The Killing: Ghosts of the Past

 Posted by on April 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm  The Killing
Apr 232012

I am again becoming frustrated by this show. There is so much to love: Really! There is! So I don’t know why they want to reach into the Television Tropes bag of tricks so often. Or…reach into the bag? Sometimes it seems Veena Sud is just turning it upside down and shaking. The prostitution, the Teen with a Secret, the Dad with a Past, it’s all so, so, so…It’s just not new.

So, last night, when Ghosts of the Past dutifully trotted out “He’s not her real father,” it was hard to feign interest. Really, The Killing? Really?

And yet, here is a show that has a man weeping because he doesn’t know how to deal with a catheter, that has a tender almost-love scene that ends in a hug—a hug with years of history behind it, that has a quiet, thoughtful revelation about baloney sandwiches, that has Tahmoh Penikett…oh, thud. You almost had me.

I’m not on board with anything about the Jack’s father storyline. Not that she had a past relationship with Mr. Perfect Body and No Personality, not that this guy disappeared from their lives for ten years and now suddenly cares so much, not that it’s in any way okay for him to criticize her parenting under those conditions, not any of it, and certainly not Penikett’s acting.

And I’m not on board with Mitch’s flight, and her new quest to rescue all the teen girls that aren’t dead, although Michelle Forbes acts the hell out of it.

The basic direction of the show: We follow the murder mystery significantly less than we follow the people, and we dig into the people in a way that respects character development, is one that I fully support. The people are mostly interesting. I’ve converted to a pro-Darren girl, mostly because I’m a pro-Jamie girl, he’s really a human being with flesh on his bones. Holder, Linden, and Stan Larsen round out what makes this show great when it’s great.

But this was a weak episode, and I don’t think the series can afford many more weak episodes after all this floundering.


  5 Responses to “The Killing: Ghosts of the Past”

  1. I agree with all your observations Deborah. Jamie’s compassion and tenacity to help Darren, “get back on his feet” is truly touching…he has no one else pulling for him.

    I loved the scene between Stan and Terry. Inevitable but well played. And inevitably we are now going to go down the Terry’s lover as Rosie’s killer narrative…

    Still, I’m watching, but it’s wearing on me.

  2. This season has done much better things than last season. It is focusing on character development, and to hell with moving the mystery along. The mystery should be the window dressing on which to hang excellent character work–much as advertising is the window dressing for Mad Men.

    It’s when the character work falls apart that I despair.

  3. This show is poorly conceived and even worse in the execution. It’s too bad shows like this get renewed when Rubicon, which had problems as well, and Terriers get dropped. Mireille Enos is painful to watch. I was dumbfounded when she was nominated for an Emmy. It was further evidence [for me] that awards are completely meaningless. What was it…episode 8 of season 1, when they finally put some effort into character development, and then it was all crammed into a single episode as catch-up? I’m thankful they’re working on the characters in season 2, but there are so many other problems with the story, script, and acting that the fat lady should be ushered onto the stage. Sons of Anarchy level of TV.

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