Review: 'The Killing' - 'A Soundless Echo': Get on the bus
A review of tonight's "The Killing" coming up just as soon as I send you to a French gangster film that's 5 hours long...
"You don't know her. You don't know anything about her." -Mitch
There's a lot of good stuff in "A Soundless Echo," but I want to start with a concern, which is that the previous episode ended on a scene that pointed the finger of guilt pretty strongly at Kris and Jasper, and that within 10 minutes of this episode they were cleared. (Or, at least, they were revealed to have not raped, or even had sex with, Rosie on the night in question.) Now we end this episode with the finger of guilt pointing very strongly at Bennet the English teacher. And I really, really hope that next week's episode doesn't quickly explain away Holder and Linden's independent discoveries as totally benign, only for the episode to conclude with Richmond, or Jasper's dad, or Gwen, or whomever, as the next prime suspect, etc., etc., etc. They're not at the point of the show developing a predictable formula just yet, but I feel like they're creeping very close to one (particularly with the way last week's episode started off with the peeping janitor as a red herring). I recognize a need to make each episode of the show entertaining on its own on top of being one chapter of a bigger story, and that these big cliffhanger-style endings are an easy way to do that. But one of the values of doing a show like this as opposed to "Cold Case" is that there doesn't need to be - and, really, shouldn't be - a formula. They can throw suspects at us if they want, can maybe even end many episodes with some big new piece of information. But if the investigation keeps going in a straight line - pick a suspect, alibi him out, pick a new suspect, alibi him out - rather than spreading out in multiple directions, with multiple suspects at once, it's going to get tedious in a hurry.
But we'll worry about that next time, if we have to.
Outside of whatever it did with the plot - which mainly involved the material at the top with the high school boys and at the end with Bennet - "A Soundless Echo" did a good job of deepening our understanding of a bunch of key characters. We get to see Linden and Rick share a happy moment(*) and then discuss a bit more about the way she obsesses with cases and how that's driven them apart in the past.
(*) After Rick first sneaks up on her, in a scene that no show employing the inherently creepy Callum Keith Rennie in that role should use, unless it wants us all to start looking at Rick as a suspect. And if they go there... boy, would that be silly.
The Larsens finally start moving past their initial grief onto more practical concerns: the funeral, and Rosie's school things, and then the matter of the house that Stan bought without telling anybody. And in the process of all that, we learn that Stan once upon a time was not the good-hearted moving company owner we know now, but a tougher, meaner man with some kind of connection to local organized crime.
If Kris can be believed - and addicts can usually, but not always, smell their own kind (particularly in movies and TV shows - we get a hint that Holder's twitchiness is based on more than just bad manners and inadequate training for this gig, and that perhaps he got a little too into character in his undercover days.
Perhaps most importantly, though, we start to get to know a little more about Rosie. We learn that maybe she wasn't so perfect (even beyond her interest in a punk like Jasper), that there was tension between her and best friend Sterling - tensions so great that Sterling would allow herself to be degraded like that by Jasper and Kris, just to feel competitive with Rosie for a few minutes - and now that she was, in fact, up to something with Bennet, even as I suspect/fear it isn't quite what the episode is flashing a big red "Danger!" sign on top of.
I was particularly interested in the Linden stuff this week - not just her conversation with Rick(**) - but in seeing the way she's starting to open up just a bit as the investigation goes along. I don't mean that she's revealing more of herself to Holder or the Larsense, but she's talking more, and at times she almost seems to be enjoying parts of the case. She was definitely (and rightfully) pleased with herself with the "Tell her you didn't kill her" gambit with Kris and the video, and she seemed amused to be able to show the video to Jasper. Perhaps her closed-off nature in the first few episodes wasn't just about how Linden carries herself on the job, but about Linden trying to put a barrier between herself and a job she had hoped to leave by now. Now that she's accepted that she's on this case until the end, her more natural cop side seems to be coming out, and Mireille Enos is playing the transition well.
(**) And creepy though Rennie can be on screen, I have to give him props for stuffing that entire cake piece into his mouth in one go. Impressive.
The campaign stuff I can still largely take or leave, unfortunately. While on the one hand I was impressed to see that Richmond had staged the whole thing with Jamie to insert him as a spy in Mayor Adams' campaign - a movie seemingly too devious and underhanded for our white knight - I guess that reopens the question of the true identity of the mole, and I'm not sure I care. Maybe it's Gwen - though why she would be betraying Richmond and fighting so hard with her dad(***) to get access to the rich software guy Drexler on Darren's behalf doesn't seem to track - and maybe it's not, and maybe Jamie will dig up useful dirt on Adams from within, and maybe he won't. But as the campaign story for now exists largely separate from the investigation - though, of course, Rosie and Bennet were meeting at the location of Richmond's late-night basketball program - it remains a weak link in an otherwise very strong show.
(***) Her dad played by Alan Dale, fulfilling his ongoing contractual obligation to eventually play the wealthy, powerful and emotionally distant father of every character in primetime. He has his thing, he does it well.
Before we get to the comments, two reminders, both related to the No Spoilers policy: 1)No talking about events in the Danish series past what's depicted in this show so far. At some point, the two series are apparently going to significantly diverge, but I still don't want anyone discussing plot points, big or small, from further along in the Danish story. 2)No talking about the contents of the previews (I had to delete several comments last week that gave away material contained in the preview for this episode), or any other kind of spoiler about the content of upcoming episodes. Got it?