The Killing is a show that really brings out the pedant in me. Usually, I’m not one of those viewers who gets a kick out of pointing out historical anachronisms, minor plot holes or implausible turns-of-event; when a show is good enough, I’m more than happy to suspend my disbelief and go along for the ride. But there’s something about The Killing that makes me want to circle all its errors with a fresh, inky red pen.
By now, it’s almost tedious to list the glaring investigative oversights in The Killing, yet it’s still worth asking: what kind of detectives wait 11 days to check a murder victim’s internet history, especially when said murder victim is a 17-year-old girl with no apparent enemies? The problem with The Killing is that the writing is at least as haphazard as Linden and Holder’s detective work, and the show provides little else—in the form of likable, compelling characters or novel scenarios—to distract us from the swiss-cheese-esque plot.
In tonight’s episode,“Beau Soleil,” Linden and Holder discover that Rosie was somehow involved with a high-end escort service. Now, this revelation didn’t exactly come as a surprise. On TV, when a pretty, white, teenage girl winds up dead, sex is always involved, plus ever since we learned about Rosie’s expensive shoes, the escort thing seemed like a distinct possibility. It was an extremely uninspired, if not entirely predictable, plot twist.
Rosie had been making sizable deposits into an account under Aunt Terry’s name, so Linden and Holder sit her down for some questioning. Terry admits that she worked for Beau Soleil, but denies that Rosie was involved with the service. She also tells Linden and Holder that a few weeks back, a girl going by the name of “Celine” posted a warning about a creepy customer known as “Orpheus.” Terry wells up while recounting the message, and her tears suggest that she may know more about Rosie's fate than she's letting on.
Initially, it looks like Tom Drexler is Orpheus. Jamie goes to Drexler’s elaborate bachelor pad for a meeting, only to find he’s there entertaining a few scantily clad young women. Jamie suggests that it’s probably not a great idea for him—or his boss—to be hanging out with possibly underage girls just weeks away from an election. But Tom assures him they’re discreet “Beau Soleil girls.” Just in case you didn't make the connection, he also tells Jamie “People like me can do whatever the hell we want. Why? Because the Richmonds of the world clean will always clean up after us.” (My immediate reading of this statement is literal, and I assume that Rosie’s death was a Very Bad Things sort of situation with Darren called into help make the problem disappear.) Drexler also fits the description of a Beau Soleil customer (brown curly hair, coked-up, stadium fantasies) who roughed up an escort at the Wapi Casino; he’s also got a restraining order and 2 priors for solicitation. Just like that, Drexler becomes the prime suspect.
But his reign at the top doesn’t last long. Holder sets up a rendezvous with Celine to find out more about her brush with Orpheus. She says that “he didn't seem like a killer, he seemed really sweet, kinda sad,” at which point I thought to myself, “Duh, it’s Darren,” followed by, "Seriously? Is it really Darren?"
Linden pays a visit to Darren’s dark lair (everyone in Seattle likes to conserve electricity, apparently). While he’s on the phone, she begins gazing around his apartment—which for Linden, qualifies as detective work. Based on the show’s track record in this regard, I was certain Linden would stumble on a book of Greek mythology (with the chapter on Orpheus underlined, naturally) or maybe an old snapshot of a pet dog with the name "Orpheus" clearly written on his collar. So I was at least mildly surprised when Linden's anonymous emails started (loudly) popping up in Darren’s inbox. (Apparently Darren synchs all his accounts—how very convenient!) As silly as this show has gotten, at least this episode did end with a juicy cliffhanger: Darren catches Linden snooping around his computer. How’s she going to get out of this one?
With one episode left, the question is: did Darren do it? The political storyline has always been the weakest aspect of The Killing, and this week’s “Indian-burial-ground-scuttles-waterfront-development” twist represent possibly its lamest moment yet. All along, I figured that Darren’s mayoral campaign was, somehow, related to Rosie—that maybe she'd volunteered in his office, or something. But as the weeks went by, the connection never materialized, and a new, decidedly lamer possibility arose: maybe the only reason Darren has played such a big role on the show is…because he’s the killer. How else to explain the ongoing presence of a storyline with virtually no relevance to Rosie’s day-to-day life? If it turns out that Darren is, in fact, Rosie's killer—there's no other way to say this—I'm going to be really, really annoyed. It's kind of insulting to the viewer: "Hey, you know that guy who never really belonged here anyway? And all along you were wondering what he was doing on the show? Yeah, well, he's the killer."
Because my critical commitment knows no bounds (and also because I was never all that into mythology) I Googled "Orpheus" and, according to the good folks at Wikipedia, it turns out he was a "legendary poet, prophet and musician" whose wife Eurydice was killed; later, he embarked on a mission to retrieve her from the Underworld. Which all means that if Darren’s the perp, then I’m pretty sure we’ll get some half-baked explanation involving misdirected grief over his dead wife.
So, as we approach the season (and possible series) finale I’m wondering whether anyone other than Darren could be the killer. What ridiculous eleventh-hour twists could The Killing still have up its sleeve? I have no idea, and I’m not sure what would irk me more: to find out that Darren is yet another red herring, or that he’s actually the killer.
Guilty: Janek. There has to be a reason this storyline just won’t go away. Right?
Guiltier: Tom Drexler. Why would he give $5 million to the Richmond campaign unless there was something to cover up?
Guiltiest: Darren (Just in case you’re in any doubt about his guilt, next week’s episode is even called “Orpheus Descending.”)
- Gwen wants Darren to focus on winning the endorsement of the (fictional) newspaper, The Record. “Half the town reads that paper,” she says. Again: what year is this? (In real life, Seattle has exactly one daily newspaper, since the Seattle Post-Intelligencer went online-only in 2009).
- There was a pretty great moment in the scene where Darren is sitting with the editorial board of The Record and he lies about leaking the information about Adams’ affair. Gwen looks slightly terrified by the ease with which Darren does this…which obviously means he’s the killer.
- Would Mayor Adams really just hand over those pictures of Darren, especially when he’s (supposedly) losing the campaign and after his own intern scandal was brought to light? (I suppose there could be duplicate copies somewhere, but still).
- Has anyone you know ever actually knocked everything off their desk in a fit of anger, as Adams did in this episode? This cliché has been around forever, but I’ve never seen it happen in real life—ever.
- Jamie is a little creep but he sure does get good lines once in a while: “Nothing beats dead Indians. Didn't you see Poltergeist?"
- Jack’s father shows up and wants to spend more time with him, blah blah blah.
- I wonder how much that pool-in-the-ceiling scene cost to put together.
- Between Linden, Holder, and Holder’s old undercover pal, Cami, there was a whole lotta of gum-chomping going in on that squad car.
- So what the hell happened to Bennet? It’s been three weeks since his beatdown and we’ve heard NOTHING about his condition. Amazing that the writers can’t even pretended to care about his character.
- Another reason I will die if Darren is the killer: Bily Campbell already played Seattle-area-murderer-of-pretty-young-women, Ted Bundy.