The Killing: What I Know

 Posted by on June 19, 2012 at 12:36 am  The Killing
Jun 192012

The Killing Season 2 Finale: Rosie holds "I love you" signIt’s sunny in Seattle!

I hope you all noticed, above and beyond the plot resolution and the various interesting character moments and twisty-turnys, that it finally stopped raining.

I am not the only writer who is saying this whole thing went on too long, robbing even the best moments of the power they often deserved, and this little bit of symbolic mucking about with the weather is a perfect example of that. If it had rained for, say, six days, or even ten, while they searched for the killer, then a sunny resolution would have been lovely. But 25 days of rain? That would have been the lead news story every night, ahead of the murder or the mayoral race. It’s ludicrous!

And that’s the resolution in a nutshell. It’s elegant, it ties everything together, the actors sold the hell out of it, affording us some stunning and cathartic performances, but at some point you’re going to remember the teacher, and that Stan isn’t Rosie’s biological father, and oh, yeah Janek, and Alexi, and Jasper, and that skater kid, and and and and. Too many red herrings to fill too many episodes.

So, if you didn’t watch and want me to lay it out for you, here’s who killed Rosie: Her aunt Terry.

Jamie (Darren Richmond’s campaign manager), Michael Ames (construction company owner, Terry’s former lover, Jasper’s father) and Nicole (Indian tribe chief and casino chief) colluded on a plot that would destroy Mayor Adams’s bid for reelection in exchange for Indian rights to build on the waterfront. Adams’s entire campaign hinged on waterfront development, so planting Indian bones on Ames’s construction site could destroy the campaign and give the Indians rights to the land.

The three met to discuss it on the tenth floor of the casino, but after Nicole and Ames left, Jamie discovered that Rosie was hiding there (in preparation for running away). He believed she’d heard everything, and perhaps filmed it. He grabbed her and knocked her unconscious. Thinking her dead (not breathing? Really?) he stuffed her in the car but she got away, he chased her through the woods, knocked her out, put her in the trunk, and called Ames to help him get rid of her.

Ames arrived with Terry and she listened to him argue with Jamie. Ames said, rather than kill the nameless girl in the trunk, he’d go back to his wife, so Terry pushed the car into the lake, not knowing it was her own niece.

It’s a neat package of tied-up loose ends; the construction stuff, the mob connection (Janek’s thug hid the bones on the site), the casino, and the whole thing. And it’s a package that gives us some powerhouse scenes, two stunning confessions, and a lovely family moment with Rosie’s film–which had nothing to do with dirty politics–serving as closure for the remaining Larsens.

But then you think about it. There was nothing sinister on the tenth floor of that casino, no reason to bar people from going there. It was just a construction site that they just happened to use for one conversation. There was no reason to use a major mob boss for a simple B&E, any thug or employee of Ames’s could have done it. Why was Rosie at one point said to be a Beau Soleil girl? Why was that then so easily dismissed? Why were the Beau Soleil records burned by Janek?

It really doesn’t tie everything together, just enough of it to create a neat bit of drama. There was way too much bandied about in two season for it ever to all tie together.

Finally, Sarah gets out of the car at the end and walks away. Except if there’s a Season 3 she’ll be back, so it’s as empty as Dirty Harry quitting at the end of the first movie and then coming back for more. And more. And more.


  23 Responses to “The Killing: What I Know”

  1. Apropos of nothing, how likely is it that the chief of detectives would regard Sarah as obsessed with a case again because she wouldn’t drop the Larson investigation and move on an entire two or three weeks after the murder? The effects of the time distortion are curious, rather like Othello being convinced that Cassio and Desdemona had been conducting an affair in the several hours since he arrived on Cyprus. In general this would have been an even more cathartic ending as the end of the first season.

  2. Was no one else angered by the end point: Aunt Terry? That’s why we walked this senseless trail? My goodness was this show ever total crap.

    I have a relative who likes to buy me stuff. None of it makes any sense in relation to me. They just like to buy me stuff. They recently purchased me a black high-tech golf shirt. I don’t golf. I wear no clothing remotely like it. I don’t think I own anything black but a pair of boots and a belt. I tend to wear lots of color and lots of natural fibers. I don’t think I’ve received a single gift from then in the past ten years that makes any sense at all. “We thought of you.” Hold on. Hold on. No, you didn’t think of me. You just like to spend money, and you use me as a reason to do so.

    This is how The Killing made me feel. Throw anything and everything at it just to fill time. Doesn’t matter if it makes sense. Doesn’t matter if it can be reasonably resolved. Doesn’t matter if it is downright silly. Trite? Doesn’t matter, either. Just throw it in there. Sons of Anarchy could qualify for TV & Movie Mensa if compared to this show (and I think Sons of Anarchy is one of the all-time stupidest shows ever created).

    I apologize if I sound a bit angry. I already thought this show was terrible in nearly every way (including the acting), and then they hit us with that final ten or so minutes. Shameful. This junk gets plucked from all the pilots and ideas out there?

    • Hahaha. I don’t agree entirely but I love the shopping analogy!

    • After becoming a fan of Mad Men and Breaking Bad, I mistakenly thought that AMC’s new series offerings would be of a similar quality. Two that I checked out and stuck with were The Killing and that one-season thriller/spy/conspiracy drama, from a few years ago. [I can’t even recall the title of the latter series and it was so bad, it’s not really worth the bother of looking it up. It was the one with the clover that was some kind of clue or something.]

      I never sampled the drama about the Old West railroad or the zombie show, since I’m not into those themes. I stuck with the “clover show,” for as long as it lasted and I managed through both seasons of The Killing, but if it’s renewed for a third season, I won’t be among the returning viewers.

  3. Well, while we’re piling on, let’s talk about Rosie’s movie. That was one 8mm cartridge they sent to the lab?

    I shudder to think what would have happened to this thing if impending cancellation hadn’t caused the writers to tie up the hundreds of loose ends they created. At least if they do get another season, they’ll start with something like a clean slate.

    • Yes! With those edits? Really?

      What working-class high school girl (1) has access to a Super-8 camera, (2) knows how to use it, and (3) wouldn’t just make and upload a video using her phone?


  4. The constant pouring rain drove me nuts. I lived in the Seattle area for two years and it rarely rained that hard. It was more like a steady mist.

  5. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Fini.

  6. Good points about all the red herrings. I think Janek did tell Stan some motivation for burning the recods, but now I’m forgetting what he said? Was it that he suspected there was something there but he wanted Stan to move on & focus on the children that he had left? I’m not sure but I thought it was something like that. Which I realize doesn’t totally justify it.

    As for Rosie–I know one of her co-workers told the police “Rosie wasn’t a prostitute, she worked as a maid.” But yeah-in that case I don’t know how they first made it seem like she was a Beau Soleil girl.

    I guess it would be interesting to go back and watch Season 1 at this point. Some of it would make a lot of sense–including Terry’s late-night wailing (I remember noticing that the first time around, while watching Season 1, and being suspicious…but then I figured, “Well, she’s not the killer, she just knows something or is more involved than she’s letting on.”) Certainly I wouldn’t have guessed as to the exact circumstances.

    I still consider Jamie partly the killer–even if he couldn’t physically do it–he was determined to get it done, come hell or high water.

    What a beautiful girl who played Rosie (Katie Findlay). Her face is so expressive. I enjoyed seeing her come back to life (in flashbacks) on this episode—and the movie was bittersweet. At least now her parents know that she didn’t want to cut off ties from them. She just wanted to explore the world. Carpe diem. If only she had gotten her chance. 🙁

    Great acting from all the players. I know that some of them (including Enos & Kinnaman) are already getting more work in films. I hope that Brent Sexton and Jamie Ann Allman get more TV and/or film work. (I know that even if The Killing returns, we won’t see the Larsen storyline again)

    Finally, Sarah gets out of the car at the end and walks away. Except if there’s a Season 3 she’ll be back, so it’s as empty as Dirty Harry quitting at the end of the first movie and then coming back for more. And more. And more.

    Yup–I also thought of the Godfather III. “Just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in!” LOL.

    • “I guess it would be interesting to go back and watch Season 1 at this point. Some of it would make a lot of sense”

      Not really. Too much time and too many resources have already been wasted on this pile. If I thought I was an inattentive audience, I might be willing to entertain the idea, but I know it was their insanely poor storytelling and structure that encouraged some of the silliness to just float in stasis until they half-assedly used it later in the series. I’m also not convinced any of that was design, but rather because their story fell apart, leaving them to grasp at straws to not make the entire endeavor a joke. I can just see the brainstorming (I use that term very lightly here) at the writer’s table, combing for details they never intended to use but could use. Nothing about this show makes me believe it was a series of well-planned ideas. “Oh, yeah. We did leave Terry crying back there, didn’t we? We could really use that now?” Linear and ordinary, so like a psychic who can tell the future by flipping through Tarot for Dummies (and I’m not arguing there aren’t psychics, but there are some skilled snakeoil salesman doing it), they used basic keys to tie elements together.

  7. I watched The Killing last year, and in the end I wished I hadn’t.

    When there was no answer to the question the show asked, I was sure it would come in the first few episodes of this season. Aside from 15 minutes at the start of last week’s show I didn’t watch, though I followed the recaps.

    What I saw of the finale reminded me very much of the movie Mystic River. Clint Eastwood worked with novelist Dennis Lehane to make the film so faithful to the book that, if you read it, you feel you’ve seen the movie before. The Killing has so many features in common with this older story — the very young and beautiful victim, the working-class family, the Mob angle, the haunted cop. Rosie Larsen even looks like Katie Markum. Who both, it turns out, almost say goodbye to their fathers before their plans to run away with their boyfriends are interrupted by their murders.

    I don’t really know why the American version of this show departed from the blueprint the Danish version set for Season 2 (different time, different crime), but I have to think that someone, at some point, was influenced by reading Mystic River, seeing the film, or both.

    Just a thought.

    • I totally thought Mystic River when I watched this finale-yes, I watched it, only because I refused to watch True Blood instead, so I turned it on while I did chores. And laughed. And hated it. How cliche was the Jamie reveal, anyway? And yes, it did echo Mystic River entirely-runaway daughter, criminal father, accidental killing, even the reveal of Rosie being dead in the Pilot last year played out like Mystic River did. Glad I’m not the only one who caught that. And the Jamie reveal was in itself a kind of red herring, since it took 45 more mintues to learn it was Aunt Terry who technically killed her. Since all she did was put a car in drive, I still blame Jamie more for Rosie’s death, which is why the Autn Terry bit felt like one last slap in the face from the show. See, fooled you AGAIN haha.

      I happen to think this show will not survive to another year, and it appears the show itself thinks so as well-everything with the Larsen’s got wrapped up with a nice bow, Richmond does end up as mayor, the murder is solved, and Linden gets out of the car and walks away instead of going with Holder on another murder call. It was obviously written as a possible finale for the show, and so will work well as one when AMC does cancel it.

      Ugh. Only Breaking Bad reruns and MAYBE the new Sorkin series on HBO will get me through now until new BB starts next month. Glad this television debacle os over, though.

      • … even the reveal of Rosie being dead in the Pilot last year played out like Mystic River did.

        Exactly! That was my first clue. Though I have to say, screaming-parent-at-the-crime-scene is one of the more time-conscious ways of handling exposition. And I really don’t think you have to be Sean Penn to be able to act the hell out of it.

        I forgot about the Sorkin series! For this as well, I thank you. 🙂

      • Wow. That cast for The Newsroom doesn’t give a lot of promise. I hope I’m as wrong as the day is long. I could use another sharp series. AMC dropped the ball a long time ago. Heck, Hell on Wheels could be interesting…if anyone associated with that show could write dialog. If newspapers are written at 6th grade level, what level is Hollywood?

    • Yup, you guys–it reminded me of Mystic River too.

    • Im reading the book- its unusual for me to read this kind of thing, but its very, very good. thiought the movie was good too, even tho Sean Penn ran away with it- Where has he BEEN?

    • It looked to me like Sud was more interested in the periphery than the meat of the story. The original was an in depth character study about how people’s lives changed that came in contact with the murder victim. How the characters themselves changed. Sud, instead, gave us psycho, lesbian, Indian Chief led casinos, Polish Mafias, Muslim teenage kidnappings to Canada, etc.

      I thought Sud was very lazy and then tried to act like the fans weren’t sharp enough to get the show. I believe it was Sud’s arrogance that killed this show.

  8. Gay people and unmarried women, that’s who commits the nation’s crimes, don’t you know. I thought we were through with evil gay characters these days, seems very 90’s to me to have the whole subtext of Jamie being in love with Richmond AND the scheming, abusive, lesbian Indian. And of course a woman who has sex with a married man would murder a girl! It’s a slippery slope!

    The only thing I liked in the finale was Jamie bringing up the prostitutes, because it made me crazy that they made a big deal in season 1 about Richmond scaring the prostitutes and then dropped it so we could feel sorry for Richmond again.

    • “Subtext of immoral political op in love with boss, where did I see that before” department: No Way Out (1987): Will Patton & Gene Hackman.

  9. I loved/hated tIhis show. (Yes,I’m on meds.) Love the cast and characters.I would love to see this show come back–but not w/Sud in charge. Even though I’m not generally in favor of networks getting involved in scripts, etc., I can’t believe that the powers that be at AMC didn’t rein in this renegade at the end of the first season when it was obvious sbe was running it off into a ditch. Dragging a 25 day time period over two seasons is ridiculous–especially when the only purpose seems to be so the wacko writer can throw in every red herring ever. Was Mitch gone six months or six days?

    I’d like to have a sitdown (mob style) w/ this chick and tell her she needs to watch every episode ever of L&O to get the basics of writing a procedural crime drama. Also a tutorial on plot threads. They’re supposed to be relevant, not just tossed out and abandoned. Think how much more intriguing it would have been if there had been some tiny hints that Terry was involved. I had to watch the lake scene three times to get any idea why she drove the car into a lake–and I still don’t think it’s very convincing that shat she would MURDER someone in the hopes it might make her boyfriend change his mind about going back to his wife. Huh??? I know we all do crazy things when being dumped, but really?

    In an interview, Sud was questioned about why Linden and Holder don’t have smartphones and her answer was because she didn’t. So much for the audience–she needs to use Matt Weier’s researchers.

    • Vince Gilligan will be looking for a gig next year. Can Sud and hire Gilligan. THAT series, I would watch.

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