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"The Killing" Recap: There's No Way, Right? Could It Be?

By Dustin Rowles | TV | June 13, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | June 13, 2011 |

(Spoilers. Obviously).

What I’ve said for a while now is that the only way “The Killing” could truly dupe me at this point is if Darren Richmond was the killer. Six weeks ago, I put odds on him at 20-1, arguing that he’s too dull to be the murderer. With one episode to go, every indication now suggests that he is, which of course means he’s probably not.

We’re going to find out who the killer is in the final five minutes. The question is: Will it be a surprise? Will we even care anymore.

It’s not going to be Richmond. It wouldn’t make sense. He’s too mild-mannered, and while he might be depressive, he’s not violent. I don’t think, “What would it be like to drown?” was a threat. I think it was his own serious rumination. I think that Richmond, incapable of getting over the death of his wife, used high-end prostitutes as therapy. I think he confided in them because there was no one else to confide in. I think he contemplated his own death. Do we know how Richmond’s wife died (I forget). Was it drowning? I do think Richmond was involved with Rosie, but I don’t think he killed her. I think it was probably a jealous Gwen, or Gwen’s Senator father.

The bigger question right now is whether the direction that the investigation has taken even makes sense logically? Is it good storytelling? If Rosie was a high-end escort, along with her Aunt, and if she was depositing large chunks of money into a bank account, would it really take 11 days to find out? Why wouldn’t the aunt come forward? How was this information kept secret? Unless it was the aunt, which is why she wouldn’t let Mitch and Stan know that their 17-year-old daughter was boning rich dudes for cash. But I don’t think it was the aunt. And if Rosie was spending time at the casino, why hadn’t anyone come forward? Given the high-profile nature of her murder, and the crowded nature of a casino, surely someone would’ve seen her there either the night of her murder or in the weeks leading up to it. Am I nitpicking? Or is the leap in logic to much to overcome. I think it’s simply the latest ill-conceived plot turn on “The Killing,” which has gone from meticulous thoughtful show to, “Fuck it, let’s throw this against the wall and see if it sticks.” The only clue the show has given us up to this point that Rosie was whoring it up for cash was the sweater. The sweater? That’s the through line? An item of clothing?

I’ll say this, though: It was a preposterous episode, but at least it wasn’t boring. There were a few cool sequences: I loved Tom Dexler’s pool, which allowed him to see nubile women swimming above him. And the revelation that he was six-feet deep into underage strange and relying on Richmond to bail him out when he got caught was fun, particularly how he insisted on implicating Jamie. And the final sequence, which had Sarah Linden following the sound of sent emails, was suitably Hitchcockian. There was some actual, legitimate tension in those final minutes. I even considered (hoped) that Linden would get taken out. Now, that would’ve been a shocking finale.

In either respect, it’s too little too late. The twists through the slog, the turns through the muck, it was all too much. A great pilot episode and two good episodes at the end of the season doesn’t salvage the other 10 at times excruciating weeks. It is possible to be slow paced without being dull. “The Killing” never discovered the trick. This was supposed to be a show that kept us guessing, that fostered water-cool talk, that we’d all be buzzing about on Monday morning. It never happened. At this point, those of us who are still watching it, are riding it out less out of a sense of curiosity and more out of a sense of completion.

What do you folks think? Is Richmond the killer? Is it someone else? And who? Can a great finale persuade you to watch a second season if AMC renews?

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.