AMC’s The Killing does something a little different this week: it hits pause on the Rosie Larsen (Katie Findlay) murder case a scant few minutes into the episode, and doesn’t unpause until the very end. It makes sense in the story, as the police wait for new evidence that must be cleared by warrant, and a sudden emergency arises. While, with only two episodes left in the season, the break of “Missing” may come a bit late, it is a fantastic hour focusing on just one fresh mystery that is solved at the end. An ultimate stand alone episode. There is no Richmond (Bill Campbell), Mitch (Michelle Forbes), or Stan (Brent Sexton). There is only Detectives Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) looking for Sarah’s missing son, Jack (Liam James), while finally getting to know each other.
This is the first episode it’s really viable to call Linden and Holder friends. They have been working a case together for a week and a half, but getting to know one another is progressing slowly. Perhaps it’s their very different personalities or investigation styles. Maybe there is no reason to learn about your partner when she is supposed to be leaving at any minute. For whatever reason, The Killing has not shown extensive Linden / Holder bonding. “Missing” is virtually all about that.
Kinnaman and Enos hit a grand slam. While Enos has plenty of chances to shine this season, Kinnaman mostly exists as a supporting character. He stretches his legs this week, and proves he can handle complex emotions. Already known is that Holder used to abuse narcotics, but is clean and attending meetings. In “Missing,” viewers also get a look at his tense family life. His sister doesn’t answer or return his calls, and Holder struggles to be a good uncle after failing miserably while under the influence. Now Holder is a good guy, as evidenced by his support of Linden during her tough time. It’s sad his family isn’t realizing that, though considering his past, it’s also understandable.
Not that Linden is overshadowed, by any means. She reveals things about her back story that prove unexpected, such as that Regi (Annie Corley) is her social worker. Linden also has to really question her ability as a mother. Holders’s attempt to justify her mistakes because of Linden’s own lack of parental figure backfire as Linden takes the comments as criticism. Honestly, no one is harder on Linden than Linden. She spends much of the hour beating herself up, something shown mostly in her sad eyes.
Jack running away to his father is foreshadowed in the prior episodes, so the ultimate conclusion, where he reveals to Linden that’s where he has been the entire time, is not coming out of nowhere. Linden is basically ignoring Jack during this tough, transitional time when they are supposed to be moving to California, instead, caught up in a case. Regi warns Linden multiple times she isn’t doing enough for Jack. With an absentee mother, Jack goes where he can to get support. It is unknown if he finds any.
It’s a brilliant hour and a nice diversion, featuring superb acting and nice exposition, as well as a moving mystery. Now it’s time to ramp up for the finale, less than two weeks away. Who killed Rosie Larsen? It’s still anyone’s guess.
The Killing airs Sunday nights at 10 p.m. ET on AMC.