AMC’s The Killing returned this past Sunday with two new episodes, “Reflections” and “My Lucky Day.” Linden (Mireille Enos) decides to stay in Seattle permanently. Suspicious of Holder (Joel Kinnaman) because of the faked photo, she is soon also betrayed by Lieutenant Oakes (Garry Chalk). So she takes matters into her own hands, and is able to clear Councilman Richmond (Billy Campbell) of any wrong doing. Meanwhile, Holder realizes he has been tricked, but can’t get Linden to talk to him, let alone work with him.
Holder and Linden’s relationship as partners is such a strong component of season one of The Killing, and they go through so much growth, that it is odd to have them at odds in “Relections” and “My Lucky Day.” They are both still investigating Rosie Larsen’s (Katie Findlay) murder, but from different angles. While Linden and Holder are quite capable on their own, with all these layers of mystery above them, they need to team up. It’s going to take more than one person to blow the lid off of this conspiracy.
Holder is not a bad guy. He cuts corners, and gets a promotion for it. But his part in framing Richmond is not a purposeful action. Holder believes Richmond is guilty at the time. This is not an excuse, of course. He still does something wrong, and it’s no wonder that Linden doesn’t trust him. But he’s not involved in the larger plot, as Linden thinks he is. As soon as she realizes that, the sooner they can get back to working together, and the quicker the case will be solved. But scaring her and busting her door, as he does in “My Lucky Day,” is a bad idea, no matter how desperate he is to get Linden back on his side.
But will Holder and Linden, when they inevitably team up again, work within the system, or outside of it? Oakes has been replaced by a new boss (Mark Moses, Desperate Housewives, Mad Men) in “My Lucky Day,” who may be even more in the pocket of the bad guys. After all, no shady group would let a key player get knocked out by an honest man. Instead, they likely ask Oakes to step down. Which means, while having access to evidence and witnesses is nice, the two lead detectives may just have to go outside of their jobs to find the truth.
What is The Killing‘s conspiracy about? How is Rosie Larsen involved? These are questions that still need to be answered. Rosie worked for Richmond, and Richmond is a target of the schemers. But why is Richmond a target? Why do these people hate him so much that they frame him for the murder of a young girl? And is Rosie just a random victim, or someone of importance?
At least Richmond can be knocked off the very full suspect tree. He has an alibi: he was trying to kill himself at the time of Rosie’s death. This stems from his grief over his wife, the only major back story that has been revealed about Richmond. Which means that the conspirators’ hatred of Richmond could somehow be connected to his romantic history. Too bad he’s done cooperating with Linden, making the heart of the matter all the more difficult for her to find.
Richmond spends much of The Killing‘s premiere recovering in the hospital from a gun shot wound. He is now paralyzed. One has to wonder how this injury and near-death experience will change Richmond. He no longer seems to want to die, and he hasn’t said anything about giving up his election. Will he return to work reinvigorated, or is something else going on in his head?
Part of the brilliance of The Killing is that it does not shy away from inner turmoil, nor does it spell everything out for the viewer. Much of Richmond’s motivation is murky, at best. Gwen (Kristin Lehman) and Jamie (Eric Ladin) spend much of “Reflections” and “My Luck Day” upset, not doing anything much. It makes their actions, when they do act, more meaningful, and allows fans to try to figure out what is going on in their heads, adding another layer of mystery to this unique crime drama. This makes the structure of The Killing very cool.
Richmond is shot by Belko (Brendan Sexton III) in “Reflections,” whose reason for doing so is obvious: he thinks Richmond killed Rosie. Belko then takes his own life while in custody. Belko is a tragic character, to be sure, but he is never a central focus of The Killing. Which means, like Rosie, the impact of his death on the people who love him will be more important to the story than the event itself.
Stan (Brent Sexton) is the one most upset by Belko’s passing in “My Lucky Day.” Stan has lost his daughter. His wife, Mitch (Michelle Forbes), has gone off by herself. And he is still responsible for raising two boys (Seth Isaac Johnson and Evan Bird), who really need him right now. Between Belko’s suicide and Rosie’s real killer dropping off her backpack on Stan’s stoop, Stan is having a very rough couple of days. He can barely keep himself under control, let alone calm his sons. Sexton is knocking this performance out of the park, with these two hours giving the actor the most meaty material he’s had yet.
Which leaves Terry (Jamie Anne Allman), Mitch’s sister. She is being a good aunt, staying with Stan to help him take care of her nephews. However, Terry also has a hidden agenda. Why is she really there? Not just out of a desire to help, surely. Every scene she has with Stan is awkward, making things even more intriguing. What is going on?
The Killing has lost none of its suspense or draw. Disappointingly, ratings are down, but hopefully fans will return and get over their silly anger at Rosie’s killer not being revealed last season. The show is every bit as good a series as it ever was.
Watch The Killing, Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.