The Killing: 72 Hours

 Posted by on May 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm  The Killing
May 282012

The Killing Sarah Linden 72 HoursOne of the most striking aspects of The Killing has been Detective Sarah Linden’s fragility. There is a standard trope in crime fiction that someone who knows too much is painted as a psych patient in order to get them out of the way. I think anyone watching 72 Hours started with the assumption that we were watching that trope. Indeed, Sarah herself, as well as Holder, seemed sure that was why she was being held. Yet Sarah really is coming apart, really isn’t managing to eat or sleep or care for her son, really is behaving irrationally. And at the same time, she isn’t wrong about the Rosie case. Having Sarah be both: Both psychologically damaged and wrong, while at the same time a smart cop and right, is genuinely interesting. Some of the scenes in the psych ward were fantastic, while others (Sarah being carried out of the psychiatrist’s office) were overplayed and almost silly. Still, it’s a piece of character work that deserves praise.

Over the last few weeks, past characters have been brought back, seemingly in response to viewer complaints that characters disappear never to be heard from again—although we viewers should not have an inflated opinion of our own power. Who knows why Bennet and his wife, and Rick Felder (Sarah’s former fiance) were brought back? Felder hasn’t behaved much like a jilted fiance, or even a pining fiance, but his presence adds intrigue to Sarah’s character.

At first it wasn’t obvious why he’s there, at least to me. Somehow Holder pulled a string and someone got Sarah out. But then it’s clear—Felder was Sarah’s psychiatrist three years ago; that’s how they met. His taking her away from Seattle and away from police work was an elaborate rescue drama in which Dr. Felder imagined himself a knight in psychiatric armor saving the helpless obsessive princess. No wonder he walked away the minute she insisted on completing an investigation. What a sick bastard.

On the other hand, The Killing teases us with the sick and crazy and then backs coyly away. We can read the implication that Sarah’s romance was pretty disturbing, but we’re not allowed to look closely. Last week, Gwen implied that the Mayor raped her when she was 14, but now we find that the big scandal that she imagined would derail his campaign was that he kissed her. Kissed her. We get teased that Rosie was a prostitute, but no she wasn’t. The nasty underside of this story gets dangled in front of us and then hid politely behind a curtain. At this point, isn’t some nasty called for?

The past two or three weeks, I’ve forgotten to watch this show as early in the week as my screener was available. In part, this is because I am a little on the ditzy side, but in part, it’s because, while The Killing is sometimes intriguing, and sometimes beautiful, it is no longer remotely compelling.


  5 Responses to “The Killing: 72 Hours”

  1. As I wrote on Twitter, The Killing feels like the most suffocating thing on TV I’ve ever seen and yet I can’t let go.

    Did you get a feeling when Linden saw her ex-fiance/doctor (what a douche, I never liked him) it was presented as her hallusination? I mean, she sees him through glass, goes to sign herself off and then walks out and puff: there’s only Holder. I know, we’ve seen the fiance but she in her state of mind might wonder.

    Also, with Gwen it felt like the kiss was the part of the story she was ready to reveal, but not the whole story. Or maybe I’m just looking for excuses because ‘a first kiss’ sounds kinda stupid, espesially for blackmail.

  2. I concluded more was probably implied and understood.

  3. Wow. Her psychiatrist was also her fiancé. Stan puts in a lightbulb. The writers and this show are so incredibly lazy and simple. No wonder they put so little into character development. They never had any clue how to give the characters any semblance of richness or depth. It isn’t that they neglected or forgot the development. If this show gets renewed for a season 3, I’ll eat my shorts.

    • I agree about the show’s renewal, I just wish they would get to the last episode and show us the killer’s ID and release me from having to know (my choice).

      “…while “The Killing” is sometimes intriguing, and sometimes beautiful, it is no longer remotely compelling.” Well said by Deb, who is not ditzy but merely channeling her inner Monty Python which is saying, “Run away! Run Away!”

  4. I know what you mean about it not being compelling. For me, once I watch the episodes, I usually find them interesting. But it’s hard to get myself to sit down and watch. In the past couple days, I caught up on the last two episodes. Even last night (watching the most recent episode) I was more in the mood to watch the latest Mad Men, even though I had seen it already.

    Kinnaman and Enos and the other actors definitely bring a lot to the show and I know they’re getting other acting work lately too, so that’s great. I just wish the show was more ‘must see’ for me.

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