photos and wanted her dead? The acting is excellent, a shame the writers are giving them crap to work with. When it’s over, can someone post who watched the original version and tell us what was the same and different? Would love to see that.

  • Anonymous

    Entertainment Weekly’s program note for the final ep sez “an 11th hour twist is equal parts exciting and infuriating. Could a character we’ve grown to love really have been a baddie all along?”  
    Surely a Spoiler Alert warning is unnecessary, since there are NO characters we’ve “grown to love,” are there?  Holder’s the closest, but I swear, if they’ve made him the killer this show will go on the Dead To Me board for all time.

    The killer’s identity is bound to be “infuriating” since that’s been the writers’ m.o. all season … sigh.  Wish I cared more about the “who” of the “dunnit.”  Instead, any nail-biting I’m doing is over whether they’re going to end this thing with the Ultimate Groaner (and there’s certainly room for that even if they don’t peg Holder).
    Any thoughts on EW’s hints, kitts?    

    • vmcdanie

      I’m a fool to get my hopes up but could it mean something besides the obvious “OMG, Darren Richmond is a killer?” (read that OMG dripping with sarcasm. Is there anyone who cares about Darren Richmond?) I can’t imagine it would be Holder without a major betrayal of the entire storyline. You can’t drop a random character in as the killer with no clues at all in the final minutes.

      It can’t be Linden because it’s her voice saying “You’re under arrest, etc.” on the promos. That’s my skepticism level-anyone could be plopped down as the killer at this point. I just hope the Richmond campaign tie-in isn’t as clumsy and obvious as it looks like it will be. The Wire could get away with this kind of sprawling portrait of a city in crisis storyline but this show, not so much.

  • Didi None

    I really like this show.  Some of the left turns the plot has made didn’t interest me all that much, such as Linden’s personal life problems. What happened to her fiance? … They just never talked again? The episode a couple weeks ago that focused on her missing son was somewhat painful to watch in that the dialogue written for Linden and Holder was pretty bad.  Like, it made me cringe. I understand they were trying to tell us more about the characters, but it was pretty tedious and at times awkward watching them spend all day together.

    What I do like is that I honestly do not know who will be revealed as the killer next week.  How many movies or shows focused on solving a murder mystery take you right to the end without being able to figure it out? We’ll see if it was Jamie, as you think.  But, I think that’s just one possible guess and really it could be anybody. It’s refreshing not to have figured it out 2 weeks into the series and then had to painstakingly wait while the show finally got around to unraveling the storyline exactly as you figured it would go. I think the red herrings the show has put out there are sometimes pretty transparent.  Such as the one with Richmond going into next week. I’m pretty sure he is not the killer and the scenario with the hookers is as you described. But, I think he may be asking the hookers about drowning because…well, I’m wondering if his wife drowned in a lake or river after being forced off the road by a drunk driver. So, he may be hiring the dark haired hookers that remind him of Lily and then just wallowing in his sadness by talking to them about drowning, kind of furtively and painfully trying to imagine what his wife went through in her last moments.

  • Anonymous

    So I was wrong about Linden’s son being a foster kid from a murder victim. My bad. I thought something interesting might have been going on.

    The Larsen parents continue to be as loathsome and tedious as ever. Audible groans as goateed Kevin James fails to simply say at the jail that he spent the money on a house.

    So Rosie was depositing wads of cash, but wasn’t a hooker? By the end of the episode, the detectives lost interest in what she was actually doing at the casino and where all that money came from.

    As far as the flimsy murder mystery, I’m guessing internet guy with the pool? On day 13, after checking the cabs on day 10, maybe the lab results will come in showing chlorinated water in Rosie’s lungs?

    I hope the Razzie awards add a category for television writing this year.

  • aimee_parrott

    The lazy writing is making me sad.  That whole email thing was just ludicrously bad.  I didn’t get to watch ’til last night and I held off reading your recap, but that pinging email alert beyond lame, especially the idea that he’d be using an email for his campaign stuff that he also uses to hire escorts.  Please.  With political smarts like that he couldn’t get elected as dogcatcher.  I’m assuming now that he didn’t do it, only because where’s the big reveal at the end if he did?  I’ll watch next week — hell, I made it this far — but man, what a letdown from a promising start.

  • Anonymous

    I’m thinking that Richmond being another red-herring is probably true. Would he seriously use a CAMPAIGN CAR to kill the girl? Looks like he’s getting set up.

  • Anonymous

    People send me emails to various addresses and they all come into my one main account, so that’s what I thought was happening here (although I did laugh loudly when I got to your line about the campaign and hooker emails all coming to one address) As someone on another site pointed out, the first email sent by Linden was opened and none of the ones on Richmond’s computer were. Also possible that he sees all emails coming into any of his employees accounts.

  • Shannon 1

    I did love the Poltergeist reference though because as soon as I saw the skull I thought “You son of a bitch, you left the bodies and you only moved the headstones! You only moved the headstones! Why? Why?”

  • Patricia Biswanger

    Who were those guys digging in the beginning of this episode, and why were they doing it in the dark, and in the rain?

  • I agree that the plotting and pacing of the show has been pretty awful. It’s like the writers have never even read a mystery, let alone written one.
    But I have to disagree that Jaime is the killer-he’s so involved in the campaign, and is evidently close to Darren-why would he put Rosie’s body in a campaign car? He had to know that would throw immediate suspicion on Richmond. That part just doesn’t make any sense to me. I also don’t think it’s Gwen. She looked pretty stunned when she saw the pictures the mayor gave her. I think someone’s framing Richmond. I just don’t know who. My theory is that his wife drowned (did we ever find out for sure how she died? I just assumed it was as drunk driver, but I really don’t know for sure). Whoever killed Rosie knew about Richmond’s thing for young brunettes (hence the pictures), and killed Rosie to frame him.